I'm working my spreadsheet over here and googling all sort of ideas for gifts this year. Each year we make another intentional move to "keeping it light." Each year I think we could stand to go even lighter on the gifts. Our children experience Christmas time in so many ways, and gifts are only one small part of that. Advent. Christmas Eve service. Our family gatherings. Time with cousins from far away. Fun outings with Dad. We find each year that those other things amount to so much more than the gift aspect.
Still, we like to get our kids a little something. Modeling our Christmas after the ones I had growing up, we often put off purchasing even essentials to wrap up and put under the tree. Ben needs a new coat? It's a gift. The girls need new tights? Wrapped up and placed in their stockings. But no one wants "just" a need as a gift for Christmas. Here are some things we get for our kids.
There are so many great books out there. I like to purchase off the Caldecott winner booklist for picture books. The older kids may get the next book in a series they are working through.
Creative things for kids to do. There are lots of interesting and imaginative kits out there! Most toy stores only have a few, but craft stores have entire areas devoted to this. Everything from cross stitch to build your own rocket to paint by numbers and model cars. I love this sort of thing. Something to do, something to make.
Battleship. Mancala. "Don't Break the Ice!" Chinese checkers. Pick up sticks! So many great games out there for all ages. I especially love this because it really helps during those deep winter months to have a few new games to pull out when the cabin fever sets in!
As my older kids grow, this is a growing interest of mine. Kids pick up life skills naturally, but having their own tools makes it much more fun and interesting! Cookbooks and a new apron for the budding cook in your life. A tackle box full of "supplies" like duct tape, zip ties, swiss army knife, a few assorted tools and nails for the kid who wants to go out back and build something. When we were kids, my sisters used to ask for the hottest new cleaning tool, and I recall one year my sister excitedly unwrapping a steam mop! Kids love to do things and be involved in real life. Giving them their own tools to accomplish these things encourages their growing and learning.
My kids love stuffed animals. I don't get why, never really being into them myself. But a stuffed animal that is actually adored and played with? I'm fine with that.
Do you give gifts during the holidays? What are your favorites?
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