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My family and I are blessed beyond words, my kids have several grandparents who adore them and subsequently, spoil them. They’ve got enough toys to provide a small orphanage with entertainment for several days. Every year when Christmas rolls around, I brace myself for the influx of new toys. Typically they’re played with for a week or two and then set aside. Or they break and are never repaired. It’s a rare gem when a toy is kept and played with daily or even weekly.
I’m not the toy police, please don’t misunderstand me. My children do play with toys and matchbox cars are one toy you can always count on them playing with. They love their toys and I’m not against toys in general. But I think many parents, like myself, find themselves drowning in toys that were given just for the sake of giving a gift.
Last year, we started asking family members for non toy gifts. When we would get the inquiring emails or texts about what our children are asking for, we’d reply with gift ideas that are more experiences rather than toys. These are gifts like movie theater tickets and zoo passes that gift a child an entire experience and memories rather than a toy that fades into a pile. I’m sharing these non toy gifts for kids to inspire any gift givers this holiday season. And parents, feel free to share this will all your well meaning family members.
1. A Netflix subscription
I gift my niece and nephew a Netflix subscription every year. In fact, my sister relies on my gift all year long to get her college homework done. Thank you, Netflix! To make it more fun to unwrap, I like to include a small stuffed animal or piece of clothing that’s themed with one of their favorite characters that they watch on Netflix. For my nephew, it’s anything Paw Patrol and for my niece, it’s Princess Sofia.
2. Move theater tickets
This is one gift my kids love. They know it’s a guaranteed movie date just by themselves with an adult they love. This is fun to gift wrapped up in popcorn and candy, or even with a stuffed animal that’s related to a new release the child might be waiting to see.
My boys are both in karate classes and it would be a thoughtful gift for someone to pay for that for a month as a Christmas gift. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, find another class that’s just a month long and pay for that instead. If it’s a basketball drill class, wrap up a brand new basketball or pair of sneakers to go with it.
4. Zoo passes
This might take a little research, but it’s a fabulous idea. Find a zoo close to the child’s home and purchase tickets or even season passes for them. Find a fun safari animal or book to go with this gift.
5. A magazine subscription
There are several magazines out there catered for kids and all of their interests. This gift keeps on giving as the child will receive a new magazine in the mail every single month!
6. John’s Incredible Pizza gift cards
My kids love this place and I have to admit, I sort of do too! It’s a fun family date to go together and try to win as many tickets as we can as a family. It can be expensive, so any gift card to help with that would be a welcome gift. You could wrap it up with this fun pizza party set for a totally themed-out gift.
7. Froyo gift cards
Froyo dates are inexpensive and such a great way to connect one on one with a child. Offer a froyo gift card for a special date or for mom & dad to take the child on a date while you watch the other kids.
8. A Cooking class
Cooking classes can be found at community centers and even some restaurants. Kids love to cook and a cooking class would be a great gift for them to experience. Wrap up an apron and chef hat with the gift certificate for an un-wrappable gift under the tree.
9. Character bandages or first aid kit
If you have children, you never have enough bandages. And the boys don’t want to wear the girls kind and the girls want pink and it’s always an emergency. A package of bandages in their favorite characters or even a whole first aid kit is such a thoughtful gift. And the child will be thrilled to know that they have their very own kit that belongs to them rather than the community as a whole. Mom, stay out of the Batman bandages.
10. A recipe with the ingredients
One of my favorite memory making traditions with my kids is cooking in the kitchen. Wrap up an apron or some dollar store cooking utensils with some ingredients to make a sundae or maybe a batch of cookies.
11. Art and craft supplies
There are never enough supplies in our house and I believe most parents would agree. My kids would beam at unwrapping a fresh pad of paper and newly sharpened crayons or colored pencils. Watercolors, brushes, coloring books, and even (washable) markers are all welcome.
A child can never have too large a library, in my humble opinion. Find out their latest interests (for my son it’s Minecraft and outer space) and purchase one or two books on that subject. Consider adding a reading light or book mark for a well rounded gift package.
This holiday season, be sure your gifts are thoughtful; especially when gifting to children. Parents and kids will both love the gifts listed above as they’re a gift that involve family togetherness, and memory making. You’re giving the gift of family love and how special is that?