Last weekend I was in a store and noticed they were getting ready for Christmas. Neither Halloween nor Thanksgiving were in sight. I’m not mad about this. I love Christmas! But it got me thinking — what is Christmas like with a toddler? Last year, we vowed to keep Christmas about the experiences, the festivities and our family. We didn’t want to overwhelm Javi with gifts so we recommended non-toy gifts and/or experience gifts from family members, too.
Between Sean and I — we instilled the 4 gift rule: a want, a need, something to wear and something to read. Those items all fit into his “Christmas Eve box”. Then he got a small stocking (from Santa) and lastly 1 gift from us (a play-kitchen). He was incredibly lucky to also be given gifts from family members. He did receive some toys but also non-toy gifts, practical items and experience gifts. My hope is that this tradition lives on this year.
Three reasons for this:
- With the new baby coming, I would love to have “things” for Javi to do to keep him occupied and happy. I also think these types of experiences will allow for some quality one-on-one time with one of us.
- I’m pretty particular with the types of toys I like Javi to have. I don’t like loud, plastic, flashy toys and prefer wood and open-ended materials whenever possible.
- We’ve been purging and organizing our house for the last 3 months. I’d prefer to keep new “stuff” out and I still have lots of unopened and hand me down toys that Javi has not used yet.
So what will we suggest when family members ask about his wishlist?!
Non-toy gift ideas:
We love having family days but they’re pricey! Imagine receiving tickets for each person in the family to go somewhere like the zoo, children’s museum or aquarium? We have discovery museums, an Ecotarium and the science museum all within 40 minutes of our house. Javi loves these trips but they’re few and far between (especially since he turned 2 and now needs a ticket into most of these places).
Super local locations:
It would be wonderful to receive a seasonal pass to our local splash pad (for next season), a gift card for a day at the local trampoline park (they offer a toddler jump on Sunday mornings) or money for/gift cards to his favorite pizza or to ice cream place! Who wouldn’t love that?! I also think it’d be adorable for him to receive his very own library card!
Activities & Classes:
Now that he’s 2, the classes available to him are growing! But they all cost money. Money towards or gift cards to activities like gymnastics, swimming, art or music classes would not only give him something to do each week but it’s something one of us (Sean or myself) could take him too and have a bit of one-on-one time during the time away from home.
What kid (even adult!) doesn’t love true mail? (I’m not talking about bills here). I know he’d love to receive a monthly magazine subscription to National Geographic Kids because he’s obsessed with books and animals. Since he loves baking with me, a monthly subscription to Foodstirs is appealing and his love of stickers tells me he’d love a Pipsticks subscription.
I’m a fan of receiving gifts of items I was planning on replacing soon anyway. I would appreciate this for Javi, as well. Items like a new raincoat, rain or snow boots, clothing in the next size up, a new pair of gloves or a new hat would all be wonderful. Further practical, yet fun, items that would be welcome are a cute sleeping bag, new bedding, or a new thermos for school.
Finally, I’ve given a lot of thought for people who really want to wrap something and give Javi a gift he can “open” and use. I’ve come up with a sled (it snows where we live), a plant for his room that he can water and take care of (which means he’d need a small watering can, too), play-doh (because let’s face it — that stuff dries out daily), a bird feeder with bird seed, a scrapbook filled with pictures of him and family members, temporary tattoos or decorative band-aids, and new child-sized luggage.
So, there you have it! Ideas of gifts that aren’t toys! Of course, we model appreciation and gratefulness for any item given to Javi and hope that Javi learns and expresses these behaviors, too. But people do ask what he wants, and it’s never a bad idea to have a few ideas up my sleeve. 🙂
What’s on your toddler’s Christmas wishlist?