We are coming off a year of ‘giving experiences not gifts’ so I’ve been approaching this Christmas with a smaller shopping list and big plans on how to ‘do things’ with our kids.
We have told the kids that for Christmas we will take them to a hotel and go swimming. Their reaction has been somewhere in between ‘I’d rather have ninja turtle toys’ and ‘When can we go? Buy me pink goggles’.
Of course, presents are fun, especially thoughtful ones. We don’t forgo gifts altogether, we just are more selective on the toys we do buy them. And even though we’ve purged the toys in the house, it still feels like all the toys gather under the couch and multiply in hoards of broken plastic. And why do we have so many doll heads? Where are their bodies? Somewhere in this house, there has to be a secret stash of all the lost bobby pins, teaspoons and doll bodies that have vanished from existence.
Here are five ways to give your kids gifts without it feeling like you’ve been overrun with toys
Add to an existing set
Buy a sheep and tractor for the farm set, a figurine for the legos, a chair for the Barbie. If your kids play with something often, add to it rather than bring in a whole other set of toys.
Make a space for them
Furnish a space where they can organize their favourite hobby. Get a vanity for a make up station, some totes for craft station, a cute locker for a sport station. For my daughter’s birthday one year we added a craft desk to her room. This is her own little world. Another year we made a playroom and fort for the kids for Christmas. Kids don’t always need more toys, sometimes they just need space to play.
Give a token for an experience you will share
Get a mug to go out for cocoa together, or a book bag for a library outing, or a helmet to go biking, etc. Planning experiences together is a great gift of your time.
Create an activity for their toys
Get something small and simple that they can bring into play with their toys. Like tea cups, they could have a party for stuffies. Or a little lantern for a camp out for ninja turtles. A stroller for their dolls.
Make them super sidekicks
Buy/make/pay a friend to make matching uniforms/capes for a fave stuffie and your kid to be super sidekicks
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