7 Kids gifts that aren’t toys
Is your house overflowing with toys? Here are some ideas to help come up with Christmas gifts that aren’t toys.
When I think back to my childhood (which in the scale of things was pretty privileged) we had nowhere near the quantity of toys that my kids own. Maybe one-eighth.
Were we deprived? Nope. I know if you’d asked me at age 8 if I had all the toys I wanted the answer would have unequivocally been “no!” because there was always a friend who had something I coveted. Like a Barbie collection (compared to my one Barbie) or that doll that grew a ponytail (even if her brother had cut if off) or the friend who had the Family Tree House set. But really my bedroom had plenty of clothes my mother had made my doll and teddy and my brother and I had games and shared a few boxes of toys in our playroom.
One of the things I grapple with is that many of the toys my kids own are frivolous. I mean it’s fun to have a few pointless toys – but some are just junky and look to me like some sort of environmental blight. And then we have multiples of things because people want to give them things for their birthdays and Christmas and ain’t nobody going to tell a 4-year-old who just opened her second plastic oven and cooking set (in 3 days) that she can’t have both of them (cue meltdown in front of beloved extended family member who looks as excited as she is with the gift exchange, bless).
Sometimes the magical cleaning fairy does a cull and sends a big bag to the charity shop (and an equally big bag to landfill #dontjudge).
But this fairy is feeling disillusioned with this scenario… and when family call this year and say what can we get the kids for Christmas I am going to suggest some of the below.
Memberships – these two memberships were awesome when my kids were preschoolers as we could visit our favourite destinations as many times as we wanted (and enjoy reciprocal rights interstate). The favourites being Melbourne Museum/Scienceworks and the Melbourne Zoo/Healesville Sanctuary/Werribee Zoo. Apart from the unlimited entry you also get discounts on paid temporary exhibitions and invited to member previews. Most major venues and clubs offer memberships, so find out what the child is into and go from there – sports teams/clubs, the local pool are also popular. Toy Library memberships are also a great idea (thank you reader who sent me that idea!).
Gift Vouchers – my kids are now at an age where shopping for themselves can be fun. Book vouchers are fantastic (we love Readings as they have online and in-store options), and so are movie vouchers (perfect school holiday activity!) and vouchers for venues they love to go to…. Bounce Inc has a good one for Christmas! Older kids might be receptive to a social cause – such as Oxfam or World Vision.
Tickets – there is always a show to see in Melbourne and school holidays is the perfect time… The Arts Centre has Room on the Broom for the preschoolers and lower primary and we loved Kinky Boots. [more holiday event ideas are coming when we publish our January what’s on list]
Experiences – make a date with the special kid/s in your life and treat them to a day out doing something special… Puffing Billy, a guided bush adventure, Go Karting, NGV, Botanical Gardens, a scooting adventure, a day at Adventure Park Geelong and so much more, which you can find throughout our website!
Make them something – my kids are just hitting the age where they can actually make things in the kitchen – and they would prefer I didn’t stand in the middle and tell them what to do (but in reality anything that requires a recipe of more than 2 ingredients, aka jelly, does require me to help). I saw these cakes in a jar on Pinterest recently – a bit like personally made cake mix – and thought what a lovely idea!
Clothes and supplies – this is an easy one, and if you are the parent and would quite fancy your child to have a new pair of sandals for the summer (for example) then this is a good one for grandparents who like to be practical. Also, a great time to upgrade sporting equipment (time for a new scooter, tennis racquet, special sneakers for soccer, swimming goggles, flippers and towel set, etc) – I know this year Charlie has a cricket kit on his list.
A subscription – Honey & Co is a super cute crafting subscription we’ve had the pleasure of receiving before, also Big Kids Magazine, but maybe Netflix or a Spotify account are more your style… there are loads of different subscription type services, and they are the gift that keeps on giving!