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4 Steps to Choosing Memorable Christmas Gifts for Kids
Toys here, toys there. Toys are everywhere!
The holidays are here and with it the never-ending pressure to buy for Christmas. It’s no secret that having too many toys is overwhelming for kids and parents. Yet, every year when Christmas rolls around, we start buying all the things. And let’s be really honest, kids ASK for all the things!
But let me tell you a secret: they don’t actually want it all. Wait a second, you knew that? Then what is your plan to avoid falling into the holiday trap this year and going completely overboard? Without a plan you are doomed! Kids are influenced by other children, media, and even shiny object syndrome while at the store!
Avoid overspending on a bunch of unloved toys, and give gifts that will be treasured and enjoyed this year. These tips can help!
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1. Set Boundaries
The first step in this entire process starts before you even start thinking about the toys to buy: set some boundaries for yourself. What is your budget? What can you actually afford? Don’t be afraid to set the number even if it feels low. There are so many ways to get creative with DIY gifts and shopping sales, especially if your kiddos are little.
The other part of this step is to take a look at your space! How many toys can you actually fit into your home? If it’s already bursting at the seams, then adding more to the mess is only going to result in frustration. Consider whether your kiddo plays with what they have, or if the items are just a filler of sorts before you start listing off every good Black Friday deal.
2. Watch your child play.
Watching your kids is the solution to this problem! It is the first step that I use when it is time to declutter toys, so it is no surprise that it’s on this list. By watching your kiddo play with what they already have, you will get some really great insight into what they are drawn towards, what is ignored, and those few key interests that really excite them.
For example, if you notice that your son hasn’t touched the cars, but he is constantly playing with dinosaurs, that is a pretty good indication that the monster truck he was eyeing at the store would end up as shelf decor.
The good news is that now you know how much he loves dinosaurs, so you can start brainstorming gifts that will satisfy his natural interest! This concept can be applied to any interest, and it helps to avoid buying gifts that are flashy but ultimately not desirable. If you haven’t grabbed the Ultimate Christmas Shopping Planner yet, now is the time! It has an entire page to help walk you through this process.
GET THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PLANNER HERE
3. Think outside of the box.
Sometimes it is really simple to find gifts that will satisfy your kids, and sometimes they really do “need” a few toys to round out their collection. If you noticed any holes in their play, Christmas is a great time to fill them. However, you might not want to buy more dinosaurs(or cars, doll accessories, you name it!) if your kiddo already has a good collection. What then?
I recommend thinking outside of the box. Rather than buying toys, shift your focus to what interests them. Fill the needs that they have outside of toys. Maybe your kiddo is due for a new comforter or has the perfect spot on the wall for a cool poster. My dinosaur lover would cherish a new dino poster as much as a new dinosaur figure! Mix it up!
If you have a child that loves to read, perhaps a magazine subscription would be a good gift. Highlights is a really fun gift because it keeps giving all year round! My first grader is just starting to be an independent reader and this is number one on the gift list this year. However, Highlights has several subscriptions that are made for kids of all ages, from babies on up. I highly recommend them because of the way that you can tailor to your child’s level. Learn more here.
Another good option would be ABCMouse. My four-year-old has a speech delay, but he has been making amazing progress since we started using ABCMouse every day. It is a really hands-off activity for parents, and kids love it! Check out their current deals here.
Start considering your options and you might be surprised with what you come up with.
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4. Gift an experience.
What if your kids don’t need anything, and you don’t have the room for more stuff. What if you are super broke and can’t afford many gifts? It’s okay! You can still make this a wonderful and magical season!
But, how do you still give them the feeling of satisfaction that gifts offer? It is so simple and I am amazed at the impact that this small mindset change has made on my own family: gift an experience.
Gifting an experience is one of the best trends that I have seen yet. It is rising in popularity, and for good reason!
If you are at the point where your kids just don’t need anything new and it feels like you are throwing gift money out the window, try spending the money on doing something fun instead. The memories are what matters. Make a loose plan, and then let your kids run the day-and participate!
The events can cost as little or as much as you are willing to pay. Scope out free local events at museums and festivals. Buy a McDonald’s gift card and take the kids to the play place for an entire afternoon. Visit the ice cream shop. Go skating, or visit a local destination spot. The ideas for doing this frugally are endless.
If you want to make a big impact, use Groupon to scout out great activities in your area that are a reasonable price and then live a little! You could even surprise your kiddo with a big event if something awesome is coming to your area soon.
For example, last year, we had this really cool dinosaur expo come through town in January. In order to gift something like that, get a cheap dollar store dinosaur with a card as the gift for Christmas, and then explain what’s happening. Build up anticipation with a countdown to the event. Get creative and make it memorable!
Avoid Overspending on Toys This Holiday Season
If anything is going to ruin Christmas, it will be the stress that you face by breaking your budget. It will be the frustration you feel when your home is spilling over with under-appreciated toys that cost a bundle on Christmas morning. That angst will transcend you, and your kids will pay the price right along with you.
The great news is that the solution is simple: Remember to be mindful while gifting this holiday season! Don’t be afraid to get unconventional. Memories are more important than gifts. Make conscious decisions about your home, your money, and your parenting. With a little bit of insight, you might just gift something more amazing than they could have imagined!
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Don't forget to check out The Ultimate Christmas Shopping Planner to help you enjoy the Holidays on a budget!