I write this list with the full knowledge my family will not read this and listen to it, but for all the other families out there who may be able to put a “no toys” Christmas into effect.
Toys are wonderful. They help grow imagination, they teach the children to play freely. They cultivate creativity.
And they have taken over my home.
We have more toys than the kids can even begin to imagine playing with. So as the holidays come up this year, I have a few suggestions for gifts for the kids that will help them grow and change, but without including the usual list of toys! Here are your 12 days of non-toy gifts!
You all knew this one was coming! We try very hard to invest in our kids a love for the written word. From our house rule that they cannot see a movie until they’ve read the book to us reading consistently with them all; books are a huge part of their lives. We especially enjoy books that are about blended families, non traditional families, and have a variety of covered!
2. Donations in their Names.
The holidays are great because we get things…but they are even better because we give them. We spend time doing things with our church, with our family, and learning about the fact that others are not as fortunate as we are. I’ve been blessed to have kids who are so generous and loving. They adore knowing who else they helped. We’ve talked about Fresh Water programs, we’ve talked about people in our country who are leaving their homes and moving into new ones and want comforts. It’s also an amazing opportunity to introduce the kids to YOUR favorite and most important charities.
3. Craft supplies.
My kids(most kids!) love to craft. They love to draw, make presents for others, build things. Craft supplies are a wonderful idea for them to continue to cultivate their personalities and creativities. And we are one of those really awesome families that have very few rules and regulations about using crafts, so anything goes! (It’s more fun that way, other parents out there!!)
4. Electronic Accessories.
All our kids will have tablets of some sort after this Christmas. I’ve never been one of those parents against them nor one who goes out of my way to limit exposure or time to them; in fact, I love electronics and the educational ways they can be used. Extra little gadgets for the tablets are always loved in our home.
5. Kitchen and cooking things.
Children need to learn how to cook. Period. It’s a fact I’m super passionate about; my sons and daughters all need to know how to cook food when they are some day out on their own. I love to incorporate my kids in when I’m cooking and their very own objects to help me make dinner or pretend cook upstairs are both wonderful ideas. And if you buy some from the local Goodwill, you can DIY up and make them pretty and specific for the person you are buying them for.
6. Tickets out/movie passes.
There are always movies that these kiddos want to see in theaters that tickets to would be amazing!
Music is a wonderful way to grow. I encourage the kids to all be involved in music, whether through singing or playing instruments. My in-laws are so involved in playing their instruments and singing along, the holidays they pull out their guitars are my favorite. Music taught me so much about self discipline and while I don’t play nearly as much as I used to, it’s a skill I love having.
This could also fit into books, but for us it’s definitely it’s own category. We try to encourage the kids to build their own faith; not to just take and swallow what we believe or our church believes, but to really experience and explore their personal ways to interpret the Bible. Devotionals are a great way to do this and with kids devotionals so popular these days, there are so many options to look at and choose what exploration path the kids can take the next month, year, etc.
I can’t change a tire. I don’t know the difference between screwdrivers or hammers or anything really. While it has worked out for me, marrying the man I did, I want better for my kids(don’t we all though?). Tools that are kid sized are a great way to introduce them to different parts and teach them at an early age how to use those things. Plus, it’s fun to have tools like Daddy and the choice to help him out when fixing things up. (Josh has not approved this message.)
10. Bank accounts/piggy banks/money.
I know, I know, you’re kind of sick of hearing about how we want our kids to grow up-but it’s the truth. In a world where they can start to destroy their credit before any of them graduate high school, we really want to teach kids to be financially responsible and learn how to save money as well as identify the things they would give their money up for. I promise, they won’t be spending it on candy at the dollar store.
11. Puzzles/Board Games
Another that some people may see as “toys”, but for us, board games and puzzles can be used to spend time together as a family. Plus puzzles and some board games are about problem solving and learning-two very good things!
This is one I am personally all about. Kids want to spend time with the people they look up to. Taking one or two kids out for the day, or just out to a dinner with you alone, will create a safe place and a wonderful bond between you and that child. My older daughter recently went to NYC with my mother and sisters and she loved it because she got to be with them for the day. Those relationships are so important to grow for every child, but they’re especially important for kids who have encountered loss in their lives…like mine. Bring them out to a movie day with you, a spa day, a day of throwing the ball back and fourth. I promise, they won’t be the only ones who get a gift from it.