With Christmas coming up fast, now seems to be the perfect time to address something that most parents think about every year. Think about what gifts your children received last year for Christmas or their birthday. Now try and find every single one of those items in your house. If it’s hard to find them or if you realise they’ve been given away in one of the toy culls this year, then it might be time to consider the term “meaningful gift-giving”.
Weather you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend; meaningful gift-giving can be a lifesaver! Most plastic toy presents end up in landfill or don’t last the year with them getting broken or given away because they don’t get played with anymore. Not to mention the fact that when children become adults, they don’t remember the plastic toy that great Aunt Sally got for them when they were 4. There are a few other options you can consider this year when buying Christmas presents.
One of my favourite options for gift giving are ‘memory creating’ ones. These are the things a child will remember when they’re older and things that strengthen a bond, build a relationship and create life experiences. Some of these things may include:
- Movie vouchers
- Theme park tickets
- Trip to the zoo
- Going out for lunch together
- Getting your nails done together
- Paying for an extracurricular activity for them (sport, dancing, art classes)
- Going to a cooking class together
- Trip to the beach
- Go-kart vouchers
- Cable park tickets
- And much, much more!
Giving Your Time
It doesn’t matter what relationship you have with the child, all children crave a bond. Whether it be a bond with their parents, their cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents etc. A child knows love when they see love. A child needs to see your effort to feel the love you have for them because, in the early years, love is just a word to them. It is a families job to create a meaning for the word and build that foundation that will carry them through life. Some things to help you do this could be:
- Coming over for a play date. Not just coming to see them but getting down and playing with them, drawing with them, having fun with them.
- Baking and cooking together
- Teaching them one of your skills (guitar, singing, horse riding, juggling etc)
- Teaching them how to drive or how to change a tyre
- Take them with you to volunteer at an aged home or animal shelter
- Take an interest in what they love to do
The list of options is endless. As long as you’re spending time with them and are present, interested and interacting, then you really are “giving your time”.
There will be times when you need to give an actual item as a gift, and that’s okay! First, you need to consider the child’s age and what they like to do. A few simple tips like the ones below will help you choose a gift that won’t just be used for a week and then forgotten about or broken.
- Try to avoid plastic where possible as plastic toys break easily
- Choose wooden toys because they will last for years and years and may eventually be passed down to future children
- Buy a gift that can keep being reused. Things you can keep adding to for years to come
- Books are a great idea!
- Ask their parents what they need or if there are any gifts that the parents couldn’t get them that they wanted. You could ask family members to put in for this big gift if it’s something the child really wants
If all else fails…
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read” by now. What we like to do is break that up a little and add to it. You’re more than welcome to use our guide below or add to it and remove things as needed. We like to balance things out without spending too much or spending our money on unnecessary things.
Something they want
- 1 gift that will get them outside and moving
- 1 toy for inside
Something they need
- This could be bedding, toothbrush, new togs, undies, alarm clock etc
Something to wear
- This could be a New outfit, summer PJ’s, a new hat, shoes, earnings etc
Something to read
- Books, magazines etc
Something to remember
This is where we have added in our own section. We choose from the above options of creating memories and giving your time. To us, this is the most important part of the saying and could also be wound in with the “something they need” category.
Obviously, this saying may only relate to the child’s parents or grandparents because aunts, uncles and friends may have their own children to gift for and it can work out pricey for some. If you’re not able to go by the saying above then a good rule of thumb would be:
- Get the child something to remember above anything
- If you can’t, or you have some money left in that child’s budget then opt for durable, long-lasting toys, clothing and books
For some, Christmas can be an awful time where they go into debt to get the best presents and family can tend to compete for the biggest smile from the children. Christmas doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be this way at all. Christmas shouldn’t be all about the presents in the first place. However, if you really consider the term “meaningful gift-giving” then we promise; you’ll be happier, your wallet will be happier, children will be happier and parents will be happier. So here’s to a stress-free Christmas this year!
Check out some of our previous Christmas related blogs below!