I am making a pact with myself to keep calm and keep it simple this Christmas season. I really want to focus on the spirit of family and giving, rather than the hype of commercialism. I’m thankful my children don’t watch television; instead of asking for the latest toy, my son has asked Santa for a felting needle and wool (makes my heart swell). I’m putting more effort into the gifts I choose so I know they will be perfect and appreciated; less plastic and gimmicky, and more thoughtful and lasting. And “less” is definitely the key word here. I’m asking friends and relatives to be mindful of my less-is-more mantra as well (and I hope you’re reading this, Gramma).
Focus on your child’s favourite things to help you select gifts. My daughter has always loved all things animal and insect-related, so gifts for her include animal or insect craft projects, subscriptions to National Geographic Kids or Owl Magazine, stuffed animals and bugs, and leopard print anything when it comes to clothing and accessories.
Give them knowledge. Books are one of my favourite gifts to give as they are versatile and there are so many to choose from.
Give them fresh air. Outdoor toys are a great investment, as well as incentive for outside play time in winter months. Snowball and snow block makers let kids create their own snowballs and forts. Sleds and magic carpets provide hours of sliding fun.
Give them a green thumb. Indoor herb gardens and seed-growing kits teach children how things grow and how to care for them. It’s fun to grow something green in the winter months and kids love to watch the progress. They also get excited about eating the herbs they grow.
Give them creativity. There are so many amazing crafty gifts out there, from DIY nightlights and door hangers to journal books and modelling clay. More Time Moms Fridge Calendars or Student Organizers make great gifts too.
Give them entertainment. Gift certificates are great for giving things such activities the family can do together – the movie theatre, the indoor pool or play centre, science museum and more.
Give them treats. What could be better than a freshly-baked gingerbread man in their stocking? Maybe some gummy candies or caramel corn, but it doesn’t really matter, as long as they’re treats they love. You know them best, so pop some goodies in and wait for the toothy grins to appear.
And do give them toys. Cute stuffed animals, handmade doll houses, puzzles, musical instruments and wooden train sets are classic toys children play with time and again. Get them solid toys that will stand the test of time so they may be enjoyed and then passed along to friends or family when outgrown.
By Kristen Wint