It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Nothing beats watching the excitement build in children as they dream about what is wrapped under the tree. While giving toys and gadgets can be fun, in a few years it will lose its value. I challenge you to consider some non-toy items this year.
Give tickets for something fun. This can be to a movie premiere, concert, play or event to go bowling! You will be spending time together, creating cherished memories last longer than most toys.
Give the gift of reading. When you give a monthly book or magazine subscription to your child, you are also giving them the joy of reading. This will help with language development, cognitive, early education and literacy skills. Consider giving a subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine, Chirp or Highlights.
Give the gift of education. Is there a hobby or skill your child has always wanted to learn? Ideas include a music, dance, horseback riding or karate lessons. However, make sure they are scheduled before you give them as a gift.
Give cooking utensils. As silly as this sounds, giving kids a starter set of cooking utensils and bowls is a great idea. It helps them learn critical skills needed as they grow and allows them to be a helper in the kitchen. Include a stack of recipe cards and recipe box so your child can store their favorite recipes. Pair that with online kids cooking lessons and you will have a chef in no time!
Give a watch. Not only does having a watch help a child develop a sense of time and how quickly a certain period of time passes, but it gives a sense of independence. Knowing when an event will happen or knowing that they have 15 minutes to complete an activity and it’s their responsibility to finish in time can be very encouraging.
Give a sleeping bag. Its purpose is multi-functional. A sleeping bag is used for trips to the grandparent’s house, camping trips, building forts and can be a fun place to read.
Give homemade coupon books. What could feel more grown-up than getting to choose when you’ll have game night, what you’ll have for dinner or getting to stay up late? Make a book of coupons the child can spend any time through the year with items like, “A trip to the local candy shop with just Mom,” “A trip to the park with Dad,” “Stay up one hour past bedtime,” “Impromptu Movie Night! You choose the movie” or “Redeem this coupon for a double scoop of ice cream after any meal of your choosing.”
Give the classics. Board games and puzzles don’t have to go extinct! They both offer great family time to work together, to have some fun and laugh a little. Time with one another is something we can’t get enough of.
Gift giving does not have to be difficult or based on the most expensive gadgets. The real value in gift giving comes with learning opportunities and shared memories that last a lifetime, not a few months or years. It’s been said that the true gift is who is around your tree and not what’s underneath it.