Choosing Great Gifts for Kids

Remember my birthday party? Mommy put on the invitations that gifts were not necessary, and so I wound up getting a few small items, but nothing crazy – it was really nice.  A couple of my friends brought hand-me-downs, which was pretty awesome because at that point I had NO fall wardrobe at all.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when Mommy went to another no-gift party, and she ended up talking to the other parents about the amount of junk toys that clutter up the house.  Someone suggested a blog post about buying gifts for kids – a guide for the non-parent.

A few weeks after that, Mommy was hanging out with her friend and she mentioned the idea. He lit up immediately.  He indicated that such a guide would be really appreciated as he had many nieces and nephews and was frequently at a loss as to what to get them.

So here we go… a non-parent’s gift guide as we head into the holiday season! I want to make it clear that I am appreciative of ANY gifts – it is so nice to be thought of!  Presents, though, are not created equal, so here are a few guidelines:

 


  • Consider the wish list.  This seems like it might be obvious, but check to see if there is a wish list! I have an Amazon wish list, and so does Lulu, but other kids might have wish lists at Toys R Us, or Wishpot or somewhere else – check with the mommy or daddy.We like Amazon because, in addition to specific products, you can save an idea – so Mommy can indicate what size clothing we’re currently wearing, or add things that aren’t offered online.  Even if you do not purchase an item that’s directly on my list, it’s a good way to see my current interests.  A quick glance will tell you that I love Legos and Cars, so even if you don’t purchase the specific item registered, you can rest assured that I will love anything within those themes.
  • Think about the parents. I am 3.  I don’t have SO much control over our household, even if I like to think I’m the boss.  Therefore, you need to think about what Mommy and Daddy will think of your gift; if Daddy is a rabid Yankees fan, I’m never going to get to wear that adorable Red Sox jersey.  Similarly, if Mommy is a passionate gardener, a mini trowel and some easy-to-plant seeds might be a nice idea.  You know what NO parents want? A living room that looks like the Fischer Price aisle threw up.  If the toy you are considering comes with 5,047 parts, check to see if they are organized in some way, or if they are just going to end up everywhere. For example, this Cars toy set would be preferable to this one, because there is a designated way to put it away.  (But that was just an example because OMG, $80 for a few toy cars? *NO.*)  Also? That music that’s so cute in the store? Might not be so great after it’s been played 693 times; check noisy toys to see if there is a volume button or mute option.  If you can hear a toy from 8 aisles away, it might not be so appreciated by Mommy and Daddy.
  • Think outside the {gift} box. There are very few kids who need more *stuff.* New toys are great, but usually there are only a few favorites that get played with, while the rest end up gathering dust under the couch or getting chewed up by Henry.  Tickets to kid-friendly activities are a GREAT alternative.  Aunt Angela got us passes to Field Station: Dinosaurs for my birthday and it was SO much fun!  Memberships to local children’s museums or zoos can provide hours of fun time – and it’s really nice to be able to go someplace in the winter when we’re frequently cooped up.  In that same vein, tuition to a kiddie gym or music class would be much appreciated.  A gift card to a local family-friendly restaurant provides a nice evening out as well.
  • Give the boring necessities. Lulu is 10 months old – she has as much fun playing with an empty box as she would a toy, so why spend your money on a toy that will just end up as clutter? You know what? Diapers are EXPENSIVE. If that’s just *too* lacking in personality, you can never have too many pajamas or socks! A gift card to a kids clothing store or to Babies R Us can help us stock up on the basics.
  • Ask for help.  Most toy stores or kids websites can point you in the direction  of popular items grouped by age or gender.  You can even check the reviews to see exactly which characteristics of toys are sought after.
  • Give time.  Take me to the movies – or just to lunch! OR offer to watch siblings so the child can get some alone time with Mommy and Daddy.  It’s nice to have attention all to myself every once in a while!
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  1. Pingback: Cole & Lulu’s Holiday Gift Guide, 2013 » Love the Ludwigs

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