A Guide to Great Christmas Gifts for Young Kids

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Published Nov 23, 2015

It’s that time of year again. I think there are now 30 seconds in a minute, how are we in November already? Yes gift giving and receiving season is looming and we are all on a mission to buy more “stuff” for our overstimulated kids. Here are some suggestions to help you on your plight.

Some helpful starting pointers

  • Think of the benefits before you buy - will the product be used and loved or tossed aside as soon as the wrapping paper falls to the floor? 

  • Consider your child’s age and in particular their interests, Laura-Leigh (6) goes nowhere without paper and a pencil.  That’s her thing.  Jamie (4) would spend every waking minute doing puzzles and looking at books (and tossing them in a heap by his feet) and Ryan (2) actually plays and uses his imagination, he is content once two batman figurines are in his hand.  If he is wearing his Oilers hat and holding his hockey stick, he simply needs nothing else. 

  • You don’t need to spend a fortune.  My kids got very little until their 3rd Christmas and even at that they didn’t get a lot. When they were very small, their list was simple – a lollipop and chocolate.  That is all they asked for and I listened. I am a conscious shopper and I am very aware of all the things they already have. Remember in the early years they don’t understand Christmas.  You don’t need to buy into Consumerism just yet.  I think when they approach four they “expect” something under the tree. I have lots of childhood memories of loving everything I got because I was from a family of six kids and what we got we appreciated.  I have three kids and this is what I’ve learnt over the past few years.  Have a plan, have a budget and stick within it.  I am organised and I have picked things up bargains throughout the year.

  • If you have more than one child why not consider one large combined present in addition to their own presents.  This has worked well for us.  This year I picked up a soccer table and Air hockey table second-hand and in perfect condition for just under $100.  Shhhhhh it’s a secret!  I think it’s going to be a big hit. Last year we got them a puppet Theatre with a bunch of various puppets, they enjoy doing shows and letting their imagination go wild.

  • Charity.  There is a beautiful commercial from the UK Retail Giant John Lewis which has a powerful and tear jerking message.  Not everybody is surrounded by family and friends at Christmas, in particular, there is a staggering percentage of old people whom are alone at Christmas.  Also we live in a wealthy society in comparison to many other countries where kids get nothing.  You could get your kids involved and do “Operation Christmas Child” or alternatively if you have an elderly person living near you, perhaps get your kids to make a card and buy a small gift and hand deliver.  What a powerful action that would be?

  • I recently saw an idea on a locals Mom’s group which I’d like to share, when purchasing gifts why not follow the following rules – buy an item they WANT, one they NEED, one they can WEAR and one they can READ.  I love this idea. 

  • Shop wisely.  Seek out deals.  Look for money off coupons.  Buy second hand, you can buy things which are practically brand new for half the price – why wouldn’t you?

  • Introduce something that you had as a kid which you loved which is still available, case in point for me is the glorious Monchchi.  I loved my Monchichi Family and they are available in Chapters.  Guess what Ms. Laura-Leigh is getting from Mommy and Daddy this year?  Perhaps it will capture her imagination more knowing that I loved mine so much as a kid!


Gift Ideas for Little ladies up to age 6 years (that’s where I am at!!!)

Speaking from experience you can’t go wrong with a little kitchen for her ladyship (or little guys).  You get to play too and she will make you endless beverages.  I think the majority of little girls wouldn’t say no to a Dolls house.  In my case my youngest son plays more with my daughter’s house but she wouldn’t part with it for the world.  Costco stocks beautiful houses annually at a good price.  My sister and I had toy boxes as kids which we loved.  They stored toys and doubled up as a seat.  Last year when I saw that Costco online sold personalized Toy boxes I brought my childhood memory to our home.  Laura-Leigh stores her dress up outfits in it and often perches herself on it.  They are available again this year. If they love to draw, why not pick them up on Art Easel?

Lego was a hit in my generation and every generation thereafter.  It’s a great way for your kid to learn how to follow instructions, get to spend time with Mommy and Daddy and have their own creation at the end.  When I was a kid, I built from my imagination (as I had one box) so I think we should encourage our kids to think outside the Lego box so to speak.

Is your child creative? The possibilities are endless and Mastermind has a great selection of projects.  The world is their oyster.  She can make wind chimes, a snow-globe, bangles, bracelets, mittens or headbands.  Consider what your child would enjoy doing and viola you have a project on those days you just want to stay indoors.

A book - I’ve not met a kid who doesn’t enjoy a book, not only do you transport them to another world but they get to snuggle up with you in the process.  I picked up the “Little match girl” last year and my kids love it, it breaks my heart but the message is powerful and I want my kids to understand how lucky they are to have a roof over their head, food in their bellies and a loving family.  Another recommended read would be A Christmas Carol.

Laura-Leigh got a little live pet for her birthday in September which has been a huge hit in our house.  Christmas anyone?  She can record whatever she wants and the bird repeats in a high pitched voice.  Oh the things that bird has said!!

Shopkins are all the rage, you can’t escape them, so maybe use them as a stocking stuffer?

Christmas is a good time of year to get a new pair of Jammies and some underwear.  It’s a present that can be opened on Christmas Eve before the big guy comes.  Practically perfect.


Gift Ideas for Little Men up to age 4 years (that’s my knowledge cut off)

Boys like girls love Lego.  Additionally look at Squigz, Little Tikes Wee waffle Blocks and Fisherprice Trio – my boys love all of these products.  You might even drink a hot coffee!

Vehicles - Cars period will always be a hit with little guys.  If you can get one with a remote even better.  My basement is home to cars, trucks, tractors, diggers and a yellow school bus.  Boys love to sit down with anything with four wheels.  Costco does a great range for Christmas as does Winners/Homesense.

A puzzle should be a winner. You can buy wooden ones for the smaller kids.  If they are commencing independently doing puzzles then choose their favourite TV character and I promise it will be a hit.  I got my puzzle fanatic a large wooden Map of Canada last year which he loved and guess what he is good at Canadian Geography!  You can learn something from them too.  Jamie’s Grandma then sent a Wooden Puzzle of the Map of Ireland, lest he forget his wonderful roots.  Floor puzzles are a big hit in our house and again follow their interests, in this house….it is Dinosaurs! Roar!!

I found a fabulous book entitled “The ultimate Construction site book” in Chapters recently.  The minute I saw the cover I knew it was perfect and when I opened it, well let’s just say it’s delightful.

If you little man likes texture I suggest Sands Alive.  Be prepared for a bit of mess.

A Train Table/Work Station/Pirate Cove/Hometown Heroes Play set - Take your pick, whatever your little guy’s interest – this one will be a winner and could be from the red fella.  They are all at the perfect height for little men, the workbench provides them with lots of tools to play with, a little light to turn on and off…………..and on and off…..and on and off…..a little powered drill.  Hours of entertainment. The Pirate Cove and Hometown Heroes Playset are beautifully built and lots of figurines and furniture is provided.  I got the Pirate Cove from Costco last year and the Heroes Playset is available this year.  My guys love their train table.  They also love pulling it apart but I have learnt that this is what kids do, they are naturally destructive, and it’s in the genes.  Apparently mess is very in vogue (in my house anyway). 

How about ice skates and a helmet?  We are coming into the time of year where we spend a lot more time indoors.  A lot of the recreational centres in Edmonton and surrounds offer free skating once a week.  What a great way to spend time with your child and remember that is priceless and is worth more than anything to them.

Is your kid into music?  Nurture it if it’s there or help create an interest if it’s not.  So many options from a simple musical box set to a little set of drums or a grand piano.  If you don’t like excess noise, this one mightn’t be for you.


Conclusion

Remember, shop wisely and they want less than you think.  They will treasure the toy which you sat down and helped build more than if you gave them ten toys but didn’t get involved.  They will love the book you read to them before you kissed them goodnight.  You are their biggest gift.  Some of the happiest people in the world are the ones who don’t have much.  It’s clichéd but so what, give them experiences and more importantly give them you.  Put the Cellphone down and listen to them, they are hilarious.  Honestly, kids crack me up.  They are a gift to us and we in turn are a gift to them.  You don’t need to express your love through excess. 

Remember, never a dull moment in this house and keep sane.

 

Happy Christmas

 

Love the Rigney Gang.

 

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Lisa Rigney

Written by Lisa Rigney



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