Hands up who has started to at least think about Christmas. I have because I’m starting to get both anxious and excited about our first Christmas in Europe. It will be dark, cold and with a bit of luck, we’ll have snow as well.
And one of my many thoughts about Christmas this year involves our extended family and what to tell them about gifts, especially for the kids. I don’t want to come across rude but I also know that we just don’t have space for large gifts in our tiny house. I also don’t want the kids to be disappointed if I tell everyone not to get anything (aside from the fact that they probably wouldn’t follow). So I came up with this list:
The easiest thing I’m telling my family to get for the kids this year is clothing. The kids have both grown a lot and we can use simple things like t-shirts and pyjamas. And my daughter’s biggest wish is a t-shirt with a horse on it. And I think that’s both a useful and creative idea. And I know the kids are going to love it.
I think giving clothing is a good way to give something useful and something the kids will love. I just make sure to let everyone know their current sizes and prefered styles and all gift-givers can have a ball at finding something suitable.
Similar to clothing I’m also thinking about items for daily use. My kids get excited by very little things like Frozen toothpaste, band-aids with their favourite cartoon character, or a pencil sharpener. So I’m suggesting simple items like that. The only criterium is that it has to be useful and represent something of a daily life commodity.
The biggest category will be the one for experiences. My husband and I always give our kids an experience for their birthday. We aim for child-friendly experiences although we don’t always make that. My daughter got a sightseeing tour on a boat for her birthday this year. She wasn’t that thrilled.
Regardless of the actual experience, we want to share something with the kids that doesn’t involve a thing. We want to create memories. And shared experiences, even the failed ones, are something we will remember and talk about.
In a similar vein fall experiences solely for the kids. My kids aren’t old enough yet but in a few years, we will (probably) give them tickets to a concert or a similarly special event. I think these kinds of gifts make the most lasting memories, much more than even clothing and items for daily use.
This category aims to combine any present with already existing toys. In my kids’ case, it will have to be Lego. They already have a box they enjoy playing with. So adding on will be both easy and useful.
The reason why I try to stick with gifts of the same kind is that I want to offer my kids focus rather than variety. I’m not a big fan of having a magnitude of different kinds of toys in the house. We have some basics like the Lego set and I want to stick to it. Plus, Lego is super creative and can pretty much replace any other toy.
One aspect of connecting toys I’m considering this year is to allow new toys that open up a new kind of play. My daughter is very strong with her imaginary play at the moment and I think that figurines might be an option for her. But I’m not sure yet if I really want to go down that road because we’ve had this in past and ended up with toys that they didn’t really play with.
Educational games and books
The last kind of present I will suggest are educational games. My kids both really like puzzles and my son is eager to learn how to read and write. And for that, there are great resources available. Although we already have a good supply of games, puzzles, and books, I don’t think we will ever have enough.
Although this list might sound long, I really don’t want the kids to get too many presents either. Luckily they don’t have a long list of wishes for Christmas and I want to leave it that way. I don’t want to bury them in presents. It will be a lot to take in this year anyway: our first Christmas in Europe with a long journey, a real Christmas tree and with a bit of luck some snow.
Happy Christmas preparations everyone!