Well, Christmas is less than two months away and we have started to get serious about Christmas gifts, for the kids in particular. While we do plan to get the kids gifts that involve experiences, we’re also going to give them a gift on Christmas eve. But with that came the question of what to give them. I asked my kids but they don’t have a clear concept of what Christmas is all about and that you can ask for new toys. A part of me doesn’t want to break that spirit so I sat down with my husband. And while we have figured out what exactly we will get them I want to use the opportunity here to talk a bit about our selection process.
One present per child
Since we’ll be spending Christmas with our extended family this year I want to keep our number of gifts to the kids limited to one each. And I think that’s plenty.
The reason we’re going with few gifts is space. I already told the kids that whatever they get for Christmas they will have to make room for it in their space. We still only live on 40m² and we just don’t have the space to have many toys. There will be a day post-Christmas where we pack a box with toys the kids don’t want anymore and/or are replacing with a new one. And that box will be donated to charity.
I also want the kids to focus on one toy at a time. I often read how difficult it is for kids to have too many toys and ultimately too many choices. My kids already are pretty good at playing consistently with one toy for a long time and I want to keep it that way.
With the one-present rule also came a budget. We decided to aim to stay at below 50 Euros per kid (or 100 for both). This limit just made sense for us and our present financial situation. Plus it limits us in how many gifts we can get.
Quality over quantity
The reason our budget is a challenge is that we are looking to get good quality presents. We have had birthday presents which didn’t even make it to the next birthday because they broke. Both, the kids and me, were sad about that. So, in order to keep the Christmas spirit alive for longer, we aim for quality.
What I mean with quality is a combination of things: wood over plastics, solid construction over quick fixes, and (if possible) spare parts or add-ons in case something gets lost or breaks.
Just to give you an example: remote controlled cars. As you can imagine, there is a HUGE range of cars available. I can even go to the store right now and find something cheap and quick. However, I also know that in those cars, quality triumphs. There is nothing worse than one tiny part breaking which makes the whole toy stop working. Also, the more complex the car is, the more can break on it. So, we’re looking at something slightly more expensive from a well-respected brand which hopefully means that the car would last longer.
The last aspect we consider when shopping for the kids’ Christmas presents is that the toys need to be versatile. We want both of our kids to play with them, preferably together. We want the toy to be open-ended with regards to what they can play with it. They both enjoy imaginative play at the moment so we want the toys to fit into that play.
We also want toys which can be used inside and outside. We spend a lot of time outside the house so we want the toys to last outside as well. They can’t be too small or be lost easily in the grass outside. And they need to be moved easily.
Well, Christmas is still a few weeks away so enough time to prepare for it. Whether or not our choice of toys at the moment is right for our kids, I hope my criteria can give you some ideas to contemplate when gifting to your loved ones. And if you’re planning to shop online, why not consider an ethical online retailer (a.k.a an alternative to Amazon) this year.