Are you wondering what to get the kids for Christmas, but you realize that they don't need anything? And while the thought of more stuff makes you want to cry, the idea of awkwardly asking your family to NOT give presents makes your palms sweat?
Here are five Christmas gifts that won't annoy Mom (and will still allow the giver to give something):
#1: BOUNCE HOUSE This was the BIG gift from my parents in 2015, and it's one of my boys' favorites. But you say, "That takes up so much room!" Our's is 10' x 7' x 5', and it fits in our small playroom.
Hear me out: what bothers me is all the little pieces that clutter my floor and fall between my couch cushions. A bounce house inflates and deflates in less than a minute. When folded up, it takes up very little space. If you're a city-dweller, I would highly recommend it for those bitterly cold winter days when the whole family has cabin fever, but no one wants to leave the cabin. AGES: 2-9 PRICE: $170
#2: PHOTO GIFT I love me some Shutterfly. There are excellent sites out there with so many gift choices. In addition to books, they do puzzles, memory games, etc. My kids get a kick out of seeing themselves on a puzzle or in a game, and I often see them curling up on the couch, leafing through a book of summer adventures or a family trip. AGES: All PRICE: $10 and up
#3: ROOM TRANSFORMATION Two years ago, my mom and I transformed my four year old's room from basic yellow walls to full blown Star Wars. My budget was $200, and my mom gifted us not only the paint, but the labor (thanks, Grandma!) What I like about the room transformation idea is that it can be on a small or large scale. What it may require, more than money, is the time to plan and implement the changes.
How cute would it be if an older sibling helped with a younger one's bedroom? Or if an aunt or uncle, who was strapped for cash, was handy/artistic and could spruce up a playroom with a few small projects? (*To keep the Star Wars room a secret, my son slept in our spare bedroom, and we told him that there would be a surprise on Christmas morning. ) AGES: All PRICE: $50 and up
#4: NON-TOY ITEM W/FAVORITE CHARACTER If your kids are normal weirdos like mine, then they're obsessed with a favorite character. Currently, in our house, it's the Minions from the "Despicable Me" movies. I need more toys like I need a hole in my head, so I ordered the following Minions items: underwear, socks, hoodies, and backpacks. Items they need? Check. Clothes that they won't complain about? Check. Clutter-free for Mom? Check. AGES: 2-10 PRICE: $10 and up
#5: EXPERIENCE GIFT These are where it's at! I'm biased, because my love language is quality time, so it doesn't get any better for me than sharing an experience with someone. Some of us parents worry that our kids won't "get it," opening something as small and lackluster as a gift card.
But let me tell you: after frequenting our local bagel shop every week for the past three years, our boys can recognize the Einstein's logo from a mile away. The biggest challenge about receiving that gift card last Christmas morning was repeatedly explaining to my then-two-year-old why we couldn't go to the bagel shop right now.
In a typical year, our experience gifts consist of a children's play ($15), sports or music lessons gifted by Grandma and Grandpa ($200), and some sort of travel. This year, we're spending a night in a hotel in the city ($148). We're also taking a big family trip to Hawaii next September, so I'll wrap up a few items to represent that trip: "Moana" DVD, goggles, snorkel, etc. AGES: All PRICE: $10 and up
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