Featured Picture Book
Back by popular demand. As promised, instead of featuring a new picture book this month, we are reprinting the collection of holiday gift ideas from our Daily Parenting Tips in November, 2013. We are very aware – and appreciative – that we have many more readers this year. I hope all of you will enjoy seeing these and maybe getting some useful ideas. For those of you who did see some or all of these last year, I’m going to guess that you can’t remember all of them. I know I can’t. So, here they are. Be inspired.
We would be delighted for you to add your own gift ideas – just use the “What Do You Think?” section at the end of the blog. We might be able to include your suggestions in one of our future blogs.
Holiday Gift Ideas
#1 For the budding artist:
- Time at the local make-your-own-clay-sculpture shop.
- An art lesson at the local college of design.
#2 For the budding musician:
- Tickets for the ballet, symphony.
- Tickets for a touring concert.
#3 For the budding performer:
- Tickets to a travelling Broadway show.
- Acting lessons through a children’s theater association.
#4 For the budding athlete:
- Tickets to a favorite team’s game.
- Team clothing (shirt or hat) signed by a favorite player. If the team happens to be a local college team, think who you know that could help you get the signature. Someone you know from work or the neighborhood may know someone at the college who could help. Another way to make the arrangements is to just be at a game and stop and talk with one of the college administrators or sports media representatives.
#5 A “party-in-a-box.” Gather all the things your child will need to host a “for-the-fun-of-it” party – invitations, favors, the supplies for activities, etc. Make sure the supplies are right for your child’s age. Spend time together after the holiday to plan the party. Record the fun with pictures or videos. Next year at holiday time you can bring out the pictures to enjoy this gift all over again.
#6 Plan a “computer meeting” with someone who is away and won’t be home for the holiday. Arrange to Skype or do FaceTime with that person. To make a gift out of the meeting, ask the person to send a note about the meeting that you can wrap up as a gift.
#7 For young children: Picture books from the library wrapped up as a gift. This is only if your child is young enough to not be upset by the fact that it is not a keep-it-forever gift. It will stretch the holiday budget while still providing a gift to open and lots of fun on the holiday and for days after. As you read the books to your child over the next days and weeks you can explain that these books are a gift that keeps on giving because they are borrowed and each time you return them you get to pick out more.
- Sugary breakfast cereal that you always say no to at the store.
- Soda pop that you always say the child is too young for.
- Movie at the movie theatre that you always say you are too tired to do.
#9 A gift wrapped with an outgrown shirt. Make sure the shirt pocket ends up on top of the gift. Hide a small little treasure in the pocket as an extra surprise.
#10 Ask people you know what gift they received as a child that they really loved and still remember. The answers should give you some great ideas. And, you will have the fun of bringing smiles to all the faces of those you ask.
#11 Twin gifts. Give Mom and child or Dad and child both the same gift. The fun of the gift is not just the gift itself but also the fun of doing something together. For example, adults like to play with kid things like Legos, Erector Sets, or Lincoln Logs. Give a set to the child and a more advanced set for Mom or Dad. How about twin coloring books? One with young-child pictures and one with grown-up designs.
#12 Money wrapped in a clever way. For example, take many one-dollar bills, tape them together at the narrow end and stuff the whole group of dollars into an empty square-shaped Kleenex box. Out they will come in a never-ending string.
#13 A lesson for something you think your child would really be good at or has shown he wants to know about. Very young children may not be ready for a lesson, but they could be taken on a field trip where they could see and talk to real adults doing something they are fascinated with. For example, playing a sport, making ice cream, dancing or singing on stage, working at a fire house, etc.
#14 A lot of something. Day-to-day we want to give our children enough without giving too much. But, one of the ways we understand about enough is seeing what more than enough is like. Instead of one candy bar as a treat give one for every week of holiday vacation. Bundle two or three hot wheels into one package or a couple of shirts in different colors, so he can be wowed by having not just one, but two or three of something he really likes. Do this only with one gift. Receiving lots of something once in a while is good, but too much too often leads to always wanting more.
#15 An heirloom – something that is as much about long-time memories as it is about the fun of now. Make a gift that will last for years – something you sew, construct, paint, sculpt, carve, glue together, etc. It can be anything your child will enjoy at the age he is right now. Children don’t need things to be perfect.
#16 Something “opposite. Some boys may like typical girl activities like art, cooking, designing, etc. – even a doll to play with. Likewise, some girls like typical boy activities like cars and trucks, sports, building things, etc. Make sure both parents are OK with this type of “opposite” gift. If not, think about whether the child will be able to have fun with the toy. Or, will someone in the family make fun of the child or stop her from playing with the toy.
#17 Something special the child has been asking for throughout the holiday season – even if it is very simple and doesn’t seem like much of a present. Remember even if it seems odd to you, it means something special to the child.
#18 Something a best friend suggests. If buying for an older child who doesn’t ask (or pester) for things so much anymore, check in with his best friend about what he thinks your child might like. Swear the friend to secrecy. Even if the friend doesn’t live up to the secrecy, your child will be appreciative that you went to such lengths to please him.
#19 Dress up clothes. You can try making them yourself or buying them at a thrift store.
#20 Athletic gear with a favorite athlete or team on it.
#21 A famous brand name item. Wrap up two handmade decks of cards. One deck has brand names on it. The other deck has items available under those brands. Have the child select one card from each deck. Give him an IOU for the brand name item identified by the two cards she selected. For example, a child might pick “Levi” and “shirt” or “Nike” and “sweats.” Just make sure all the items in the item deck are made by all the different brands in the brand deck.
#22 Personalized certificates. You can make them yourself – for special playtimes, trips to the park, a movie, a free pass on a chore, late bedtime or curfew, house party, or a makeover – depending on the age of the child.
Be sure to look for our December 1 post. It will be a collection of holiday traditions. “Tis the season!
Read All About It
GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft
PICK UP YOUR SOCKS, Elizabeth Crary
SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke
Surf the Internet:
- thank you notes for kids
- gifts for kids
- chores for kids
- cooking for kids
- Thanksgiving around the world