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Topic: Gifts For Kids Not Clothes, Toys, Or Candy  (Read 2098 times)
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« on: November 23, 2005 11:31:20 AM »

Hi, every year I'm asked what everyone should get for my boys for Christmas and their birthdays (all are fairly close together.)
Now, we have a HUGE family. They are also all divorced from each other, some remarried. My boys if you count grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, and step grandparents, have a total of 11 Grandmothers and 8 grandfathers, all living, that want to buy them stuff. They all try to "out-do" each other for Christmas also.

Well, my boys are now 9, 6, & 5 years old. We have EVERY toy we could even imagine we want and  honestly they hardly ever play with any of them. I'm giving them away before they are even out of the packaging we have so many.  Plus we get clothes, which I really appreciate, but I'm trying to have an uncluttered life. And we just have tons of clothes ( my oldest son last count has 27 pairs of jeans, that's saying nothing about his other types of pants or even thinking about my younger sons who have hand me downs too.) And my kids think that it's no big deal to wreck something because they have tons of other ones (toys, clothes, etc...) So I need to teach them better values. And, I need less toys & clothes. (I already don't let them have very much candy, so that is something I just didn't want to be suggested.)

So what do I tell people to get them. College  money they do, but they want to give something that they can open and get the "OOOOOOOh" factor from the kids.

I also have 4 nieces, so I would love girl suggestions too.

So far, here is a list of things that I tell them the kids would like.

Character Band Aids
Snacks (like pirate's or veggie booty, etc..)
batteries (for all the crappy toys that the boys love that they always need new batteries for)
Character toothbrushes
Tooth flossers (little bright colored animals that hold floss, the kids love them)
Movies ( we don't have cable or anything, so when my kids do get to watch tv, it's usually a movie)
instant flavored oatmeal (they love the stuff)
Lip chap, lotion, soap crayons, toothpaste, fun soaps, etc...
Markers, paper, crayons, colored pencils, etc...

My nieces I always add a charm for a charm bracelet I gave them for their birthdays.
They always love more earing (all but one has her ears pierced)
All of the stuff listed above

These are some ideas I have. I really could use more suggestions. I'm really not as strict as it seems to sound, but they give my kids so much junk food and toys I have to try to encourage a bit of healthy alternatives right.
I just feel so bad, when my kids don't care about the toys because they've gotten so many and then we get rid of them. It's just such a waste for everyone. We're not a very wealthy family, and I do appreciate what they do for us. I just want it to be simple and appreciated and useful.

any and all suggestions I would really appreciate! Thanks so much! Smiley

« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2005 11:37:19 AM »

I feel your pain...... My Mom always says that we have more toys than a toystore (and takes pictures to show her friends all the toys in the basement) and then goes and buys the kids tons of toys.

Anyway, my suggestion would be magazine subscriptions. My 5-year-old son gets Big Backyard and my 3-year-old daughter gets Wild Baby Animals. They love then. We read them every month then cut them up for collages and stuff.

There are all sorts of different magazines for all age levels. Amazon has quite the selection....

Hope this helps!
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2005 11:48:12 AM »

I feel your pain, we live about three thousand miles away from our families so our families tend to try to compensate with gifts. We appreciate it, our house just isn't that big though. Anyway I like the magazine subscription idea, my oldest gets one from nana every year. I also like craft kits, they get used real quick here. Maybe a gift certificate for something to do, like the movies or a paint your own pottery place, Karate lesson whatever their interests are. I love the adopt an animal programs, through zoos or aquariums. My oldest loves animals, and would love to adopt one. Plus that leaves room for learning about "their" animal. I love gifts like that because even though my kids are small (6 and under) I want them to be aware of the world outside our little house. Hope that helps. Grin

« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2005 01:29:22 PM »

Those are great ideas thanks! We do get Nick Jr. magazine which the younger kids like the pics, but my older one doesn't care for it really. He's a bit more mature than his age I think. I'll have to think of one for him.

My kids love animals so that is a great idea. I wish we had a zoo or museum close by us, I would ask for a membership pass. The closest to us is well over an hour away, and we just wouldn't get there enough right now for it to be worth it.

Please feel free to keep ideas coming!!!!

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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2005 01:36:03 PM »

What about a water park  or amusement park certificate or something like that for a family weekend away. Maybe a gift certificate to a pizza place so they can bring their friends. Craft kits are always fun, and if the kids don't want what the kit is, after they make the stuff it could be gave as a gift to someone else. I think the college money is the best idea. I am a first year college student and I wish more than anything someone would have done that for me. Your relatives could always get them a "cheap" gift and then give money too. A toy or something will give entertainment for a small amount of time. College money is something they will definetely appreciate when they are older and it will stay with them forever. Education is the one thing no one can take away from you.

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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2005 01:41:07 PM »

Stuff to make a scrapbook about themselves with? Doesn't have to be anything fancy - a cheap and robust scrapbook, crayons, coloured paper, stickers, and some photos or prompts to get them started (they can use the crayons to draw pics of what they did once they get going), e.g. first day at school, friends, trips to the zoo... It would be a nice thing for them to look back on too when they're older..
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2005 01:47:39 PM »

Ezri_B:  if your oldest likes to read, "Cricket" is a great magazine to get them started on.  Books are always good- once they are read you can donate them to a local library sale or let the kids share them with friends.  One of my favorite gifts when I was a kid was a tree and a cow.  My great-aunt and uncle named a cow on their farm after me and let me pick out "my" tree on their property.  It was one of those "adopt-a-something" sort of thing!  Savings bonds are boring but are useful!  Do any of your relatives live a plane/bus ride away?  Maybe they could offer up their house and chauffer services to the boys for a long weekend.  I hope some of this might spark an idea!  

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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2005 02:13:01 PM »

Are they interested in music?  They Might Be Giants has released some great kid stuff. . . or maybe they'd like an instrument and some lessons?  There are lots of classes they might enjoy-- martial arts, painting, dance. . . the possibilities are endless.  How about a YMCA membership?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2005 04:11:07 PM »

For magazines, try out KNOW (for little ones) and YES Mag (9+), they're engineering & science magazines for kids and they're great.

If you don't have an aquarium or zoo close enough to warrant a membership, how about a day pass?  Or do you have a science centre nearby, or maybe a museum?

A collection of refrigerator boxes and some duct tape was always a favourite of mine.

Relatives could give something like "A day at the beach with Auntie Marge"

Classes?  A pottery class, a painting class, karate lessons... the possibilities there are endless.

If they play a sport, do they need new cleats or skates?

Computer software?

A tree identification book?
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2005 05:32:02 PM »

I don't know if your local movie cinema does this,  but ours does.  They offer movie money.  You buy a booklet of 5 or 10 Vouchers,  the vouchers can be exchanged for a movie ticket (admit one). There are as good as money.  It does work out cheaper than the price of normal admission.  Some conditions may apply.

This is a good present for both adults and children that like going to the cinema.


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