Giving gifts to toddlers can be tricky. There’s a fine line between things they will actually use and things that will be a dud. Most families have an overabundance of toys, which makes things even harder. As a parent, I want to give my child what she wants for Christmas but I don’t want to go overboard and end up with a zillion things she doesn’t play with. Now that we’re embracing this lifestyle of “just enough” we want to stick with some principles for minimalist gifting.
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My husband and I are definitely struggling to stick to our guns with this “less is more” thing when it comes to Christmas. Don’t get me wrong – we’re not into giving our toddler everything she wants. We just have a problem when it comes to finding things that are educational. We’ve already gotten a sticker book, a game, and a book.
I think the saying, “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” is a good standard to go by.
Something she wants: Barbie
The top of my daughter’s list is a Barbie doll. She inherited all my old Barbie dolls and is now all about getting the purple Quinceanera Barbie doll she keeps seeing at Target (um, no). My husband did find this Barbie Careers Eye Doctor Playset which is completely appropriate since he is an eye doctor.
Something she needs: Tricycle
We want our daughter to stay active. We have lots of items for indoor activities such as this Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline, this 6-ft Play Tunnel, this Little Tikes Slide, and a Play Mat Foam Floor Gym. Our playroom has literally become a gymnastics course.
Since she’s getting older we decided this is the year she gets her first tricycle. It will help us get outside and get her using up all that toddler energy we know so well.
Something to wear: Pajamas
Practicality says to gift some warm pajamas to my toddler. When she spotted a Little Mermaid Nightgown at the mall, I had to get it for her. She likes to layer nightgowns over her Carter’s pajamas. That’s completely fine with me since I worry about her getting cold at night. I can’t put her in the zip up fleece PJs now that we’re potty trained.
Something to read: My First Little House Books
I am so happy J loves the Little House Books. They were my favorite growing up. I think children love the simplicity portrayed in these books. We have borrowed several books in this series from the library but I certainly don’t mind owning a couple. I love Christmas in the Big Woods, with the simplicity of Christmas gifts and the joy expressed in receiving those few things.
Stocking Stuffers for the Minimalist Toddler
There’s a lot of hub-bub about filling a stocking with really amazing things. Growing up, our stockings were always filled with candy and toothbrushes (counter-intuitive, I know). I’m going to use Christmas in the Big Woods as an example for what to add to my daughter’s stocking.
In the book, each child receives a stick of peppermint candy, red mittens, and some toy they wanted (Laura receives a doll). Here are some ideas for stocking stuffers:
- Candy (or fruit snacks like these Gerber Organic Yogurt Melts my toddler is obsessed with)
- Mittens and hats
- Flash cards (we use Alphabet Flash Cards, First Words Flash Cards, Colors and Shapes Flash Cards, and Numbers Flash Cards. These Phonics Flash Cards are at the top of the list right now.)
- Gift certificates/cards
- Experience passes (theme parks, zoo, etc)
Do you do all your Christmas shopping online to avoid the crowds? I avoid the mall at all costs this time of year so I do most of my shopping online. I just signed up for Ebates last week, and I’m bummed I didn’t join in sooner. If I can get money back on thing I’m already shopping for, why not? It makes sense.
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What are you giving your kids for Christmas? Are you trying to minimize the stuff that comes into your home this season?