Like most children, mine enjoy receiving gifts at their birthdays and Christmas. However, like most parents, we prefer that they be kept to a minimum. A few years ago we changed the way we do gifts at Christmas and started to follow the saying:
I can't remember where I first heard it (I think online in a moms chat forum) and it really stuck out to me. We had spent SO much the year before on gifts that cluttered the house. They were played with for 5 minutes (well, more than that, but you know what I mean) and then discarded and not picked up again until I was ready to donate it.
When it comes to giving gifts to other people's children (whether it be for Christmas or their birthday) I try and keep in mind that they will likely receive many toys, and so we try and aim for something a little different. Sometimes we will gift a chapters card (I don't think you can ever have too many books). Kids love to pick out their own items, so this works well.
However, my go-to gift is movie passes from Costco. They are relatively inexpensive, and it provides admission for the child as well as a snack pack. You can also get adult passes (2 passes, drinks and popcorn) which would make a great gift to give to a family. (In fact, we have received these and the kids passes, with some snacks as a family gift before, and it was VERY lovely)
If you are on the hunt for some "experience" gifts then check out the list below:
- Movie passes like mentioned above
- Tickets to a sporting event
- Tickets to a show (Disney on Ice, Disney Live, Toopy and Binoo, Imagination Movers - anything that is coming to a theater/arena near you)
- Day at a theme park (you could take the family to a local theme park for the day; if it's not close you could make it an overnight visit)
- Passes for indoor mini-golf (or outdoor if weather allows)
- Indoor Paintball
- Annual pass for local museums (this would make a GREAT family gift)
- Passes or membership to an indoor play center
- Take a trip (give up gifts all together and spend that money on a family trip. Doesn't need to be big, but you could spend 2-3 nights visiting a city within driving distance and having fun. CityPasses can be purchased for many tourist cities which will help with the cost of attractions)
The above mentioned ideas probably work best for families. If you have friends/family members that are looking for ideas for your children, there are still many gift ideas that don't involve "stuff"
- Gift certificates for city programs (public swimming, public skating, to be used towards activities like dance, martial arts, cooking classes etc.) In Ottawa, you can purchase gift certificates at any city run facility
- Money for a savings account or RESP
- Money towards an extra curricular activity your child takes part in
- Take them for lunch and a movie
- Spend time with them doing something they love (skiing, skating, sledding) finish the day with a trip to Tim Hortons for Hot Chocolate
- Pottery Painting - spend an afternoon painting a piece of pottery (Christmas ornament, mug, plate, collectible type item) that they get to keep
- Instead of gifting to the child/family, there are programs where you can buy a farm animal for a family in Africa; you could donate money to a charity or to your local children's hospital in their honour; or, you could spend time with the family/child and do some volunteer work (local food bank, shelter etc)
What are some other ideas you can think of?