It's that time of year again. Grandparents are asking for gift ideas. Stocking stuffers are popping up. And Mom and Dad are searching for items that won't break before Christmas morning is over. So while we're all scouring the mall and online, don't overlook those Non-Toy Gifts that will last, reduce clutter, and build memories. How's that for getting the most for your buck?
1. Gift Certificate for activities, classes, lessons, etc.-- My kids are very active. There's rarely a moment when we're still. GCs for activities and lessons will help your kids try out a new skill, engage in a new activity, and help build a new "muscle" in their life.
2. Gear for activities, classes, lessons, etc.-- And with all those activities comes a lot of equipment. Dance shoes, baseball mitts, and art supplies can add up quickly. Why not gift your kids with some new gear for a hobby they love?
3. Movie tickets-- Kids love going to the movies. That too can add up quickly. But a gift certificate for a special matinee together (complete with popcorn) makes for a lasting memory for the same price as a plastic trinket.
4. Special outing with grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc-- Maybe Grandma and Grandpa want to get your kids something, but aren't sure what? How about an afternoon of doing whatever the child wants? Ice cream, sledding, or a trip to the bookstore are all great ideas for spending time together and treating a child at Christmas
5. Family membership to a local zoo, museum-- These have beens some of our favorite gifts. We used to have a membership to the local museum that our grandparents would renew every year. It was a gift that we used multiple times a year and contributed to our kids schooling.
6. Science kits-- Science kits can be a lot of fun. Whether growing crystals or erupting a volcano, they're a great way to get some hands-on experience and learn something new.
7. Baking kits-- All of my kids have loved being in the kitchen with us from a very young age. And I love having them with me. But that doesn't alway translate into me having time to cook from scratch. Having a few pre-made items to work on together gives us a chance to create and not stress about time.
8. Craft kits-- I'm raising a crafter and this is at the top of her list. She loves all the beading and crocheting and crafting she can get her hands on. And if you're not into traditional crafts, there's all kinds of crazy kits out there, including how to make bouncy balls.
9. Educational items-- As a homeschool family, I'm always looking for gifts that do double duty. Science kits are a great idea. Spelling games, math games, circuit kits, playdoh kits, headphones, ... all these are great ideas for giving a gift with the homeschool family in mind.
10. Something they need-- Most of the time, my kids don't NEED anything. But occasionally they need a new coat or a new pair of shoes. To make it extra special, I might seek out the light up shoes or the coat with the favorite character.
11. Contributions to a savings account (bonds and investments too)-- This is a great one for family that's far away. Contributing to a savings account would be a great long term investment for families thinking about college or saving for a first home.
12. Big ticket items-- Sometimes pooling money for a big ticket item is a great idea for a family with multiple children. Most Moms and Dads would love to receive that trampoline or bike rack that the kids can use together and be something that the family would normally splurge on.
13. Family Trip-- If you're kids are older, it can be a lot of fun to plan a big family trip for after the holidays. Sneak one or two gifts under the tree and save the rest for going to the beach or the mountains. It's a great way to bless your family with a new experience and create lots of new memories.
What are some of your favorite Non-Toy Gift Ideas?