I love giving gifts. More than receiving them. Hunting for that perfect present can be so rewarding, when you bring a great vision to life and find or create something truly unique. It can also be pressure-filled, when you have no ideas or are looking for the person who needs nothing at all. And today, with so many families looking to accumulate less "stuff" and focus on quality over quantity, where does this leave the gift giver?
My first rule of gift giving: know your audience. The goal is to make the recipient happy, and if that means a Barbie or a Paw Patrol toy, go for it! But if you’re looking for something a little bit different this holiday season, here are some ideas that will help you be that Elf “not off” the shelf, and give personalized and unique alternatives this year that are sure to delight.
Do you have a local silk-screening guy who does all of your custom t-shirt orders? I do. Ok, so I've only used him a handful of times, but I've loved it every time I do. For a truly unique gift, consider making a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing. I've done monogrameed onesies for premie twins (helps to tell them apart!), a shirt for my niece with a photo of her favourite pet cats, and have, on my to do list, a custom T with one of my daughter's original pieces of artwork silkscreened on. To up the ante on family gifts, try matching t-shirts for family members with something meaningful silscreened on top and get in on the matching craze. Not only does this get you a truly unique gift but also allows you to support a local artist.
Themed DIY Kits
I recently went to a birthday party where the parents are simply over "more stuff". In fact, they're usually trying to give toys away each time we come over! With 3 kids in tow, experiences like going to the movies can get expensive, so we decided to do a DIY movie-night kit as a gift. A true win win - no more extra stuff to clutter the house, and a special (and less expensive) experience for the whole family. We packed the kit full with an iTunes gift card for movies, tons of popcorn and snacks, and even toothbrushes for the end of the night (my daughter's idea!).
Need a few more themed-kit ideas? Try a baking kit for a budding chef (cookie cutters, kid-sized rolling pin, cookbook, pre-made cookie dough and sprinkles), or make-your-own slime kit for a little scientist (slime ingredients, food colouring, glitter, and a how to book).
Tickets and experiences
Another great option for the family who doesn’t want to accumulate more stuff are experiences instead of things. Museum passes or tickets to a play, concert or sporting event are great options for something a family can enjoy together.
An annual membership to a gallery or museum makes for a wonderful gift for families. Thanks to the family art gallery membership we got from my sister-in-law a few years ago, my daughter can spot a Chagall a mile away. Talk about a gift with impact!
I love to gift subscriptions - the gift that keeps on giving! What kid doesn’t want to get some mail every month? That’s like Christmas 12 times per year! I still remember reading Chickadee and Owl magazines growing up. Full of educational content and a great alternative to screen time, magazines are great for kids or adults too. And they're a particularly great gift if you need something for someone out of town - so easy to order from a distance.
Music is also a go-to gift in our house. Just like books, music is something that you can't have enough of, in my opinion. It's educational, fun, entertaining, relaxing... music does it all. Whether classic tracks or the newest craze, a Fisher Price record player for babies or the newest iPod for teens, there is something for every age and stage when it comes to music, so you can't go wrong. Some classic Raffi albums are actually one of my favourite gifts for new parents - what parent doesn't at some point need to rely on a soothing lullaby to help their baby to sleep. Raffi tunes are something they didn't know the needed until they see it work its magic!
And finally a gift for you!
Don’t forget My Kindness Advent Calendar as a perfect unique holiday gift! Thanks so much for taking the time to read our post!