Christmas present tips (and what NOT to buy this Christmas)

AT Christmas we’re buying gifts for lots of people and I thought I might put together a quick guide that explained what Christmas presents NOT to buy this Christmas, as well as some suggestions for what would be a good Christmas gift for kids you haven’t seen for a while.  I thought of this post when I was asked for help buying presents for my own kids from a relative and the first thing that popped into my head were the things I *did NOT* want coming into my family home.

Let’s face it, we all need some help buying Christmas presents and when you’re buying Christmas gifts for people you haven’t seen for a while, such as nieces and nephews in far off locations, it can be particularly challenging. I hope my Christmas present tips and tricks helps you out a little bit (or, at the very least, makes you smile!).

Please do NOT buy these Christmas presents:

– Anything that takes six D batteries. It costs a fortune to put batteries into whatever it is that you’re buying my kid, so please, forget it. A gift that costs me money all year round is not really a gift. It’s a financial burden. Unless I own a battery factory. Or shares in Energizer. I don’t have either of those.

– Noisy toys: A drum kit for my burgeoning rock star sons will not please me and no matter how awesome you think it is that they love you forever, ask yourself how great that love is when you end up being the one storing the drums at your house and my sons visit you over there to play them three times a week. Or more.

–  Sugar: Do NOT give my kids sugar. When I had my head turned, on the last day of school, 7346 children gave my kids Christmas cards with a candy cane in it. Like clever little crack addicts, my kids have cunningly hidden these candy canes all over the house so I can’t deprive them of their sugar high. Next year I will get ahead of the candy cane phenomenon, but for now, kids 1 mum 0.

– Surfboards (or anything that requires my family to drive for half a day to get somewhere where the gift can be used). I love the idea of a surfing family and I have *always* ALWAYS wanted to learn to surf. But there’s a reason we are not three grommets and a cool surfie chick mum and that reason is Brisbane. There are no surfing beaches in Wavell Heights.

Please consider these Christmas gift ideas:

So I’ve been pretty clear about the gifts I don’t want in my house, or that most parents probably don’t want in their house. Thought it was only fair to offer some gift suggestions that helped with the present-buying dilemma. I generally operate by the rule of thumb – something they can wear, something they need, something they can read, and something they want. However, it’s difficult in these times of spread out and fractured families, to know what another family’s children need, or want.  So here are my Christmas present tips that will make you popular with parents and kids on Christmas day.

– Books are always good (for boys and girls). Check out this list put together by Scholastic of the 100 Best Books for Children.

– Clothes are always good, if a little boring. Top Parenting Tip: As a general rule, buy a size up from their age. The clothes will either fit, (whew!) or will have room to grow into them (always good).

– Toys with even a shred of educational value are always good. If you have time, check out Edsco, the educational resource used by teachers that has tons and tons of educational stuff that parents can buy for their kids. Failing that, try readily available toys such as Lego, Scrabble, Connect Four, Uno, SkipBo, (or any deck of cards, really) and most board games. Games with dice teach numeracy skills, strategic thinking, and also provide great opportunities to teach resilience. Yahtzee is one of my favourite family games and is great for maths skills and strategic thinking. Chess is another good one that suits all ages. At our school we have a chess club and kids as young as five join. Who’s Who/Guess Who is another great one, along with Cluedo for older kids, to teach deductive reasoning and the process of elimination.

– Puzzles are a good idea for kids who prefer their own company

– CDs and DVDs are good – talking books, music CDs and movies are always popular.

Would love to hear other recommendations that are good ideas for kids at Christmas time! And do you open presents on Christmas day or on Christmas eve?

2 thoughts on “Christmas present tips (and what NOT to buy this Christmas)”

  1. I am loving the retro packaged games that Kmart have brought out this year. Elastics, marbles etc. A game that kids love and parents get to reminisce about is surely a great family connector.

  2. Any toy that has that annoying voice – you know the one, “It’s learning time!” or something similar. My boys love anything that adds to a collection of stuff they already have, like wooden Thomas trains or Lego or books. This year, it’s all about super heroes, so dress ups are also great.
    I agree with the sugar, it seems so hard to avoid! At Easter, instead of getting chocolate from my parents (their Nanna and Poppy) my boys get a new pair of winter pyjamas. They love it!
    At our place, it’s Santa presents first thing in the morning and presents under the tree after breakfast. Merry Christmas Felicity!

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