I can’t be the only mom who sometimes regrets what she bought her kids for Christmas. Either it was the “cool” thing that year that my kids just didn’t seem to care for or it’s an item that causes more bickering every time it is used. Been there? It’s silly to wish you didn’t buy something. The money is spent and unless you can return it, it is in the past. You meant well and it’s ok that something wasn’t a hit. It’s silly to regret but it is human nature to feel that way for many of us. I sure have. I also have had years where I buy way too much. Roughly half way through opening gifts, I realize my kids are now just robots and what I got is totally lost on them… they just want more gifts. Sigh.
Want Need Wear Read
I am working hard to streamline the year. I did so last year but I still felt like it was too much. At 6, 3.5 & 1.5, they each have a very specific developmental need right now so I hope to get timeless things they will love and we can pass along as time goes on. If you saw my previous Holiday Gifts for the Intentional Mom post, I talked a little bit about the Want/Need/Wear/Read approach to gift giving. If you haven’t read that post, I highly recommend it! It’s the single most viewed post on SimplyOnEden to date! Check it out here.
Today, I want to talk a little about gifts you won’t regret buying. This list is a guideline to help inspire some meaningful and developmentally relevant list making for you. I have experience with each of these items and have loved each and every one. I was NOT compensated by these companies to review these item, these are my words, thoughts and (as always) honest opinions.
I’ve organized 2 options.. above in the following order: something they may want, something they may need, something for them to wear and something for them to read. Such a catchy little limerick.
When it comes to want, this is a great way to pick out the item they say they want. This is the thing you know will make the light up upon unwrapping the gift with a look of, “I WANTED THIS!”
Here we have a Seedling Farmer’s Market Playtime Kit • $25 which is a favorite around here. These kits are a gift that keep on giving as they all foursome crafting upfront and then you have something they can actually use. There are dress-up pice kits, science forward kits etc. Basically, you can get one for just about any favorite interest. If you haven’t checked out Seeding, do!
Lego’s seem to be a popular choice for my two older ones and all of their friends. This time of year you can find great sets on sale all over… buy one you know they will love and know that you are giving your little one something they can make again and again if stored appropriately. We use a 2 gallon ziplock and put the finished product and instructions in to use again and again. This Lego Batman is on our 6 years old’s wish list and this price is tough to beat! Infant Boy’s Lego The Lego Batman Movie: Scarecrow(TM) Fearful Face-Off Set – 70913 • Lego • $14.99
When it comes to need, I tend to lean towards developmental needs. This could be a gross motor item for busy toddlers or an educational toy to encourage their curiosity in a subject.
The Smart Snacks Alpha Pops by Learning Resources • Learning Resources • $23.39 are one of the greatest ‘academic toys’ on the market. They help with letter recognition, color identification, fine motor skills and also allow for imaginative play. We have had more popsicle stands than you can count with these things. For under $25, you can’t beat a toy that does ALL OF THAT.
Additionally, I have Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 37 Piece Set • $59.99. I don’t know a kid who doesn’t love these. I am sure there are some who don’t, but these are a fan favorite for all ages around here. I have seen a few different brands that are all similar and equally as fun although these have been a perfect fit for us as they seem to withstand even the hardest throws across the room and stomps from children.
Magna-Tiles are the only toy that seems to work from my 1, 3 & 6-year-old to play with together without (much) bickering.
I am a big believer in blocks and all the open needed play it allows. Our kids build castles, obstacle courses and make artistic pictures with Magna-Tiles and other block toys. I think this is a toy every kid should have access to, in an ideal world.
When it comes to the wear category, I usually either get something useful they need at the time or a costume piece. I have done both in the past and both times its been a hit.
We try to buy quality pieces so that they last and can be passed on from kid to kid. I find that be better quality items tend to cost more but they (usually) last longer or have a more helpful exchange policy. Places like REI & L.L.Bean have such a great policy and when they say something has a lifetime guarantee, they really mean it.Bogs Spring Flower Waterproof Rain Boot (Toddler, Little Kid & Big Kid) • Bogs • $31.97 are a great option for mud, rain and even snow with the right underlay. This happens to be a great deal on these but even when full priced, these bots will last a lot longer than many competitors and they work for all seasons vs needing rainboots, snow boots in each side etc. Efficient purchase!
Another fun option that fits into the ‘wear’ category is costumes. My middle child changes her close approximately 4000 times a day. Costume pieces are often her favorite pick. I love finding accessory pieces that they can mix and match for a creative costume choice as they play. This Butterfly Wings & Hair Band Costume Set • $77
was given to us as a gift years ago and its worn almost daily. There are costume pieces that fit any budget so poke around online.
There is no shortage of incredible books for your children. The gift of reading is unlike any other. You re providing time together and an opportunity for them to use their imagination. Whether it’s a book they read themselves or something you will read to them out loud, books are always an impactful & smart choice. Find a funky book that will immediately capture their attention. Each of these six books are favorites of ours. You can’t go wrong! Click a book to hear more about their stories!
GIFT LIST PLANNING
At the end of the day, we all do the best we can and want to give our children a special holiday. Whether your budget is $10 or $1000 these 4 categories help you be intentional with your choices and eliminate buying fluff or things you just don’t need. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t buy something JUST to fulfill a category. For example, we have friends who strictly use the library to reduce the need to house all the books. You could, instead, do something else they need. This isn’t a strict and restricting program. This is meant to help ou focus and be thoughtful. The hope is you that will feel that your money was well spent and your kids will feel thrilled with a few very intentional gifts.
This year, for each of our kids, we plan to do 2 gifts from Santa, a gift from each category and then some new jammies (tradition around here) that they open on Christmas Eve. Lastly, we will do a family experience gift for the whole group… either a trip to the aquarium or a snowshoe adventure etc. This is what works for us and while not “minimalist” it is the right fit for our family.
Have you tried the Want/Need/Wear/Read system? What did you think? Leave some thoughts in the comments! Looking forward to getting some new ideas from you on simple and intentional children’s gifts.