I’m gonna be very blunt. In the past few years, my kids have received gifts that broke my heart. Now before I go on, I wanna say that I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the people giving those gifts. And I don’t want to risk sounding ungrateful for presents given to us with great intentions of sharing the joy of the season. So let me clarify what I mean by these gifts breaking my heart:
Well, I say this because those items were immediately added to the piles of things my kids ended up discarding. After ripping the wrapping and playing with their new things for a couple of days or months, these items (often made of plastic) just end up in the garbage. And we all know that the plastic and garbage problem the world is facing now is more than alarming.
To clarify another thing, I am not against toys. I believe children need to play to actually learn. But it turns out, although some toys are more engaging and useful, others don’t actually contribute to your child’s learning.
To be fair, I know the Christmas season is quite heavy on the pockets for parents and that’s why we try to buy the most budget-friendly gifts we can find. It’s not cheap to have to gift all your nieces and nephews plus the classmates and playmates of your kids, right? But in our efforts to “save,” let’s think about what we are doing to the environment. This planet is our children’s home. Are we destroying it for them?
Now, I am not perfect and I know I don’t have the perfect formula for choosing Christmas gifts. But I now try to apply these guidelines when shopping the best presents:
When picking out an item, I try to ask this question: “How long will a child use this?” I know things break or a child can outgrow them, but as much as possible, I opt for items I believe kids can use for a long time. For my sons’ classmates this year, for example, I decided to give a set of fun pencils that have cute erasers on them because I know my sons use pencils and erasers the whole year round for school.
I try to go for items that require some sort of activity. Painting, building or crafting–gifts that promote these are more engaging and actually push kids to be more creative. When choosing an activity gift, think about whether the person you are giving it to will actually use it. Is it something they are interested in? If the child really enjoys a certain activity, they will also remember the person who gave it! Isn’t that a sweet thing to have in their memory?
Another big item on my list are quality books. Books in our household promote family bonding time so I know how much kids love reading books over and over again. They’re also a great thing for siblings and whole families to enjoy together. And another perk of receiving a book as a gift is that reading books improves a child’s development, reading skills, and comprehension. After all, they say readers end up growing to be very smart.
If you are following a budget, there are things you can do to cut expenses but still allow you to give something meaningful. You can try going to second hand book shops, where some books are still in excellent condition. You can also opt to give food that you know the kids you’re gifting will surely enjoy and actually eat.
If you wanna take the focus away from materialism this Christmas, then try giving gifts that promote bonding and strengthening relationships. Think tickets to the movies, an art class session, or even an offer to hold a picnic for the kids. These types of gifts are amazing because they become an overall learning experience, as well as a memorable activity for the child.
Thinking of an item to gift yourself or families around you? The Kidstarter Curious Curriculum is a book set that families can use for engaging and fun activities that will help you spend quality time with your kids. This book has enough activities to fill a whole year (or even much longer!). It also promotes learning literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, and many more fundamentals through play and exploration.
The Kidstarter Curious Curriculum was made especially for the Filipino family, with a Filipino corner that incorporates the Filipino language and culture all throughout the book. Whether its Christmas time or any other day, this set will give you and your child the gift of learning, amazing memories, and a fun childhood.