Christmas is just seven weeks from today, but we’re going to be ready! A little preparation will go a long way to keep the Christmas season, stress-free and under budget.
Anyone else toy-ed out? There’s probably no way around it in my house…with four kids within 5 1/2 years of age, it’s pretty much inevitable. I wouldn’t say they’re spoiled, but between birthdays, Christmases, and the occasional “extra,” they have plenty. Especially when three of them are boys who love anything with wheels, we’re to a point where it’s hard to find something cool and new to get their attention this year.
So, I’m on a quest to think of some ideas that won’t be “just another toy” to get lost in the shuffle. Here are a few of mine, and I’d love to hear some of yours!
- Passport To Your National Parks: All the national parks have special cancellation stamps to put in this passport as you travel. My kids loved filling their passport at all their stops this year on vacation, and we’ll continue to take our Passport with us as we travel for years to come!
- Books about vacation destinations: I think kids get more invested in their vacations when they know something about what they’re going to see. Even better if they can look at the books and help make their itinerary. Before our big road trip out west, we got National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun and National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.: The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast! Another one we loved from our Disney vacation was Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World for Kids–it has tons of information about the parks and rides, and has activities to help the kids plan and get excited! There are tons of books on destinations all over the country. So much fun for planning, then added excitement when they spot something and say “That was in our book!”
- A special journal/memory book: This could be for vacation, or just for whenever. I love these cool Smash Book Journals, since they’re meant to have things glued in them along with the writing, and there are tons of options for accessories.
- Quality time: Gift cards to a “date” with mom or dad will be stocking stuffers this year. They love to get their own card for burgers or ice cream, so they can “pay” when we go out. Last year I got my daughter 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters from Secret Keeper Girl, an awesome resource for building a relationship with your “tween.” The boys have enjoyed movie passes and their trip to the MAPS Museum with their grandparents (that was for a birthday, but could be a great Christmas gift too!) I also look for Groupon deals to Pump it Up or other fun destinations.
- A family getaway: My kids have been begging to go back to Great Wolf Lodge, something that’s fun, but certainly not cheap. So we’re thinking about making the getaway a Christmas gift, which achieves the goal of cutting the clutter, and it also cuts some expense because we’re not paying for a weekend away and a bunch of toys. Win-win! Lots of getaway deals are available on daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social
- Charitable donation in their name: We usually do a few special donations at Christmas, but it’s nice to get intentional about getting the kids involved and letting them help choose. Whether it’s Operation Christmas Child, St. Jude’s, World Vision, MCC, Compassion International, or whatever else they help choose, it’ll go to a good cause and help them understand that in this season of “so much,” there are many around the world who still struggle for the basics of life.
Okay, those are my top ideas for this year–your turn! We’d love to start a great discussion in the comments and on Facebook about some cool gift ideas for the kiddos.
This week’s action plan:
Think outside the toy box! Are there some options on this list that could work for you and your family? Have some other ideas? Be sure to let us know so we can pass it along for other Sisters and Misters! Also, review your progress on the earlier countdown steps…how are you doing so far?
If you’ve missed the other posts in the series, it’s not too late to catch up:
- Adjusting our Christmas planning philosophy
- Starting a game plan for gift giving
- Creative ways to stretch your budget
- Planning ahead for Christmas cards
- Homemade gifts to stretch your budget