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25 Comments

  1. This was fantastic Kelly! My tween and teen boys are saying similar things. They don’t need anything. I bought movie posters of our favorite movies that we watched when they were little to hang up in our TV room. I got a puzzle too and now I am looking at a subscription for my youngest. He’ll love that!

    Thank you for including tips on how to wrap it. Genius.

    1. So glad the list was helpful for you, Adrianne! And I have to say that I love that our kids are asking for less stuff. <3

  2. Great ideas, thank you so much for this list! My daughter just turned five so these are perfect for this year and the years to come.

  3. This is an awesome list! Thank you!

  4. Lisa Smith says:

    Of I could do it all over again are famous last words. I could have bought and paid for a house and all three college education with all the deal we bought. Yes, I do mean crap. Thirty years later, I have a wooden rocking horse and an American Girl doll left to show for my stupidity. I vote for any type of educational yearly pass. Zoo, museum etc… Any kit that will interest your child helps. Make pizza, bake, make candles etc… My children are all kind and share. My college daughter just bought a homeless man clothes while we were in a thrift store. I guess that preaching and teaching it helps. Demonstrating it seems to do more good. I wish I could go back and buy the piggy banks that have sections for church, saving and spending. Children will be so much more responsible if they save early. The me me me and I wants end up being a hard habit to break. Better not to start. I also wish I had avoided sugar and caffeine as long as possible.

    1. Wow lisa, thank you so much for sharing. As a mom who knows she buys too much crap for her kids, its nice to hear your perspective and know that i should stop now while i can.

  5. I love these ideas and was excited to see a few we had thought of! I am big into keepsakes so would add things in that arena. My son loves looking at the photobook of our family trip to FL and the tshirt quikt I made from his old onsies and tshirts as a baby. He surprised me how much he liked that at just 3! I may also get him a shadowbox to hold ticket stubs and other mementos from adventures!

  6. My 3 year old grandson doesn’t need any more toys, so for Christmas I buy him a membership to the zoo. He loves to go all year long. For his birthday I buy him gift passes to water parks, trampoline parks, and fun things to do.
    One of the best gifts you can give is swimming lessons. It will save their life, and give them a lifetime of joy to be able to swim.
    Also, donating used toys to homeless shelters, or churches preschool classrooms.

  7. I love the mother-daughter journal idea! We have the same problem in our house – nothing needed, wanted, or worn. Meaningful gifts are something I’ve thought about a lot lately, too.

  8. What a great list. Here are a few more ideas:
    -one year we told the kids we were building a treehouse for them as a Christmas gift. Things that get siblings playing together outside like this, a trampoline, swing set, backyard zip line, garden plot, etc.
    -if you’d like to get outside more, how about good gear? My kids love their camel back packs, and having solid hiking boots is important too.
    -a camera? A photo book?

  9. Thanks so much for your list. We are already doing some of these but I have one to add. I created emails for each of my kids and through out the year(s) I send them short emails of funny things they did, things that made me proud ect, pictures that go along with the event or a movie. Not sure when I will give them access to the emails but I hope they enjoy it.

  10. I cannot thank you enough for the unique ideas! For months I have been looking for a cooking experience for my 9 year old. For several years I have given “experience” gifts to my children. What they liked most about in addition to the trip is the anticipation I build with other “clues” to what it will be. For example, my daughter (and her best friend) were given a concert ticket in NYC. I numbered her gifts in order of how I wanted her to open them – I included a calendar of NYC, a list of songs from the opening band, a picture of the Bed and Breakfast and then the concert ticket box. Tears were streaming to say the least and to this day she talks about it as if it was yesterday. Thank you again for the other ideas as I will be utilizing them for birthday gifts as well.

  11. This is SO helpful! We are starting to go to friends’ kids’ birthday parties & I know they don’t need more STUFF. I appreciate that there is a variety of price points here, too! Thanks for all of the ideas!

  12. These are such great ideas! We have one kid’s birthday in November, Christmas in December and then another kid’s birthday in January! And our house is already overflowing with JUNK! I’ve been trying to get rid of things for months, so I’m dreading the incoming junk! :(
    I am sharing this link with all of my family in hopes of preventing some of this!

  13. Velda Wells says:

    Fantastic alternatives – especially for parents who have nothing to give and for children who have very little (like us), not just for those that have everything. Made a note. Perfect timing. Christmas around the corner. Gifts that require little funding. Very appealing g and will bri g me and my daughter closer. You’ve turned my fear of the dreaded Christmas festivities around. Thank you.

  14. This is the best thing I have ever come across! Thank you! We are going thru a time right now with me being newly separated (my husband and I are on decent terms thankfully) he travels a lot for work and is based in another state. I opted to move home to Nebraska with the kids and stay near family. Unfortunately, I have had to resort living on my dwindling savings because a job I was promised fell through. With the upcoming holidays these will be amazing gifts. If able we’ve decided to do one big “Santa” gift for season passes at the best zoo in the world. Since that is quite a bit these other things you’ve provided will be great until I can find a stable job. Thank you and happy holidays to you all!

  15. Thank you for all your effort! That is a wonderful list, especially for grandparents.

  16. John Carney says:

    This is not what any kid wants. All you parents are so delusional

    1. My 5yo will love the magazine idea!

  17. I give my grandkids gifts of time. Swimming for my granddaughter shes 3, music lessons for my grandson 8, newest grandson we are savings in future hockey funds, 5 year old wants karate lessons.

  18. Richelle Blay says:

    WOW! This is amazing! Thank you for this list!

  19. Thank you! I am a grandma of two precious kiddos. I totally understand your thinking. I loved this article. Their first Christmas, they get a name puzzle stool from us. Their 2nd Christmas, they get a name book from us and a family keepsake. Now we are to the third Christmas for our first grandchild. I bought luggage because her one grandpa lives where they have to fly to. You have given me ideas to complete this Christmas and keep going. Thank you!

  20. I love everything about this article. Thank you!

  21. Isabel Lummis says:

    Wonderful ideas!

  22. Kelly, thank goodness I just read your ideas. I have no money at the moment and really wanted my son to remember his 10th birthday. He’s been asking for ages if he’s allowed to stay up and sleep on the sofa… not sure why that’s so appealing, but there we go….it was the first thing I thought of to add to one of your vouchers. We both with LOVE this present idea. Thanks so much. Jess