Please shop from small businesses.
I once read this thing that said: When you buy from a big company you’re helping a CEO fund a second holiday house. When you buy from a small business you’re helping a mum and dad pay for dance lessons. Or something to that effect. I would love if the gifts you give my kids helped someone pay for ballet classes. Ballet classes are really expensive.
Please consider charity gifts.
My children are lucky and safe and slightly spoiled. They have beautiful clothing and super cool toys and boarder-line wanky diets. They even have chickens that lay them fresh eggs every day. So, instead of buying them something, please buy a family in a third world country a chicken, or a goat, or some clean water in my children’s honor. And if they don’t get it? I will explain it to them. If they scream, WHERE’S MY CHICKEN?!, I will remind them that they already have three.
Please give them quality over quantity.
The box of toy cars is spilling over. My daughter literally has eight different lip balms in a bowl on her shelf. We cannot fit all the shoes those four tiny feet own in two giant drawers. A $10 wooden car, on the other hand, will be treasured and it will last for long enough to be enjoyed by other kids long after my two are driving real cars. It may seem little, it may look less exciting than the 20-piece garage set that is the same price but it will be special.
Please offer them experiences.
A potted plant, some air drying clay, a card that promises them a train trip or an ice cream date. These are the type of gifts they will remember, that can teach them something and that is really what I want for them.
Please give them a joint gift.
Something that they have to play together, work together, think together to enjoy. Something that no one can pull rank over, something they have to negotiate over.
Christmas is a really expensive time for everyone, I hate the thought that wanting to buy my kids a present might add to the pressure you’re probably already under. Do you have something in the present box? Can it be wrapped in sparkly paper and adorned with a handmade card? My children are 4- and 2-years-old. You could wrap up some spoons and two tubs of yogurt and they would be excited. Please don’t put anything on a credit card. Please be cheap if you need to be.
Please make them something.
The most loved gift my daughter ever got was a picture book about her, made by her aunty. It was just photographs taken off Facebook and contacted onto a second-hand board book, with a simple sentence printed out and stuck under each image. We read that book every day for a year. It was a birthday gift and there was also something else in the parcel. You know, so it didn’t seem like she was cheaping out. I seriously have no idea what the other thing was, no recollection at all. But that book is a prized possession.