I love Christmas! I love Christmas trees, I love turkey, but most of all I love giving and receiving gifts. It’s a wonderful tradition – and a way that we can show our love for one another. It can also be a useful tool to teach our children about the value of money and the worth of manners and to encourage them to think of others before themselves. Since becoming a parent, I have become aware of the gifts of time, space and creativity too.
There are lots of toys in world. Unfortunately, most of them are in the Western world. In fact, many are all over my house! They are covering my floor, bursting out of the toy box and taking up precious cupboard space. One of the best pieces of advice I have received from the Inner West Mums group is to declutter your toys. Clutter can create negative energy – it can devalue what you have and sometimes overwhelm you. Having fewer toys, or maintaining a smaller, higher quality selection by storing some in a cupboard and rotating toys, is a great idea. I feel stressed when I can’t walk around my home or find things easily –and so do my kids. Having fewer toys can actually help children’s imaginations. And it’s worth noting that some toys allow for more creativity than others.
Many toys can be handed on when they are no longer used, creating a wonderful circle of recycling. Unfortunately not everyone has someone to pass things on to, and charities will only accept certain items. (For instance, most will not take soft toys.) Perfectly good toys can end up in the bin as landfill before their time. Increasingly, families are becoming more ethically and environmentally conscious. Some families avoid certain brands altogether, due to a reputation for poor labour conditions or environmental wastage. Some families prefer wooden toys, whilst more expensive, over plastic items. A well-selected pre-loved item in excellent condition may fit in perfectly with some families’ ideals. Think about who you are buying for. Even ask about their stance on these issues if you are unsure.
Each child and family is different. Children have varied interests, and a present that is suitable for one family may not be suitable for another.
When buying for children, consider the following:
Before I became a parent I never would have considered any of the above in my gift giving. Now, I try to put more thought into the needs of the family, the size of their home, their pre-existing toys, and giving experience gifts, educational or creative toys and quality second-hand items.
Here are a few ideas for gift buying.
Gifts that parents will love you for:
Gifts that clutter less:
I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas!
IWM Anonymous Guest Contributor