Sometimes, we know the PERFECT gift to give someone. It's such a fun feeling! But other times, well--we struggle. Especially with our kids!
We try to make sure everyone gets the same amount of gifts, but when we can't think of what to give little Johnny for his last gift, sometimes we just get any old thing. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes it's just junk! Or else it is something that will never really get used. But we justify getting it, so that Johnny feels just as loved as everyone else.
As parents, we are all in this together! To help all of us, I asked as many people as I could what their best "home run" presents were that were sure to be used...and not only used, but delighted over. Here is the "guaranteed" list I got from readers and friends:
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3. Schleich Animals
Instagramer @simplelearningathome swears by these hand painted, high quality animal sets.
4. Magnet Building Toys
I can personally vouch for these, in addition to the many, many readers that recommended them. I originally balked at buying them because I felt they were kind of pricey. But now we have them, I wish we had gotten them years sooner! These were an instant hit with all my kids ages 5-15 last year, and we use them all the time. I like these, because the magnets are entirely enclosed, so there is no choking hazard for littles. Seriously awesome gift right here!
This was a new-to-me idea, but several parents recommended it. Basically, it's a pliable, transportable, two car race track that you can arrange and re-arrange in endless possibilities. It's easy to see that this could be a real winner!
6. Army Men and Rubber Bands
This is such a simple gift, it's ridiculous! You can probably find these cheaper at Walmart or the dollar store, but these things are great. We add a rubber band and then my kids, their cousins, their friends, EVERYONE loves taking turns to try shooting each other's army down. This occupies them for a long time!
7. Pattern Play
This is a fun activity that is perfect for quiet time, playing while listening to a read aloud, ect. Pick a card from the pile and try to create the pattern on it with various colored wooden blocks. (My 12 year old son secretly loves this, too!)
8. Custom Made Kit for the artist, seamstress or builder in the family
Also, a related idea is a themed gift: give several gifts with a specific theme. So fun!
9. Science Kits
My kids LOVE these. We work on them together and they enjoy time with Mom or Dad. I try to make sure I get kits that I can use multiple times, or that use simple, replaceable ingredients. You could also make your own!
10. Wooden Planks
Super simple concept: hundreds of small wooden planks of the same size, but this is a great educational AND fun toy. Build Rube-Goldberg machines and other amazing things!
11. Hobby / Career Encouragement
Put time and money into what you want to encourage. Gear for mountain climbing, biking, photography. Software for graphic artists, Scrivener for writers, the list goes on and on!
Here were some specific recommendations:
Usborne Flap books: These are amazing! Kids learn a lot and they are super fun to look through. Sturdy, entertaining and educational. You can't go wrong with these.
14. Family photo books
1. Chat books: I like make one of these for each of my children documenting their past year. At $8 each, they are a good deal. They are also super easy to make, and not time consuming.
2. My sister-in-law made the sweetest photobook for her dad with photos of her mom through out her growing up years and their life together. He adores it, and since he travels often, it was a perfect gift.
3. I made a book of our Brimhall family for our out-of-town cousins who didn't get to see us very often. It was an ABC family picture book. "A" stood for Abigail, Addy, Ammon, etc. (all family members that started with the letter A) and for letters we didn't have any names for, I added in fun sayings like, "Q" is for "Quirky!" and added funny pics of family members. It turned out so great, Grandma gave one to all seven siblings and their families. The kids still love going through it!
4. My sweet daughter asked everyone in the family what they liked about me and made it into a photo book. She put their words with pictures of each person and myself together, and then gave it to me. It made me cry. :)
I hope this helps. Whatever your financial or other circumstances, I hope you have a beautiful Christmas, and that you feel the love of Jesus Christ for you this season.
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