Giving Non-toy Gifts to Children

You haven’t worked in the garden for a while. It needs your attention. Amaranths, catnips, and dandelion are about to take over again. You took out your 12-volt weed sprayer to get to work, but you’re suddenly lost in your thoughts.

You remember the conversation you had with your kids last year. They said that they didn’t want any toys for Christmas this year. You were pleasantly surprised. They’ve been learning in school about how toys and its plastic components are contributing to environmental destruction. So they were the ones that volunteered that they are not given toys this year, but something else in its place.

“Think of something cool, but meaningful!” Those are the words that are ringing in your head right now. How do you go about giving gifts that are non-toys to kids?

Spending on Toys During the Holidays

The average spending on Christmas gifts for an average American would be somewhere between $600 to $800. The amount spent would, of course, depend on whether you’re earning $25,000 or $55,000 or more.

Some 42% of all those charging to the mall or department stores for some Christmas shopping will buy toys. Shoppers in the UK spent more than $482 million, and environmentalists are concerned about how these old toys, mostly made of plastics end up in landfills or the sea.

wrapping gift

The Non-toy Experience

You should be proud of your kids for taking to heart the concept of saving the environment and understanding how plastics toys become pollutants. The challenge now is to make them happy with creative gift ideas that are non-toys. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  1. A wish list. Why not make a wish list that’s bound by rules? Children will enjoy it. You can also extend the regulations to relatives who will be buying your children’s Christmas presents. If they can avoid toys too, then you’re creating a bigger ripple effect. Online gift registry like can help in this process.
  2. Go to shows or events. Nothing beats the experience of watching a live spectacle or event. These days, events from concerts to ice skating show to sports games are announced way ahead of time. You can take your kids to these events. This would be a great way to have a conversation with them and to also make them feel like joining the adult club.
  3. Real-life tools. Exploring the outdoor is great for children, even if the outdoors is just your front and backyard. Introduce them to gardening and the responsibility of gardening by giving them simple tools like a trowel. Give them a patch of soil where they can grow their plant. Package the entire experience as the gift. They will have a gift, enjoy the outdoors, and learn about responsibilities.
  4. Teach them about charity. Since they are learning about progressive ideas like saving the environment, teach them about giving to those in need, like charities and non-profit organizations. Sit with them and discuss the possible options. Will they be interested in donating to kids with cancers? Do they want to support the rescuing of dogs? Let them pick the charity where they should donate and explain that it will be under their name.

You can look into membership in museums. Music and musical instruments, including music lessons, are gifts that will feed their souls forever. There’s plenty more, but these ideas are a good start.

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