Every year it’s the same issue. We all love Christmas, we all love to give each other something nice, most of us love a bit of festive shopping, especially when the towns and shops are so beautifully decorated and the fairy lights are up. Children get all excited about Christmas long before autumn even started and already hand you a list of stuff they want to get from good old Santa. Now I have two boys who love all sorts of plastic rubbish, including transformer toys, anything with wheels on and of course, Lego. Now Lego I have a love-hate relationship with, as it kind of keeps its value and gets passed on most of the time once they grow out of it. It will still end up on landfill at some point.
So because we can’t really get away from the Christmas shopping and we don’t want to see sad little faces because there’s no boxes to open, I thought I’d give you some ideas for your shopping list as alternatives to the usual gifts we often end up purchasing for the little people (and teenagers!) in our lives. It’s hard getting away from plastic completely, but we can at least try.
To get us started, I put this handy list together, which hopefully will make you start to think outside the (gift) box a little:
Did that get you thinking? There are so many things you could give instead of more ‘stuff’, to both children and adults. Below I have listed my Top Five of guilt-free, non-plastic gifts you could wrap for your little ones this year.
1. Framed posters and prints
Posters! Made of paper! Amazing! Get your kid a poster for their bedroom of their favourite superhero, movie star or cartoon this year without any guilt. A world map is also a great idea if you prefer something more educational. GB Posters is a useful site to find a good selection of different posters plus they offer very affordable frames in all sizes.
2. Wooden toys
Wooden toys are great for little hands that break stuff constantly. We have several wooden trucks and other toys in our house and I must say, they are all still in one piece – unlike many of the plastic equivalents. Worth investing in and they make great hand-me-down gifts too in the future. These cute personalised trucks can be found on Etsy.
Or how about this adorable wooden toy food set? Also found on Etsy.
3. A personalised book – great for the older child
I often make personalised photo albums or calendars for family members and made an ABC book (in Dutch) to help my eldest son start reading, featuring lots of family photos. Everyone loves being loved and a thoughtful gift is worth more than all the plastic rubbish in the world. I stumbled across The Book of Everyone, maybe you have heard of them, which helps you create a beautiful personalised book for a loved one. I especially like the idea of making one for pre-teens/teenagers, which the site says will be “packed full of smile-inducing wise(ish) words personalised by you, because your words might just help them make better mistakes”.
4. Stuff to draw on
I found this amazingly beautiful online store Smallable, with gorgeous high quality toys, clothes and other stuff for kids and the home. Worth a browse. Anyway, I selected these draw-on placemats, which I think are an excellent idea for those kids who are bored waiting for their dinner or just want something to colour in. Oh, and they are of course made of paper…can go straight in the recycle bin once finished (unless your children are true Picassos, then you might want to frame them of course).
For more eco friendly toys on the Smallable website, have a look here: Eco Friendly Toys
5. Sew a costume!
I know, I know, time is not always on our hands to get these amazing Pinterest projects realised and we’re not all talented or crafty enough to make stuff look beautiful. But if your child loves dressing up, a beautiful handmade dinosaur tail must be right up there in the Top 3 of awesome Christmas presents! Go on, get that sewing machine out 😉 Plenty of tutorials on Pinterest. If you are really not the DIY person but still love the idea of a handmade costume, go and support someone who hand makes and sells them on Etsy. That way you make another person happy.
Bonus tip: Life skills!
Swimming lessons, judo, music tuition, a membership to the climbing wall or local gym, it’s all rather pricey when you add it up. Do they want do do or join something really badly? Why not give your children their membership or lessons at Christmas? Other than that it’s a great ‘experience’ gift, rather than more ‘stuff’, it also shows kids that these things are things to value and are not an automatic given throughout the year as part of the daily routines.
I hope this was helpful, I wish you all a jolly good, guilt-free Christmas! Any other ideas that are not listed? Feel free to share them for others to see in the comments below 🙂 Thanks! X