Monday, November 25

Minimalist Gift Guide for Kids

You guys know how much I love Christmas.

But every Christmas brings a great balancing act. We want to create a magical time for our kids, but we don't want to be wasteful of our time, money, or space. I find myself drawn more and more towards minimalism, and I'm still learning how to balance that in a house full of small kids. I have to be careful or things get out of control reeeeally quickly. Especially around the holidays. So today I'm sharing a shopping guide just for those of you who are in the same boat and struggling to strike that minimalist balance.

But first, here's the best tip I can give you: JUST BUY LESS. It's okay. You don't need a ton of gifts, or expensive gifts. You'll save money and save that precious space in your home if you just don't buy that stuff in the first place. What a win! One thing that helps us with this is doing the "four gifts" list:
  1. Something they want.
  2. Something they need.
  3. Something to wear. 
  4. Something to read.
Four gifts = instantly less junk and clutter. But you can even takes steps to make sure those four gifts fit the lifestyle and habits you want to build for your children! Let's take a look at a few thoughtful, minimalist gift ideas for each category:

Something they Want

This is the hardest category for keeping things minimal. Because kids want all. the. things. But you can still find gifts that your kids will love that won't take up a lot of space or create a ton of excess and clutter in your home. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:

1. Art + Craft supplies
  • Always a winner with my kids. But I'm not talking about easels or art tables that eat up space. Think actual art supplies that store in a bin and that they are welcome to use however they want to their hearts content. Nothing inspires creativity better than a box of supplies with no rules. Want to glue googly eyes on that popsicle stick? Sure. Dipping pom poms in glitter? Go for it. Some of our favorite supplies are 
    • acrylic paints, water colors (I'm planning to get travel sets this Christmas), art pads, watercolor crayons, construction paper, glue, googly eyes, pom poms, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and colored pencils. And perler beads. So many perler beads.
2. Activities + Experiences
  • Make memories, learn skills, and take up zero space at home! Find something your kids are super in to and give memories that will last a lifetime. Try one of these:
    • Rock-climbing membership
    • Dance lessons
    • Memberships to your local zoo or museum
    • A painting or pottery class
    • Archery lessons
    • A camping trip or book a road trip
    • Tickets to a sporting event
3. Outdoor Toys + Equipment
  • We love gifts that get them excited about being outdoors. Honestly, outdoor play is so important for little guys that I'm a little more forgiving about things in this category. 
    • You can try something small like a soccer ball, bubbles, or a bug catcher. 
    • If you have enough garage storage space you can try a bike, scooter, sleds, camping equipment, or a yard game (we love KanJam). 
    • And if you have yard space to spare? Try a tree swing, a swing set, a climbing dome, or a soccer goal!
4. Toys

You may not expect to see toys on a minimalist gift list, but here's the thing: there will be toys. At least in our house. It's inevitable, and it's so good when you do it with care. Look for toys that encourage creative, open ended play. Things that don't take up a ton of space (we love toys that add-on to our current collections and can store in the same bin!). We also avoid electronics. And, most importantly, recognize when you have enough. Don't buy things that won't fit in your allotted toy-space, and don't be afraid to purge if things get out of hand. So here are my official minimalist toy recommendations:
  • Building toys. Kids love to build! Our top three building toys are Legos (the #1 favorite toy in our whole house), wooden blocks, and picasso tiles. And know what's great about these? You can add-on a little year after year until you have an amazing set! We have two lego bins under a couch and every set we've bought over the years still fit in those bins. 
  • Animal figures. Another tried and true favorite. We love choosing high quality figures that will last and we've been gifting two or three a year to M3 so he's building a nice little collection. Safari Ltd and Shleich are our favorites so far!
  • Play food + dishes. Skip the cheap plastic stuff and go for a quality felt or wooden set!
  • Dolls or action figures.  
  • A puzzle. (we found a search + find floor puzzle last year that they loved!)
  • A board game. (Bonanza and Tenzi are family favorites that don't take up much space!)
  • You can also check out my shopping guide for small business handmade gifts!

Something they Need.

Part of being minimalist is buying only what you need - so this category is a natural fit! You know best what your kids need, but I'll get you started with a few ideas:

1. Gear
  • A cool backpack for school
  • A duffle bag for travel & camping
  • A bike helmet
2. Stuff for their Room (when M1 turned 8 we decked out his bed with Star Wars sheets, a reading light, and a little bookshelf by his bed. He LOVES it.)
  • cool bedding
  • a bookshelf
  • a reading light
  • a loft bed
  • a DIY rock climbing wall (wink)
3. Clothes or Shoes can fit this category, too!
  • Rain boots or a raincoat
  • A warm jacket 

Something to Wear.

We shoot for something that they'll also love, but that will also fill a need if they have any gaps in their wardrobe (like replacing worn-out pants or tshirts).

1. Clothes
  • funny tshirts
  • comfy pajamas or sweat pants (the cooler the better) 
  • a hoodie for their favorite team
2. Footwear
  • cool tennis shoes (I look for minimalist style shoes)
  • boots
  • slippers
3. Outerwear
  • a cool jacket in their favorite color
  • a baseball cap

Something to Read.

My favorite category. I may be the opposite of minimalist when it comes to books. Reading is so good for kids, and I want them to love it. I guess the minimalist part comes from only buying good books. I stick to quality books with excellent stories - not the kind of books I will dread reading to them. I typically buy each boy a small stack of good books and wrap them all in one packages... so it still only counts as one gift. Loopholes, guys. If you're worried about space you could get kindle books, but there's just something about the feel of pages in your hand! Here are a few of our favorite:
Check out the rest of my Christmas posts and projects here.

You don't have to have an extravagant Christmas to make great memories, and you don't have to fill you home with stuff to give good gifts.

Does anyone else do the four gifts? What are you giving your kids this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment