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It really is the most wonderful time of the year! I’ve been looking forward to this season since late summer. I mean, I always look forward to this season, but this year was different. Almost from the moment we walked into our new home, I couldn’t wait to begin decorating.
This holiday has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved the décor, the music, the traditions, the time with family. And I’ve loved weaving some of my childhood traditions into my children’s lives, as well as creating our own as a family.
Since I was pregnant with Lou, we have always agreed that we wanted to really put the focus of the holiday on Jesus and quality time with family. Because we seek simplicity in every part of our lives, Christmas being no different, we have been following a simple philosophy for gift giving in our home: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, along with one “big” gift. This year will be the third or fourth year we have followed this. We find that it takes the focus away from the gifts the kids are getting and also helps eliminate plastic and over-abundance of toys they won’t want anything to do with come December 26th.
Over the years, I have also really tried to focus on the quality of the gifts we give our kids. We also like to incorporate toys that encourage imaginative play and learning, as well as books that encourage kindness. Since higher quality toys tend to be a little pricier, sometimes we have had to plan farther ahead, or forgo the one item we wanted and choose something a little different.
We try to get our extended family on board with the simplified gifts – our kids just don’t need lots of gifts, especially toys. I would much rather have well-meaning family members’ hard-earned dollars go toward experiences than things the kids will get sick of two weeks after opening them. That said, we also add the gift of experience to the kids’ wish lists to family.
Some of ideas for these include zoo tickets or season passes, children’s museum tickets or season passes, movie theater gift cards (this is a big one in our family), or gift certificates for spa day for older kids.
I wanted to share with you my gift guide for Christmas 2017. I have included some things that we have gifted our children in the past, as well as some things that are on the wishlist this year or next. I also wanted to share ideas to fit any budget, so without further ado, here it is!
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Babies (approximately ages 0-12 months)
Need: Pacifier (Natursutten Orthodontic pacifiers are by far my favorite); Pacifier Clip (I prefer wooden ones that double as teething beads)
Read: Baby Signs; Goodnight Moon; Guess How Much I Love You
Tinies (approximately ages 1-3)
Need: Wooden knob puzzles; Balance Bike from Kinderfeets
Littles (approximately ages 3+)
Want: Ikea Doll House I have also seen used as a shelf hung on the wall; Hand Kites on our list this year; Classic Wooden blocks; Melissa and Doug Cleaning Set; Play Silks from Bella Luna Toys; Wooden Tool set; Shopping Cart another favorite in our home; Cuddle and Kind Doll – the proceeds go to a good cause!
Read: Charlotte’s Web; Beatrix Potter Complete Tales; Have you filled a Bucket Today?
We also give the kids’ one “big” or special gift each year. This year we are giving one big gift they both can use.
For stockings, we keep it simple with nail polish, assorted chaptsticks, and stickers for Lou. Baby E will probably get onesies in his stocking this year since he’s still too little to care.
So that about rounds out my holiday gift guide for littles. What fun things are on your must-have list this year?