Do your kids have too much STUFF already? With Christmas on the horizon you are sure to end up with a big fat load more. This year, why not ask relatives to buy your kids practical gifts that they need instead of toys? Don’t worry, we’re not talking new school shoes or a bar of soap. Rachel gives us a bit of #Mumspiration…
As Christmas fast approaches you may feel, like I do, an uncomfortable sense that it is becoming too gratuitously focused on shopping – more specifically what toys the kids will get. With two young children (4 and 2), the oldest of whom last weekend was glued to a toys catalogue that had come in the post, I am acutely aware that they already have too much stuff to fit in our house – we will genuinely struggle to physically accommodate any more. I will get rid of a fair bit of it as the Big Day approaches, to friends with younger kids and the charity shop, but while they are still so young I feel I want to set the tone for the years to come. Yes, I want them to get a few nice new toys from both us and Father Christmas (I’m not letting the big guy get all the credit), but that amount will be capped at a sensible, none-eye watering amount.
Relatives have started to ask what the kids would like. It’s got me thinking. We are already providing the playthings that they want for Christmas (it’s been drilled into our heads for the past few weeks: her – literally anything featuring Hello Kitty or Peppa Pig, him – new Lego, a chocolate coin maker, and an age appropriate X-Box game). When their grandparents ask what they should get (which in itself is a good idea, always encourage relatives to check with you first) I am a bit stumped. This, again, tells me they already have everything they could possibly want – and more. But the relatives still, understandably, want to buy them something. So, here are 10 Christmas gift ideas that I would be happy to receive from wider family. They will still be nice for the kids to receive, but they are practical as well as fun.
1. Electric toothbrushes!
Want to get your kids to brush their teeth with more enthusiasm, and for the prescribed two minutes? They need to go electric. You can get really cheap electric ones, but they can’t be recharged. These ones can and you can replace their heads, which means they last longer. Also – they feature a musical timer – they’ll be begging to brush their tegs come bedtime (which is good considering they’ll have munched their body weight in chocolate coins most likely).
>> LAB Snap Happy Rechargeable Pink Toothbrush, £29.99, Boots.com
It also comes in blue…
>> LAB Snap Happy Rechargeable Blue Toothbrush, £29.99, Boots.com
2. Pyjamas / Slippers / Dressing gown
There is something very exciting about getting new sleepwear for Christmas. Maybe even start a new tradition and get them kitted out for bed with new ‘jamas to be unwrapped every Christmas Eve – they’ll love being able to unwrap one present early and they’ll be wearing their new PJs when they wake up on the Big Day.
>> Hatley Boys’ Alien Insect Fleece Robe, £30.00, JohnLewis.com
>> John Lewis Boys’ Glow in the Dark Pyjamas, Pack of 2, £20.00 – £22.00, JohnLewis.com
>> Totes Football Slipper Socks, Pack of 2, £8, JohnLewis.com
>> Cath Kidston Patchwork Floral Pyjamas, £26.00, JohnLewis.com
>> John Lewis Girls’ Star Robe, £18.00 – £22.00, JohnLewis.com
>> John Lewis Jersey Cat Slippers, £12.00 – £14.00, JohnLewis.com
3. A sleeping bag
This cute little ‘sleep pod’ is great for sleepovers or camping, and even packs away into a backpack – off you go to Nana’s for the weekend – hoorah! From 18 months to 4 years.
>> Little Life Penguin Sleep Pod, £39.99, JohnLewis.com
4. School/art materials
Kids will never get tired of drawing and scribbling, and these quality, washable colouring pens come with a carrying case too where they can neatly put all their pens back with the correct lids on (yeah right).
>> Crayola Pip-Squeaks Washable Marker Pen, £12.99, JohnLewis.com
5. Bags for school, nursery, days out
Even if your kids have an official school or book bag, they’d still love a backpack for sleepovers and days out, right? (Heads up: they have an Angry Birds one on John Lewis but I couldn’t bring myself to suggest it with a picture).
>> Cath Kidston Starry Dog Mini Backpack, Pink, £16.99, JohnLewis.com
>> Little Joules Camouflage Print Backpack, Navy/Orange, £29.99, JohnLewis.com
6. Duvet sets
These can be expensive, and you always need a spare set. A lovely set of bedding doesn’t sound very exciting but when it’s on they’ll love it, night after night! Well, maybe the enthusiasm will wane after a few nights, but hey, you’ll have saved 30 odd quid.
>> Emma Bridgewater Dancing Mice Single Duvet and Pillowcase set, £35.00, JohnLewis.com
>> little home at John Lewis Dino Duvet and Pillowcase Set, £25.00, JohnLewis.com
7. Lamp or nightlights
These are the little details that will make your kids’ bedrooms cool! And how excited will they be to go bed when they can turn their new lamp on or fairy lights on? This may get them to bed half an hour earlier each night – that’s about 3.5 hours per week… 14 hours per week… culminating in about 168 hours per year of extra grown up time for you! Well, possibly.
>> little home at John Lewis Dino Table Lamp, £40, JohnLewis.com
>> little home at John Lewis Magic Trees Line Lights, £20, JohnLewis.com
I know, I know – not very inventive. But these make great little extras. I am currently wearing my husband’s socks so please buy me some nice new pairs if you know me and are reading this. (Or if you don’t, that’s fine too).
>> John Lewis Boy Skull Socks, £6 – £7, JohnLewis.com
>> John Lewis Neon Animal Print Socks, £6 – £7, JohnLewis.com
A book is a gift that you’d have to really try hard to get wrong. It’s my go to for other kids’ birthday presents. Children don’t notice if a book is educational, so one like this is a good idea to request as a present. This’d be lovely to sit and look through on Christmas Day (a very large Bailey’s in hand – for you, not them)…
>> Big Book of Why: All Your Questions Answered Plus Games, Recipes, Crafts & More, £6.29, Amazon.com
10. Swimming accessories
The kids will love wearing these cute armbands on holiday or when they’re at the swimming baths. If not armbands, then try googles, swimming caps or trunks/swimsuits.
>> Zoggs Peppa Pig Armbands, £7.50, JohnLewis.com
>> Speedo Sea Squad Armbands, £4.50, JohnLewis.com
What will you be requesting from your relatives this Christmas for the kids? Or don’t you agree with politely suggesting gifts? Do tell…