2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Gifts for children

Kids excel at many things, including the acquisition of stuff. From books to LEGO bricks, and dolls to video games, it all piles up and leads to the inevitable question: Where should they put this? There’s a larger question at work here, too: do they need all this stuff? Listed below are a few gift ideas to help children answer both questions. And don’t worry, they’ll enjoy opening these gifts, too.

  1. A notebook. My nine-year-old is a real “Forgetful Flower” (she takes after her father). So I’ve gotten her to adopt a habit of mine: writing things down in a notebook. Filednotes Brand sells this super-cute “Summer Camp” 3-pack of brightly-colored notebooks that comes with a three matching pencils and an oversized rubber band that make a great stocking stuffer. My daughter uses hers to write down classroom assignments.
  2. Labels from Mabel’s Labels. These super-cute labels clearly display your child’s name, come in many sizes, colors and themes (dinosaur, nature, etc.) and stick to just about anything. We’ve placed them on clothes sent to camp, inside baseball hats and other sports equipment, lunch boxes and more. They also make dog-tag style bag tags (older kids won’t be embarrassed to use them) perfect for hockey equipment, laundry, etc. We’ve even put the clothing labels through several washings and they’ve remained intact.
  3. The IRIS LEGO 6-Case Workstation and Storage Unit is awesome. Shallow, color-coded drawers make it easy to find the pieces you want. The top of the unit itself is a LEGO surface, so it doubles as a play area. LEGO bricks seem to reproduce on their own that his unit keeps their population under control.
  4. Wall-mounted sports storage racks. I love these great-looking racks for storing/displaying snowboards, wakeboards, surfboards, skateboards and skis. Teenagers will like them because their gear looks cool presented like this. You’ll like them because it gets that stuff up off the floor.
  5. Nintendo DS game organizer. These game cartridges are so tiny and they love to disappear. This organizer holds 12 cartridges and offers easy access. There are similar storage devices for all handheld gaming systems. Include a new game with the organizer, and it will make most any kid happy.
  6. Lap desks. In dark and bright models, a lap desk can be incredibly useful gift for a kid who likes to do homework on the couch or in a comfy chair. My kids covered theirs with strips of Duck Tape in crazy patterns for a custom look.

Younger children who aren’t yet into skateboarding, gaming systems, or homework might enjoy books that have underlying themes on uncluttering and organizing:

  1. Room Enough for Daisy by Debbie Waldman. Little Daisy has so many toys, she wishes for a larger bedroom to accommodate them all. Eventually, her mom convinces her to donate some items to a rummage sale. Cindy Revell’s illustrations are really cute.
  2. Too Many Toys by David Shannon. David’s books are fantastic, starting with the hilariously relatable “No, David!” Too Many Toys has a similar theme to Room Enough for Daisy, in that David is required to thin his massive collection of toys. It’s a fun story that my kids think is funny and I find quite charming.
  3. Mr. Messy, part of the Mr./Mrs. series by Roger Hargreaves, is an untidy fellow until he meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy.
  4. More by I. C. Springman is about a hoarding magpie whose friends teach him the value of “enough.” Again, the illustrations are great and the minimal text great for new readers.

I’ve got one last tip to share. My wife and I have two kids. To make things easy on Christmas morning, we wrap gifts strategically. Presents to Child A from mom and dad are wrapped in Paper A. Those to Kid B are in Paper B. Finally, gifts from Santa are magically in a third paper. This way, we avoid the “Who is this from?” question as well as “Is this mine?” It works very well for us.

The full 2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

7 Comments for “2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Gifts for children”

  1. posted by Dusty @ Wine Logic on

    A great gift for the young ones can be to let them re-design their room. Pick out colors and even a theme. Then one day when they are gone. You can paint the theme/colors, change their sheets and wall hangings and anything else to create the theme.

    I’ve seen this a few times and kids at that age are so proud to show off their room after this. Besides, do they need more toys? No.

  2. posted by Melanie on

    Thank you! Those labels will be the perfect gift for a family of four siblings (including twins) on my list.

  3. posted by Darren M on

    What is “hokey equipement”? Or did you mean “hockey equipment”? :)

  4. posted by squibby on

    For babies, a playmat is a useful gift. They work as a play area and an easy way to pick up baby’s toys and mess in a moment

  5. posted by Damian on

    I’ve fought the “do they need all this stuff” battle for years with gifts for my kids. Coming from experience–as a relatively spoiled only child–I can say that more stuff doesn’t bring more happiness!

  6. posted by Marcey Rader on

    For sports equipment, or any equipment for that matter, I love http://www.gearpockets.com. We have four hanging in our garage. They are a great gift. I also found a really cute lap desk at http://www.mossrobot.com/2012/.....-desk.html. They do custom work and the great thing is that the cushion is attached with velcro so it can be taken off and cleaned.

  7. posted by Monica on

    It’s hard to find presents that aren’t toys or clothes. It’s a bit odd but, last year, we gifted My Way toothbrushes and toothpaste. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a battery toothbrush that comes with stickers to decorate it. Same with the toothpaste. My kids have them and love them, I figured all other kids need to brush anyways, might as well do it “funly”. I guess you could also add a book to that gift or pajamas as a bed-time package.

    Last year my girls also received a bath time kit from a cousin. They liked it and it was a gift we used every day and didn’t linger around forever. It didn’t hurt that it was princess theme either, so the girls were crazy for it.

    Tickets to local attractions are also helpful. We have a mall that has a merry-go-round and ferris wheel, for example, a petting zoo. One time, we gave a 6 year old boy 100 coins to his favorite place, Chuck E. Cheese, as a birthday present. He was sooo excited.

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