Argh! It's that time of year again

MrsSippi Forumite Posts: 287 Forumite
edited 18 September 2017 at 9:37AM in MoneySaving mums
So....... I have got 2 girls (ages 2 and 6) and I am starting to be asked by family and friends what they want for Xmas (and eldest turns 7 within a week of Xmas so there's that too). This makes me think I should start thinking what we can get them as well.

Anyway, I do the obligitary thing of requesting catalogues and going online to all the major retailers but tbh find it really depressing! Most of it just looks like plastic tat which costs more than I think it's worth!

My eldest isn't quite old enough yet to really make her own list, though I do keep a listen out for anything she particularly seems to like. Lego Is always a hit and we did want to upgrade her bike and helmet etc this year so that will be either Xmas or birthday sorted. I am still keen to avoid 'technology based gifts at this age. I have asked friends with kids of similar ages but a lot of what they want is based on TV characters etc which my two aren't really into (I keep TV to a minimum) so that's not much help.

What do you do? Are there any companies etc that are a bit 'different'? Any ideas where to look? There are a couple of shops in our nearest town who do more old style toys which sometimes gives me a couple of ideas but I'm sure I'm not the only one to feel like this? Help!


  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Forumite Posts: 5,642
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Could you request tickets for experiences and classes instead? I bought my neice an annual pass to a local soft play once and a family member bought me and my child annual passes for a farm. I know someone else requested vouchers for things like Legoland or a term of baby ballet/Toddler Sense.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • kingfisherblue
    kingfisherblue Forumite Posts: 9,203
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Xmas Saver!
    This depends on your own circumstances, but I've suggested to a couple of parents whose daughters have recently moved up to Brownies that they consider asking relatives for Brownie uniform items. Likewise Rainbow parents. Does your older daughter attend any sort of club that someone could buy something towards?

    You could also look at magazine subscriptions - there should be something suitable for both girls.

    The Book People have plenty of books to choose from, and you could consider a new bookcase to house them if necessary.

    I've just bought a bundle of dressing up clothes from Ebay for my granddaughter. There isn't any way I could have afforded so many if I bought new, and she won't mind that they are second hand (all in good condition).

    Dunlem Mill have sets of a plate, mug and egg cup if you want to think about them having their own dishes. They're available in other places too, and most children like having thei own special plate.

    Do they enjoy crafts? You can buy some great stuff from Wilkinsons and similar shops, or for something a bit more unusual, try Crafty Crocodiles. You could make up a craft hamper - either use a box that they can keep their bits and bobs in, or a bin for their rubbish. Include safe scissors, glue sticks, and a mini sellotape dispenser. If you don't use those little hanging ribbons inside clothing, you could cut those out and pop them into a little box or bag to add to your hamper at no extra cost (this is MSE after all!). The same applies to pretty envelopes, wine corks, strong tubes (from foil and cling film), etc.

    The Works have sets of two suitcases in different designs - pretty and could be used for storage.

    If the girls share a room, maybe consider a divider to give each of them their own space. This could be a cube type unit that is open on both sides - just add crates. B&Q have smiley face crates - have some face one child's side of the bedroom and some face the other side. As well as giving each of them a bit of space to call their own, you have extra storage for toys or clothes. Or think about two basket toy storage units and face one towards one side of the room and the other towards the other side of the room.

    Do they have a CD player? You could ask for CDs with songs and stories on. The Book People have some lovely sets of stories on CD.

    Gardening - a hamper of mini tools, seeds, gloves, etc. If you don't have the space in the garden for the girls to grow something, they could grow flowers or veg in pretty containers. Most children enjoy growing things, and if they are reluctant to eat veg, it's a good way to get them to try new things.
  • LMG1305
    LMG1305 Forumite Posts: 179
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker Xmas Saver!
    My girls always enjoy receiving baking kits. Some of the ready made ones can be expensive but my mum made her own earlier this year to give as gifts. She just bought mason jars from Home Bargains & then found the correct ingredients list on Pinterest I believe. Then she just put all the dry ingredients in the jars, tied some pretty string around them & gave them as a gift along with some cupcake cases, sprinkles, wooden spoon & then had the baking instructions on a pretty piece of card that she attached to the string. My daughters loved it, all we had to do was provide the wet ingredients (egg, butter) & they had a lovely afternoon baking cupcakes.
  • depapepe
    depapepe Forumite Posts: 5 Forumite
    I hope my kids won't be addicted to playing digital games. I would take them out to experience the nature.
  • jackomdj
    jackomdj Forumite Posts: 3,073
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    As well as the plastic tat (which the children loved) I would try to get experiences. But as they are little they like opening things. One year we got London Zoo tickets which were attached to a teddy. Mine are older, Last year I made wonker bar wrappers, wrapped it around some chocolate, made a golden ticket for each of us inviting us to two days full of amazing adventures going to see Charlie and the chocolate factory and the second day at winter wonderland, we asked for money from friends which the girls used at the wonderland.

    It depends what technology stuff you get. It does have its place. Both mine love it, but will also happily spend time doing other stuff (youngest loves square paper for practicing her maths (strange child!!:)))
  • NineDeuce
    NineDeuce Forumite Posts: 997 Forumite
    Just get a selection box. They should be happy with that.
  • kingfisherblue
    kingfisherblue Forumite Posts: 9,203
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Xmas Saver!
    depapepe wrote: »
    I hope my kids won't be addicted to playing digital games. I would take them out to experience the nature.

    Have a look at the Nature Detectives website - some great activities on there, such as making a bag for collecting leaves, making identification wheels, dot to dots, etc. Some are for indoor use, and others can be taken outside to use with the nature around you.
    ALIBOBSY Forumite Posts: 4,527
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    depapepe wrote: »
    I hope my kids won't be addicted to playing digital games. I would take them out to experience the nature.

    My kids are 7, 10 14 and 19 so I speak from experience. Whatever you do they WILL want technology and be exposed to it by the friends.

    TBH we have found the best way is to embrace it but ensure they have a balance in life. For example on a nice sunny day limit their screen time and encourage them to go out and play. I always found they moan at first but once they are out playing they love it.

    We like national trust and have always tried to do days out at weekened. Even when money was tight a trip to local park with a picnic or a trip to the beach (we are about a 20-30 min trip to the coast).

    We are lucky that we are fairly rural so can walk down to the river in a couple of minutes, but there will be places you can take the kids for free.

    We found the kids like to go out even on cold days, wrap up and go to a beach in windy weather, kick up the leaves in autumn in a wood etc.

    My kids loved a walk and a cold weather picnic-hot soup in a flask and sandwiches.

    Growing things in the garden is pretty cheap if you don't go crazy and they love it, recall my son and his mates pulling fresh carrots from the garden using the hose to rinse them off and munching them as a snack. We rarely get to eat peas in this house as ev1 eats them outside straight from the pod.

    Even had one of the girls mums ask me what on earth the girls had been eating as her daughter went home after playing with the girls saying they had been eating the leaves in the garden-it was cut and come again lettuce leaves :rotfl:

    Ali x
    "Overthinking every little thing
    Acknowledge the bell you cant unring"

  • mickeymouse303
    mickeymouse303 Forumite Posts: 211 Forumite
    I've been having the same thought process recently! I think buying tickets as a 'big' present is much more worthwhile than buying into all the tat. I'd rather pay for an experience they'll remember than spend a fortune on toys etc that will be forgotten.
  • Saffagal
    Saffagal Forumite Posts: 673 Forumite
    This year the grandparents are getting us an English Heritage membership and the other set an HHA (Historic Houses Association) membership instead of "things". My kids LOVE days out and we try to go out at least one day each weekend so this gives us lots of options and three visits in the year and we've more than had our money's worth (my kids are young; 4 and 1 but as we already have National Trust membership I know they'll enjoy days out more than more stuff)
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