Tag Archives: gifts for kids

Fun holiday tradition: 12 days of Christmas

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to a fun tradition. For the twelve days leading up to Christmas, my mom would wrap small gifts for my sisters and me. Every day before school, there were gifts on the kitchen table for us to open.

The gifts started out extremely small — a pack of gum or a candy bar. As we got closer to Christmas, they would get a little fancier, but still small — the biggest gift on Christmas Eve would maybe be a CD or a DVD. The gifts were essentially stocking stuffers that we opened in the days leading up to Christmas instead of Christmas morning, but it was so much fun!

This year, Tony and I decided to do our own 12 days of Christmas. Every day until Christmas, we’re exchanging very small but thoughtful gifts. It’s a fun tradition, and a great way to show that we’re really paying attention to each other.

It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money or any money at all to show your kids or your spouse how much you love them through small gifts. I considered making a “pizza night” certificate for Tony. Since he does the cooking, I thought he’d like to have a pass to skip cooking and order pizza any night he wants. I ultimately decided that was sort of lame, since he already has that power anyway, but I thought it was a fun idea anyway. I also joked that he should give me a gift certificate for a free outing by myself while he keeps Judah at home. We’ll see if he takes my suggestion, but I doubt it since he said I can already do that whenever I want. (I’ll have to remember that from now on!)

I can’t reveal what I did get for him for the remaining days, but for days 1 and 2, he received a bag of M&Ms and a 6-pack of Coke in glass bottles — two of his favorite treats that he rarely indulges in. He gave me a mug for drinking tea or coffee and a package of Starbucks hot cocoa.

I apologize for not sharing this idea with you early enough that you could do your own version, but I literally decided to do it Monday, and we exchanged our first gifts Tuesday. So it was last minute for us, too.

Judah is too young to receive gifts like candy, and he really doesn’t need more toys. But I can’t wait until he’s a little older, and I can carry on this fun tradition for him.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Easy, frugal gifts for babies and young kids

Christmas giftIf you watched the adorable slideshow I posted Friday, then you know that I have five nieces and nephews ages 6 and under. With that many kids on your list, Christmas can easily become overwhelming.

Last year, I cashed in MyPoints on a $50 Amazon.com gift card and bought toys for all of them. But it was exhausting shopping for that many kids, especially since we live so far away. And honestly, at that age, they’re so inundated with toys on Christmas morning that I question whether the toys I sent added any real joy to their Christmas.

So we’ve been thinking of alternative gifts for our nieces and nephews to make the holidays easier on us and special for them. Here are some of the ideas we’ve considered:


I still have books from my aunts and grandparents with little messages inscribed inside. Books can last a lifetime, and they’re not very expensive. Choose something meaningful to the child in your life (Harold and the Purple Crayon for the kid who loves to draw or Where the Wild Things Are for the rambunctious kid). If you you live far away, have the book shipped directly from Amazon.com to cut down on shipping costs.

Give your time.

I was a middle child growing up, and what I wanted more than anything was to feel special. Give a kid with siblings a day all to herself. Wrap a gift certificate for a kid manicure or a movie, and take him or her on a special outing.

Adopt an endangered species.

If you donate $50 to the World Wildlife Fund, they send you a species adoption kit including a plush toy, an adoption certificate, a photo of the animal, and a species information card. This may be a little too deep for really young kids, but my 6-year-old niece and 4-year-old nephew would love it.

Name a star after him.

Let me start by saying this: whatever you do, don’t send money to the “National Star Registry.” This isn’t an official organization, and stars named this way are not recognized by anyone but you. So you’ll end up sending off $50+ for nothing but a certificate. Why do that when you can make one yourself and get across the same idea to the imaginative child in your life? Let him pick the brightest star in the sky, name it what he wants, and create your own star naming certificate.

What are your creative gift ideas for kids?

Photo by .bean