Kids love toys. I remember being highly disappointed at Christmas when I didn’t get toys. But there are a few gifts that weren’t toys I got as gifts when I was a kid that stand out. My first guitar isn’t something I played with much, but it helped me get into music (the Beach Boys specifically). My first Lakers sweater is a piece of clothing I wore every time I watched a game until I was in my 20s. And my grandpa’s conch shell he got in Myrtle Beach is still a treasure I hold dear.
So while kids may pout about the gifts you get them, play the long game. Toys are fun, but often forgotten in a short period of time. Instead give the kids in your life a gift that they will treasure immediately and for years to come:
A photo blanket makes a great Christmas gift for a child. Capture fun memories of their time as a kid on a collage blanket, or a single image of a family vacation woven onto a blanket. With minimal care a photo blanket will be a gift that keeps his or her memories of childhood with them as they grow into adulthood.
Another great non-toy gift for Christmas is tickets to an event. I remember my first concert tickets were Christmas gifts. My friends and I went to see Veruca Salt and Bush (circa 1997) and it is a memory that I still hold dear.
For family members far away, send the kids some mail for Christmas. Since many younger brothers and sisters have older siblings that are stationed overseas, they would love a personal greeting in the form or a letter or video. More people live further away from family than ever before. If you have a young child in your life, take a video that tours the part of the world you’re living in and email it to the child. They’ll be amazed by all the different parts of the world different than their own, and encourage more exploration on their part.
Sleeping bags are a great non-toy Christmas gift for kids who are just starting to sleep over their friends house. Usually that’s around first grade, but check with their parents first. A sleeping bag can also be used to create forts, or for family camping nights out in the stars!
Homemade coupon books are gifts that kids usually give to adults. But it can work the other way around. If your son or daughter has chores, give them a few coupons to get them out of doing it for a day or so. It will teach them to manage their time, and to (hopefully) wait for busy times in their schedules to use the coupons. Coupons for special dinner nights where the child chooses the food is another great idea. Giving the child a say in family matters (like what to do on a weekend) will help them make good life choices down the road.