Alternative Gifts For Kids

The holiday season has become a money pit.  Each year the stores stock holiday items two to three months before a holiday even begins.   This can put families in a financial burden.  Not to mention, you might spend the money on things that you or your children do not need.   Here are some tips to help you get started and maybe enjoy this holiday season without breaking the bank.

Make a list.

· Have your children make a list of what they need versus what they want.  This helps to put the gift buying into perspective.   Just because Johnny down the street has a brand new bike that just came out on the market, doesn’t mean you have to have one also.

· Make a list of the needs, the wants, and the must haves.   Give your children a dollar amount.  Then let them decide what they really want and need.  So if the dollar amount is $150.00 per child, and the new sneakers cost $130.00 do they only want two gifts? You will be surprised how much they scale that list down.

Alternative gifts

Instead of the really pricey toys that cost a ton of money and only play with it for one week.  Try these ideas.

If your child is 0-5 years old

· Clothing items

· Education fund.  One small gift and one bond. They may not be happy but will thank you when they are older.

· Getting them a lesson such as music, sport, painting, and so on.

· Cooking lessons are always fun for the little ones.

If your child is 6-12 year old

· Theme park passes

· Disney on ice or their favorite production

· Education fund

· Open a bank account and deposit money into it

· Movie passes

· Special outings

· Cell phone

·  iTunes credit card

· Sports equipment

Homemade gifts or repurposed gifts

· Have a cookie exchange

· Making art pictures and framing them. You will be your own Picasso.

· Have children make gifts for brothers and sisters. homemade play dough, crayon balls, memory books.

· You can purchase wax and make your own candles.

· Make babysitting coupons or good deed coupons.

· Write down why you love the people in your home and wrap it in a box.


Final message

Here is a thought, give each member in your home money.  The catch is they cannot use it on themselves.  They must give it away to a good cause.   Adopt an animal; help a person or family in need; find an organization that could truly use the money.  The spirit of the holidays is about giving not receiving.  You don’t have to boycott Christmas, Hanukah or any holiday, buy a few things for your family, children and loved ones, the rest give back or help someone.  The holidays don’t always mean presents and lots of them, it is what you put into the holidays is what you get out.  Try it, you might just be surprised.  

Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Early Childhood education from the University of RI.   Besides overseeing sites she has also managed successful fundraisers including golf tournaments, developed and given countless training sessions, and served on boards and committees.  Tracy is currently one of the faces of The Children’s Workshop appearing on segments of “The Modern Parent” on Fox Providence’s morning television show, The Rhode Show.  In her role, Tracy enjoys most supporting and helping the staff, families, and children she works with every day. When she is not working, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and children.