25 Non-Toy Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love this Christmas

25 Non-Toy Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love this Christmas

A few years ago, a friend of mine declared herself a “MABOT” which stood for “Mothers against battery- operated toys.” While we laughed at the time, there was some truth to her statement.  At the end of Christmas, all you often end up with are crabby kids, broken toys and a need to buy stock in Duracell. It’s our default to give our kids the newest and greatest toys on the market. As much as we try to give our kids what they asked for, we sometimes end up feeling more disappointed when the novelty of the new toy wears off. But what if you could eliminate all of that and give your kids a gift that will make their Christmas extra special? Here are twenty-five non-toy (or battery) ideas for Christmas gifts: 

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  • 1. Gifts to Teach Your Kids Compassion and Empathy:

    1. Gifts to Teach Your Kids Compassion and Empathy:

    Sponsor a child- I can’t think of a better way to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas then to give the gift of a better life to a child in need. Compassion and World vision always have children in need of sponsors. Let your kids unwrap the gift of life this holiday season.

    Give a gift to your sponsored child- after you sponsor a child, you can give them extra gifts in addition to a monthly sponsorship. Giving a child the gift of running water or food for them and their family. This is a great way to keep Christ at the center of the season.

    Sign Them Up for a Missions Trip- America prides itself on being a country of excess. But what if kids could see how children in other countries live? Give them the gift of compassion and civic awareness by going as a family on a missions trip. Places all around are in need of the gospel; you don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary. 

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  • 2. Gifts that Teach Your Kids the Joy of Giving:

    2. Gifts that Teach Your Kids the Joy of Giving:

    Pay away the layaway- In the local news, a man from the community decided to spread some Christmas cheer by paying off some of the layaways for the customers of major retail stores like Walmart, Kmart and target. Give your kids money and bring them to the layaway department of your local retailer. Let them pay off some of the layaways there. Help them understand that the best gifts are from giving not receiving.

    Bless a friend- Your child’s Christmas list might be long, but not every family can afford Christmas gifts. Does your child know a friend who is in need this season? Let them buy a toy for their friend rather than themselves. Let your child unwrap the joy of blessing others. 

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  • 3. Gifts that Teach Them Gratitude:

    3. Gifts that Teach Them Gratitude:

    Savings bond- although this may seem a bit disappointing for your kids now, when it matures it will be a gift waiting for them. You can help them save up for their future education or for a need like a car or rent. Whatever you do, teach them that saving is essential to ensure their future success.

    Start a gratitude jar- this will take some dedication, but start a gratitude jar at the beginning of next year. Every time someone shows gratitude for a kind gesture or word, an unexpected blessing or something good for the family, put a designated amount of money in the jar. On Christmas, count the money and decide as a family what you want to do with it. You can go on a trip, buy something all can share or bless someone with it.

    Create a photo book- Take pictures you have taken of your child throughout the year. Make them a “year in the life of” book that highlights special events, activities, etc. of your child throughout the year. They can flip through the book and reflect on all that has happened throughout the year. 

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  • 4. Gifts that Help Them Learn:

    4. Gifts that Help Them Learn:

    Books, books, books- The gift of reading never goes out of style. Allow your kids to enjoy the gift of literacy and instill with them a love of reading. Even kids who don’t like to read can enjoy a book if it is in the genre and topic that interests them most.

    Subscription to an educational magazine- If a child would rather read a magazine than a book, you can still instill a love of literacy within them with a subscription to an educational magazine such as National Geographic junior or highlights. They will enjoy a gift that keeps coming in the summer and the whole year.

    Sign up for a class- What are your children’s interests? Do they like to make crafts? Play an instrument? Bake? Visit your local community center to see what classes they offer. Sign up and take your kids to learn a new skill together. 

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  • 5. Gifts that Make Your Kids Feel Special:

    5. Gifts that Make Your Kids Feel Special:

    A day about me- Let each child have a day where they get to be in charge. Let them choose where you eat, what you do, etc. It’s important for each kid to know they are loved, and this is a great way to let them know they are not only loved but celebrated for their individuality.

    Frame their artwork- Kids often come home from school with pictures they made for parents that they are proud of. Frame their best work and display it around the house. Surprise them by making a collage of their framed work and set a spot in the house to display it for all to see.

    Coupon book- Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. If finances are an issue, consider making a coupon book of favorite items, places to go as well as “passes” to things they consider a chore. For example, you can treat them to something as simple as a trip to the ice cream or as sophisticated as going to the nearest arcade or entertainment center. You can also have passes like a day of no homework or “give your chores to your brother or sister.”

    Music- Do your kids like a specific musician or band? Get them a CD of their favorite music. You can even teach them about different media by buying them a record player and get their favorite music on vinyl (if offered.)  

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  • 6. Gifts that Bring Your Family Closer

    6. Gifts that Bring Your Family Closer

    Photo shoot- Has your family had a professional picture together? This is a gift that families as well as kids can enjoy as they display it proudly in their living room. This is a constant reminder they are loved and a part of a family unit.

    Start a family night tradition- Kids love to make memories with their parents. Enact a family night on the weekend. Each week on the same night, do something special. It can be a simple as wiping the dust off an old board game or going to play laser tag. The possibilities are endless. Once the tinsel is off the tree and the ornaments put away, the gift of family memories will still linger.

    Take a vacation- Save up to take a family vacation around the holidays. This will take a little thought and ingenuity on your part, but imagine surprising your children with a trip to Disney World or to visit distant family members. 

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  • 7. Gifts that Are Just for Fun:

    7. Gifts that Are Just for Fun:

    Throw a party- with the hustle and bustle of activities, it is easy to get lost in the true meaning of the season. Wait until after Christmas and then let your child invite his/her friends to enjoy a special party. Separate from a birthday party, let him celebrate life just hanging out and enjoying their friends’ company.

    Makeover/spa day- if you have daughters who like to be pampered, spend a day making yourselves over. Go to a local spa and let them get their hair done, do their nails, the works. The time you spend with your kids will be a gift that lies in your memory for years to come.

    Make a video- some of my most treasured gifts are of the home movies of time with my children. But this doesn’t just have to be for adults; it can be for kids, too. Create videos of their special moments on video then play it on Christmas for all family members to enjoy. 

    Movies- Something as simple as getting their favorite movie on DVD will demonstrate you know your kids well. Plus, it can be an upcoming family night idea on how to spend your time together. 

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  • 8. Gifts that Teach Responsibility:

    8. Gifts that Teach Responsibility:

    Open a savings account- open a savings account on each of your children’s names and place within a designated amount of money. You can also, if you wish, place any family monetary gifts in the account. Let them see how much money can grow when it is saved but also reinforce that money doesn’t need to be wasted on items that won’t last but they can save up for something they really want and will treasure.

    Start a garden- Kids take a lot for granted, especially basics like food and shelter. Buy some indoor plants and let them have the responsibility of caring for it. When the weather gets warmer, transfer the plants outdoors, or buy more and start a small garden. They will learn how to cultivate the earth and they will take pride in helping something grow that they can enjoy later.

    Adopt a pet- although pets are not the best gift idea as they often become a parent’s responsibility once the holidays pass, you can adopt a pet in their name online. Many organizations accept donations to help pet shelters in business. Donate each month in their name and take a trip there to show them what their gift is doing to help make the world a better place. 

    Gifts don’t have to come with wrapping paper and bows. Sometimes the best gifts come from the heart. 

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    Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year and the Enduring Light Silver Medal, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Her first book with Leafwood Publishers, An Invitation to the Table, came out September 2016. She also teaches at various writers' workshops, such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She and her husband live in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Caleb and Leah. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.