Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Christmas Wish List Buying Guide of Gift Ideas for Children of All Ages

 
I don't mean to freak you out and all but it's August.
That means a mere four, short, abnormally fast-paced months until Christmas.

August is a month powered along by two birthdays for two special little boys in my life. I am beside myself keeping up with the weeks of pre-list lists requesting birthday presents from them. These are poked at me no matter how inappropriately in the months preceding their actual birthday dates and altered with equal enthusiasm as new desires take hold and old ones fade away.

It's funny, it's exhausting and it's unrelenting.



After much consideration and hard editing, the boys compromise and settle on just a few of their penned desires for their Birthdays and we carefully take note of the others. When the stresses and financial strains of providing them with their big day gifts has past, I high-five myself because I am just so excited that it's over! (Got to yell that bit.)

Then the talk of Christmas begins to crackle in the air around me like an icy scene on a postcard and shatters all my post birthday buying rest fun.

The Post Birthday Buying Rest (PBBR): A traditional time of rejoice following an extensively drawn out Birthday period for a child usually felt by all parents.

Before I had kids I would never have guessed there were such a thing as PBBR but there is indeed and I suffer from its absence each year beginning now - mid August. All my kids birthdays are behind me from here on, (with the exception of the Little Miss), but certainly not those lists and there's definitely no rest.

Shops begin to stock a few European delicacies; people start to talk about the year's end, even the odd website begins to show a little piece of flashing holly tucked away here or there or feature a pop-up reminding you of the impending season and a hint at a gift idea.

Then it all officially hits the day after Halloween like one great big supernova snow ball.

My kids hone in on the subtle changes and those Christmas lists start coming at me from all directions once more, waving on the end of little white arms just as soon as I have collapsed into my sofa to enjoy my freedom. All over again I am back to square one in the never-ending cycle of gift buying and giving that is parenthood.

My kids are aged 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 20 months. (I think I got that right - it keeps changing on me.)
Why not compile a list of age related gift ideas for Christmas? There are ideas aplenty here, bleated at me from lots of little peeps. I am never short for ideas. Never! (Sob...sob...)

Not everyone has kids pestering them with lists and maybe this information would be golden to someone who needs suggestions. Perhaps you are a Grandparent or Auntie, Uncle or a friend of a friend of a friend who has kids? Whoever you are and whatever your relationship is with a present-needy child, this post is for you, with compliments.

Let's start with babies; so cute and so easy to buy for. These little people are up there as my absolute favourites to shop with in mind. They won't hassle you with a list at all and will just as happily suck on your car keys as compared to any token toy you provide making them inexpensive too.

For the under ones, be guided by the manufacturer's age recommendations on the packaging of anything you see as suitable. Baby toy buying is a no-brainer.
Little people like toys such as plastic key teethers, stackable rings, rattles, softies and blocks. If it jingles, rolls, talks, or clicks - buy it. It will be a hit.

 
Chubby stackable crayons from Finlee and Me. Read the review here.
 
Toddlers are little emergent people with a tendency to copy grown ups. Like babies, choose things that mimic adult life and are age intended. Toy phones, keys, remote controls, blocks, stackable anything, tea sets, toy saucepans. Toddlers like books, especially books with lift-flaps or touch and feel activities. Crayons and simple creative things like colouring books are what these kids like most. Good ideas include Duplo bricks which are perfectly designed for little fingers and minds. Look for things that will engage imagination and encourage pretend play and keep that in mind when browsing for their selection. Keep it simple for little people in this age group as toddlers are renown grumps and prone to frustrations beyond reason.

 
Soft bodied baby doll by Tinker Toys - a bargain $5 find at Big W recently
 
Pre-schoolers: The 3-5 age group are heavily into pretend play and mimicry of adult life with a much deeper understanding than the toddler they've left behind. The best part about this age group is the unisex nature of their play. Kids of both sexes will adore playing with kitchen toys, doll houses, riding toy cars, dolls and doll clothing, pushing a doll's pram, dress ups, painting, chalkboards, craft anything and play dough are some examples. Thomas the Tank Engine is a universal hit. Toy cars, Sticker books and activity books are excellent options.

Now is a fun time to introduce early tech toys such as alphabet computers and the like that teach basic language and number recognition. Outdoor toys such as water tables, sandpits and play gyms are a good introduction at this age. Other suggestions include gardening sets, cash registers and money toys, shopping toys such as trolleys and small pretend grocery items. Do yourself a favour and avoid toys with batteries to minimise ongoing cost.
This is the age where you can drop some of your concerns around toys with small parts and a whole new world of play comes into its own.

Foundation school age children in the 6-8 age groups: School sets kids in motion an understanding of reading and writing and opens the door to more sophisticated learning through play. Great toys for this age group include things such as LeapPads and tablet PCs for kids, books from short learn to read titles to basic novels. Nintendo DS consoles are a big request from my kids at this stage with games to suit their skill levels to match. Scientific sets such as build your own volcano, telescopes and Nerf guns are fun choices. Active play items become more popular than ever while kids continue to build on their gross motor skills. Think bikes, balls and swim toys.

The sexes begin to differentiate in the 6-8 age group so girls begin to enjoy girly things like fancy jewellery boxes, lockable diaries, coloured gel pens and dolls that no longer look like infantile dolls - teen styled dolls begin (or continue) to catch the eyes of the females. Basic board games, craft and chemistry sets to make lip balms, jewellery making, print or knitted craft sets are good ideas.
Boys on the other hand feel the pull of monster truck toys, race car sets, action figures, computer games for PCs for kids. Bug catchers, costumes and board games are some options.


Ruben tucks in to his 8th Birthday top-of-the-list request - a Nintendo 2DS
 
A visit to the toy section for the 6-8 year olds is free range in this group and you can just be guided by their individual interests - from dinosaurs to basketballs. I find this age group quite fun to shop for and really do rely on their interests when choosing a suitable gift. Be sure to pick their brains before hitting the stores.

Another good suggestion here are online children's game sites like Moshi Monsters where they can buy a safe subscription to play in an online world against their friends. Consider a subscription to a children's magazine such as those on offer at supermarkets as a great ongoing gift idea too.

9-12 year olds are an expensive little group and the costs begin to climb from here on. Kids begin to dream big and they can really articulate what it is they desire. A hit with my kids at this age is Lego and Megablocks, particularly the sets which build amazing creations with a matching price tag. Computer games such as Minecraft and handheld game devices are all the rage. Girls continue to enjoy craft and jewellery making kits get much more involved and detailed. Loom bands are popular with all ages and are really mastered by this set. IPods begin to appear on lists around now and introduce a whole new gaming experience as well as popular music to kids. Tech is a winner at this stage. Be guided by your common sense and your wallet.

13 year olds and beyond are officially teenagers and mostly appreciate gift cards to give them the freedom to choose their own things such as music, clothing, books and accessories or games. I get asked for gift cards from stores such as Sportsgirl, iTunes, Spotlight (craft continues!) and Target. It's a good age for giving parents freedom from decision where gift giving is concerned.

Endnote: I love my kids lists. I keep all of their Birthday and Christmas lists because usually they are so outlandish and extensive and wishful that they continue to bring a smile to my face for years to come.

Do your kids present you with an endless round of lists for gift ideas too?
Do you look forward to the Post Birthday Buying Rest too?
 
Linking up for IBOT

30 comments:

  1. Christmas? Christmas? I could kill you...it's AGES away...don't add pressure already!! ;) (nice ideas tho!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naw - sorry Lydia, it's a real wake-up call isn't it?!
      Honestly, the months will zoom by...

      Delete
  2. Christmas? Yeah, I'll think of that in about three or four months' time ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have planted the seed Jodi - someone had to do it :D

      Delete
  3. I have a presents box which I add to throughout the year when I see something on sale or something that I think is a bit special. It takes the pressure off come the giving time. My boy usually has something very particular that he wants so of course I'm usually ducking out to get that close to the celebration. I'm just glad it's not an endless list, usually just the one thing. I can certainly accommodate that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - the present box. I too have done this however I often forgot what I had put into it and either doubled up or misplaced it. It's great that you have such a system in place.

      Delete
  4. You are such a star for putting this guide together. Over the past week and a half, I've been having that slightly nervous/excited feeling of "You really should start getting ready for Christmas." Every time I see a toy sale catalogue, I think "You really should get on that...."

    And Happy Birthday to your boys! My Little Ladybird is an August baby too. It's a good vintage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Shannon - I too have started pinning my gifts or just emailing things online to myself. I have to start early with 6 kids or it becomes a massive job that I can't handle. Plus it's nice to buy the great stuff while it's still in stock and not the empty shelves of December stores.

      Delete
  5. Jody!!! I agree with Lydia! But...you brought back memories of Christmases when my five were younger. Now they get cash and vouchers in a card. It's blissful beyond belief. I have a nephew who gets excited with parcels though so I don't escape entirely. Six little hearts. You're so lucky. I'm glad I had a big family. I really am. It just means more love to me :) Go you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can imagine the cash and gift cards would be bliss! You can grab those anytime and just need to write cards to match - oh the relief!
      In full agreement on the large family - more love thing. I think Christmas morning is hilarious with so many kids.

      Delete
  6. I don't know how you manage all those presents! You must be so busy looking after your family plus maintaining your blog. You're Superwoman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is so much work involved in the Christmas shop and a whole lot of cash. I have to be prepared. Not superwoman sadly but I need to approach the whole exercise like a federal budget!

      Delete
  7. Every year without fail my Christmas shopping happens on the 24th of December. Takes the stress out of the occasion if time dictates that procrastination is not an option. On the downside who would have thought that head light protectors were not a suitable present for my wife. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Mark!
      I did a Christmas shop on Christmas Eve once and it was frightening! So many people, so much waiting and so few things left on the shelves. Still, it had its good points as you do tend to grab what's available no matter how inappropriate!

      Delete
  8. I always remain in denial about Christmas until well into November. My parents are trying to make me commit to plans about meals and wonder why I seem apathetic. It's August. I don't care what I eat on December 23 right now. I have like 6 assignments to get before then....and then I'll think about worrying about Christmas. Maybe.

    My 16yo has started planning her birthday. And I refuse to listen to her until September, but she tries.

    December will come round sooner than I can deal with, won't it?

    Loving #IBOT and all the new bloggers I get to meet!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my - don't you loathe the 2 month conversation about what to eat on Christmas Day?! My Mother used to pull that one on me and I just did not want to discuss a meal in 2 months' time. I don't know what I am having for my next meal let alone one so far away.

      Delete
  9. PBBR is DEFINITELY a thing! My kidlets are now 20 and 17 so pressie buying is fairly easy these days; for the nieces and nephews I mostly give money (except for the pre-schoolers). There is nothing like the thrill of having their own money to spend, and besides, it's educational as they learn how to budget and spend that money (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet I am so glad you understand the PBBR! Giving money must be the best and I can't wait to do this in a way. (Sad about it too as that would mean my kids are growing up.) I find my kids love to receive money and choose their own stuff. We actually take them shopping on their Birthdays now and let them pick whatever it is they want themselves. There are only so many things you can find on their behalf until you start to double up with a family of this size.

      Delete
  10. My daughter has already started asking about Christmas. She is four and would like a grown up car seat. Random :) I told her I think Santa could do better than that :) How good are those soft body dolls. My daughters love their ones. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Hilarious! Still Renee, that's an easy gift - stick with it! :D
      Celeste loves her baby doll and they really were bargain priced!

      Delete
  11. We have all our birthdays in June and July, so I'm in the restful period now. Not even thinking about Christmas till the end of September!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jealous muchly Jess. There's a good distance there from Christmas and it must help you to save towards the big December date too.

      Delete
  12. All the Birthdays are done in our house and I have been thinking about how i can be organised for Christmas. I now have three girls to buy for!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Busy, busy! You will wind up like me with the four boys in the middle and stuck for choice as you already have everything in the toy shops - has this started to happen to you yet?

      Delete
  13. Ugh, Christmas! You are right though, great post, I have been worrying about what to buy for my nephews. Lego is all the rage here amongst the 5-7 year olds, especially Chima and ninjago so I am thinking of going down that route?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Holly.
      I would definitely choose Lego for your nephews. I think it's the greatest toy on the market. Nothing beats the imagination this toy stirs up. My boys would choose those options you suggested for sure.

      Delete
  14. What a fun idea!!! Even if you didn't send it, I can think of other fun ways to use this idea at home with my kids. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    mother day gift shopping

    ReplyDelete

  15. These spa gift idea would be a perfect well they can be put in a surprise gift boxes instead of a transparent container.'

    jewellery stores

    ReplyDelete
  16. We go and see Santa to 'lock in' the choice. Once you've told Santa, you can't change your mind...

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit my blog! Your comments are appreciated. I read each and every one and do try to respond when I can. Spam will be deleted immediately.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...