No, really. Here’s a full list of affordable, wow-worthy ideas for everyone on your list.
It’s my gift to you, so you can put that research and shopping time toward a warm bath and good book.
Don’t believe me? This should about cover it, right?
- Kids 3-8
- Kids 9-12
- Collegiates and Twenty-Somethings
- Foodies and/or Party People
- In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card (Teachers, Babysitters, Coworkers, etc.)
Every time I ask my toddler what she wants for Christmas, it’s always the same thing: Magna-Tiles. And that’s coming from a girl who’s downright princess crazy right now, mind you.
Magnetic building sets are one of the most-loved toys at her preschool, and for good reason, too. Just try to play with them and not have fun.
While Magna-Tiles are the premium budget-busting option, the following brands give you a lot more pieces for your money:
- They’re fantastic for travel. Just stack them up, stick them together, and throw them in your bag.
- If the kids already have tiles, they can always build more with more!
- The tiles are well-built and gender-neutral, making for great hand-me-down toys in the future.
You know what’s been one the all-time favorite toys from us, according to my nieces and nephews?
Seriously. There’s nothing high-tech about them, but the circus-fun factor just can’t be denied.
I like this particular set because it has several height adjustments, plus beginner and advanced bottom attachment options.
Unless you really know they’re likes and dislikes (which could change daily), I recommend a gift card. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
Gift them an experience:
- Movie theater passes for two, plus maybe a restaurant gift card
- Local amusement park pass
- Climbing wall passes (check your local fitness centers and even outfitters, like REI, who also host outdoor sports classes across the U.S.)
- A hot air balloon or helicopter ride (again, check online for local options)
- A plane ticket voucher to visit an out-of-town relative or friend
They’re getting to the age where they need to do stuff… on their own.
This hilarious, graphically brilliant book will make it much less of a chore:
Show Me How by Lauren Smith
They hear it over and over again: “It goes so fast! Remember every precious little moment.”
Really, how feasible is that?
What’s much more likely is that they’ll mark important revelations and milestones in this little book that allows for just one line a day—and not even every day, if they don’t have the time for it.
I have one, and as I round over into year two of using it, it’s so fun to look at my entries from last year at this time.
Plus, it’s under $20, well made, and prettily compact.
Sure, the tie is a classic, but let’s kick it up a notch. How about some cuff links customized with a photo, logo, initials, or even a caricature of your family? Granted, you might need to buy a French cuff shirt to go with it (if he doesn’t have one), but what guy doesn’t need an nice shirt every once in awhile? If you get a more casual (not white) French-cuff shirt, he can even sport it to work.
And if dressing up isn’t your dad’s thing, how one of these custom comic-book-type art pieces made with a photo of him?
Really, the site is worth checking out for the example pictures alone.
They’re downright hilarious.
Get a digital photo frame and an SD card. But here’s the key:
Load it with pictures for them.
Chances are most pictures of their grandkids are on your computer or Facebook, where they can’t see them. Or if they do have them, they may not know how to (or want to) transfer them themselves.
This way, they can have and display those fond photos with no fuss. And when Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Grandparent’s Day rolls around, just send them a newly loaded SD card. Bam! Two gifts in one.
I have three words for you: Cards Against Humanity. Give it to them. Then play it will them, preferably with liquor involved. As a matter of fact, a nice bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment.
It’s a small affordable contraption that lets you experiment with flavoring your own beer. Have you seen how cumbersome and expensive the full beer-making kits can be? This is a nice option along those lines, so that can dabble. Then, if they have fun with it, they can invest in the real deal… and make you free, fine-crafted beers of course.
Cheers, all around!
In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card
Sure, a gift card for coffee and a sandwich is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather give something fun and unexpected? Anything by Keri Smith will do the trick:
- How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum
- The Pocket Scavenger
- This Is Not a Book
- Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes
- Everything Is Connected: Reimagining the World One Postcard at a Time
- The Non-Planner Datebook
- Wreck This Journal
- Wrap the books in paper decorated by the kids, for a nice touch that also fights the doldrums.
- Decorate strips of paper, cover them in contact paper, and insert in books as personalized bookmarks.
I hope this helps make your week easier. And if you have your own ideas, please share them in the comments!