Monday, November 8, 2010

Gifties for Kids that aren't Toys

I've been thinking about Christmas for WEEKS, thanks to Macy's and Safeway already having decorations up. My mom started making the dough for her awesome gingerbread cookies this past weekend and my sister sent out an email request for Christmas lists just this morning. So. Christmas is officially on my mind.

I enjoy shopping in general and Christmas shopping specifically. I love giving gifties. My biggest trouble seems to be the fact that I often think "it's too early to really shop for presents" until about Thanksgiving and then the day after Thanksgiving I get an overwhelming sense that it is now TOO LATE and why oh why didn't I start sooner? My second biggest trouble is that I think sometimes I don't recognize that most stores are of the Hit & Miss variety. Like, over the summer (when I was zenning my photos) I went to this big T.J.Maxx/Home Goods combo store and it was awesome. They had the photo albums I was looking for, but they also had all kinds of cute giftie type things: cloth jewelry boxes, pretty magnetic note pads, yummy smelling candles, etc. I bought a few things then but I decided to come back when I was really ready to deck the halls and don my gay apparel-- I made the mistake of thinking the store ITSELF was good for Christmas shopping, not that they just happened to have some good Christmas gifty-type STUFF in the middle of summer. When I went back last week I was totally disappointed. The pretty trinkets and stationary boxes had been replaced with rows and rows of the various incarnations of Holiday Cheer.

Reading Swistle's Milk and Cookies post got me thinking about buying gifties for my nieces and nephews. The thing is, they have a lot of toys already so I'd like to have some ideas on hand for gifties that aren't toys. That said, whenever a kid asks for toys and not whatever gadgetty thing is currently the fad like an ipod or a Nintendo DS or a cell phone, I totally want to give him or her TOYS. I have to hold myself back from grabbing their shoulders and shaking them, "Don't grow up yet! I'LL BUY YOU TOYS, JUST STAY A KID AS LONG AS YOU CAN!"

So I do often end up buying toys but I am trying to ease away from this a little while still maintaining my title of Fun Aunt. So what do you GET for a kid when you don't want to get him or her toys? The kids I am shopping for fall into a 4-11.5 year age range.
PaintWorks - Horses by a Stream Paint-by-Number Kit
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)
I got this for a little girl who likes art and LOVES horses. Her mom didn't seem to think it was funny when I said I was getting her a pony.

Art supply stuff in general seems to be a good direction to go.
Schylling Sea Monkeys Magicquarium
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)
Sea Monkeys! They provide hours of entertainment (My sister: "The neighbor kids keep coming over to watch them and eating all our snacks and clogging up our downstairs toilet.") but don't need as much attention as, y'know, a real pet.

Accessories. I got my niece a cute girlie hat for her birthday. Another niece got a sweet little cupcake necklace from someone else this year.

Clothes are another fine choice but I just can't keep track of all their sizes and preferences and whatnot so I don't usually bother with clothes.

I once gave my nephew one of those fake fossil rocks that you smash with a hammer and there's a plastic dinosaur inside. I was looking for a link for one of those but I found these instead, which look way more fun.

Break Your Own Geodes - Set of 12
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)

Maybe some sort of "You and Me Spending Time Together" coupon type thing? I dunno. I kind of like the instant gratification of actual presents.

Okay, I'm out. Other ideas?