Choosing gifts for your children that align to your family values this Christmas can be an easy way to help the overload of ‘stuff’ that can make its way into your home. The bonus of making choices this way means you won’t need to look to decluttering once the festive season and holidays come to an end.

This time of the year families can be pressured into fevered responses to gift buying with the pester power of children all driven by clever marketing campaigns created by toy companies.  Our children are targeted as the consumer by these big corporations, and count on the lucrative pull of a child’s ‘wish list’ to get you to purchase the latest must have.

Because I can be regularly heard saying to my children “because that toy doesn’t meet our family value of sustainability, it won’t be coming home with us” my dear nine-year-old doesn’t even try to add these items onto a wish list anymore.

If you’ve not sorted gifts for your little ones this year yet, then maybe consider the following as a filter before purchasing stuff that you’ll end up decluttering by the time our summer holidays come to a close.

Here’s a list of what not to buy as you navigate gift buying this season

  • Things that will break easily, not lasting more than a day or two.  The $2 stocking filler might bring a moment of joy as it’s unwrapped and is likely to never be used past Christmas day.
  • Developmentally inappropriate toys bring frustration for a child.  If your child can’t use the toy on their own, and need a whole lot of instructions that they just aren’t ready to work out for themselves, or with the help of an older sibling, then don’t buy it yet!
  • Fixed toys.  Stuff that doesn’t invite imagination or can’t be used in a variety of ways. Usually these are made out of plastic.
  • Too complicated, break easily, batteries involved or plastic
  • High stimulus – like the toy guitar (as opposed to a real one) that makes a horrendous noise, has batteries and lights up more than your Christmas tree!
  • Any toy that you find annoying or offensive.
  • If you’ve been pressured to buy it with the pestering power of your child because “everyone has one” or is commercial – like those little dolls made of plastic, wrapped in plastic and your child ‘needs’ to have every version of.  They’re usually placed perfectly at a child’s eye level at the check out of a department store.
  • Any toy that brings about corrosive play – like toy plastic guns, or action figures that look like they’ve had an intense gym workout.  A child will make a gun out of anything (usually a stick!), they don’t need you to buy them one.  As for those guns that shoot out the bullets that get munched up in the lawn mower when left laying out, I’d strongly suggest thinking again.
  • Any toy that has a collection element to it invites multiple purchases – like those dolls I mentioned earlier, or those little soft toys with the big sparkly eyes also placed conveniently at dept store checkouts.
  • Environmentally unhealthy toys that require intense supervision to ensure your child doesn’t digest any part of it.

Remember that LOVE doesn’t live in gifts, it is best shared with TIME.  Consider a voucher for an ice-cream, movie and a play at the lake, beach, or park if you’re a relative looking for a gift for a niece, nephew or grandchild.  For those with teens, consider a gift that takes a child outdoors and off screens this summer.  Tickets to an upcoming festival, sports game or show.  Experiences make great gifts and even better memories.


Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach


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