Non-Toy Gift Ideas that Keep the Meaning in Christmas

Non-Toy Christmas Gifts for KidsI don’t know about you, but we have plenty of stuff in our house. My kids are slowly growing out of the toy phase and into more “grown up” things like electronics and hobbies but still, we have accumulated plenty of Legos and doll accessories over the years. So when birthdays and holidays roll around, I’m often at a loss on what to get them that won’t just add to the abundant piles of fun they already have.

Since they were babies, we have followed the Wise Man’s Gift Giving Plan to keep Christmas gifts to a minimum and always pointing back to the reason for the season. This strategy has helped me use restraint (gifts are my love language so I’ve been known to go crazy at times) and has given me a guideline on what to give my kids.

Whether I’m choosing their big gift (Gold), something for their body (Frankincense) or something for their spiritual and personal development (Myrrh), I’m now trying to focus on things that will enhance their life rather than just provide a few moments of fun before they get bored and move on.

To that end, I’ve put together this list of non-toy Christmas gift ideas that might spark ideas for you and I both as we consider how to purposefully give things our kids will cherish this year.

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Non-Toy Gift Ideas that Keep the Meaning in Christmas

Experiences (GOLD or MYRRH)

Because Christmas is about family connection and wonder, a special experience is a gift kids will remember for years to come. This could be an expensive experience like a trip or concert tickets making it the perfect GOLD gift, or it could be something that would contribute to their personal or spiritual development, their MYRRH gift. Whatever you choose based on your child’s unique interests and personality, an experience will create memories that last far beyond the momentary fun any toy would bring. A few thoughts to spark ideas:

  • a special trip
  • concert tickets
  • a yearly museum pass
  • something new they’ve wanted to try such as horseback riding or rock climbing
  • ongoing lessons (music, dance, sports, art, etc)

Books (MYRRH)

Books may not seem like a fun gift for kids but I suppose it depends on the kid. Whether a novel, a non-fiction book or a brand new Bible, books make the perfect MYRRH gift for a child’s personal and spiritual development. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Subscription Box (GOLD or MYRRH)

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now and there are several out there that are perfect for curious kids! Since they are on the pricey side, subscription boxes make a great GOLD gift or can fit into the MYRRH or personal/spiritual development category. A few favorites are:

  • Little Passports – my kids love this box that introduced them to many nations and cultures around the world. A wonderful tool for opening up your child’s worldview! Each month, explore your kit together as a family while praying for the nation you are learning about.
  • Green Kids Crafts – from a magnetic robot to a sleuthing kit, my kids have loved every box we’ve received from Green Kids Crafts.
  • Kiwi Crate – now with several kinds of boxes in the brand, there is something for every kid and every age!

Clothes, Shoes + Accessories (FRANKINCENSE)

I can remember wanting that pricey pair of sneakers or jeans when I was a kid but my parents often didn’t have the budget to splurge. For older kids, Christmas is a great time to spend a little extra on that essential or meaningful item you wouldn’t normally spring for. These ideas would make great FRANKINCENSE or body-related gifts:

  • the expensive pair of shoes they’ve been begging for
  • a sports jersey for their favorite player
  • a special piece of jewelry (this one can be a family heirloom as well)
  • a nice jacket
  • finally getting her ears pierced!

Sporting Equipment (GOLD, FRANKINCENSE or MYRRH)

If your kids play sports, you probably buy them what they need all throughout the year. But Christmas can be a great time to introduce them to something new or splurge for the nicer piece of equipment (if the budget allows). A few ideas on what to get kids to encourage activity:

  • the nicer glove or ball or hockey stick they’ve been wanting
  • an introductory item for little ones such as a T-ball set, a tutu or their first soccer ball
  • an activity tracker (such as this one that my kids LOVE – it tracks steps, activity, sleep and chores – which is a win for mom, too!)
  • roller skates or roller blades
  • a new bicycle or motorized vehicle
  • anything that gets kids outside!

Games (MYRRH)

Ok, so maybe this one could count as a toy but the kids don’t need to know that! Games are fun AND they can be strategic gifts. Games make great MYRRH gifts because a good challenge and some fun family connection most definitely bring growth. Some of our family favorites are:

World of Disney Eye Found It Board Game – this one is perfect for families with kids of different ages because it’s a cooperative game that little and bigs can plan together!

Sorry Classic Edition Board Game – so classic!

Trouble Game: Star Wars Edition – or any of the many versions of this classic game

Yahtzee – have some fun while building math skills! Team up younger siblings with older ones so everyone in the family can play!

Race to the Treasure – another cooperative game that’s simple enough for toddlers and preschool kids

Apples to Apples – the Bible Edition includes words the kids won’t know but it’s a great way to teach Bible literacy and Apples to Apples Junior – the kids edition, is great for easy and understandable concepts (this one is also great for new readers!)

Whatever makes it on your shopping list this year, spend some time thinking about how to make your kids’ gifts meaningful and long-lasting. Especially as they grow older, kids can be taught to appreciate the important things in life rather than wishing for the latest and greatest, fleeting thing.

YOUR TURN!

Do you have non-toy Christmas gift ideas for kids? How are you making your gifts meaningful this year?

Great ideas for non-toy Christmas gifts for kids

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched
Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).

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About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched
Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).