December is finally upon us, and with it, the beginning of the holiday shopping rush. This is about the same time every year that I realize that I may have waited a bit too long to start considering gift ideas. You’d think I would remember to start early after my delayed endeavors last year resulted in New Year’s presents instead of Christmas presents, but oh well, at least I’m consistent.
But now that I’m getting started on my shopping, I’ve come across a couple of tough people to shop for: namely, my two little nephews. They are the youngest recipients on my list this year, and naturally, my go-to thought for children’s presents is toys. I mean, what kid doesn’t love opening new toys during the holidays. But sometimes it just seems like way too much. I know for a fact that these adorable children have an entire toy closet at their house that goes through intermittent cycles of being entirely ignored, and being spread in an even layer across every inch of floor space in their bedroom. Apparently their mom (my lovely sister-in-law) is on the same page, because when talking about gift ideas for the boys, she hinted that perhaps this year we should stay away from adding to the chaos with additional toys. I know she’s not alone in being fed up with too much clutter at the holidays – being swept up in the season and buying more unnecessary things, is almost a part of holiday traditions at this point. But what can you get for a child that will still bring them holiday joy without adding to the clutter?
After extensive research, I’ve come up with a couple of awesome alternative gift ideas (for both girls and boys) that might be helpful for other gift-givers in a similar situation. Hopefully these gifts can even help banish the clutter, rather than add to it, while still bringing a big smile to your kiddo’s face. My ideas essentially boiled down to two categories, the first of which is:
So I know it sounds like a stretch at first, but hear me out on this one. Kids can have fun without making things disorganized if you make the storage solution part of a game. It’s more entertaining to keep things in the places they belong, if they go in a really fun place. As an added bonus, every item that I’ve picked for this category has an arrives-before-Christmas guarantee, so even late shoppers can still get these presents in time if they order by December 22nd. Find out more about ATGStores.com's Guaranteed By Christmas program here.
I’m kicking this off with what might be my favorite suggestion of the bunch: a nearly four foot tall rocket bookcase that is masquerading as a doll house. This bookcase is just fantastically themed - I mean look at it – it has rocket blasters and everything! Also, it’s taller than a lot of little kids, so it has plenty of room for books and toys, and it comes with matching astronauts and aliens to play with on the shelves.
This doll nursery is another prop for pretend play that is absolutely adorable, has the wow factor of a giant play piece, and is half storage space. Not only would a child love playing house with this play nursery, they would have a designated place to put their dollies and stuffed animals to bed at night. There’s also an easy spot to stow all sorts of things in the bins underneath. And, since the bins are fully enclosed, they completely hide whatever is stored inside, leaving the room looking tidier and clutter-free.
A Lego board play table is another amazing option that any kid would love to play with. This table has a surface made out of Lego, so it is the perfect base for castles, skyscrapers, or large amorphous Lego blobs to be constructed. And, it has a huge interior compartment to store the bricks in, so you don’t have to keep a bunch of bins or boxes on hand for that anymore. This particular Lego table that I’ve linked too is also cool because it’s customizable and lets you add a child’s name to it if you want. This leads us to my other suggestion category:
Adding a child’s name to something is such an easy way to make sure they love their present, even if it isn’t an item they would normally be super excited about. I know this one works, partly because my mom used it on me when I was little. One year, I was given a set of lovely personalized pillowcases for Christmas. Pillowcases for Christmas - I know. What small child wouldn’t love the gift new bed linens? And yet, because they had my name elegantly embroidered on the end of each sham, I absolutely adored them. Monograming or personalizing an item is practically cheating at holiday gifting.
A step stool with their name on it can be a great gift for little ones who are still short enough to not be able to reach a lot of things without help. Everyone knows that children of a certain age love to assert their independence, and a step stool of their very own can help them do things themselves. Also, this one has a cute compartment inside the top step, so there’s a little extra storage space to keep whatever essential items need to be toted to wherever they’re stepping up to.
I’m wrapping up this list with a classic: a big wooden toy box. This storage area is one of the easiest ways to bring some order to a child’s messy room. It is such a catch-all solution that makes it so simple to clean up toys, that even little kids can take care of it themselves. This one that I’ve linked to is an especially nice customizable option because it has a bunch of choices for colors, fonts, and text color, to add a little fun and make it match any room.
These possibilities are by no means the only gift choices out there that can provide alternatives to traditional toy options or help to contain Christmas chaos, but they are a good start in the right direction. I hope these suggestions were helpful for you, or at least inspired you to consider working towards own clutter-free holiday season this year.