Confession: I have hardly done any holiday planning. We’ve got our Christmas cards and some festive indoor lights up, but that’s about it. I’m ok with that. The kids are healthy and well fed and they’re behaving (kind of, and as long as we’re not on an airplane or in the car for too long). Good enough for me. Maybe it’s second child syndrome, but after the first one, I’ve seemed to let go of many things that I thought were important and HAD to be done the first time around. It’s been refreshing and made life so much easier for my type A personality. The 4 loads of unfolded laundry, boxes of toys that need to be donated ,and birthday gifts that I’m late on? Not even worrying about it. We have clothes and toys and the means to buy gifts, and that alone should be plenty, right?

I digress. Back to the holidays. Still stuck in a rut and unsure what to get your little ones? I had not really given it much thought until this week either. With all the bad news around us these days, I was thinking how I’d really like to get our boys some gifts that make them want to help, be more kind, and learn to be better. I did some quick Googling and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Books about kindness. Here’s a useful list that I may use to get some book titles from. Read any of these to your kids yet? Looks promising.
  2. Eco-friendly toys. These are designed to satisfy my inner tree hugger. So really, they’re for mommy too :-). If you look around our toy room, you’ll notice that there’s just way too much plastic. I’m a big fan of Green Toys and cups, plates, and utensils from Replay Recycled. Great quality and they help the planet. We are Santa is planning on getting this pizza parlor set for Asher this year.
  3. STEM gifts. I’ve heard a lot about the Sphero (awesome, but pricey), but since Dilan’s a bit young for it, Santa may get him the Code-a-Pillar this year (thanks, Jenny, great suggestion!). Amazon has a nice list of STEM gifts here. We need more scientists to move the world forward – never a bad thing to try to cultivate one early on. The worst that could happen is a child who’s good at math.
  4. #Optoutside gifts. One of our favorite outdoor gifts for both genders is this water rocket. It’s not necessarily an active outdoor game and does use a bit of water, but it can entertain the kids for hours, with the supervision of an adult. Anil got this for Dilan earlier this year and it’s been pretty popular in our neighborhood. Any gift that get the kids outside (and maybe even teach them a bit of physics!) is a win in my book. Bonus: it’s about $15, not too shabby.
  5. Children’s household “toys”. We’re lucky that both our kids are foodies, with the exception of those typical toddler and preschool phases where they randomly refuse to eat a food they’ve always loved (I’m talking to you, broccoli). Even if your child is not into food, you can still try some household gifts to teach him how to do things around the house. I’ve seen some kid sized brooms and dust pans that may work. This year, Santa’s getting Dilan a knife, similar to this one, that he can use without hurting himself. My mission is to teach him how to cut his own pears. Boy LOVES his pears. Since we have boys, my hope is that they’ll learn to overcome the stereotype of dads doing less than moms in and around the house when they grow up. This is my first attempt at it. Fingers crossed that I don’t fail, future daughter-in-laws 😉

Second confession: my second biggest fear in life (the first one is people choking…long story) is that I’ll raise a bunch of jerks. Our boys are as sweet as they come right now, but the world is a harsh place. Hopefully Santa will give them gifts that can actually make a difference down the road. What other neat gifts did, I miss guys? Any favorites? Happy shopping!

chanel