My daughter is one really fortunate kid. Not only does she have a lovely room, and attend a fabulous school, but she also has a mom that writes about toys for a living. Seriously, she could probably go an entire month without playing with the same toy twice. Not only that, but she’s a pretty popular cousin and friend because she’s able to spread the kiddie wealth! That’s why, when folks ask “What does Ayva want for Christmas? I want to get her something”, my answer to them is usually just, “anything but toys”. I realize that’s not really helpful, though, so I have some ideas for things you can tell your well meaning loved ones who want to spoil your little one:
1. Tution for a class
Ayva loves to dance, but she’s also interested in art, singing and acting. I can’t afford to put her in every class that she’d like to take, and she and I would be really grateful for a gift of a class or a workshop. If your family member says that they want to see your child open something up, encourage them to maybe get an inexpensive stuffed animal or book that relates to the workshop or class that they’re gifting.
2. A museum membership
A museum membership is really like a triple gift. Not only does the child that receives it get to enjoy it, but if your loved one purchases a family membership, so do the parents! That’s not all, though. Most museums are non-profits, so by purchasing a membership, they’re helping to support the museum organization as well. Win, win, win!
3. A 529 College Savings Plan
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a dinner hosted by the folks from ScholarShare. ScholarShare is a company that allows parents in California to set up 529 college savings plans for their children. The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is offered by the State of California, and TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is the Plan Manager. In addition to the funds that you put into the 529 account, you can send your friends and family a code to add funds as well. There’s even a Gift Of Education certificate they can print off and frame if they want to give something tangible. It’s really the gift that lasts a lifetime, and will actually end up being way more valuable than any toy they could ever buy. A ScholarShare college savings plan is incredibly simple to set up, and can be started with as little as $25. Learn more about ScholarShare on their website, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
4. Quality time
The gift that trumps everything, though, is quality time. Invite your loved one to set up a day to spend time with your child. Perhaps they can go to lunch and a movie, or maybe it’s just an afternoon at the playground and ice cream. One on one attention will make your child feel special, and help to continue to grow the relationship between your little one and your family member.
As Christmas gets closer, I’m sure that your family and friends will be more persistent in asking what to get your child. Remember, toys and other stuff gets thrown away eventually, so encourage them to give something that will stand the test of time and continue to benefit your child for years to come!