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Alternative gifts to toys

Alternative presents to toys

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As Christmas fast approaches, many parents across the country are wondering where exactly they’re going to find room for the influx of toys Santa and others will be gifting their children. Whether you’re looking at it from a practical or environmental perspective, there are plenty of gifts out there that aren’t toys but will stimulate little imaginations and get an enthusiastic response from children. If you’re stuck for ideas, have at look at our list of alternate gifts to toys.

Cooking utensils

What child doesn’t love baking? Aprons, hats, simple recipe books, cookie cutters and utensils are great gifts for children of all ages. You could even provide the ingredients for biscuits or cakes that you know will be eagerly devoured. If your kids love helping out in the kitchen then they might appreciate their own set of utensils that nobody else is allowed to use. As well as the items themselves, you’re also giving them a life skill that will be well used in the future.

Gardening equipment

From examining creepy crawlies to planting flowers and vegetables, there is a huge scope for enjoying outdoor spaces. A small fork or trowel, some large plant pots and some seeds or a little tree to plant will keep them occupied for hours and give them something of their own to nurture.


If you would like to encourage your children to take up a new hobby then some arts and crafts bits are a good idea. Children who enjoy painting will appreciate an easel or some blank canvasses and paints. Young kids will love a box filled with paints, chalks, felt, glue, pipe cleaners, glitter and anything else you can think of that will let their imagination run wild. Teens may be into candle or perfume making kits, while a sewing machine is perfect for a budding fashion designer.

Alternative presents to toys


From musical instruments to MP3 players and playlists, you can’t go far wrong with a musical present. Make a CD of all their favourite songs or pre-programme some tunes onto an MP3 player. Alternatively you could buy an instrument and book them a few lessons to get them started.


You can never have too many books! Which is just as well really considering the number of great stories that are out there waiting to be enjoyed. Audio books are also great for keeping kids entertained on long car journeys. If you’re not sure what to choose then a magazine or comic subscription is a gift that lasts all year.

Experience days

An annual pass to a local farm, zoo or national heritage sites is something that can be enjoyed by the whole family throughout the year. Provided it is well used, an annual pass can be great value for money and you’ll never struggle to think of ideas for a day out together. You could also consider horse riding, karting, skiing or even a trip into the big city for one-day experiences.

We’re often left feeling that a big pile of garishly coloured plastic toys is what every child wants to find when they come downstairs on Christmas morning.  However, this vision of Christmas doesn’t give children enough credit.  Even from a young age kids have interests and personalities of their own and a personal gift is something that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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