Thursday, December 4, 2014

The "No-Toy" Gift Guide

It's that time of year again, a time when everyone is shopping, buying and giving. Door buster sales, extended mall hours and gift sets galore. In the blogging world, this means gift guides, lots of em'! Gift guides are very helpful if that's what you're in the market for. But what about families like mine who prefer presence over presents? So I decided to create my own guide, for parents like me who work hard all year long fighting off childhood consumerism or exposing our children to the pigeon holes of mainstream media. The "Non-Gift Guide" if you will.

If you've read about out our Totschool / Playroom and taken the tour, or seen the feature on Modern Boca Mom, then you know that electronic or plastic battery operated devices are not on our must-have list any time soon.

Fact: The average child gets about seven hours of screen time a day and an average of only one hour outside.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know we fully support "Being vs. Buying". Holidays are different for many families and this is how we choose to celebrate. This year we've decided to plan a fun family Christmas trip in lieu of shopping for a ton of toys. We will still have a few open ended toys for the boys to open Christmas morning, but the focus is on spending connected time with each other.

Growing up, Christmas in my home was an extravaganza. Although it was enjoyable and filled with magic and wonder, it was the time spent with family that keeps me laughing still. The memories we created surpass any toy I ever received, and I don't remember specific gifts, but I remember special years spent with those I love. My family respects our decisions. However, they don't always know how to handle these gift giving situations during birthdays or holidays. If you know a family like ours, then this is the guide for you! So here you have it, the first "Non-Gift" Gift Guide of the holiday. A way to acknowledge the holiday without contributing to profit driven toy company madness, or sabotaging the hard work of many conscious parents.

Donations: Donating to a favorite charity for the activist in your life e.g., "Save the Bees" or "Mercy for Animals",  either in their name or in memory of someone they love dearly, is a win on all  levels. It shows you care about what they are passionate about and it helps to make a difference. Planting / Dedication of a tree on behalf of someone else is also a touching gift, and it's for a wonderful cause. 

Supplies: We do a lot of crafting! Limiting screen time in our home, means more time for getting creative. We are always in need of more supplies. Items like paint, chalk, paper, glitter and glue are always appreciated and put to good use.

Tuition / Classes/ Memberships: Our boys are Seedlings at Sunflower Creative Arts, their classes support hands-on experiences in Play, Nature and the Arts that are absolutely essential for healthy human development. A gift toward tuition or donation towards any of their classes or operating costs ensures our kids can keep enjoying all they have to offer.

Michaels craft store has crafting classes for older children, a paid registration for any of their classes is a thoughtful gift for the budding artist or future crafter. Musikgarten, a music class for babies and toddlers is generally offered at the Boca Raton Childrens Museum and is a great gift for babies and moms alike.

Memberships: We frequent our local museum's all year long, especially in the hot summer months. The Boynton Schoolhouse Museum and the Boca Art Museum offer wonderful family memberships at affordable prices. Yearly memberships are a great gift for everyone and ensures a year of fun for the whole family. A gift that keeps on giving!

Gift Cards: Ahhh yes, the stepchild of gifts. The almighty gift card, it has a bad reputation. The gift that says, "I don't really know you" or "I don't really care enough to stroll the aisles searching for just the right gift". Bahum-bug! A gift card can be an incredibly thoughtful gift! What could be more personal than providing a family the opportunity to dine together at their favorite restaurant? Perhaps a restaurant that they wouldn't otherwise spring for? I hear The Farmers Table has incredible cuisine that takes "fresh" to the next level. I can't wait to try it!

Tickets / Events: Last but not least, why not give the gift of  entertainment? You can search all the local events coming to your city this year and buy tickets in advance as gifts to concerts and shows, providing a family with a fun night out. The Mizner Park Amphitheatre has an awesome list of performances lined up for after the New Year!

Tickets to local Food and Art Festivals are another great gift, and an awesome way of giving a family a guaranteed day of fun and food! What could be better than that? In these demanding times family fun days can be hard to come by due to busy schedules or lack of funds. You may be able to provide a family with a well deserved break or a reason to make the time and get connected.

As you can see there seems to be a recurring theme to this gift guide. It's all about reconnecting and continuing to build on what really matters, this and all times of the year, family. Spending time creating memories with those you love, and perhaps getting to know those you don't know. Giving the most precious gift of all, your time.

Happy Holidays!

Essentially Yours,


1 comment :

  1. I love it! Back to basics!! Thanks for the ideas!!