Christmas gift ideas that think outside the box!

Christmas gift ideas that think outside the box!


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Is it too early to talk about Christmas?? I always like to get a head start on my Christmas shopping. My goal is always to be done by December 1st so that I can sit back and really enjoy the holidays. I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% finished by then; there’s always those last few people to pick something out for, but for the most part I have figured out what I’m doing and I am done with the bulk of my shopping.

I feel like every year, the kids have the same lists (legos and video games). Then the toy catalog comes in the mail and it’s all downhill from there. Pretty soon there are toys that they’ve never heard of being written on their Christmas lists. Nine times out of ten, when I buy toys (aside from legos), they get forgotten about within a few weeks. There’s nothing worse that buying a bunch of toys that get lost or broken or forgot about. I try hard to think outside the box and choose gifts that will be fun and keep them busy and/or thinking. I especially love gifts that are meaningful and could build memories for years to come. Here are some of the ideas I’ve used in the past or am planning on using this year. When possible, I’ve included links for you-just in case you like the ideas.

Mother/Son and/or Mother/Daughter “pass back-and-forth” journals: I actually made my own, homemade version of these a couple of years ago. Basically, it’s a notebook that my kids and I pass back and forth to each other, asking questions or telling each other something that is on our minds. My older son, in particular, really loves to pass the journal back-and-forth. I recently discovered that you can buy journals with writing prompts in them. Why didn’t I think to market these when I came up with this idea?? Dang it. I hate it when that happens. At any rate, I am definitely getting these for my kids this year. My homemade version was just fine, but sometimes I can’t think of what question to come up with next! This simplifies and keeps the dialogue flowing between my babies and me. One of my most important parenting goals is to have open communication with all of my kids; I think this is a good start! It is worth every penny! 

Speaking of journals, my daughter is way into journaling right now. I bought her a journal last Christmas and she has faithfully written every single day this year! She’s also way into Harry Potter. There are lots of Harry Potter journals to choose from.

I’m also a really big fan of the “All About Me” kids journals.

Scrapbook kits: A couple of years ago, I got Aubrey a scrapbook kit (it was a friendship edition) and I printed out all the pictures I could find of her and her friends. For the next several months, she worked on her scrapbook and it’s a sweet memory for her to look back on!

Homemade Books: Create your own book and have it professionally printed. When my oldest went off to college, I made her a recipe book through Shutterfly. It was filled with all of our favorite family recipes as well as pictures of us all in the kitchen. It’s filled with fun memories and is also practical! Last year, I did the same thing for my sister because she was always calling me for our family recipes. I don’t think I’ve gotten a recipe request text from her since!

Another favorite gift that I’ve done in years past was a story book for my boys. When they were toddlers, they were obsessed with the “No David” books. If you’ve never read those books and you have young children, they are must!! The books are written about a mischevious little boy, David, who was always getting in trouble for doing things he shouldn’t. At the end of the stories, David’s mommy always reassures him that she loves him. The texts are simple (great for beginning readers) and the pictures captivating; my boys still love reading them and they are 6 and 9 years old! My boys were also quite mischevious little boys themselves. One year, I got the idea to make them their own books, “No Cody!” and “No Ryder!” I took pictures of all the trouble they got into: sneaking into the ice cream, unrolling toilet paper rolls, stripping off their clothes in the backyard (that page is always their favorite!)-and I compiled it into their own books. They LOVE their books and it’s a fun memory of the little trouble makers they were when they were younger. It’ll be a fun book for them to read with their own kids someday! I made the books for them on Shutterfly, but there are many online photo departments where you can create books (Walgreens, Wal-mart, etc).









A magic kit: Cody is going through a phase where he loves to do magic. He is always trying to perform card and magic tricks for us so I decided that I’d help him develop his skills with a magic kit. There are so many to choose from and these are the top 3 I looked at. I decided to go with the first one; I’ll let you know how it goes!

Microscope: Ryder saw one in the scholastic books magazine and has been asking for one ever since. This year will be his year! I remember when I was a kid, my parents bought us a microscope. My dad pricked his finger so we could inspect his blood under the lens. I can only imagine all of the things Ryder will want to inspect. I love educational gifts!

Bug Collecting Kits: Ryder is obsessed with catching bugs. Last year, my dad gave all the grandkids a gift card to Bass Pro Shops. Of course, he picked out a bug collector kit that came with a little vacuum. He uses it all the time!

I’m a little obsessed with these mermaid tail blankets. I used to make them out of fleece but if I’m being completely honest with you, I think the crocheted blankets are cuter. Would it be silly if I added this to my Christmas list??

Razors: We got these for the kids a couple of years ago and they love them! It gets them outside playing, which I love! The neighbors love to come over and play with these as well. I would not recommend them for super young kids; I think the age suggestion is 8 and up. Ryder is 6 and he just started riding Cody’s 360 this year; he needs a little guidance but he’s a very active and tough kid (he’s got to keep up with big brother and sister!). I would really love to get them the Razor go karts…but I think that might be out of Santa’s budget this year. Ha ha.

Instruments: Last year, Cody got a guitar along with guitar lessons. The lessons are the key to success! With guitar, there are a lot of tutorials online to help you learn; youtube is awesome! He has really learned a lot over the last year and is developing talents that will follow him throughout his life.

Tickets to somewhere. One of the things that I’ve learned over the past several years is that the best gifts we can give are those that make lasting memories. Our kids are only little for so long and we never know how much time we have in this life, so make your time count!! We are lucky to live close to several amusement parks and zoos here in Southern California, so we’ve gotten annual passes to many different places. The best year was the year we got Disneyland passes! It was truly the gift that kept on giving. We made so many great memories as a family that year. The kids want to do it again! It doesn’t have to be an amusement park or even an annual pass. Think outside the box: tickets to a concert or a play, a trip to the movies or skating rink, or maybe a weekend trip somewhere as a family.

What are your favorite gift ideas this year? I want to hear them! Stay tuned for a post on the best homemade Christmas gifts and stocking stuffer ideas! Subscribe to stay up to date with posts.


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