We are all aware it is that time of the year. The pressure is on, time is running out and we have to figure out what to buy for the children in our lives. Children often want the latest gizmo, usually the one that is being advertised hard out to them on television. Oh how I wish we were like some other countries that do not allow any advertising directed at children.
So yes, you might want to fulfil their little heart’s desire and buy them one or two of their wishes – they would like that. But I would also invite you to engage your own imagination and get them gifts that assist them to express themselves, to use their imagination, to build relationships and to build new skills.
You can give an experience which could involve the whole family, for example a horse riding outing, ice skating or a concert. This promotes the valuing of family time and builds relationships. Sporting equipment can also involve the whole family, like a beach cricket set. Other equipment might build their skills and confidence. This may be snorkelling gear, a basketball or handball, a boogie board, or a tennis racket.
Presents do not need to be new. You can check out opportunity shops, Facebook buy and sell pages, and TradeMe for things like secondhand bikes or skateboards.
Toys that allow children to simply play and promote self expression are a fantastic option.
This can include doll house figurines, plastic animals, cars and trucks, toy medical kits and kitchen toys. These kinds of toys allow children to play out their feelings and experiences because play is the language of children.
Art and craft supplies make excellent gifts. You can get a box from a $2 shop or an emporium and fill it with goodies like glitter, paint, scissors, feathers and gems. There is nothing quite as wonderful as a box of buttons! Or try some homemade play dough. Look online for a play dough recipe, really great ones have corn flour in them with a few drops of essential oil to make it smell great.
Toys are often categorised into toys for boys and toys for girls. This is very restrictive for children and has more to do with advertising than with what children actually enjoy. So think outside the box and get a variety of toys.
This can be a difficult time of the year where we often feel under-resourced, lonely, and stressed so try to have a plan to take care of you. Buy what is in your budget, be creative and have fun. Choose to be around people who build you up. Be silly with your kids. Enjoy beaches and parks. Watch DVDs and go for walks. And if you need support, please reach out.
Liz Cole, Homebuilders family support worker