So, a family member or friend has asked you not to get their kids toys for the holidays this year. Maybe they don’t have enough room for anything else, or they feel like their kid has enough. But that leaves you wondering what the hell you’re supposed to get the kid, then. Toys are pretty straightforward; it’s more difficult to figure out something a little more practical that they’ll also be excited to unwrap.
The good news is there are actually a lot of non-toy gifts that can be a thrill for a kid to receive. Anything you can find with Spider-Man or their favorite Paw Patrol puppy is guaranteed to hit with a younger kid, as would an everyday item with just a bit of an exciting flare to it. Older kids would really love some of the things on here, too. Read on to see what else you could grab for a kid that isn’t a toy this holiday season.
1. Winter Accessory Sets
A cute set of winter accessories will get used daily, won’t take up unnecessary space, and you’ve done Mom a solid if you can get a kid excited about dressing warmly enough. That’s what makes this Spider-Man hat so cool. bvyhvvvhybvbvThis set from Boden and this set from Gap Factory are great options, too.
2. Books and Bookmarks
Books are another fun option, and you can even give them to a kid with an accessory: a funky bookmark. These 3D bookmarks that look like an animal getting squished by the book are hilarious, but there are a ton of options to choose from. These bookmarks look like Harry Potter wands and would pair well with any of the books from the series. These acrylic bookmarks come in different patterns and have tassels at the end, which is just so perfectly fancy.
3. Bathroom Essentials
If you know a baby who will start brushing their teeth soon, this Brushies toothbrush is an adorable option. They have four different animal-shaped toothbrushes, which can go right on their parent’s finger to make brushing their baby’s teeth easy. It also comes with a book about the importance of dental care.
For an older kid, think about a bathrobe. This one looks like a kitty and comes in a few different sizes.
4. Crochet Kit
If you can’t give them a toy, give them a new skill. The Woobles makes crochet kits for beginners to learn how to crochet little critters like this purple penguin. It may be a sort of toy once they’ve finished crocheting it, but hey, at least they earned it. These kits are recommended for ages 12 and up but could also be gifted to a child whose parent can help them through it.
5. Deck of Cards
A deck of cards may seem a little basic, but not if you get them a colorful set like this one. They’ll hold onto these forever and learn all the fun card games like Spit and Cheat. If you’re shopping for someone who loves Taylor Swift, this Speak Now-inspired deck of cards would be the perfect one for them.
6. Pez (and Other Candy)
7. Snacky Items With Their Favorite Characters
Remember that scene from Little House on the Prairie when Laura received an orange for Christmas, and she was so excited about it? Citrus isn’t quite as thrilling for a young kid today, but they’d definitely enjoy their favorite snack with a character they love featured on the box. Kids under 3 have a tendency to get excited about the box a toy comes in (even if it doesn’t have the character on it), so this could just absolutely blow their minds.
8. Hair Accessories
Every kid with long hair needs headbands, hair ties, and scrunchies — why not gift them some in a cute bag?
9. Nail Polish
Another life skill? Being able to paint your own nails. This nail kit comes in all of the colors a kid could possibly want, and this smaller set has great colors as well. Both sets are peel-off, which saves them from dealing with smelly and messy nail polish remover.
10. Contribute to their College Fund
Every parent will love this gift. A contribution to a college fund is more significant than a kid may realize, but someday, they’ll really love you for it. You can give it directly to their parents or put the money in a cute envelope so the child has something to unwrap.
11. A Fun Experience
Presents are fun, but the best way to show someone you love them is by spending time with them. If you know the child pretty well, you can take them somewhere you know they’d love, like a museum, aquarium, or a show. You could even take them somewhere one-on-one and give their parents some time to relax (so it’s basically a gift for them, too).
12. Magazine Subscription
Magazines like Highlights, National Geographic Kids (and Little Kids), and Cricket are made for younger kids and have different levels of subscriptions based on what they might want. Some come with activities or books as well as the magazine, and you don’t have to add them on. If you’re looking for magazines for slightly older kids, The Week Junior is a good introduction to current affairs.
13. A Journal
A journal can be a helpful tool for a kid to get out their thoughts or even to exercise gratitude. This Five Minute Journal for Kids comes with prompts about what they’re grateful for, what the best part of their day was, and more.
14. Bento Box
Bento boxes are some of the best lunchboxes you can get right now. They have different patterns and colors, as well as sections (so your food stays organized!). Plus, they minimize the need for so much Tupperware — always a win.
15. Stationery Supplies
Erasers and pencils with fun designs are all the rage with kids these days. This watermelon pack, from Ooly, is just one of the many options of fun stationary supplies, like pencil sharpeners and erasable highlighters. You can’t go wrong.
See? There are things kids want that won’t take up more space in the playroom.