Do you know a Gift Guru? Ofcourse you do… they are the person that always has the perfect gift… the meaningful present that is always met with an excited smile or squeal, the present that the parents adore, the present that is used to death for years and is still kicking about, the present that is loved.
There is something lovely about choosing a gift for someone special, and it is even more exciting when that someone is a child. But it isn’t easy – there are so many toys and products for children on the market making it difficult to make a decision and easy to get carried away!
Want to know how to find a great gift? Well guess what? We have picked the brains of some busy mums and come up with these 8 very simple tips. So whether you are shopping for Christmas, a Birthday or other special occasion, this time you know your pressie will be a winner!
1. Quality over Quantity
This is said over and over again, because it’s true!! It might be exciting and feel like you are giving more if you buy lots of little things and wrap them all up under the tree… but there are pitfalls to this type of gift giving.
Cheaper “fad” items tend to lose favour quickly and children can become overwhelmed by a lot of gifts where inevitably some will never get used.
It is also nice to be mindful that you are not the only person shopping!! Unless this special littlie has a very small family, chances are they will be getting lots of lovely things… It just makes sense to put your money towards one or two beautiful, quality pieces that will be treasured for a long time and remembered as being from someone who loves them. If there is something really amazing you have your eye on, you could even do a combined gift from several people which is sure to impress.
2. Give things they can use
Kids love things they can use! Good quality play sets and toys that they can play with or even some special PJs will always be appreciated (not just by children, but parents too!).
Books are a great gift at any age. They are inexpensive, don’t take up a lot of room, encourage reading/literacy and can be enjoyed alone or you can read to them! Along those lines, music is also fantastic and often overlooked as a gift idea.
This is not to say that a special family heirloom is not a beautiful gift! Beautiful items that can be kept and passed down like jewellery or the like are lovely gestures and very special, just be careful of buying too many dust collectors or collectibles that will be forgotten on a shelf or stored somewhere safe for little kids… save that for when they are older, have their own taste and can appreciate it themselves.
3. Pay attention and do some recon
Sometimes the best ideas are (ahem) “borrowed”. Spy on, I mean, research what others are giving and give something related.
Great Aunty Joyce is giving your nephew a new backpack? Give him a matching lunchbox and maybe something else to go in it. Your best friend’s kids are getting a train set? They will love extra cars, trains, people, extra track…. Get the drift?
And no, it isn’t boring – kids love matching, they will love putting all the bits and pieces together themselves and it saves mum and dad having to get the extra stuff that their little darling will want to go with their new gear anyway.
4. Consider a shared gift
If you are shopping for more than one child in the same family, consider buying them a gift to share rather than individual presents.
A larger present like a dolls house or a play kitchen set could be an excellent option if their ages are close enough together that they can all play with it. Pretend play sets like these cover a broad age range too, both a 3 year old and a 6 year old will play with a train set or a dolls house, they just imagine more elaborate scenarios as they get older.
5. Keep it age appropriate
When shopping for kids it can be really difficult to know what will suit them unless they are particularly mad about something or very vocal about what they want.
It’s not an exact science and it doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a teeny bit older for them right now as long as it’s safe. Be aware that items with small parts are a choking hazard for small children because everything (EVERYTHING) ends up in their mouth.
All kids are different but use your common sense. A small baby is unlikely to play with cars and dolls, a four year old will probably not be entertained by a rattle even if it is super cute or their favourite colour.
If you are still finding it difficult to work out what might be appropriate ask someone! Most shop owners (like us!) are happy to make recommendations, parents can give you some ideas and toy manufacturers generally print a recommended age group on the packaging.
6. Talk to the parents
If you aren’t sure whether the kidlet in question needs something or not, ask! Talking to the parents on big occasions can make things work a lot smoother for everyone.
It’s nice to know that you are buying something that will be used. Having a quick discussion will ensure you know what sort of toys the parents prefer for their children, if there is something specific that they need (or desperately want!), that there are no double ups and that you have the right size if you are buying clothing.
While we’re on the subject of talking to the parents, respect any boundaries they set. If they specifically ask for no batteries, or no barbies or whatever their request may be – appreciate that they have been thoughtful and given a guideline to help you find something appropriate for their child… it doesn’t matter how beautiful that fairy princess gown is, if they have said no clothes they don’t need it.
Ofcourse there is nothing wrong with keeping it a surprise if you want to! You can have a conversation around some general ideas or even just ask if there is anything they definitely don’t need and keep the specifics under wraps (so to speak) until the big day!
7. Time and experiences
One gift that you never need worry about giving is your time!
Offer to take little miss or mister to the movies, swimming lessons, dance classes, karate…. Buying tickets or paying for an activity is a great idea and they will always remember their outings with you – it’s always special when someone other than mum or dad takes them somewhere.
And you needn’t spend a lot! If money is tight you can always take them to the park to feed the ducks or to a children’s reading at the library – kid’s only care that they are having fun with you, they aren’t motivated by how much something costs.
8. There is no one perfect gift (so don’t stress about it!)
This is the most important tip at all. Don’t stress out trying to find THE perfect gift. There are heaps of options, and if you follow the other tips,there are many different gifts that will be perfect, just pick one!
Nobody is going to know which one you didn’t get, nobody is rating you out of 10. The aim of the game is to get something that will be used and not hidden away in a cupboard, so if you achieve that, then my friend you are a Gift Guru.
By all means put some thought and effort into it, but just remember to enjoy spending the special day with the little people in your life, they get too big too quickly 🙂
Still need help? Feel free to contact us, we would be happy to give you some ideas!