Ok. So. I had planned on writing a list of great gifts for kids, but here’s the thing: Modern Parents Messy Kids (MPMK) owns this category. And not that there isn’t enough room around the internet for multiple toy gift guides, but they’ve just done it so well. I love it.
The team at MPMK works on this ultimate guide throughout the year, and it is organized by interest (outdoor toys, building & construction, STEM, dramatic play, etc. etc.) and by age. The resource is motivated by the question, “what should I spend my money on,” which I obviously love. I am confident that anything MPMK has picked will be a gift that is valuable & worthwhile.
I invested the bulk of my time to create an expert guide of gifts that give back, so I will leave these pros to their category of expertise.
Personally, I try to think about gifts for a child (or teen, or anyone, really) as an investment.
If you’ve been around Shop Good a while, you may have gotten a sense that I have a mini passion about no “junk”, especially when it comes to toys and knick-knacks. In our house, we are less-than-average housekeepers, and having little bits & pieces journeying around the house (thanks to our 3 young kids) just adds another layer to the never-ending (and losing) battle of tidyness.
However, I’m not committed to full-on minimalism (or even half-on minimalism), and kids just seem to love little “things”. It’s a real-life tension!
The other problem when it comes to this time of year is that I LOVE stockings and always have. My big ole stocking was always a highlight and what I looked forward to at least as much as the “red ribbon” gift under the tree. Now that I am the one filling them (on behalf of my white-bearded friend, of course), it is definitely a part of the holiday process to which I give serious consideration (and budget).
Stockings must, by nature, be filled with small things, and, ideally, things that are FUN, too! So, what’s a gal to do?
Well, gift-giving and shopping are an art, not a science, so I can’t make any claims to hard-and-fast rules about what should go in a stocking. But, generally, I like items that are practical/useful, consumable, or legitimately valuable (in my definition, this would include items of good quality, items with longevity, items that will delight because they are specifically related to the recipient, etc.). Having little traditions that carry on year-after-year is great, as well.
Check out the list below for some starting points, and get to the end for some items to be wary about, if you (like me) are afraid of junk.
It goes without saying (nope, I’m saying it anyways) that I obviously want you to do ALL of your shopping at dignify!
But, I also know that there are other factors involved, like price point, interests, and the fact that not everybody wants a second blanket for Christmas. Because, of course, I’m assuming you’ve already bought one at some point for every one of your family & friends! ;)
If you love dignify and want to shop “good”, here is a list of our kindred spirits. These are specifically brands & storesthat are either providing dignified work to someone in the world, or who prioritize philanthropic or social goals. It is not exhaustive, and there are fabulous new businesses popping up all the time.
Generally, I’ve included stores that have a selection of items under $50 and under $100, though some items (like leather) simply cost more than that. Many of the items here are specific, but if you click & browse around, the shop has a number of great things . The list for guys is the best one, because let’s be honest here, if you are reading this, you are probably a woman, and the most difficult to buy for is probably a man. And if you are a man reading this, just buy her a blanket. Trust me. And if you’ve already done that, then go snoop her Pinterest board or browsing history, because I can guarantee there are some hints she’s left out there for you.
Finally, if you like the list, share it! A high tide rises all boats, and the more we can shift the buying power to socially-minded shops, the better. Feel free to add any more links in the comments below, and...
Birthday gifts! For any age, receiving gifts is a delight. But, if you’re a working mom and an aunt to seven and a sister (or -in-law) to six and a friend and a daughter… well, you get the picture: it can become overwhelming. Particularly if giving gifts is not how you would naturally express your affections.
In my family, I have two grown siblings: my sister lives in my neighbourhood and has two kids, aged 3 & 6. My brother lives in a different city and has three kids, aged 9, 11, 15. On the other side we’ve got two more: 12 & 14. My kids are 6, 5, & 2.
Like a wave that comes reliably and relentlessly, everyone has a birthday every year!
Over the years, for birthdays & Christmas, we’ve all dabbled in different permutations & combinations:
One Pro Tip to address all of this overwhelm? Become known for one thing. Give the same gift. It is a way to take the stress out of gift-planning, without forgoing gifts altogether. If you think this is a terrible idea and want to be unique every time, that’s great! God bless you. I could use your help.
If I may be on to something, read on...
Inspired, we’ve compiled a guide of even more ideas, practical tips, & specific goods, all sparked by the idea of a “meaningful” gift – specifically, with moms in mind (and plenty of time for Mother's Day!).
Simple! Just take it.
No bribes. No emails in exchange. Just free. For everyone.
Seasonal consumerism gets a bad rap, and never more than with Valentine’s Day! It’s gaudy, it’s excessive, it’s unnecessary… What can I say? By and large, I agree.
Are gifts altogether bad? Does a tangible, physical item have to fall under the ethically-minded, wannabe-minimalist’s (that’s me, btw) no-no list of “stuff”?
Here’s my problem. I don’t like “stuff” (or “junk”), but I do like gifts. I like giving them, and I like receiving them.
I love donation gifts like a chicken or goat or school supplies; I also think “experience gifts” or other alternatives are also brilliant! But, I also like to wrap a thoughtful gift, place it in someone’s hands, and see them handle it, use it, & enjoy it.
I asked some friends, customers, & followers about meaningful gifts they’ve received in the past from a mate/love-of-their-life/partner-in-crime. Here is a list of some faves: