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Alternative Christmas gifts for kids?

(21 Posts)
EllieWid74 Thu 20-Nov-14 09:47:49

Hello Fellow Mummys,

I am researching alternative gift ideas in the hope of finding a selection of goodies that are more educational, give back to charity, contribute to my child's future or are more of an experience that we can all do together as a family....I'm thinking days out, sponsoring a favourite animal or investing some money. Has anyone chosen to do this for Christmas instead of heaps of toys?

KnittedJimmyChoos Thu 20-Nov-14 11:04:56

what age are your children, will they have other people to buy for them?

JingleSpud Thu 20-Nov-14 11:07:30

Not a goat

AmeliaPeabody Thu 20-Nov-14 11:17:53

Ethically produced and sourced wooden toys. Or recycled, made from waste timber E.g www.my-kea.co.uk/children.html
Theatre trips
Christmas theatre workshops

We're adopting a squirrel and buying membership for a bat society. This will be in addition to other things, however.

nancy75 Thu 20-Nov-14 11:23:04

Depends where you live and the age of the children.
If you are in/near London there is lots of theatre for children which is enjoyable and a lovely day out for the family.
Most Zoos do an adopt an animal, there are also lots of animal charities (the one I'm thinking off sends you a cuddly snow leopard but can't remember it's name). If that is your kind of thing you could buy them annual membership to your local zoo/animal attraction/theme park/castle - most places offer them
The RSPCA do children's memberships

nancy75 Thu 20-Nov-14 11:26:13

Another thought is magazine subscription, DD gets junior national Geographic and horrible histories, she loves both and thanks mostly to horrible histories is top of her class in history, so educational and fun for the kids with the added bonus of getting a new magazine every month for the whole year

Theas18 Thu 20-Nov-14 11:47:46

English heritage family membership maybe with a wooden sword and a castle themed dressing up outfit?

Lots of families with young kids at EH properties having fun even in adverse weather. We didn't have the swords etc but ther were kids dressed up and mine often staged battles with them! Kids don't mind going to the same local castle many times and it's good thing for holidays.

National trust for families with bigger kids. Risk- creating history geeks! Annoyed with national trust though now mine are 15/18/21. Gets damned expensive as the " family" membership only covers under 18s and you end up paying full price for the kids as no student reductions. We have lovely comments in the summer about how unusual to see teens, and teens that show they know some history too. Well mr national trust who ever you are, you'd get many more if you had student rate!

Sukebind Thu 20-Nov-14 11:57:36

I would second NT membership or similar, especially if you can find a sort of seasonal offer that gives you a free book/binoculars, etc to wrap up.
Theas - don't NT do a young person membership any more? I joined on one when I was 19 and it was about £22 and it went up to age 25. After a while I realised that they were still only charging me that rate although I was about 5 years too old and in the end I had to fess up and pay properly!
Back to the original issue . .. my mum got charity panto tickets for my dds' gifts last year which were a wonderful success and supported a good cause. We all had a lovely afternoon out.
If you can find an animal to sponsor that you would be able to go and actually visit at some point in the coming year then that would be great if your children are into animals.
I also think the magazine subscription is a good idea as children like getting something in the post, it will keep being of interest all year and is educational, too.

giantfloorpuzzle Thu 20-Nov-14 12:31:22

I thought this list was good:

Gifts that aren't toys

giantfloorpuzzle Thu 20-Nov-14 12:35:02

We are trying to do a bit of both toys and non toys. So Ds age 8 is getting a book on kids woodwork projects, a beautiful kids carpentery set and woodwork classes. He gets gifts under the tree but then also fun and useful classes.

Carpentery set

EllieWid74 Fri 21-Nov-14 16:20:40

These ideas are great, thanks everyone! My son is obsessed with the outdoors and so I particularly love the idea of a National Trust membership, had a look on site and memberships are £27 for a child - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/membership/

I'm already thinking a magazine subscription too there are some great deals about at the moment, just very conscious of picking one that is educational...this Eco Kids mag looks pretty good and comes with a free gift. www.magazine.co.uk/kids-magazines/eco-kids-planet-magazine Anyone read this?

Where did you find out about woodwork classes giantfloorpuzzle?

A couple of other ideas I have had from people are setting up a savings account...isn't that a little boring though?

Takver Fri 21-Nov-14 17:25:05

Trip to Dr Who experience in Cardiff / Harry Potter world in London / outdoors iceskating would all go down well as presents here (dd age 12, but she would have liked all three any time over the past few years).

KnittedJimmyChoos Fri 21-Nov-14 18:53:30

Fun is educational too, I don't think there is a mag out there that doesn't contain word searches, brain teasers and so on. How old is he, will he be getting any fun things at all?

Our DD schools has a huge push on the eco side, I wouldn't get mag as well, they cover more than enough of it at school.

I think savings account is a brilliant idea but if its in his name, he will be able to spend it on whatever he wants so you have to be OK with that!!

If he has been denied fun toys, that may mean rebelling on frivolous crap at 18 shock.

Chillycamper Fri 21-Nov-14 20:55:34

Rspb do children's membership with nice monthly magazine which has things to do all year (in the garden, outside, spotting wildlife etc)
We bought it with a kit - rucksack, binoculars and bird book.

giantfloorpuzzle Sat 22-Nov-14 20:14:08

A few children take woodwork classes locally. It's just someone that offers them through word of mouth. There is a bit of a waiting list!

EllieWid74 Mon 08-Dec-14 12:06:51

Hey all,

Thanks so much for your help and guidance with this. Some fab suggestions and gave me all the inspiration I needed. I have written a piece you might like to read following this - www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ellie-widdowson/how-to-avoid-a-toy-graveyard-this-christmas_b_6268122.html

BirdintheWings Mon 08-Dec-14 12:49:25

You might find some DIY kids' classes at B&Q (these are this year's, but I expect there are some later ones?)

BirdintheWings Mon 08-Dec-14 12:50:48

I've just looked at your blog... can't quite credit that the average spend is £880 per child! mind you if we have to pay for another bloody end of term concert it might be

earlychristmas Mon 08-Dec-14 20:27:29

well, you asked about eco-kids-planet. I hope it's good as that's what dc3 is getting this year. She had discovery box and adventure box in the past, dc2 has nat geo. She mentioned that if possible she would like to try something else this year...

Davros Mon 08-Dec-14 20:39:30

Have you looked at Goodgifts.org?

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 08-Dec-14 20:45:28

Santa has sent us a family weekend at Legoland Windsor and tickets to Walking with Dinosaurs. Both gifts accompanied by a lovely handwritten letter from St Nick himself. (My kids have loads of toys and loved the experiences.

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