Okay, so we are not doing too brilliantly at the whole sustainable living thing, but it is important to me, and we try not to buy too much stuff in general / new stuff / cheaply made plastic stuff!
DDs are 6 and 2, and their bedrooms are already pretty crammed with stuff - most of it either given as presents, or recycled from within the family. Thinking about this Christmas, I really don't want to encourage them to have a big "Christmas list" of plastic tat that they want, but I don't want to come over all scrooge-like either! I know many friends manage the whole Christmas thing by having a big clear-out of toys beforehand, but then that doesn't see very sustainable either - clearing out plastic junk, to make way for more plastic junk!
Sooooo, what do you do? Or shall I just tell them that they won't be getting any Christmas presents and that I shall be spending all their Christmas money sponsoring toilets in Africa?!?
At that age we bought a lot of (plastic and other) tat from car boot sales and charity shops, and we regularly cleared excess tat out to make way for new excess tat, but at least buying it second hand made it cheap/recycled, and the charity shops benefitted from us buying stuff and then donating it back.
to me that's much more acceptable in terms of sustainable living than buying new excess plastic tat.
Now the dds are a bit older it's easier, the 5yo still likes plastic tat but 9 and 8 year old want fewer things and it's easier to give them things they'll use for longer, with less of the excess tat.
DD is now 7, so relatively easy to find useful stuff that will last especially as she has got into loads of stuff in the last year (so for her birthday we steered family toward getting her different bits of ballet clothes)
When she was younger I guess a mixture:
- from family susceptible to hints - encouraged them to get things that we knew she would like and would last or definitely be used (often things like art materials) - from us, a mix of things that she needed (a bit mean, but for example I got her really nice shiny pjs instead of boring cotton ones) and things like Playmobil from ebay which will last for loads of children - plus dh has over the years been buying bits and pieces of small but 'proper' tools to make her up a toolbox, she likes doing 'carpentry' with her dad and they'll be useful to her in later life hopefully - just accept that other people will choose to give her things that we wouldn't buy, that's their choice and not really anything to do with us
to be fair until recently she's never asked for anything specific (except a hammer when she was about four, for some reason . . . every girl needs a hammer! which was what started off the toolbox)