As winter draws in and our diaries fill up with festive social events, it has suddenly hit me that we only have four weeks - or 31 days to be exact - to shop for Christmas gifts.
When approaching Christmas shopping there are two kinds of shoppers. The early bird, who is organised and ready with gifts wrapped before December has made an appearance. Or the last-minute shopper, who races around the shops the week - or eve - before Christmas and pays for the super, express post to avoid disappointment. You could also argue there is the shopper in between who is making their list and checking it twice. Whether you’re the former, the latter or the in-between, I have an early Christmas gift for you with thoughtful, unique gift ideas for your whole family: children (ages 0 - 6 years), mum, dad and grandparents.
One Christmas tradition in our household is donating to charity. It is something we started when our children were young and they see it as a normal thing we do. If this is something you do, or are looking to do this year, you might be interested to learn more about the charities Toddlekind supports throughout the year.
The greatest test of a good gift is how long it avoids being tossed aside or lost in the bottom of the toy box. I am confident these ideas will pass the test providing gorgeous, fun and creative play for your children.
Baby: 0 - 12 months
When shopping for baby, we are often at a loss for gift ideas. My children always found joy playing in the wrapping paper more than the gifts, so the key is to keep things simple.
If you don’t have one already, you can’t go wrong with a ToddleKind waterproof travel mat. It is organic, 100% waterproof and portable so perfect for nappy free time and sensory play. Or pop it in the handy carry bag, and take it along to a baby class.
If your little one is ready for sensory play, let me introduce you to KiwiCo. They deliver developmentally appropriate, research-backed kits to your door that will stimulate and excite your baby. The kit you’ll want to check out is the Panda Crate which is designed for 0 - 24 months, and offered for each stage including Bond with me (0-2 months), Sense with me (3-6 months) and Explore with me (7-12 months). KiwiCo ships all over the world, simply select your delivery region from the drop-down menu. They also offer gift subscriptions should you want to share this gift idea with family & friends.
It is always nice to finish off the day with a story before bed. Reading and talking to your baby are great ways to develop a close, loving bond, and also help their language and understanding skills. So, you won’t go wrong with a personalised book you can read to them before bed. There are some fantastic offerings out there, but two of my go-to sites are In The Book and Wonderbly. Both have a specific category for baby.
Story finished, it’s time to snuggle down to sleep. If there is one animal on this earth that is famous for helping us sleep, it is a sheep. Introducing Ewan the sheep and Cloud B’s sleep sheep. Psst, there is a deluxe model with the sleep sensor so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn it back on when baby stirs.
Toddlekind give away a portion of its profits to charity, so if you’re looking for a good cause to donate to this Christmas, please take a moment to read more about the charities we support here. We are always delighted to come across like-minded businesses and fell in love with Cuddle+Kind and the beautiful, hand-knitted artisan dolls they sell. Not only are they something your child will treasure always, but their sales help to feed children, with every doll sold they give 10 meals to children in need.
Toddler: 1 - 3 years
So you have a toddler, and life is go-go-go. It’s fast-paced, it’s messy and you are constantly using up your phone memory taking photos of every step, discovery and smile.
You’ll be delighted to know there is a subscription box service - KiwiCo - available for toddlers. The Panda Crate has offerings from 0 - 24 months including Count with me (13 -18 months) and Solve with me (19 - 24 months) kits. The Koala Crate (ages 2 - 4 years) allows your toddler to get hands-on with new materials, tools, and concepts. KiwiCo ships all over the world. Simply select your delivery region from the drop-down menu. They offer gift subscriptions should you want to share this gift idea with others.
After getting their hands dirty creating and discovering, bath time won’t be any less fun with Pipes, Tubes & Cogs by Boon. Each piece has a sticky pad so your child can stick different parts to the tiles, or tub, to create a pipeline before pouring water through it. Their little hands will be kept so busy constructing, they won't have time to flood the bathroom floor.
Winding down before bed, snuggle down on Toddlekind’s Luxe Mat for a bottle, a book and a cuddle. The mat has a water-resistant centre and is machine washable with a reversible design. This mat allows you to give your toddler nappy free time and it will take the worry out of the potential mess. It is soft and luxurious so will also provide a space for playtime and reading.
By this age, your toddler will be loving and exploring books so much more. So, it’s worth taking a look at In The Book which offers stories with much loved, well-known characters including The Hungry Caterpillar, Thomas the Tank and Paw Patrol. Or Wonderbly where your child is the star of the story! I love that you get to preview sample pages before you order. Simply add your child’s name and likeness. Both companies ship all over the world, just select your delivery region from the drop-down menu.
If you haven’t got one already, your toddler will love their own hand-knitted doll from Cuddle + Kind. They come in two sizes, so if you have an older child grab one for them also. The biggest problem you’ll face is which one to buy, sorry, I can’t help you with that!
Children: 4 - 6 years
Now that your child is going to school, a whole new world has opened up for them. It is a big, wide world and they need you more than ever to help them navigate this next stage.
One toy to help with this is the Big Feeling Pineapple by Learning Resources. It has 26 pieces that help build expressions, and a fun way to learn and talk about emotions and what they look like.
I have suggested personalised books for the other age groups because they are a fantastic gift idea. A personalised book creates excitement when your child sees themself as part of the story. They are now also at an age where they are learning to read and will want to help read the story to you. Check out In The Book which adds your child to stories they know, and love. Or Wonderbly makes your child the star of their own stories, including a character in their likeness. Both companies ship all over the world.
If you are tired of hearing “I’m bored and I have nothing to do”, look no further KiwiCo have you covered. In addition to the Koala Crate (ages 2 - 4 years), which focuses on new materials, tools, and concepts. There is also the Kiwi Crate (5+ years) which encourages natural creativity and curiosity. Simply select your delivery region from the drop-down menu. They offer gift subscriptions should you want to share this gift idea with others, and currently have some site-wide offers.
If you are going to embrace hands-on learning, you can’t live without your own Toddlekind’s Prettier Playmat. They really are prettier than most, look lovely in any room and are the ideal solution to protect your floors when your child is playing because they wipe clean, and have limitless layout possibilities. This mat looks so good, you’re likely to continue to use yours no matter what age your child is.
I’ve just discovered the Yoto player, and before it made this list I did a lot of research. Ultimately, it won my vote because it has longevity, and is less likely to get tossed aside as your child gets older. This is because they have an excellent, growing range of stories available. The initial outlay is more than competitors but the cost difference flips because the stories are a lot cheaper to purchase, and store. The Yoto has a programmable day/night clock, sleep sounds, and a headphones jack. What won me over most, is that it’s safe. While it does require WiFi to set up the player, and download a story, once stories are downloaded you can disconnect the wifi via the parental controlled app. The player has up to 250 hours/ 16Gb of audio storage. So, if you need some quiet time while you’re cooking dinner, or need to make a phone call you can be confident of what your child is listening to, and how long you have before the story is finished.
Spoil Mum this Christmas with some gift ideas she will not buy for herself. Trust me when I say, some of these gift ideas are things she doesn’t know she needs.
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo … cold tea and coffee be gone with you, thanks to Ember mugs. For years, I have wasted hot drinks because they were cold before I could finish, or sometimes start. The Ember mug has temperature control with 80min battery life and, gadget lovers will go mad to know the version 2 mug is app-controlled. Ember ships all over the world, simply select your delivery region from the drop-down menu.
I am a convert to subscription boxes, they are like Christmas every month of the year. The variety and creativity leave me struggling to choose. Gin, scrapbooking and craft, chocolate, eco products, skincare … socks! The list is endless, all you have to do is select the box you think Mum would love, and how many months you would like the box to be sent. Purchases can range from one box only to 12 months. While there are plenty of websites that bring together a seemingly endless array of box offerings, I chose this site because the boxes are tried, tested and reviewed. Grab a subscription box for Dad too!
In our household, I am the events manager so I speak with confidence when I say that the opportunity to do something that I haven’t organised brings joy to my heart, and a smile to my face. This is the gift, I have sent my husband a link to buy. The Adventure Challenge is a book that provides 50 unique adventures. Simply select a page that suits your budget, and time available then scratch off the adventure and do as instructed. If you see a baby icon next to a challenge, you’ll need a babysitter. There are many book styles and bundle packages available, but the adventure book for couples or families is a great place to start.
Save the socks and pants for Father’s Day, Dad will love these gift ideas.
Let’s start with the gift that caught my husband’s attention when he gazed over my shoulder. Something for the man cave, and a nostalgic reminder of his misspent youth, this gaming light from Bag & Bones will bring a smile to Dad’s face. Be warned, the selection of neon lights are so fantastic you might buy something for yourself too. Bag & Bones is a UK based company and ships to the EU and internationally. Check out their delivery timelines to avoid disappointment.
You can never go wrong with a nice fragrance for Dad, especially at this time of year with all the different gift sets available. They are also a fantastic gift idea for Mum, surprise her with a fragrance she’s never tried or stick with her favourite. She’ll be delighted either way.
Give Dad his own masseuse from the comfort of your home. This shiatsu neck and back massager also has soothing heat, so it is perfect to relax after a long day.
Grandparents are renowned for saying they don’t need anything for Christmas, but watch their faces light up when they open one of these gifts. Personalised, unique items they will enjoy long after the Christmas decorations have been packaged away.
You can never go wrong with personalised gifts for grandparents, especially if it features their grandchildren. A photobook, photo canvas or pretty much anything with their grandchildren’s face on it will always be a winner. Companies I have personally tried and tested are Snapfish and Colorland, and both ship all over the world, simply select your delivery region from the drop-down menu.
This gift suggestion is more in the box than out of it. But for those who love nature, and their garden, a bird box with a camera is a wonderful gift which grandad, grandma and the birds can enjoy throughout the year. You can buy a bundle that connects to the TV or portable device, with wi-fi or cables. After reading many online reviews, the set-up seems relatively easy but keep in mind, it might be you doing the set-up.
If grandad (or grandma) are constantly retelling stories from their life, this unique journal is the perfect gift. It provides guided questions and prompts to help grandparents write down stories from their life to share with their grandchildren. Once complete, it will become a priceless, treasure to your family I have no doubt. Check out the book depository - who ship worldwide for free - for the wide range of Grandparent to Grandchild journals available on their site.
Photo credit: Product images from KiwiCo, Learning Resources and Bag & Bones have been used with permission.
* Toddlekind are not receiving a commission or using affiliate links in this blog post. These are the personal suggestions and opinions of the author.