The Top 6 Non-Toy Gifts for the Holidays - Redondo Beach, CA

 

I know for myself, as a mom in the Redondo Beach area, there are a million choices for what to get my kids when it comes to Hannuka presents.  The thing is that the winter months in our family are also filled with birthday after birthday, starting with my husband in November, my son in December and my eldest daughter in January.  Come February, I am so sick of parties and gifts and just more stuff lying around.

So, this year, I decided I'll be giving family members other ideas for what to get my kids and I myself am going to try to think out of the box as well.  Here is a list of what kinds of gifts to get kids or any family member for the Holidays without creating more clutter and while providing memorable experiences.

 

1) Family or Kid Portraits - I know, I know, I'm a South Bay family photographer, so I have to put this down.  But, honestly, this was the last idea I thought of because it's so unusual.  Most of the time, families either neglect to get family portraits taken or do it on a yearly basis.  But who thinks of giving it as a gift? Really, family portraits are an amazing gift because it's not just 'yearly photos', it's the gift of memory making and a way to make sure your family has beautiful images displayed in their home of their love for each other.  

Even if your family already had pictures taken, maybe buying them a gallery wrapped canvas of one of their favorites or a wall gallery displaying multiple images that they can hang up in their dining or living room?  Or even one beautiful portrait of each of the kids for them to have in their room, hanging over their beds.

 Palos Verdes Family Photographer Behind the Scenes

2) Park Passes - We received this as a gift last year from a family member and it has literally been one of the best gifts we ever got.  It's so cool to be able to pick up on a random Sunday, pack lunches and snacks and head to an amusement park.  We got passes to Knott's Berry Farms including the water park and had so much fun going to both over the last 12 months!! Some amazing park passes include: Knott's Berry Farms, Legoland, Disneyland, Six Flags.

3) Subscriptions - Today, everything is about memberships and subscriptions. There are so many choices to choose from and many times they offer a great source of entertainment at a great value.  Some ideal family friendly subscriptions could include: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Tinker Crates by Kiwi Co., Monthly pass at Play Hive Indoor Play Space, Monthly pass to the Co Op in Redondo Beach.  Any of these would allow for hours of entertainment, whether the play kind or the in-home kind ;)

4) Kid Classes - This is one I'm going to lobby for this year.  I'd love to sign my kids up to endless after school activities but it racks up a hefty bill and we all know that after a while kids change their minds and want to do something different.  So, how about asking family members to purchase a set number of classes to any of the different sports or hobby classes that your kids have been wanting to try out.  Some ideas might include Karate, ballet, yoga, art, gymnastics, or soccer.

5) Books - These never do run out of style.  If you have a kid who is a new reader or a seasoned reader looking for a new series to jump into, buying sets of books are a great option.  Some of the books I'm looking into for my oldest daughter include Ivy + Bean, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Magic Tree House.  She really wanted to start Harry Potter, but at 7 1/2 she really isn't ready for the content or the comprehension level so we'll have to wait on those.  

Another great option is purchasing Audio books or an Audible membership through Amazon so they can choose any number of books to get great deals on and listen to in the car or at home while they're coloring or winding down for the day.  It beats having to be available all the time to read a book if you're not into that.

 Young Girl in a Sun Hat Reading a Book in a Park

6) Board Games -  If you're looking for a toy that won't get forgotten easily, board games are a great option.  I really want to bulk up our board game collection in the next few months.  My kids are getting old enough that they can actually follow rules, loose graciously, and still have fun.  We recently tried Life Jr. which was really fun.

Some great basics to have include Trouble, Chess, Sorry, Guess Who?, Zingo, Scrabble, Monopoly Jr., Mastermind, and  Life Jr.

I'd love to hear other suggestions of gifts that don't take up more space in your home and offer a longer stretch of enjoyment and entertainment.  Comment below any ideas you have!