My mom is a self-proclaimed Kijiji addict. She loves to find a deal for anyone in need of a deal. If you even casually mention that you might be looking for a new chest of drawers, she'll send you an email with a link to her finds the very next day.
It's part of her morning routine: Wake up. Coffee. Kijiji.
Well the other day, while I was eating my cereal, my mom excitedly turned her laptop screen towards me, "Look what I found! An entire Thomas The Train play-table complete with (insert obscure character name here) and everything! It's only $100! Originally $250!"
My heart raced with excitement, that was a good deal! However, the excitement was quickly extinguished by the logical half (err..one tenth) of my brain. "Sorry Mom, but we already bought Cole his big Christmas present, remember? We bought him the play-kitchen in October (the one you also found on kijiji) and now we're just going to get him some small things."
The light in her eyes diminished. She was so excited. In fact, she was probably more excited than he would have been. I felt bad, but I had to stick to my guns.
This time of year it is SO EASY to get suckered into buying anything and everything, but really when you stop to think about it: what does a 21-month-old need? Not much. My son lives in a clean(ish) house, he's fed healthy homemade food, and he has four doting adults around every day who shower him with love and affection. He is a happy kid. And he doesn't really need tons of toys.
So if you're on a limited budget this holiday season, or you just don't want to go overboard, here are a few of my suggestions on what you can give your child for Christmas (or Hanukkah or ________):
1) MAKE YOUR OWN ALPHABET CARDS
Maybe it's just my kid, but Cole loves flashcards and is starting to learn his alphabet (okay, he knows the letter W and sometimes O) but I wanted to get him some of those fun alphabet flash cards, except I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I'm making my own. I've found pictures online of each individual letter, then I'm going to print and laminate each letter and cut them out. He's going to love it!
2) MAKE A FORT OUT OF A GIANT BOX
Pre-cut the door and windows and make it look somewhat like a playhouse, and then wrap it up. After your kid unwraps this amazingly large box (which I'm sure they'll pee themselves with excitement doing anyway) then you can work together to customize it and make a play-house. Paint the door, add some flowers, et voila: an inexpensive and fun gift!
Cole loves to read, and so do most kids I know. Books are always a great gift idea in my opinion. And here is the thing: you don't even have to buy them new. Your child won't care! So go looking for deals at your local used bookshop and enjoy some cuddly bedtime stories together this holiday!
4) GET THEM SHIT THEY NEED AND JUST WRAP IT UP!
At this age, I think part of the excitement is just unwrapping stuff. So why not buy them stuff they need anyway? Socks? Awesome. Toothpaste? Great! As long as it has wrapping paper — it's a gift!
5) DO SOMETHING TOGETHER!
And ultimately, instead of gifts, what your child will benefit most from this holiday is spending time with YOU. Go play in the snow. Bake gingerbread men together. Vaccuum together — who cares! You child won't remember if you got them the latest and greatest toy at this age, but the time you spend with them will forever leave an impression.
'Tis the season to be cheesy. Sorry about that, but it's true!
MERRY HO-HO EVERYONE!