I’m Taking a New Approach to Christmas Gifts This Year


Every year I seem to go a little above and beyond when it comes to Christmas gifts for my kids. This year I’ve been debating quantity versus quality and what they want versus what they need. I think I’ve come up with a good way to get a well-rounded selection of gifts that is more than just extra stuff.

1. Something she/he asked Santa for: Growing up Santa brought all of our gifts. As Lil’ J prepares to climb on Santa’s lap and tell him what she wants, she narrows it down. She has been good about asking Santa for just one thing, so going along with that I think we’ll make sure Santa gets what she told him she wanted (yes we met Santa early this year). She asked for matching American Girl Doll clothes to go with her new doll.

My son asked Santa for a Lightning McQueen toy and we’ve already got that covered.

Santa and kids photoshoot gift guide for meaningful gifts

2. Something we can enjoy together: Like a board game, or playing cards. I recently taught Lil’ J how to play go fish and she’s all about it. When we’re waiting at a restaurant or need a simple game to play she grabs the cards. Maybe we’ll get her Uno or Old Maid and add some more games to the list.

Same for little brother. Maybe Hungry Hippo or something they would enjoy playing together. I have a game on my wish list too. I told my husband I’d love Disney Scene It.

3. Something active: My kids love to work out with their dad in our garage gym. He’s forever adding equipment to their lineup. From box jumps to weights. I’ll have to consult with him on this but I think the kids may enjoy some jump ropes, maybe a basketball hoop, or a pogo stick.

4. Something to experience: A trip to a train museum for my son, or private gymnastics lessons for my daughter. I’d love to give a gift that keeps on giving with a joyful experience or talent they develop.

5. Something special: Lastly I love surprising my kids with something I think they’d love. Whether it’s big or small, it’s just something I think they’d enjoy. Big T has a lot of hot wheel cars and I think he’d enjoy a Hot Wheels track, but I’m debating if I have the patience to keep them organized. A simple set shouldn’t be too bad right?

I’m still working on Lil’ J. I’m thinking of getting her a pair of earrings and then surprising her with a trip to get her ears pierced since she’s been asking quite a bit lately.

I’ve barely started my shopping, in fact I’m still finalizing our lists of who we need to shop for, but getting this shopping list going makes me feel like I’m making progress.

This weekend there’s a Sears sale event to get early access to Black Friday deals so you can save big and enjoy their holidays with peace-of- mind knowing your holiday shopping is already done. Check out Sears.com/gifts for more information.

What kinds of kids are you shopping for this year? Leave a comment letting me know and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to Sears to get a kick start on your holiday shopping.

The Sears Member Private Night sale event is on Sunday, Nov. 20 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you can’t make it to the store you can still shop the Member Private Night sale online 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., or shop at Sears on Thanksgiving Day, with deals available both in-store and online starting at 6 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving evening to midnight, or on Black Friday with stores opening at 5 a.m.

Making shopping easier is a big bonus to me, which is why I’ve partnered with Sears on this post. All opinions are my own.

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  1. I am shopping for a son who is in the military so I have to buy like clothes and maybe games and then I am shopping for a little princess who is all girl and is one years old!

  2. This year and alay I’m shopping for my 4 nephews and 2 nieces as well as my two. I love the holiday magic. Last year I got each household and elf and we had an elf party. I’m thinking if doing a welcome back type thing this year. A few years ago I added in Xmas eve boxes I give them a book each, some pjs, and a hot coco mix. We typically have an Xmas eve game night as well. Then Christmas day we have breakfast at one families house and dinner at another. I’m getting wayyyy to excited just thinking about it.

  3. I am shopping for my six-year-old son who should be fairly easy to please, my 10-year-old daughter ( I just got her a cell phone for her birthday so I have zero ideas on what she would like ) and my 15-year-old son so also super hard to shop for. I’ll tell you shopping for Christmas is so much easier when your kids are little and still want toys :-/

  4. I’ve got 6 and 5 year old girls, and a 3 year old boy. This year when they made their lists I had them do something they want, need, wear, and read. I felt like if they were able to make a list a mile long, that they would be disappointed when they didn’t get everything on it! Now I have one big ticket item for each of them, and hopefully they will be excited to get those things and happy about anything extra 🙂

  5. My 8yo is getting to the point where he wants bigger ticket items so he won’t be getting everything he wants. Maybe one of them, if he’s lucky! My 3yo is weird about Santa so for a while he was saying he didn’t want any presents…until we went to a store with toys and he changed his tune! I have some ideas for him–maybe a loop for his Hot Wheels, maybe the Codeapillar, or maybe those as seen on TV light-up cars with the roll-up track? Not sure yet!

  6. First off I just wanted to say Disney Scene It is fun! My kids get a kick out of it too! We have four girls ages six, four, and one year old twins. Santa brings them each one thing. As far as the rest of the gifts I’m trying to minimize “stuff”. I’m planning on getting them each some new books and some clothing items that they need plus an additional toy they’ve had their eye on. We also have four nephews, one niece, and three Godsons most of which will also be getting some type of book :).

  7. We give a lot of books for Christmas. I’m trying to keep in mind this year that my kids don’t need tons of stuff. I can go a little crazy sometimes. Heh.

  8. For Christmas my kids are getting a count down chain to our Disney world vacation and cruise. I will be shopping for character themed outfits, jammies and blankets for my 3 kiddos. Ages 2, 6 and 14.

  9. This year we are buying board games for the kiddos, each one can choose which one they want. And then as a family we have chosen to donate our time and money towards preparing a meal for the Ronald McDonald House in Austin, we plan on cooking the meal for Christmas Day. I just need to make sure we secure our spot on their list, LOL!

  10. Hello, The kids in my extended family are all boys so I have 5 nephews to get gifts for. So far the ideas my boyfriend and I have come up with are the game Apples to Apples so we can all play together. And we’re taking them to the Aquarium, a great memory making experience.

  11. I’m shopping for my boys – ages 5, 1, and 6 days (c-section scheduled for Dec. 19!). I have a ton of ideas for the 5 year old, the younger ones are harder.

  12. I am shopping for my son and daughter. My son likes electronics and computer related items. My daughter likes stuffed animals… a lot!

  13. I’m shopping for my kiddos (6 and 3). They really into building things . So whatever the gift is it will be something that they can play with together. So maybe magna tiles or Legos

  14. This is so awesome!! Love those categories you wrote about! I’ve been really thinking about what to get the boys and. I nieces for Christmas and I’ve got the boys covered but the girls are harder. Thanks for sharing this!

  15. I am shopping for all my kids. I have 4 daughters 3 married and 1 in college. I can’t forget my 3 grandsons ages 4, 2, 2months. Last but not least our caboose boy who is 3. I haven’t even started yet so I loved the ideas on the blog.

  16. I’m shopping for my 7yr old girl. She’s into skylanders and pokemon. Im tempted to just get her the old game console with preloaded games on it. Each character for the games is costing too much. And my 1.5 yr old boy doesn’t know much about gifts yet so we will wrap up some things just so he can rip it open and enjoy that experience

  17. I’m shopping for my three kids who have tolerated my first semester of medical school with much more grace than me.

  18. I’m shopping for my son Brody. He is such an adventurous 1 & 1/2 year old. I’m looking forward to Christmas this year as I think he will thoroughly enjoy it! Great minds think alike my present plans are very similar to yours except I think all of our ideas are totally centered around what new experiences can we provide him for the whole family to enjoy 🙂

  19. I’m getting the one year old some hand puppets and balls. The three year old is getting a robot puzzle, a wind up robot and either soccer or music lessons and we are renewing our family membership to our local science center. We don’t have my stepdaughter for Christmas this year, but she will be getting another Phoebe and Her Unicorn book and piano lessons.

  20. I am shopping for my 12 year old daughter and 15 year old son 🙂
    My daughter is wishing for a instapix camera and my son wants a new skateboard.

    Thanks for hosting such an amazing giveaway!

  21. We do a four gift Christmas:
    1. Something they want.
    2. Something they need.
    3. Something to wear.
    4. Something to read.

    Since we have four children (12, 8, 3, 2) and very small home, it makes it easier. Plus we have started realizing that over the years that the older kids tend to want mostly clothes and it has made my younger (3 yo) want the same. So we have it pretty easy.

  22. We have four children 12, 8, 3, and 2. We have instituted a 4 gift rule in our home:
    1. Something you want.
    2. Something you need.
    3. Something to wear.
    4. Soemthing to read.

    I love it, because our kids seem to be more appreciative for the things that they get, and it makes them more conscious of the things that they ask for.

  23. Hi Jennifer,

    I Just went through your useful 5 points of gift ideas for kids of this article. As usual overall very useful suggestions I must say.

    By the way, at point number 3 you talked about basketball hoop as a choice of activity related item.

    Do you prefer any particular basketball hoop for kids?

    If not then probably my list on the best portable basketball hoops for kids as well as adults with comprehensive buying guides will help your readers as well.

  24. I’m shopping for nieces and nephews. I hesitate to buy toys because they just seem to got lost among the millions they already seem to have, but I don’t know what else to get.

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