“Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.” – Kin Hubbard
If you’re a parent who’s been at the receiving end of Birthday/Christmas/Diwali gift exchanges, I’m sure you know exactly what Kin Hubbard meant when he said that.
Most people probably think that buying a kid a gift is as easy as pie. I mean what’s so much to think about? Get them a toy, that’s what all kids love, right?
Now, if you’re among the parents I mentioned at the start of the post, you’re probably sitting there, with images of bright plastic and batteries and colorful paper flitting through your mind.
The thing is that there is an entire universe of kids stuff out there today – toys, books, arts and crafts, school supplies, sports gear, clothes etc. The choices in each category can be overwhelming too. And yet, kids repeatedly get gifted things that are useless as soon as the batteries run out, or that break within 48 hours of play or duplicates of what they already have. If you’re gifting a child to see him delighted, and you’re already spending good money on it, shouldn’t you take the extra effort to see that it’s something that gives them joy, while being of some use simultaneously?
With the festival season at our doorsteps, here are a few tips to consider before getting a gift for that special little person in your life:
1. Don’t go blindly for what they ‘like’ – The most common gifting mistake, and the number one cause for duplicates. When my son was in the construction vehicle phase, we were up to our knees in bulldozers. Of course, you’re considering the child’s interest, but then everyone’s toeing that very same line.
2. Don’t go for the bestseller book – Yes, Harry Potter is a great book for kids, but shouldn’t you first check if he already has one? Especially if you know the child spends most of his pocket money on books, it’s quite likely he gets the latest one as soon as it hits the bookstore shelves.
3. Consider the batteries – Some toys these days require an obscene number of batteries. My neighbor’s son got a giant remote controlled toy car, where the car needed 4 batteries, and the remote needed another 4. Phew!!
4. Make sure of the child’s age – A complicated Lego set might look like a really cool collector’s edition to you, but chances are that Mommy and Daddy will end up sitting on the floor, blocks spread out, instruction manual open and li’l Champ will be back to playing with his tattered teddy.
5. Try to avoid ‘gender-specific’ toys – This is especially if you don’t know the kid too well. Not all little girls like a pink explosion and not all little boys dig race cars.
6. Consider the parents’ sentiments – Most parents today do not approve of their children playing with guns, so that would be something to avoid. Also, books with religious connotations, gifts that involve water or sand, money, large toys that will occupy half the living room of an apartment are all risky choices.
If you feel like I’ve exhausted all possible gift ideas, don’t worry, here are a few failsafe ones:
Under 500 Rupees:
- Craft Material – Go for generic stuff like pipe cleaners, paints, ribbons etc. The ready to make kits are a bit limiting
- Puzzles – Available for pretty much any age group
- Educational CDs – Sid the Science Kid, Pogo Mad and Leapfrog are good affordable choices
500 to 1000 Rupees:
- Room Décor – Wall decals, book ends, cushions, wall hangings
- Building blocks – Classic stuff that’ll never go out of style
- Science stuff – Junior microscopes, science experiment kits
- Battery free play sets – Check out WOW, Plan toys or Sevi
1000 to 2000 Rupees:
- Sports Gear – Gloves, bats, skates
- Mini Furniture – Storage boxes cum seats, little arm chairs
- Ride Ons
- Educational toys – Quercetti has some great options
The best part is that everything is available online, and you can do your research on Amazon – loads of reviews on every product!! Now, there’s nothing stopping you from giving fun, useful and long lasting gifts to all the special kids in your life!! Happy Gifting!
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.