Christmas is coming down the pipe and I have some dread of it. Mainly because it usually involves stuff. My children's birthdays surround Christmas so it's this time of year that there is an overload on toys. Last year was fine because the boys had outgrown a lot of toys, but this year I think we're set until Knee is elementary school. I'd prefer that things were spread out more and less about toys so without further ado here are some gift suggestions.
1) Clothing- We live in the desert so our need for heavy winter clothing is basically non-existent. This doesn't mean that they a) don't wear holes into their clothing and b) don't grow and c) have their own personal style preferences. My mother-in-law has a fantastic used clothing store although I'd have to ask her to ship things periodically through the year and specify what not to buy (Knee's so darn picky). The other option is Sprouting Threads. It's like the children's version of Stitch Fix. You can choose seasonal wear (or monthly) tailored to your child's tastes. They take a 20 dollar fee and you keep what you like and send back the rest. The nice thing is that they will buy back gently used clothing and you have the option of choosing half used and half new things. Family can contact them to purchase a gift certificate.
2) Magazines/Books- This one is pretty well covered into November 2016. I'm huge into using the library especially since my children's tastes change. We also have a HighFive subscription. However there are other magazines out there and monthly book subscriptions. I don't think its necessary, but it's something to mention.
3) Activities- We can get the kids into a low cost activity through parks and recreation for the city and county. I've also been wanting the children to take swim lessons at a private institution that does them for a little more but it's year round. We did something like this once for HB and I think he enjoyed it.
4) Passes/Memberships- There's a regular zoo, the desert zoo (called the Desert Museum I don't know why because it's a zoo), botanical gardens, children's museum, Tucson Old Studios, etc. They all offer memberships for a year for families. I tend to like a variety of things so even just simply purchasing one-time-only gift passes will go a long way. The Botanical Gardens has a butterfly exhibit running now until May. The local movie theatre, AMC, offers autism-friendly movies for a small cost. They have multiple locations throughout the US so you may look into that for your own family. Hubby has been dreading taking the children to the movies and not because he's worried about HB's reaction. It's more like their over-all behavior. So this is a great way to mingle with parents in the trenches and not worry what other people will think. They also have a Stubs program that you pay 12 dollars for the year and get to reap some discounts. In other words, for 28 dollars you can set us up for the stub program and enough tickets for one film. Not too bad eh?
5) Art Boxes- I've already mentioned that I like Green Kid Crafts. They have monthly subscription options in addition to buying single craft boxes. They aren't that expensive either. The boxes are about 25 bucks for several projects (3-4) (unless you get a re-occuring subscription which is 19 a month) and then you can for an additional fee tack on the other sibling. The box I got for a promo was a re-occuring subscription (that I canceled). It was for one child but I was easily able to stretch things for two children because of the number of supplies I also have on hand. I've also gotten a promo for Kiwi Crate, but I didn't like it as much. It has a combination of activities and crafts which is "meh" to me. The other option is to raid the local craft store for craft kits for kids. I got a couple of foam crafts, Thanksgiving-themed, from Dollar Tree for two dollars stashed away for later.
So hopefully that will give family members (and that includes ourselves) some ideas for things for the kids this year that don't break the bank or overwhelm the house with toys but make lots of fun memories.