There are times, like when I’m trying to kick a path through the playroom, that I feel like we can’t add even one more toy to this household and in fact would be well-advised to jettison fully half of them. This creates a problem five times a year at birthdays, and a problem-times-five at Christmas. I like to find gifts that are fun enough to be gifts, but that don’t have to live on the toy shelf (or floor, whatever).
1. Character (or otherwise special) bed sheets (both images above from Amazon.com). Bonus: if the child needs sheets anyway, and you spend $20 on Little Mismatched sheets that would have cost $10 if plain/boring, you’re making some of the money work twice: $10 sheets plus $20 gift = $20. (The Wonder Pets set is probably a better example of the kind of sheets a child would actually be happy with, but I got distracted by the ones _I_ would want for ME, and besides the Wonder Pets ones are more expensive so they don’t make my money-working-twice point as impressively.)
2. Pictures for their walls. I bought the little dinosaur from Marmar on Etsy.com (image above from the shop) for dinosaur-loving Henry (that was before he started preferring his dinosaurs realistic), and the customizable little fairy land print from Trafalgar’s Square on Etsy.com (image above from the shop) for girly Elizabeth’s room.
3. Video games (both images from Amazon.com). Video games don’t take up much space and can be flung in a bin put neatly on a shelf near the TV. Bonus: maybe more than one kid will like the game. We have a “token” system at our house, where the children have to practice reading or writing or math in order to earn minutes of videogames—but not if it’s an educational or exercise videogame, so Big Brain Academy is pretty popular at our house. I’m hoping this year’s hit will be Nickelodeon Wii Fit.