50 something contributor Kristie Forrest is a young mother who well knows how hard it can be to buy gifts for children.
Their rooms are overflowing with toys already and Santa is bound to bring more.
You know they like Lego but have no idea what they already have. And teenagers! What on earth do you buy them when it’s all about brands and expensive gadgets?
You’ve probably felt the drain on your festive cheer while preparing the faithful ‘cash in a card’ combo which, despite almost always being appreciated, still feels impersonal and lacklustre. We’ve come up with some ideas to help.
Try wrapping the voucher with a packet of their favourite treats or movie snacks.
Camping or fishing gear
Rods, tackle boxes, camping chairs, binoculars, torches, sleeping bags, two-way radios and other gear of this nature is an excellent way to encourage youngsters to get outside!
Puzzles, books and games
Visit a specialty games store or craft market to get something out of the ordinary. Consider outdoor all-ages family games like Finska (a unique European maths game involving the strategic throwing of wooden logs), Giant Connect 4 or bocce. Buy one game as a joint gift for the whole family.
Theme park, zoo or attraction
Purchase a season pass or entry ticket for an attraction or experience like Sea World, Wet‘n’Wild, Luna Park, zoos, bowling alleys or miniature golf. There are many options for this type of fun. Print the ticket and attraction map or brochure so they can visualise the gift and consider going with them to give their parents a break.
There are suitable stage shows happening around Australia in the New Year. Check out your local theatre or ticketing website to see what’s on and be sure
to check the recommended age group if purchasing for younger children.
Some 2017 productions include:
Mister Maker, Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine, Room on the Broom, Operation Ouch, Paw Patrol Live! Race to
the Rescue, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Aladdin the Musical, Cirque du Soleil Kooza, Nitro Circus, Disney on Ice, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Matilda the Musical, and Cinderella.
Print the ticket confirmation with a copy of the show flyer and wrap with a treat.
Quilt cover, beach towel, lamp, clock, corkboard/message board or something else special for their bedroom or study space.
Homemade fudge, coconut ice, toffee or other treats packed in a jar or brown paper, tied with a ribbon.
Available in department stores, toy shops and online specialist costume stores. Choose generic costumes like police officer, fairy or pirate; or their favourite licensed character.
Colouring books, coloured paper, crayons, markers, glitter, sequins, stickers, pipe cleaners, stick-on eyes, pom-poms, ribbon or activity sets.
Seeds, a watering can, pot, gloves and trowel could be bundled into a nice package.
Voucher for one-on-one time
Hand-make a special voucher entitling them to a one-on-one picnic in the park or movie night with you. You could wrap this with an inexpensive colouring book and pencils.
For a teenage girl, a voucher for a manicure or pedicure is a treat you could share for a special day out.
A new basketball or footy is always useful, or consider purchasing a membership to their favourite sporting club or tickets to a game.
Remember to make use of your National Seniors membership this festive season and access discounts to theme parks, attractions, theatre shows, books, wine, flowers and gift vouchers using the Where to Enjoy app or link on the National Seniors website.
Members can enter online here to to win a Finska set valued at $69.95.Entries close 16 December.
This article by Kristie Forrest originally appeared in the December/January 2017 edition of 50 something magazine.