With Christmas right around the corner and only 12 shopping days left until Christmas, including Christmas Eve, the rush is on to find the best Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. What makes the Christmas gift buying season even worse is that the rush is condensed into weekends for many working parents, who now only have one official shopping weekend left until the big day, because Christmas 2010 falls on a Saturday and Christmas Eve on a Friday.
Probably the most difficult thing to do, aside from finding the best Christmas gifts as cheap as possible, is finding a great stocking stuffer to go with the great Christmas gifts. These presents not only have to fit inside the Christmas stocking, but it must also be something little that the person receiving it really wants. If your home is like mine, the people on your list probably do not want or need another, “but I get this every year” Christmas gift. To combat this “Christmas Stocking Stuffer Problem,” check out this list of great gift ideas that will not rip open the Christmas stocking-or your wallet-while still being something they might actually want this year.
Children Ages 0-1
When a child is new to the world and is experiencing his or her first Christmas season, it is something parents want to remember forever. This is probably the easiest age range that you can find great stocking stuffers for. Children this young are simply too young to say they don’t like something. However, the youngest of children do exhibit preferential treatment with certain toys, so they might like a small stuffed animal of their favorite cartoon characters, such as a Sesame Street Grover doll small enough to fit in the Christmas stocking.
Another great Christmas gift idea is anything that makes a lot of noise, such as a small or mid-sized baby rattle. One that my kids always loved are the “Little Baby Rattle and Big baby Rattle” brand. While they are marketed as baby shower gifts, they makes great baby rattles that keep little ones busy for a long time-more than five who minutes! You can order either a boy or girl, Caucasian or African American. The Small Baby Rattle is $3.98, and five inches tall, or a Large Baby Rattle for $22.99 and 14 inches tall, which would be better for an under the Christmas tree gift.
Children Ages 1-3
Because of choking hazards and other Christmas injuries, finding the perfect stocking stuffer for the 1-3 year old is more difficult than any other age range. Not only do kids this age have more difficulty keeping their attention focused, but they also have more of a preference when it comes to what they like-or don’t like and they voice their opinions very loudly.
Again, finding a cartoon character they like is the first step to finding a great Stocking stuffer gift. For a two-year old just beginning to learn right from wrong, the alphabet, numbers and how to talk, flash cards with their favorite characters on them cold be a great sticking stuffer. They are small, easy to find or make if you wish and will allow the kids to learn at their own pace. Flash cards will also allow parents to get involved, something many parents wish they could do more. Another great idea for this age would be some pop-up books. Most pop-up books are geared to children this age and have a moral or ethical twist to them that makes them great for teaching right and wrong. You can find both flash cards and pop-up books at your local dollar store, and could even make your own.
Take Away Tips: Safety First!
Always remember that when you buy something for little children, make sure that the gift has little or no moving parts or small parts that a young child can swallow. Additionally, make sure that the materials form which the toys are made form cannot harm the child in any other way. For example, always opt for a plush toy over a hard plastic one, lest the child bop him or herself in the head with it, not a pleasant experience for baby or parent, trust me!
Use a lot of wrapping on any of the Christmas gifts for stocking listed here and voila! You have got yourself an instant double present! Not only do they have the benefit of receiving a toy, character or learning set that they might really like, but they also get to unwrap the present, which makes a lot of noise and will keep them busy for a while.
Additionally, if you can manage to put a smaller toy in a box before it gets wrapped and put into the Christmas stocking, then it offers triple the fun! The thing is that most young children will probably be happy with just about anything, as long as they get to tear open the wrapping paper and play with the boxes, too. Have a safe, fun, and happy holiday!
Baby Shower Stuff: Little Baby Rattles