I’m a self-proclaimed deal-hound, and a recent climate crisis freaker-outer (I don’t know what else to call it…) so whenever I need anything, the first places I look are online buy-and-sell sites and second-hand stores. I can almost always find what I’m looking for, including big-ticket Christmas gifts for my kids.
I think when it comes to the holidays, we get this idea that everything needs to be expensive, and new, and shiny. I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make your child’s eyes light up with just a little bit of scrounging effort. Your bank account (and the planet) will thank you.
A couple of years ago, my five-year-old wanted drums from Santa. So “Santa” revved up the minivan, drove to our local thrift store and boom…DRUMS. Ten bucks. Perfect condition.
That same year, on a buy-and-sell site I saw a full-sized dollhouse that looked like it had barely been used for fifteen dollars (retail $125). I then scoured Kijiji for doll furniture and found a full set to furnish the entire house for $45. We’re talking mini lamps (that worked), beds with full bedding, bassinets, a kitchen set, fake food, a mini garden hose and fake plants! I’m telling you, it was all I could do to contain my excitement when I picked up the giant box of furnishings from the sweet Grandma who was selling them. I’m pretty sure I pranced off her doorstep and clicked my heels on my way back to the van, “Start the car!”
If I haven’t convinced you yet that there are deals to be had this Christmas, let me give you some more money-saving and eco-conscious gift ideas:
Wrap a Box
For the little ones (ages two and under) the best part about unwrapping a gift is…unwrapping the gift! So why not box up the essentials (diapers/shampoo/clothes, etc…) and let the joy of the experience be the simple act of tearing the paper to shreds?
Buy and Sell
(Okay, I’ve already talked about this, but…) I dare you to search buy-and-sell sites first. From LOL dolls to Fur Real Pets to LEGO, it’s all there. Your kids won’t know the difference, and even if they do? Teach them to feel good about second-hand gift giving/receiving. It’s better for the planet, after all.
Since I’m a crafter at heart, I also fully appreciate homemade gifts. Last year my mother-in-law crocheted me two potted cacti, and I adore them. You can try checking out local craft sales or etsy for a good one-of-a-kind gift ideas.
I know you’ve heard it before, but what about doing something together as a family vs. drowning in a sea of store-bought gifts? Could you do a smaller token item for each kid, and then go skating together? An overnight in a hotel? A concert? Taking budget and interests into account, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few more of our favourites.
In this digital age, a printed and framed photo can go a long way. And don’t forget to check thrift stores first for frames (are you sick of me yet?)
Hopefully this holiday you’ll find ways to de-stress, save money and the planet, and focus on what’s really important: TIME.
That is the real gift that comes with no price tag.