A simple gift giving philosophy for our children and some DIY gift ideas

I have heard this particular gift giving philosophy many times, but this is the first year I have considered using it with my children. I am trying to keep presents simple this year as Christmas can be wonderful but also overwhelming for children in so many ways. So we will see how we go and if this work for our family.


My daughter at almost 5 years of age; My daughter has been focusing on reading the time for well over 6 months now and has asked for a watch. I like the idea of a watch as it’s a practical but still a fun gift. Shoes wise, both of my children have grown out of their shoes literally. We don’t keep many pairs, usually just two pairs each. Clothes wise, both of my children have a minimalist-inspired closet, so that means we don’t keep a lot of clothes at one time, really the essentials and rotate seasonally. My husband and I do the same. My plan is to look for maybe one or two clothing items each for my children.

  1. Something they want (pink watch- inexpensive).
  2. Something they need (shoes).
  3. Something to wear (shirt and or dress)
  4. Something to read (book on space)- my daughter’s interest

My son at almost 3 years of age;

  1. Something they want (some kind of toy car or truck)
  2. Something they need (shoes)
  3. Something to wear (shirt/shorts)
  4. Something to read (Dinosaur book)- my son’s interest

I don’t feel children’s Christmas presents have to be bought brand new. There is always the option of second hand or thrifted toys, games and books and even clothes for example or even a hand made gift like clothing or a stuffed toy. Vouchers can also be an option as a gift of an experience rather than a gift, but I know this is definitely not a popular idea for many. Last year we received an annual pass voucher for an animal sanctuary. This gift was well used and much appreciated.

Here are how some other Bloggers have used this Gift Giving idea;

DIY Gift Ideas;


  • Thinking Montessori style; DIY- child-sized facecloths, hand towels, cleaning cloths (all can be made from one towel) or cloth placemat, cooking apron (link below), bathrobe (link below), crochet mittens or beanies or a scarf or booties or a bonnet for a baby.
  • Painted blocks. We have used plain wooden Jenga style blocks and painted them rainbow colours with liquid watercolours and given them as gifts. They look beautiful. You can seal them If you are worried about them getting wet and the paint coming off. See link below
  • Scented playdough. We received this one Christmas when my son was closer to one years old. The playdough was hand-made, coloured with a dark green dye and scented with peppermint.
  • DIY jewellery. I am helping my daughter to make a friendship bracelet at the moment. She is very interested in learning how to make bracelets and necklaces. A great gift idea.
  • Potted plants (must be non-toxic-safe for children) for children to look after. We set up a some herbs, tomato plant and a strawberry plant. My children love to look after plants.
  • Story stones (see link below). I made these last year for my children using white stones and permanent markers. They were a hit.
  • Photo album. I have done this in the past. I put together some of our favourite photos in an album for my children as a present. I also added photos of our extended family, especially those who we don’t get to see too often.

DIY Gift Making Links;

  1. An Everyday Story- Bead and Sequins Mobile
  2. An Everyday Story- How to make rainbow blocks
  3. An Everyday Story- How to make tree blocks
  4. Bugaboo City- DIY kids cooking aprons
  5. Craft Remedy- DIY kids bathrobe tutorials
  6. Everyday Begins New- Rainbow ribbon dance ring/kite (for a toddler)
  7. The Imagination Tree- DIY Flower fairy wooden peg dolls
  8. Everyday Begins New- Beeswax candle making
  9. Racheous- DIY story stones

For the adults; On my side the adults don’t give each other gifts and on my husband’s side we buy for his parents and do ‘Secret Santa’ for his siblings, so we only have to buy one gift. For my husband’s parents we are using a basket we already have to fill with fresh fruit, a bottle of wine and some home-made baked gifts (cake and cookies) which my children will help me to make some time soon.

If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them.

Edited 18th December; we finished our Christmas shopping and ended up just getting my children (2) items each; for my daughter a watch and book (a book on Space/Planets) and for my son a couple of toy cars and a book (Winnie the Pooh story book). It seems that some family members said they were getting each of our children some clothing items.


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