This post is especially for wonderful Carrie, although recently I've heard this question asked on every mommy-board I've visited.
What do you do? You've stopped buying toys that are made in China, but your child is having a birthday party and the guests are calling and asking what to get her. You don't want to ask for pricey gifts, you know money could be an issue ,and it is so much easier for the gift giver to pick up something at Target. Most of all, you dread taking away that obnoxious toy with lights and squeaks after your child has bonded with it. What do you ask for?
Alternately, you get a last minute birthday party invitation and have no time to shop and don't want to pay outrageous shipping fees for a nice gift to arrive in time. What do you give?
Always a good stand-by. Winter is coming, do you have enough socks, slippers and woolly hats?
Music tames the savage beast. Or, gives her something to dance to. From Baby Einstein and Sesame Street to Hannah Montana and High School Musical, kids of all ages like music.
A Mother's Gift: Lullabies From the Heart
Groove to the Music
Not for Kids Only
Again, good for all ages.
Some of our favorites:
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (The Friendship Edition)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories
Curious George (Full Screen Edition)
The LEGO company is amazingly responsible. You can feel good about LEGO. This includes Duplo and Quatro for younger children.
Edited from the Lego website:
"The LEGO Group has been a world leader in such areas as human rights, labour standards, the environment and the fight against corruption. LEGO tries to minimize the waste and energy used during the manufacturing process, avoiding materials which cause toxic substances and fumes, and are harmful for both children and their employees. LEGO uses primarily ABS plastics in the manufacture of its products. This ABS material has been specially developed for our company and is constantly tested in the company's laboratories. All LEGO play materials carry the EU CE symbol. The symbol means that the LEGO Group guarantees that the product complies with the European Toy Directive. Products manufactured for the American market must satisfy the Code of Federal Regulation and ASTM standard F963. The LEGO Group is a member of both TIE (Toy Industries of Europe) and TIA (Toy Industries of America), and chairs the European committee for standardisation of toy safety. Through TIE and the European standardisation committee, CEN, the LEGO Group is actively engaged in defining toy standards which can promote safety in the toy sector. LEGO is manufactured in Europe and North America"
Art Supplies and Office Supplies
Scissors, sketch books, construction paper, crayons, staplers, Post-It pads, colored pencils, crayons, paint, big rolls of adding machine paper, labels and especially stickers can provide hours and hours of fun. Big kids love calculators.
Board books, picture books, chapter books and pretty pop-up books. Books are great gifts, and my kids love them. Schools have Scholastic book fairs where you can get great deals. Or, give a Border's gift certificate.
Gift certificates for a movie, play, zoo, bowling, skating, etc.
There's nothing a child likes more than having fun with her family. If there's something you've always wanted to do with your child, ask for tickets. Then you'll have to make time.
Or, DVD rental and snacks.
Think outside the toy box
Potting soil, flower pots and begonia seeds. Paperwhite bulbs and a shallow dish to grow them in. Knitting needles and a ball of pretty yarn. A bird house and an identification guide. A disposable camera and photo album. A portable CD player. Homemade muffin mix (just the dry ingredients) with a recipe and child-size muffin tin. A sewing kit. Homemade play dough (or cookie dough), a rolling pin and cookie cutters. California Baby bubble bath and a bath mitt. Posters. A magazine subscription.
An on-line wish list, such as Wish Central, allows you to create wish lists from any store in one place that is easily accessible to family and friends.