As we draw closer to Christmas, most of us are probably checking our list twice (and realizing we still haven’t figured out what to get for our brother-in-law). Hopefully you are finding time to enjoy the season with your family rather than scrambling to finish your holiday shopping, but if you are like me then something always gets forgotten or left to the last minute.
For me it used to be the stockings.
I would cross off everyone on my gift-giving list only to realize that those little hanging decorations would need to be FILLED in a few days. I have four kids’ stockings to fill (the adults in my family do a secret Santa stocking exchange, but that’s another post), and I don’t particularly want to jack them all up on chocolate Santas and giant candy canes or waste money on things that will get lost or broken before the day is over.
Over the past few years I have tried to maintain a little stockpile of small gifts that I use for birthday gifts, stocking stuffers, and rewards. They are small and inexpensive enough to go in a stocking, but more fun and special than filling them with cheap dollar store plastic and candy (don’t worry though, they get candy too, I’m not a total Grinch).
This is great for car trips or to keep in your diaper bag/purse. Just be careful when the weather gets warmer that it doesn’t become a melted wax keeper.
You can find a version of this for each state. This is a great little gift for baby’s first Christmas and can even be personalized with a name, birth info, and/or different colored beads (my newest little one will have this in her stocking since she is my only baby born here in TN)! This will also be a big hit as a gift if mom and dad are football fans.
These little tablets that change the water color were a huge hit with my little ones! We also love bathtub finger paint soap, which often shows up in the Target dollar spot. Bathtub art is a great indoor time killer during snow days too!
(Also available in veggie!) These little fabric fruits are great choice for either gender, at any age. Babies can chew on them, toddlers can throw them and take the velcro halves apart over and over again, and older kids can run their own restaurant or farmers’ market!
Fun for the fridge while you are making dinner, or get some inexpensive sheet metal or a giant cookie sheet and make your own magnet board! You can find the old fashioned plastic kind for cheap, but I love the little monster eyes on these guys.
(These dot activity sheets are great too!) Most preschools make use of these dot markers, and for good reason. They are relatively easy and mess free for little hands (no cups, no water, no rinsing) and excellent for teaching fine motor skills and encouraging creativity.
Bedtime pass (or other coupons/activity vouchers)
There are plenty of Etsy shops with cute printables and coupon books, but this is a super easy DIY too. Just write up a few of your own giving your little elf extra screen time, a one-on-one outing, dessert before dinner, you name it!
DIY travel Lego case (there are other great ideas for wipe cases on Pinterest too, including a travel art case)
Another great item to keep in the car or your bag. My son loves taking along his mini-figures on road trips, and this is good way to keep them all in on place.
For my oldest girl, nothing says fancy like sparkles on her nails! I also just love the name of this color: Ugly Sweater Party! For toddler girls, check out Piggy Polish for a safe, less smelly non-toxic option.