Christmas present ideas for a home overspilling with toys!

It’s no secret that I’m not a lover of having a lot of things. Honestly the number of clear outs we’ve had is insane! I’m definitely not a materialistic person, though of course everyone likes a little treat here and there. One big purchase for us was obviously our house end of last year, but I see that much differently. It’s our safe place, our home.

Three children’s birthdays plus Christmas, that’s a lot of gifts! For me the build up to these days brings me so much anxiety and stress. I finally get on top of what we own only for our house to be filled up again! And this isn’t about being ungrateful, no no no. This is about our mindset as a family. Lots of clutter and toys that aren’t played with leads to a cluttered mind and extra tidying up. I also want our children to grow up valuing thoughtful gifts, time with their family and taking care of special things. A quality over quantity type mindset that spills into all areas of their lives.

Just before my sons birthday I explained to him what I was writing about and suggested what that could mean for him. Things to do, places to go, in place of lots of physical gifts. Did you expect him to disagree? Nope, he nodded his head in agreement and told me that those things sound great! I asked him to write down some things that he’d really like to do. From my Mum he longed for some alone time just with his Nanny, he asked for a cinema trip. His birthday came and she gave him a cinema voucher, some popcorn and some sweets – He literally couldn’t wait to arrange this very special “Date” with her. The excitement and happiness that came from this gift was just incredible, together they created a memory. There is no greater gift than that.

I know, seeing your child opening a gift they’ve asked for, their face lights up. But how long does that happiness last for? Well I guess that depends on what it is! For the most part though I’d guess that a toy will eventually be forgotten unless it’s their favourite one that gets carried everywhere or used again and again. How about instead of presents we fill the memory banks of our children with our presence?! Sure buy some toys too if you’d like but perhaps a change of focus is something you’ve been longing for in your household. Perhaps this is the year to make that change. This isn’t an all or nothing thing, it’s a change in mindset. It’s creating a different type of Christmas list, maybe alongside their usual one.  Ask your child – Who would you like to spend some time with? Where would you like to visit? Is there anything you’d like to learn?

And who says this means there’s nothing to open? Nope! Think of things that compliment your trip and make up a little bag of goodies. Like popcorn for the cinema, goggles for a trip to your local swimming pool, a bag of seeds to feed the ducks at the park or a pocket sized map for a trip to London.

 

Here’s some ideas that we have on our list this year

A lunch date with a family member – Your child can pick the place. You could wrap up a new top for them to wear to your “date” or a small puzzle type game that you’ll play whist waiting for your food. No siblings allowed, this is all about one to one time.

A Cinema Trip – Again a one to one experience with a special grown up in their lives. Wrap up some popcorn and maybe buy them a reusable bottle to bring along. You could even buy popcorn kernels and make it together before you head out!

Bowling with you – This would be another lovely one to one experience, great for school aged children. You could wrap up a pot of change for the arcade or some fun socks! Then when they wear those socks they’ll be reminded of your trip.

Trip to London – The possibilities are endless with this one, there’s so much to do. You could go on a bus tour or a boat trip along the thames. Head to Hyde park and walk to Buckingham Palace for the change of the guard. Book the London Eye. You could visit Platform 9 3/4 or even Paddington station. There’s also tours you can go on (or plan your own) for the locations used in HP. Wrap up a pocket sized tube map for older children to help plan your route! Lots of tickets to choose from HERE for London attractions.

Harry Potter Studio Tour – Fellow HP lovers this is one you can’t miss! We’ve been twice now and will be going again soon hopefully. Wrap up a special ticket and an outfit to wear! GIFT VOUCHERS are available and last 12 months.

Muddy Boots Forest Adventures – This is true memory making for that special child in your life. Having attended many sessions myself with my daughter I can’t recommend them enough! Child led sessions in the woods, watch how your child explores and learns through play. There’s even hot drinks on hand for the adults, brilliant! Contact Kirsty to purchase your voucher. There are literally so many things you could purchase to accompany your gift! Some ideas – A reusable metal water bottle such as Klean Kanteen, an all in one suit, a hat, welly boots and warm welly socks.

Family trip to Bewilderwood – We are yet to visit (Hence it’s appearance on our list!) but it looks amazing! Everyone I know that has visited has had the best time. This would be a great family gift. They sell GIFT VOUCHERS too.

Membership Pass for Jimmys Farm – A great place to visit. Lots of animals to see and feed, den building, pond dipping, park, bouncy pillow, sandpit  and the most amazing food at the field kitchen! If it’s a place that you’re likely to visit often then a family pass is a great investment. Membership information can be found HERE or you could purchase a one day ticket HERE. You could wrap up some new lunch boxes or a bottle to bring along for a picnic, buy some binoculars to spot all the animals or even a bug hunting kit perfect for the den building area!

Swimming Lessons – Perhaps you’d like to gift the skill of swimming! Through a networking meet up I learnt about Swim 2 Swim. They now have a lovely new pool in Marks Tey with fantastic facilities. Gift Vouchers aren’t on their website but just drop them a message to arrange. You could purchase a new towel or swim suit to wrap up.

Beth Chatto Membership – We love going for walks as a family and though there are many freely accessible country parks sometimes it’s just nice to visit a well kept garden and enjoy a yummy cafe! The food at Beth Chatto is very yummy! We’ve often visited the cafe without exploring the gardens to save the pennies. Annual membership is a lovely gift for any family that loves to be outdoors as it’s somewhere they can pop to without having to worry about entry fees and they can enjoy it all year through. You can buy vouchers HERE. They are £45 for two adults and up to three children.

Theatre trip – Last year we had our first theatre trip as a family, it was amazing! (The Christmasaurus incase you’re wondering). Shows can book up quickly and the costs can quickly pile up, especially if you need to travel. Tickets for a show are a wonderful gift for a family. There’s so many to choose from, from small local productions to Westend shows. Many shows are based on books so you could wrap up a new copy for them!

Mersea boat trip – Too cold for this time of year? No, just wrap up warm! Having visited Mersea so many times for sessions I can’t wait to get out on the water! This could be a family gift or perfect for a one to one experience. Essex Boat Trips have many options to choose from, they even do parties! More info HERE. Binoculars, a laminated animal bingo or wildlife book are some ideas for items you could wrap with this.

Day at a beach hut – I can’t believe we haven’t done this yet! We love going to the beach and to have a base for the day is a thing of dreams when you have small children or even if you fancy a child free day! Make your own tea, somewhere to get dried off or changed and the perfect place for a little nap. This would be a wonderful family gift and the great thing about purchasing a voucher is that they get to decide when they book. Perfect for warming up in the winter or for some much needed shade in the summer. You could go to town creating a little hamper of gifts to accompany this – bucket, spade, tea bags, kite, paper windmills, towels, snacks!

 


I also have Gift Vouchers. Until now I’ve stuck to e-vouchers as I am incredibly conscious of my impact on the environment both personally and as a business, but I also know how lovely it is to have something physical to present your loved one with! Vouchers are now available to purchase, unless of course you’d like to stick with an e-voucher! I have exclusive Christmas packages which are fantastic for a family session. They will all take place in the Highwoods area. Gift Vouchers can also be purchased for a set amount, a longer Bespoke family session or Newborn photo shoot. Or if you have a friend or family member that has had a session with me you could even treat them to a piece of wall art. You purchase the voucher, they pick their favourite image for printing. Simply drop me a message.


 

Blogs coming soon…

Our Kindness Elves are back! We’ll keep you updated on some our ideas for acts of kindness. We try to encourage our children to think of their own as much as possible.

Last Minute Gifts for Mum!

Photography Lessons with my 8 year old. We’re having so much fun together with this and I’m looking forward to sharing some of his images with you.

New for 2019! A run down of all the new services I’ll be offering in the new year. Plus a new location for your sessions!

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