I firmly believe that less is more. In my lifetime I’ve accumulated so much STUFF and I am still trying to crawl my way out of it all. Just last week I stacked over 20 pillowcases to donate to our local homeless shelter. 20! And that’s only the ones I didn’t keep. No one person could possibly need that many pillowcases! I’m trying to get rid of as much as I can. I have a big black garbage bag started that has lots of B’s old toys in it, since she has 3 toy boxes and a shelf full of them and 95% is untouched. I am ecstatic to be taking that big black garbage bag to donate to families who need those toys that sit unloved. I am hopeful they will be played with and enjoyed.
Because of my stance on excess, I subscribe to the (fairly popular) gift giving philosophy of ‘Want Need Wear Read’. Have you heard of this? Basically you buy ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read’. That’s it. I think it’s perfect, not only for your children, but spouses as well! It’s helpful for organizing your shopping trips and to make sure you don’t go over budget.. AND it helps avoid the holiday EXCESS.
So I’ve grouped up some suggestions for each of these categories for you below, for a toddler or pre-school aged child, since that is who I was shopping for with this philosophy in mind. But hopefully this post will give you some ideas even if you don’t have a child in this age group at home!
Holiday Gift Guide For Littles | Want, Need, Wear, Read!
This one is special. For this one the gifts I’ve recommended are just some cool ideas, because a child’s “want” list will vary depending on their age, interests, and personality. B is still pretty little so she has no idea what she wants, or that she should even want anything, which I kinda love.
A PLAY KITCHEN
These are so great for imaginative play. Good ones (ie: wooden ones) are a bit of an investment, but they’re likely to be played with for years, by all of your children. B really loves to play with her pretend food right now, and whenever we go to play groups she loves to play with the kitchens – so I knew this would be a great gift for her. I definitely recommend checking to see if your child will like it before dropping the money on it by trying another play kitchen, whether it be a friend’s or one at play group. ALSO, don’t leave it until Christmas Eve to build! They often take a few hours, and you’ll probably have other things to do on Christmas Eve to prepare for the big day, right? Like sleep, or drink lots of wine while wrapping things in the secret Santa paper.
Here are our favourite play kitchens:
1. Vintage Kitchen by KidKraft
2. Gourmet Kitchen by Hape
3. Cook’s Corner by Melissa & Doug
4. Classic Play Kitchen by Teamson Kids
5. Duktig Play Kitchen by Ikea
Our favourite teepee maker is Ashley Gabby Designs. I found her when I was searching for a reasonably priced teepee for B from a Canadian maker. She ships anywhere, though. Her teepees are stunning and so reasonably priced. You can shop her stuff in her etsy shop, but I believe she is closed for Christmas orders. However anything that says “ready to ship” is fair game.
SOMETHING TO RIDE ON
You know, like a rocking horse, or this adorable ride on mouse by Prince Lionheart which is actually on SUPER sale right now for $53.57! *thumbs up*
SMALL – MEDIUM SIZED TOYS
I personally love the doll we got from Nathalie’s Sweet Stitches, and highly recommend scooping one of these sweeties up for your little one. Her creations are great for little ones of all ages – she even has baby blankets and hats.
I head to Little Sapling Toys whenever I want wooden toys for B. I’ve posted in the past about her stacking toy and her play camera – I love them so much. I know and trust the quality of their creations, so whenever I want a high quality, well made wooden toy I head there. They also offer some other small-medium sized toys I recommend for the WANT category, such as Cars and Games!
Some examples of “wants”:
This one is pretty self explanatory! Anything your child needs. Howeverrrr.. your child’s needs will depend on what you and your family consider a necessity. For me, I chose art supplies as B’s needs. She needed some good washable markers. I chose a 64 pack of Crayola washable Pipsqueaks markers (and Crayola washable water colours, 24 count for her stocking because they were cheap)! You might choose storage bins, eating accessories/dishware, new sippy cups, body wash/lotion, learning toys, etc. – it’s up to you!
Here’s some ideas for needs:
Something to wear.. arguably one of the most fun categories to shop for. This is entirely up to you. I personally try to choose a great pair of Christmas PJs, BUT I notice from social media that lots of you are already sporting your Christmas jams! So your gift for this one will depend on what your child needs (a two categories in one combo!) or what you happen to find on sale or just really love.
Here are my fave Christmas jammies this season:
GIRLS: 1 – Old Navy ($16.50) ● 2 – Hanna Andersson (on sale for $20!) ● 3 – Hatley ($37) ● 4 – Gap ($23.96)
BOYS: 1 – Gap ($26.95) ● 2 – Hanna Andersson (on sale for $20!) ● 3 – Hatley ($25.50) ● 4 – Old Navy ($16.50)
My favourite part of the ‘WANT NEED WEAR READ’ philosophy is READ! I love scooping up books for B, even if it’s just from our local library. Since she has such an epic collection of children’s picture books as it is, I only add to it on special occasions, or if there’s a book we discover and MUST own! So when the holidays roll around it’s a pretty safe bet that choosing ‘THE’ BOOK for Christmas is what takes me the most time. Not an easy task, guys!
As you may have seen, I enjoy making themed book recommendation lists for your little ones, so here’s my Winter/Holiday (I included the Winter Solstice and Hannukah!) toddler lit list to help YOU decide, hopefully quicker than me. Plus, many are under $7 on Amazon, it’s nuts! I linked ’em for ya.
Clifford Celebrates Hannukah ● The Shortest Day ● Winter ● Snow ● Winter Wonderland
A Christmas Carol ● Christmas 123 ● The Joy of Giving ● How The Grinch Stole Christmas ● When Santa Was a Baby
Olivia Helps With Christmas ● Llama Llama Jingle Bells ● Bear Stays Up For Christmas ● Merry Christmas Mom + Dad ● Splendiferous Christmas
Winter ● The Itsy Bitsy Snowman ● Dream Snow ● A Solstice Tree for Jenny ● Latke The Lucky Dog
That’s about it! Buy one thing from each category and you’re done!
We also do stockings in our house, but I try to fill those with primarily needs and treats. So for example: band aids, hair elastics, mittens, Annie’s Organic fruit snacks, a new tooth brush and toothpaste, socks, underwear, shampoo, bubble bath, Piggie Paint, etc. You get the idea!
I really hope this was helpful for you. Do you already shop with the WANT NEED WEAR READ philosophy in mind? What do you recommend that I may have missed? I’d love to hear your recommendations!