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The countdown to Christmas is on and the gift hunt is in full force. Stores are filled with shoppers in a frenzy searching for the perfect gift. The majority of them are parents hoping to fill their baskets with the hottest toys of the year for their little ones. Until I became pregnant with my third child, I was one of those parents too. But it was around that time that I discovered minimalism and with it, a desire to declutter my life was born. My focus shifted to living more with less and seeking joy that lasts, rather than instant gratification in "pretty things." Over the last five years, I have really gotten the hang of meaningful gift-giving. Below are some of my favorite gifts for children, most are available on Amazon with Prime shipping, which means it's not too late to purchase. The best part is that not a single one is a toy.
1. The gift of record keeping
With the New Year starting just a few days later, Christmas is the perfect time to introduce a child to journaling or keeping a personal diary. For younger kids, a fill-in-the-blank journal like this one is best. Older kids who are new to journaling will find this five minute journal easy to do, so they will keep up with the habit year round. A mother/child journal is not only a lovely way to document life together, but will also help you get to know each other better.
2. The gift of personalization
Who doesn't love something that was custom made just for them? Kids are not the exception. My daughter loved receiving this dainty personalized necklace for her birthday this year. It's one of her favorite accessories to wear and has become one of her most priced possessions. Due to demand, this particular necklace may arrive after Christmas, but this engraved gold plated name bar is guaranteed to arrive on time. Other ideas for personalized gifts are blankets and pillow cases, an embroidered bag, or even an engraved sports ball for young athletes.
3. The gift of craftsmanship
Teaching your child one of your own skills like sewing, carpentry, or pottery is a gift that keeps on giving. You will bond with your child while they learn to create something out of raw materials, and maybe one day they will even pass it down to their own children. This year I taught my son to crochet and he has been using his new skill to make Christmas gifts for family members.
4. The gift of adventure
In today's culture of instant gratification, there is something special about the anticipation that comes with planning an adventure. My favorite thing about gifting experiences is that they create no clutter. The only space they take up is the one in your heart. An adventure can be as simple as a day at the zoo, a visit to the museum, a weekend camping trip, or it can require a bit more planning like a Disney vacation or a family cruise to the Caribbean. No matter the type of adventure, one thing is for certain... you cannot put a price on experiences. The memories created exceed any monetary value spent amd that makes them an absolutely perfect gift in my book.
5. The gift of literacy
There is no denying that children today are surrounded by technology and busy schedules. Being able to slow down enough to enjoy a good book, is becoming more rare. Cultivating a love for reading at a young age opens the door to a world of magic, discovery, and exploration. My recommendation is to gift a full set of chapter books for avid/advanced readers or a collection of picture books by the same author for younger readers. A gift card to a bookstore is also a great idea.
6. The gift of sustainability
Kids love to be outdoors and play in dirt. Why not turn this desire to get messy into a new hobby that can benefit your child and the earth? Whether your little one grows herbs, flowers, or vegetables; gardening teaches many lessons, including responsibility and patience. In the end, seeing that little seed grow will make all their hard work so worth it! Winter is the perfect time to plant a pollinator garden that will attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to your yard!
7. The gift of song
You may have heard me say this before, but music is my love language. I strongly believe that music has the power to transcend cultures, borders, and language barriers. It is the one universal language that can be understood by everyone and can often communicate what spoken words cannot. Raising a young musician is now easier than ever. While in person lessons are always the best way to go, it is possible to be self-taught by learning through online courses. My oldest has been learning to play the ukulele through YouTube tutorials, while my daughter is learning piano from me.
8. The gift of History
Compiling our children's history is (in my opinion) one of the best gifts we can give them. Even if your child is older and you didn't keep track from day one, it's never too late to start. Write down the details about their life, milestones, and important events like their first vacation or losing their first tooth, etc. Make it extra special by finally printing all those photos you have stored on your computer or your phone. As your child gets older, these personal storybooks will become a cherished heirloom that they will be able to look back on. It will give them a sense of belonging as they learn where they come from and where they've been. I recommend using a fill-in book like this Childhood History book or Blossom & Pear's Hello Little Love book.
I hope you found these ideas helpful and that they inspired you to come up with your own special gifts to give the little ones in your lives. Hooray for a Christmas with more purpose and less toy clutter!
Motherhood is the most demanding job ever. It's like riding a roller coaster that never stops. It is filled with ups and downs. On the one hand we have the awful lows that make us feel completely inadequate and unfit for the job. Those moments of exhaustion, of losing our freaking minds, that make us doubt everything we thought we knew about mothering our children. Those moments when we just have to leave the room to keep it together. The moments when we hide in the bathroom as tears run down our face. Motherhood sounds like a lot doesn't it? Some may even say it's too much for them and that they have no interest in ever getting on this wild crazy ride that some of us are on.
So then, why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through something so incredibly hard?
Because on the other hand we have the amazing, incredible highs. Those moments of growth and learning, of knowing we're doing it right. Those moments when our babies look at us with a big smile on their face. Those moments when they kiss us dearly as we tuck them into bed. Those moments when their sweet and tender gestures of love melt our hearts. It's those moments that feel like heaven on earth, which make all the sleepless nights and meltdowns worthwhile. Because as demanding a job as it may be, there is none more rewarding than this.
So keep at it, mama and know that you were meant for this. You were born with the inherent ability to love and to nurture. I'll be here to capture those wonderdul highs when you are ready!
This post is made possible in with Canvas Press. All opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with their products.
We recently painted our downstairs. After the job was completed, we began to hang all the art and decor back up i the living room. That was when I noticed something was off. While our collection of quote signs and wall art looked great together, none of them told the story of us. Our walls needed more personalization and I knew that a lovely set of wall portraits was the way to go.
Family photos have the power to transform a house into a home. They create a sense of belonging and add a nice welcoming touch that is unique and customized to your style. Anyone can buy the same piece from the home decor store, but only you can have your family photos on display, and that is truly special.
When using family photos to personalize your home, you want to start with a large statement piece and then build around it to create that gallery wall effect. Whether you choose a framed print, a canvas, or another medium, I recommend going with at least a 16x20 art piece, anything smaller than that will look underwhelming in comparison to your furniture.
For my wall, I decided on a classic 24x36 canvas of my absolute favorite portrait of me and the kids, taken by my sweet husband. When selecting the photos that will adorn your walls, be sure they contain colors that compliment your existing home decor well. You want the images to look intentional and not like they were a careless after thought.
I partnered with Canvas Press to help me create what I had in mind. Canvas Press is a proud USA made printing lab located right here in Houston, producing high quality products, with amazing customer service and the fastest turn around I've ever seen! They have so many beautiful options to choose from, including fine art prints, canvases, and modern metallic prints.
My canvas arrived in just two days and to be honest, it was so much better than I anticipated. The image was tack sharp and colors were spot on, without any strange color casts or tints. The canvas was tightly stretched over a real wooden frame, the corners seamlessly fitted without gaps or bulge, and the back came equipped with ready to hang sawtooth hardware. Needless to say, I was excited to get it up on the wall!
To complete my gallery, I then added four 5x7 prints matted and framed to 8x10. Matting your photos, gives them a timeless, archival look. It also allows you to place them in a larger frame, so you are able to fill more wall space without looking cluttered or overdone.
Before hanging my photos, I played with the layout a bit to find the one I liked most. Place your picture on the floor and try different configurations. You'll need to decide if you want an neat even look -- like me, or a more ecclecting arrangement that doesn't involve any measuring.
This corner in my living room truly came alive with this simple change. It's the first thing visitors mention when they come into my home now. They always ask where I got the canvas from and I simply could not recommend Canvas Press enough. You can currently take advantage of their fall sale to start personalizing your home with your own family photos. Use code AUTUMN60 for 60% off canvas prints up to 48x36. I'm ordering one huge canvas with my favorite photo from our fall family session, can't wait to show you all soon!
Hey there! I'm Anel. Houston photographer, wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to four wild kids who I homeschool. I love nature, motherhood, documenting life, and living a slow simple life.
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