Two months ago, the first Christmas catalog of the year arrived in the mail. Per tradition, I tossed it on the kitchen table with a blue and green marker—different colors to designate the interests of each kid.
It didn’t take long. Within minutes, every item on every page sat inside a crooked circle—or two. And so it went. In the weeks that followed, our boys plowed through six catalogs, shouting out their favorite findings, adding them to an ever-growing list of Christmas wishes.
Now seems like the right moment to make my confession: I’ll be buying just a few—a very few—of those things.
Around here, we view Christmas-catalogue circling as a fun activity, not a guarantee. After all, while my kids sing the praises of every colorful, noisy, one-hit-wonder that comes with the flip of a page, my husband and I know better.
The gifts they cherish most? Toys that spawn creativity, items that stand up to years of play, or presents that offer depth and meaning. And we adults are no different. We can buy the latest gadgetry for ourselves and have it delivered in two-days’ time. But a gift with forethought? Now that’s something.
We’ll assume you’ve got the catalog-y, creative, and quality gifts covered. Today, we’ll focus our efforts on items with a sentimental bend. In the words of James Brown, “Let’s make this Christmas mean something this year.” And we’ll start with what’s under the tree.
Meaningful Christmas Gifts Ideas For Kids
These gifts work for kids of all ages—yours and otherwise!
A Growing Collection
Let this be the year you begin a gift-giving tradition. Wrap up just one Schleich dinosaur, Papo animal, Maileg mouse, Kikkerland music box, Playmobil character, or any other item with the potential to grow into a cherished collection.
Give the gift of an annual Minno subscription. Kids can learn about Jesus through fun characters and engaging storylines. Minno includes the entire classic VeggieTales series as well as thousands of other shows!
Designed for kids old enough to read and write, this journal from Promptly offers questions for both a parent and child to answer. Learn more about each other in ways big and small as you grow together in gratitude, self-confidence, and resilience.
Favorite Music and a New Way to Listen
Write out a list of the best songs you know. Think old tunes and new, songs that move and songs that make you wanna move. Pair the list with new headphones, a Bluetooth speaker, a subscription to Amazon Music, or a kid’s Echo Dot.
Encourage a lifelong skill and up the fun at dinner with a box of Table Topics. The kid-friendly box includes 40 questions sure to engage the whole family. Or can choose a conversation pack covering topics like gratitude, big ideas, and the five senses.
The Minno Laugh and Grow Bible
Ignite a love for scripture with the Laugh and Grow Bible for Kids. In 52 vividly-illustrated and well-told stories, this Bible-devotional covers God’s story from Genesis to Revelation. Each story includes a prompt for family connection and prayer.
An Invitation to Connect
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that bring us together. You might gift a new set of watercolor paints with an online class, a new headlamp with plans to go camping, or a cookbook with a date set in the kitchen.
Meaningful Gifts Ideas For Adults
(Think adult children, spouses, grandparents, and more!)
Chatbooks offers an easy way to bring together special memories in an affordable, stylish photo book. You can include or skip captions, and pull pictures directly from Instagram or the favorites folder on your phone!
Audiobooks offer the perfect way to grow on daily walks, help pass the time doing dishes, and turn an afternoon of errands into an adventure. Include a short list of beloved books and, if you’re so inclined, a compelling reason the recipient might want to read them too.
Recipe Tea Towel
This is a gift that checks all the boxes: beautiful, useful, and sentimental. Designers transfer recipes in their original script to a clean, white tea towel. Perfect for the adult child just starting out or the grandmother missing her own mom’s cooking.
Want to learn more about your parents and be able to pass their memories on to your children? Storyworth sends the recipient an email each week with a question about their life. Their responses will be sent to you in real-time and compiled in a book at the end of a year.
Annual National Parks Pass
For just $80, you can give access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and grasslands. This year, more than ever, taught us to make the most of our time in the great outdoors. And a pass like this is an encouragement to take those adventures to the next level.
Family Tree Chart
A family tree like no other, this one comes together in minutes and looks like a modern work of art. Start with a husband and wife and then either work your way backward toward their ancestors or forward to their descendants.
Minno Life Guides
With a plethora of parenting advice bound together in thousands of books to choose from, where do you start? Minno Life Guides are carefully curated mini-ebooks from trusted experts in child development and faith formation that help you navigate top of mind topics including emotions and technology (Are you getting your child a new device this Christmas? Then you definitely need this Life Guide!).
An Invitation to Connect
This is what we really want—what we really need—isn’t it? You might gift a game with a time and place you’d like to play, a new pair of shoes and plans for a weekly walk, or an online class for a skill you’d like to learn together.
One last confession: mixed in with the sentimental items under our tree you might find the occasional whoopie cushion, plastic nonsense, and white elephant gag gift. I highly recommend adding a little laughter to your gift exchange if possible. After all, we could use it this year!