Avoiding toys at Christmas


Just thought there might be others here who’d appreciate sharing ideas for kids that aren’t toys because of lack of use/use of plastic/not enough room or whatever your reasons are.

What are some things you’re buying for kids that aren’t toys?

I’m very lucky so far in that M is still over the moon with practical gifts (she gets a toothbrush and toothpaste in her stocking :laughing:)

Because we have so many books I’m trying to not buy anymore of those either which restricts things a bit.

This year I’ve got her or have put on her wishlist:

  • Beanbag
  • Google nest mini so she can listen to podcasts (she can’t sleep without them and we’ve used my phone until now)
  • A replica of the t-shirt MJ wears in Beat It
  • Hair chalks
  • Animal Crossing monopoly
  • onesie
  • bobble hat
  • cuddle cushion (from dunelm, it’s really good, I’m buying some for the older kids we spend Xmas day with too)

She does need trainers too so hoping her family buy them rather than all the stuff I’m avoiding.


Oh and if you’re looking for a recommendation of a good game I absolutely LOVE City of Zombies.

It’s a maths game for a variety of ages. Good fun for adults as well. That’s my Xmas top tip!


Current list looks like this

So still loads of plastic there. No idea what the first one is, my wife has put these in based on comments from F and stuff. We do have the HP Lego Advent calendar do maybe it’s that

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I can’t remember where I got it from now but my niece went through a spell where baking sets were a really ideal non-toy gift. Nice, edible activity that sparked a real interest in her getting into cooking etc

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Oooo good shout

I’ll try and find where I got them from. Loads of the options come with loads of plastic cookie cuttters and crap but this was ingredients, edible decorations and fun instructions.

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Bag of nuts
Lump of coal


The Babysitter Club (BSC to fans) is so sick, great gift for a cool kid


Just a general point for parents reading this - if there’s things you specifically want or don’t want bought for your kids - let people know, be explicit. A lot of the time we’re buying stuff completely blind so some pointers would be gratefully received.

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I was obsessed with these as a kid, I had over 100

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She is very into the Netflix show

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ok, that’s very kind of you! my daughter wants a stand alone record player and my son wants a new Football goal. I’ll DM you my address!


Great, I’ll pop them in the post!

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We’re planning on getting a new set of Aqua beads, it’s a nice focussed craft activity where you arrange coloured beads on a grid to make a picture, then spray it with water and let it set. Can make things like jewellery or coasters or just nice pics. Best of all is zero mess (unless you actually send a box of them spilling all over the floor)

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Wow, didn’t realise they were so old. There’s a whole other series from 1990 and a film adaptation.

I’d only seen a few of the recent graphic novel versions and just assumed that was the original as that’s very ‘in’ for kids her age now.

Yes M loves aqua beads, it’s a shame there aren’t more sets as she’s done pretty much all of them now. Found them very good to do during the first lockdown as a mindfulness thing.

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I didn’t realise there was a new series, I thought scout was talking about the old ones.

Thinking back, it was a bit odd that they had 11-14 year olds baby sitting on their own. Is that normal?

I started babysitting for tiny wee babies when I was 11

The 90s maaaaaan


Oh another board game we love, Labyrinth, we have the Frozen edition of it. We both enjoy it and you can make it easier or harder so it lasts beyond just one short age range.

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Dunno, the 80s was a different time, particularly in that sort of suburban US setup (which is in the Netflix show so I’m not sure what the original is like).

The new show is great. But I have no idea how closely it follows the books. It’s contemporary.

EDIT to say: I think it’s probably fine for children of that age to do some babysitting. I would avoid it if I could afford to purely because obviously an adult is an adult, but not all parents can and getting time away from your kids is very important.