By Shelby Strong
Although Christmas is more about the magic and memories than the money, the Christmas season can add up quickly. With the economic crises fresh on everyone's mind this year, this may be a time to look for inexpensive Christmas toys for the family. Here's a list of ideas for kids to help you get started.
Princess costumes are an inexpensive investment for girls. If you are crafty, you can try sewing these yourself! Dressing up princess style is fun for girls, and princess costumes can be affordable. If princess costumes aren't in your budget for this year, dressing up princess style isn't impossible. Rather than giving a dress as a Christmas gift basket, focus on accessories instead. She'll need a tiara to go with her princess costumes anyway! Cheap jewelry, gloves, and hair accessories are all affordable and make great Christmas gifts for girls.
Small pets are also inexpensive, and are a creative way to give to multiple children with one gift. Just make sure you get parental permission first! Fish are inexpensive and so are their cages. Small water frogs are also a popular option. Small lizards and hamsters are also inexpensive and are great Christmas toys. If the children already have a pet, find out if they need anything more for it. My nieces and nephews would rather receive hamster toys than personal toys this year!
Try making the child a kit of some sort. Pieces of wood, a few nails, and a small hammer would be a delight for a boy. He'd love to be able to make something real on his own, and the gift wouldn't cost much to put together! If he's older, you could give him a small whittling knife and teach him how to use it.
Girls enjoy kits as well. Fill a fishing tackle box with beads and string and let her create! You could buy her some yarn and a crochet hook and offer to teach her how to make a beanie, or put together some "cooking kits." Put together a cookie mix, a soup mix, and a hot cocoa mix. Pair these with some oven mitts, spatula, or apron and of course the cooking instructions. Younger girls especially will take great pride in being able to cook something on their own. Sewing kits are also easy to put together, just drop in some fabric, needles, and thread. They will need only their imagination to get them started sewing clothes for their dolls.
Don't rule out the second hand stores! While you may not find everything you want there, there are some worthwhile options at thrift stores. Often the porcelain dolls there are inexpensive to buy and have a much higher value than their mass-produced companions. Baseball cards are another great find. Does your little boy like to tinker with things? Purchase an old typewriter, stereo, clock, or other mechanical object and let him take it apart and put it back together. Thrift stores offer many different Christmas gift opportunities if you are creative in your gift giving.
Christmas toys don't need to be limited to just toys. Books are inexpensive, especially if they are lightly used as well. While movies aren't always cheap, purchasing one movie for several children can be an economical option.
However you do it, be creative. Sometimes all it takes is thinking a little more about gifts rather than just buying what's popular in order to give a truly unique, and cherished, gift.
Shelby is the mother of 2 girls and 1 boy and lives in Orem, Utah. She also runs a home-based business called My Cute Dressups at http://www.mycutedressups.com that sells Princess dress up clothes and other fun pretend play items for kids, toddlers, and even teenagers and adult princess costumes. She also has an eBay store and a local store run by the same name. She has seen a noticeable difference in her kids after encouraging dress up play. Visit her website for more biographical information or to see her exciting line of Princess Costumes like Cinderella dresses, Snow White Costumes, Sleeping Beauty dresses, wedding dress up, Medieval Princess, Yellow Beauty, Winter Beauty, Rapunzel dress, doll clothes that fit American Girl, 18 inch doll clothes. She has a Cinderella doll dress that matches exactly with the girl Cinderella dress as well as matching Snow White doll dress.
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