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Does anyone else get dizzy when walking through Walmart during the holidays? On one hand, all the decor and toys make me giddy. But they also make me feel overwhelmed. Like pull out a paper sack, my head is spinning dizzy. The sights, the smells, the price tags, that music they play to make you want to buy more is both exhilarating and exhausting.
Going out to actual stores to find a good deal and the perfect gift for family used to be a fun challenge for me. Three kids later . . . not so much!
We are trying to downplay gifts this year. For one, our small Christmas budget became almost nonexistent this year. As a result, I am doing a lot of DIY (with things we have on hand) Christmas. I am also embracing online shopping. Also, we are trying not to fall into the materialism trap. This has been harder for me this year because Rebekah is at such a fun age for toys and I frequently see something and think–“Oh, she would love that!”
Fortunately, one look at our packed playroom and her toys spilling across her bedroom floor squelch the desire to indulge and buy her many toys. I decided that I want to make the gifts we buy Rebekah count toward learning, creative and imaginative play, meeting a need, or building character.
Based on our list, here are a few gift ideas for little girls that encourage creativity and character:
(FYI many of these are things we bought her in the past. She is not getting all of these for Christmas!)
When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner is one of our all-time favorite books. For awhile Rebekah even had it partially memorized. I am particular about what I consider a quality book–and this book gets five stars from me. The art is colorful, fun, and engaging. Turner writes with a cadence that makes me feel like I am reading spoken word poetry. Most importantly, When God Made You communicates the message of unconditional love, self-acceptance, divine design, and eternal purpose. The first time I read it I was on the way to the hospital for our c-section. Let’s just say there were tears, lots of tears.
Did I tell you about my idea for a children’s series? No. Well, it’s been partially taken anyway. And I am totally ok with that. I am just glad someone made the idea come alive. The Called and Courageous Girls series is a new series of picture books highlighting women in the Bible who are leaders, moms, evangelists, prophets, etc. The series will depict women in the Bible who overcame adversity and used their talents, callings, and passions to glorify God.
The first one released is A Brave Big Sister: A Bible Story About Miriam .The art is beautiful, the storytelling solid, and at the end there are even some discussion questions. This book is currently on sale through Amazon for $9.72. We bought it for Rebekah as a Christmas present from Daniel and Joseph. An Extraordinary Teacher: A Bible Story About Priscilla is up for preorder as well.
If your daughter is past the picture book stage, there are a few book series that you cannot go wrong with buying. One of the best memories I have is reading the The Little House series with my parents. (This set is super on sale now through Amazon, coming out to barely over $4 a book.) The characters encouraged me to be brave, frugal, imaginative, and to love history, especially learning about pioneers and the westward expansion.
Another all-time favorite for myself and many is The Chronicles of Narnia . I also have many humorous memories of reading the Ramona books. (Currently, you can get the Vol.1 box set of four Ramona books for only $9.12!)
Music is one of the ways we learn, grow, and have fun. And as a mom who accidentally introduced one of the most annoying kids’ cds only to have her daughter become obsessed with it–I can attest to the importance of quality kids’ music. If nothing else, for your sake . . . We love the Curious George soundtrack and sing-a-longs written by Jack Johnson. When Rebekah was younger, Rockabye Baby was a fun choice for us and soothing for her. I also have a couple cds of instrumental hymns that we really enjoy. The Piano Guys are another favorite mostly instrumental option. For better or worse, Rebekah also LOVES the Frozen soundtrack and the Moana soundtrack.
Finding kid-friendly (and durable) musical instruments are also a great investment. Rebekah LOVED these egg shakers as a baby. They made her laugh. And we incorporated them when we read funny rhyming books. They would make a great stocking stuffer!
Rebekah also loves to play music with daddy, specifically his Ukulele. So her grandma surprised her with her own pink Ukukele for Christmas. She was so proud of herself yesterday when Mitch taught her how to play a C cord. 🙂
A friend gave me Praise Baby DVDs when Rebekah was a baby. We didn’t use them much then, but now they are a lifesaver. The videos contain slow, colorful images or clips of babies and kids or plants and animals set to praise music. We currently use them for “calm down time” aka wind down and take a breather. They really do relax Rebekah and Daniel and Joseph will roll over, pause their play, and watch for bit too.
Lottie dolls might be my new favorite toy. Rebekah requested the Lottie Star Gazer Toy (in the video) when she saw it. It’s been one of the only toys she has asked for this Christmas. We don’t buy toys or big gifts, so this was a splurge–though it is on sale for $14.95 (Almost 50% off and less than the $16 I spent!) on Amazon.
This company and their mission makes me excited to support them. I love that they strive to make the dolls look and dress like real little girls, no makeup, no busty Barbie. And they have different cool themes, many are encouraging educational things like studying space or fossil hunting. The Lottie doll website has tons of free educational resources as well as printable resources and games.
I’m a little nervous to give this doll to Rebekah though because she is a bit rough with dolls. My aunt gave her a couple Barbies and within two days Rebekah had striped them of their lovely clothes, taken out their hair, plunged them into the bath, and taken them outside . . . They are currently “in recovery.”
It may be a bit dated in the eyes of some, but there are some pretty cool paper dolls out there. When I was younger my mom would let me stay up and play paper dolls with her when my dad worked late. I really love this My Book of Little House Paper Dolls: The Big Woods Collection book and paper dolls.
Arts and Crafts
Artistic expression is a great way to feed a child’s imagination and encourage creativity. So many craft supplies make excellent stocking stuffers like markers, sharpies (if your daughter is older), washi tape, crayons, coloring books, finger paints, paint brushes, colored pencils, etc.
Most of these types of toys are for girls 3+, so they are on our list for Rebekah in the future. But I did notice a great price on these Magnetic Building Set (also great for boys!). For girls a bit older, this Grow ‘n Glow Terrarium – Science Kit for Kids looks really cool and I love a) its price and b) it mixes science and art. 🙂
Do you have a daughter? What quality gifts made your list this year? Also, if you like these ideas, please do me the gift of sharing this post with others! 🙂