Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gifts to Give when the Purse is Empty

There are some who say "All you need is love..."

But try giving the gift of love to a four year old on her birthday and ~ trust me ~ it will generally end in tears. *cringe*  I do think children do have too much ~ too many things to play with, too much time involving screens, too great an expectation of 'I need' when its really 'I want', too much on offer and too much to compete with on a peer scale ~ mostly thanks to advertising, product placement and keeping up with the Jones' kids.

I know, I know ~ that's a very generalised statement which will cause some to rant "I don't do that", or "If I want to spend my money on my kids then I can", or "Blah, blah, Justifications, Who do you think you are making such judgments?" I'd like to say I don't yield to the pressures of modern life where 'every 10 year old' has either an mobile phone or ipod or laptop or TV in their room ~ or all four and more as the case may be.  Alas, with a Husband who loves 'toys', SmallBoy and MudGuts definitely benefited from Santa Claus*  over-ruling this poor mummy with 'family presents' of gaming consoles or other such electronic entertainment devices. 
(* also known as the Christmas Savings Account)

Still, sometimes there is diddly-squat in the purse to provide nieces and nephews or school mates birthday presents. And I really hate this current 'norm' of a card with $10 or $20 in it as a gift. Unless you are sending something by post, what is the 'joy' in getting $10 in a card? I see a 'couldn't be bothered choosing something for you, go get it yourself' attitude developing. Are we really all just so busy and harried we can't stop to get a gift for a child? There have been many times I cannot afford the frivolity of putting $5 into a card, let alone $10 or $20! So what do you do??

For the littlies, pop down to an OpShop (or look through your own bookcase) for an alphabet type book ~ you know ~ A is for Apple, B is for Ball...  Carefully take all the pages out, trim up the sides nice and neat and using a hole punch, make a hole in the top left and right corners. If you have ribbon or a long strip of material to thread through, great. Twine will do just as well. For under $2, or nothing but a little time if you have everything available, one home-made personalised Alphabet/Reading Frieze.

This one was made by the super creative Naomi D
Other firm favourites for gifts for the under 5s are homemade playdough or slime. $2-type-shops often have the fat pavement chalk which is great for using inside on a blackboard or outside on the driveway/concreted area in the yard. Colourful, messy and washed away with water!  

If you've never made Playdough before, I've put an easy Play-Dough recipe up on FaceBook. Dividing this into four portions, you can make four different colours to go into separate little containers (250ml or larger), add a few cookie cutters or a little rolling pin and you've got a fantastic gift. These last for ages in the fridge, can be used several times and (if you add the recipe to the package) the containers can be refilled as needed.

Older kids tend to have a plethora of cars, dolls, toys, cards, pencils and other nick-knacks its hard to be original. But a medium size pot, filled with a bag of potting mix and a packet of lettuce or flower seeds is a great gift - encouraging care and responsibility while ensuring a bit of outdoor time while putting their gift together and watering it. If you're a creative type - grab and old pair of pantihose and make a grass hair man kit for a child to make.  Using these instructions ~ Grass Hair Man ~ some grass seed, a pot, some potting mix, buttons for eyes and a red marker for the mouth is more economical (and more fun) than some of the $20 kits available in stores. Most of the items can be found around the house or on Freecycle. Make it a project kit with instructions and the gift will last longer.
Hey Dude ~ A green gift
There are lots of lot cost / no cost gifts to be made and most kids love mucking about with this type of present ~ especially if it is not homework or an assignment set from school. 

Of course you can always enter competitions and hope to win a prize to pass on as a present. So don't forget we are giving one reader the change to win a plush Koala and a tube of EukyBearub. You could gift them as a pack for someone you love coupling both the cute and cuddle with the useful and thoughtful bonus for when cold and flu strikes.  
More details are available here

Well, I'm going to pack up the bat and ball and head off to bed. It's been a long day and the housework did not get finished. Still, Husband has started the frame of our new veggie bed and I am on the hunt for about 200 newspapers to put at the bottom. Fingers crossed we can source these in the next few days. Been saying a little ditty to get me off to sleep at night, thought I'd share it with you :

Angels, Fairies, Spirit Guides, Gods
Please take me off to the Dreamlands of Nod
Help me to sleep peacefully all through the night
To wake up refreshed in the new dawning light

Night all :D


  1. Excellent post as always Mands. I shall be keeping these ideas in mind!

  2. Thanks Scather ~ glad you liked those ideas. Had others, but will save them for closer to Christmas.