Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids + 5 Categories That Make Gifting Easier


Special thanks to KiwiCo for partnering on this post.

Gifting More Intentionally

Each year since becoming a mom I’ve been searching for ways to simplify what and how many Christmas gifts we give to our two growing boys.

Benji is now old enough to make his own wishlist and it is getting longer every day. ?

So this year we’ve decided to stick to 5 simple categories as we buy gifts.

This approach has relieved the stress of budgeting for all the wants AND needs, while also protecting us from overbuying—which I believe is an important boundary to set now so we can manage expectations as our kids grow and encourage gratitude for all that they receive.

5 Simple Categories of Gifting

  1. NeedsNeed I say more?
    • KiwiCo is one of our favorites for both Benj and Scotty because it’s a hassle-free monthly subscription crate with age-appropriate STEAM activities that encourage curiosity and learning. We get the Panda Crate for Scott (12-18 months) and the Koala Crate for Benj (3+) and they arrive (with much anticipation) on our doorstep each month. Use code MISSFEARLESS for 50% off your first month of any subscription. Click this link to shop!
    • A LEGO table is a great idea if you’re ready to have your dining room table back, like I am! ? We want Benj to have a place to build and create and keep his masterpieces safe from his younger brother.
    • We picked up this Step2 Car Table on Amazon for Scott because he loves driving his cars all over the house and we’re hoping to encourage more organized play.
    • Clothes, underwear, bedsheets – my favorite places to shop for my boys’ clothes are Old Navy, Target and H&M (so many great deals still happening for Cyber Monday!). We usually get underwear for Benj at Target and Disney bedsheets from Pottery Barn Kids (he wants this whole room).
  2. Wants – Wish list items
  3. SentimentalTraditions, legacies, memory-makers
  4. ExperientialSpending time out together
    • Movie tickets or a blanket + popcorn for home movie nights
    • Sleds for sledding!
    • Plane tickets (thanks to COVID we have more time to save for an eventual trip to Disneyland or Hawaii or something!)
  5. FamilyThings we enjoy together
    • Puzzles – we love doing puzzles together! Shutterfly makes cute photo gallery puzzles using your family photo.
    • Hands-on – Magnetiles are fun to build together + I had this Lite-Brite as a kid and was stoked to find it at Target this weekend for less than $13!
    • Gaming systems – Did I mention Benji is really into Sonic? This SEGA Genesis Mini Console ($49 on sale) comes preloaded with several games, including Sonic, and will work great for teaching our boys to play together as they grow
    • Music devices – We love our Amazon Echo and decided to add the smaller, less-expensive Amazon Echo Dot to the mix so our boys can take turns playing music in their bedrooms upstairs.

Stocking Stuffers – $5 or less

Matt and I experienced very different stocking stuffers growing up. My mom went all out, filling my stocking to the brim with our traditional chocolate orange, other candies, jewelry, lotions and little gags. Matt’s were underwhelming in comparison, but perhaps a little more budget-friendly and intentional.

We’re still figuring out how to do stockings for our kids and each other. But for this year at least, we’ll do small gifts under $5, like Hotwheel cars, cutie oranges, art supplies and candies.

Benefits of the 5 Categories

The thing I like most about approaching our gifts this way is that if our budget changes for better or worse down the road, we can scale within these 5 categories, perhaps with fewer gifts in each category some years.

It just feels more loving to focus on gifts that have purpose beyond just giving our kids everything they “want” (because we all know those wants can change by the minute).

Also, any additional items on our need/want wishlists that don’t make it into our 5 categories get sent to Grandma, Great Grandma or Aunts/Uncles who are looking for gift ideas anyway.

This is our first year trying this so I hope to let you know how it goes!

How do you approach Christmas gifting for your kids?