So what then to buy? With Christmas around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of meaningful gifts to get for a child - no toys or games included!
1. Photo books - Depending on how complex you want this to be, it can be something done relatively quickly, or morph into a huge project. Photo books dedicated to them are always fun to flip through. We like ArtsCow for photo books - prices are reasonable, quality is good, and there's always some promo or other going on!
2. Creativity kit - Encourage creativity by giving a gift of craft supplies. And they needn't be expensive either - You'll be surprised at how many fun things you can get from Popular Bookstore or Daiso. Grab some pompoms, glue, glitter pens, cut-out letters, washi tape (Daiso has some really good quality ones!), a drawing pad, and put them all in a cute plastic case. Voila, a personalised creativity kid - hours of fun in a bag!
3. An outing - Some of our best memories are not of presents, but of the pressence of the ones we love. Bring your kid out for a special day, just you and him, or invite his best friend along too. Throw in a meal and some ice-cream, and there you go, a perfect outing.
Here are some suggestions:
Sporty - Forest Adventure / Trampoline Park / Kayaking / Bowling*
Quiet - Prawning / Mini Golf
Easy - Watch a movie or a play
Girly - Go for a manicure together!
Really tiring - Universal Studios Singapore
For bowling, Orchid Bowl at Chevrons or Kallang Bowl at Kallang Leisure Park are our favourite - they have gutter guards so even the young ones can emerge with a respectable score!
4. Posters - Get them posters with their favourite Star Wars or My Little Pony characters to decorate their walls with. Or look for free versions available online.
5. Membership - This is a gift that has a long shelf life! Sign your kid up for a special membership for something that he likes. The most value-for-money one we have is the Feather Friends annual membership at Jurong Bird Park - $18 for unlimited admission for the year? Yes please and thank you very much! ($28 for adults ain't too bad either)
6. Money - I suppose some might frown upon this, but a gift of $10 with a handwritten note saying "Buy something you like at the stationery shop!" is a dream come true for many kids! (Sidenote: I wouldn't mind this gift myself)
7. Books - Don't know what to choose? Check out some of our favourite authors Todd Parr (for inspiring books), Julia Donaldson (for funny rhyming books), Roald Dahl (for really creative stories). We get our books from Book Depository at good discounts.
8. Subscriptions - All kids love mail, even if it's a bank statement! Imagine their excitement when they receive a magazine every other month. National Geographic Little Kids magazine, Discovery Box as well as Young Scientist magazines are great for Primary School aged kids.
9. Personalised magnets - With a little drawing, and a little time on Microsoft Paint, you can make personalised magnets of your kids. Magnetic sheets work great, but if you can't find any, cardboard plus regular magnets can do the trick as well. Doesn't matter if it doesn't look professionally done - they really won't mind!
Or if you want something more professional looking, Sticky9 turns your Instagram shots into square magnets (I've not tried!).
10. Fun classes - Sign them up for a term of inline skating or a breadmaking session (Jamie's Italian offers a really fun breadmaking session and the bread's yummy too!)! Or perhaps something a bit out of the ordinary, like being a little Zookeeper at the Singapore Zoo?
11. Sports gear - If budget allows, who wouldn't love to have a bicycle or kick scooter!
12. A watch - Get an inexpensive digital watch. Children love hearing the hourly beeps, they love fiddling with the buttons, setting alarms and using the stopwatch. It gives them a sense of independance, and is also very useful for school-going kids. Bras Besar Complex sells standard Casio watches at less than $20 - they are durable and your heart won't ache that badly even if it gets lost.
There you go. 12 gifts for 12 days of Christmas! Happy gift giving :)