As I start to get ready for Christmas and the Holiday season, I am running around trying to fold laundry and tidy the house. I'm realizing that if we had less, there would be less to clean, right?... My husband and I love the idea of minimalism but are far from actually achieving our goal of being minimalists, yet we continue to try. We try hard not to accumulate stuff and try to be mindful of what toys and objects we bring into our home. On the contrast my mom LOVES to give our girls gifts. Most recently she gave my 4 year old my American Girl, Samantha, doll and all the accouterments. Oh those tiny little clothes and shoes. If I thought organizing and containing my girls clothes was difficult, this took it up a few notches and makes me want to pull out my hair. So I've created bins for storage to try to compartmentalize all the stuff. So I've learned I can't tell my family not to buy presents for us and the girls as that is unacceptable but I am learning to be mindful with our requests.
As Christmas approaches and our families are requesting lists, we are asking for the gift of experiences for our girls. My daughter has a love for attending plays & musicals so her gift from Nana is to see Annie. Her present under the tree will be a red dress wrapped up with the tickets that she can wear during her big day on the town with Nana. I'm planning to add a disposable camera and blank scrap book so she can document her special experiences from the year and put all the pictures in a book that we can share at this time next year.
A few other experiences that would make great gifts:
A Membership to the Zoo. Our Frenso Chaffee Zoo happens to be incredible. Our membership has expired so it's a perfect gift for our girls. We love morning outings to the Zoo and the new African Safari is quite impressive. I personally love the Kale Salad in the new dining hall. The membership has several perks, including free entrance into affiliate zoo's & parks, something that we have definitely used while out of town.
My daughter has shown interest in learning the piano so we thought a gift certificate for piano lessons as well as possible Tai Kwon Do would be great gifts for her.
Of course, I'm a bit partial but a cooking class at Young Chefs Academy is another great experience to gift to kiddos. If they are picky eaters it's great to expose them to food in a different setting amongst peers. If they are aspiring chefs then they will love the hands on, independent feel of cooking in a kitchen without their parents.
Something else that looks interesting is Kiwi Crate. They send a new "crate" each month filled with an age appropriate activity for your kiddo to do.
I also love supporting local artisans and "makers" so I put together a list of a few local artists that make goodies that are also on our list.
My girls received a purse from Willow & Fig Leather Co and it is a prized possession around here. This mama entrepreneur is based out of Central California. She makes whimsical pieces that are beautifully designed and hand crafted. Her moccasins are also pretty amazing. My daughter lived in them for a solid 6 months.
Candy Kirby Designs- She is technically not local anymore but she did reside in Clovis for a while so it counts. My oldest daughter received one of her ballerina dolls as a birthday gift. I just took advantage of the Black Friday deals to purchase one for my youngest daughter.
One of Clovis' gems is Cavelle Kids. Designer Jessica, is a mom of 2 girls about the same age as my two. Her clothes are gorgeous, they retail nationally in Nordstrom & Saks and we are lucky to have her boutique here in town. Maybe one day she will make some items in big girl sizes (aka for the mamas). Since the clothes are higher quality I usually purchase for special occasions like family photos and birthdays.
When thinking about talented artisans, I automatically think of Second Stitch to the Right. Clare learned to quilt from her grandma and continues the family tradition by creating gorgeous pieces of art. My girls are lucky enough to have received her quilt and I can honestly say it is treated like a prized family heirloom. She makes quilts of all colors and sizes, including mini quilts for dolls. She also make bloomer sets and new to the line are teethers, something I wish I had to offer my daughter. I love that it is made of wood and organic fabric rather than plastic.
My youngest daughter's list is much smaller. She will receive shoes- because the hand me downs just don't seem to fit right. I also love bows from The Splendid Bow shop. Her shop opens every Monday morning, I've only been lucky enough to snag a few on occasion. I also order from Loopy Loo Bows, who opens her shop on Sunday mornings. I am also loving the wraps from Little Jamestown. In fact Caroline requests a bow every morning when she gets dressed and I am happy to indulge as long as she will let me.
Hopefully you find this guide useful when trying to purchase gifts for your child, niece, or grandchild. I have ideas for a few more gift guides, is there anything in particular you would like to see?