Read these 24 Holidays and Gift-Giving Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dad tips and hundreds of other topics.
Decorative photo frames are often a good present for your wife as they give two pleasures - the pleasure of admiring the frame and the pleasure of looking at the picture of the kids or family contained within the frame. As an added touch, you may wish to put a great family photo in the frame before you give it to her.
IF you help your kids to buy presents for their mom, let them choose what they want to give. Often, a young child will pick an odd present such as a toy or something else that appeals to them rather then something that is suitable for an adult. However, letting them pick out and give gifts like that is letting them express their love to mom. If you interfere and pick out what you think is suitable, the child's individuality disappears from the gift giving process. Remember, it doesn't need to be a gift that mom can use that's important, it's the time and thought that matters.
Stuck for a present for your wife? Always leave it to the last minute to buy her something? Here are a few tips: Always know her size - clothing is much easier to buy when you know what she likes and what will fit her. When you're both out at the shops and she points out something that she really loves, keep a mental note of it - write down later what it was and what shop it was in. Buy ahead of time - don't wait until the last moment. Put an entry into your diary to start shopping one month before her birthday, Christmas, etc. If you see something you know she will love, buy it there and then - even if her birthday is 6 months away, buy the item and hide it away.
Music makes a good and inexpensive gift. Buying your wife audio tapes for her car or CDs for her computer can give her a great deal of pleasure whilst she is running chores or balancing the household finances. Always know what is her favorite music and buy accordingly.
If your kids want a swing, the quick and cheap alternative is to make one. All you need are a couple of strong ropes, long enough to hang from a sturdy tree branch and tie to a seat, and something for the seat. This can be as raw as a thick piece of tree branch (ensure it is strong enough to hold their weight). Drill a hole about 4 inches from each end, pass the rope through and tie securely. Tie the ropes over a sturdy overhead tree branch at a distance apart equal to the rope distance apart at the seat. Check the swing area for dangers such as branches sticking out or exposed rocks that the child may land on if they fall off. It is best if the area is grassed all over. Check all knots every few weeks and re-tie where necessary. Also check the rope for frays, especially where it rubs on the overhead branch, and replace immediately.
Don't know what to buy for your mom as a gift? Start by looking at the appropriate era. Lots of people tend to stay in their favorite era as they grow up. What time period does your mom like most? For an idea, look at her clothes, furniture, ornaments, color schemes, etc. Pick items that reflect that time period. For example, if she reflects the era of the 1940's, go to an antique store and look at 1940's brooches. Picture frames, both new and old, are easy to attach to an era.
Stuck for ideas for buying your dad (or mom) a birthday present? Why not make up a "feel good kit"? Choose an area that they have an interest in, say golf, and then put together a box or basket of items that add to their pleasure in that area. With golf, it may be a humorous book about golf, a shoe cleaning kit, and a new golf towel.
Be very careful about the gifts that you and others give to your babies/toddlers. Ensure that they are safe for the child's age group and that they cannot fall apart. Many toys are dangerous because they are small enough to swallow or get caught in the child's mouth, or because they may contain dangerous or poisonous materials).
If you find it difficult to buy presents for your kids because they are always with you, here are a couple of tips: Buy over the internet (and try to find a site that will bill directly if you are hesitant about providing your credit card details over the net). Shop with a friend who can distract the kids for a little while at a toy shop or on one of those rides that shopping centres have. Whilst they're distracted you can slip off and make a purchase. Hide the purchase by putting it straight into the car before you return to the kids or by putting it into another shopping bag. If you have to opportunity to shop alone, don't buy presents one at a time; buy for birthdays and Christmas together if you can afford to.
If you travel a lot with your job, sometimes pick up a small momento of where you have been, to give to your children when you get home. It can (and should be) something simple, like a postcard or hotel sample writing pad. But don't overdo it - don't build up the expectation that you will always return with gifts every time. Sometimes a phone call in the morning or just before their bedtime, or arriving home earlier then planned can be the best present of all.
Don't just give to your daughter girly things. If she wants a plastic tool set or a toy car or a train set for her birthday or Christmas, give her what she wants. Too often we are gender specific in our giving and we narrow the scope of our child's advancement to what we want or expect them to fit within.
Sometimes, buy your daughter something individual, not mass produced. She'll get enough Barbie dolls and other things from other family members and friends. Look for something that expresses who she is as an individual. Some ideas are: photo frames, book-ends, mobiles (ceiling - not telephone), ornaments, pictures.
Put almost as much effort into the wrapping as you do the present. Men often like to give their spouse the perfect present that's sure to please, but often we neglect how it is packaged. However, the packaging is the first impression of thought, effort and love. Putting a little extra into nice / appropriate paper, bow and / or ribbon can make a difference that spells out how you really feel.
Don't know what toys to buy the kids? Let them try before you buy. Take them to a large toystore for a couple of hours and let them explore. You may be surprised at what takes your childrens' fancy. And it will give you plenty of ideas for presents, both for them, and also for their friends of similar ages.
For a great gift idea, give a series of gifts one or a couple at a time. For example, start a model train collection for your child. However, don't buy them something that you are not sure that they will like, and choose brands / types that appeal to them. Say, each birthday and Christmas, you give them a couple of items to add to their collection and build it up progressively over time.
If your kids want something, you don't always have to rush out to the shops in order to keep them happy. Try and make what they want. Sometimes. For instance, a request for a cubby house can often be met with some cardboard boxes cut open and taped up. Cut out a window and make an opening door. Your child usually wants just the concept and is not so fussed on the trimmings. Often, making something gives them quickly what they want without the painful wait for them or cost for you.
If your wife loves jewellery, don't avoid buying it just because of the cost. Also, avoid cheap costume jewellery. Look around for sales - there are plenty of jewellers that offer up to 50% off (and sometimes higher) depending on the time of year and how overstocked they are. Be prepared to look all year round and buy when there are specials, even if that means putting the item away for six months until the next birthday. It's better to do that then start looking a week before and finding there are no specials anywhere.
Household appliances don't generally make good gifts. Unless, your spouse / partner really loves, say, cooking, then the appliance is not something that is going to excite them or make them feel good. It might make that particular part of the housework easier or quicker, but it's still not a good message-giver. Choose personal items that pertain to your spouse / partner as an individual, not just a housewife, or dinner-maker, or ironer. Choose items that reflect their passions and interests and your love for them.
Vacationing with the kids over the summer can be both a joyous and challenging endeavor. I recently drove half way across the country to visit family and go camping. I made the trip go smoothly by adapting to the kiddies sleeping schedule. Instead of traveling during the hours they are awake I drove during the hours in which they sleep. Driving a lengthy amount of time is tough for most people; there is really no need in compounding the task with antsy children. If you are taking a long trip try departing around eight or nine in the evening. Traveling at night has some major advantages, the kids are asleep, no traffic, less stressful situations. There are also some disadvantages if you do not plan ahead. Driving at night means the driver has to get sleep during the day. Try getting at least six hours of sleep before departing on the overnight journey and stay away from strenuous activity for a few days. Also plan on stopping for gas more frequently, the last thing you want is to run out of gas at three in the morning. With a little planning and some sleep before departing, your next trip can end with the kids waking up while you’re arriving at your destination. Happy Trails!
Wooden toys are great for young kids. They're robust enough to survive the knocks and are, generally, built for long life. Avoid buying second hand wooden toys that are chipped, worn or broken; splintered wood is dangerous in toys. Look for good quality, solid toys. Sometimes, you can buy them unpainted or stained and your child can have added pleasure in painting the toy themselves in their favorite colors.