As Christmas and my daughter’s 1st birthday roll around I’m having to think about what to put on her Christmas list. What won’t be on there?….toys. This might be a hard sell for the grandparents but we don’t have the space or the need for a bunch of toys she will outgrow within a few months.

So I started thinking about toy alternatives we could add to her Christmas list.

Let’s face it, many toys are really for us parents. We buy them because we think they’re so cute…even though we know our child will probably be more interested in the box. The only toy your child generally likes is the one that’s guaranteed to drive you insane.

When we go to visit my grandmother my 10-month-old has a basket of stuff that we literally refer to as her junk, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s plastic containers filled with items so it makes noise if she shakes it, random plastic items, an empty water bottle. And she will play happily there with that basket of “junk” over and over again. She doesn’t care at all that none of them are labeled fisher price, Vtech, or baby einstein.

Now don’t get me wrong we do have toys. We have blocks, and balls, and noisemakers. She will get a few items for Christmas but those will come from us. I try to choose toys that will grow with her so that I get more bang for my buck.

My daughter is blessed to have 4 grandmothers, 3 grandpas, 2 great-grandmas and numerous cousins. So you see how quickly our home would be taken over if everyone got her a toy for Christmas. So what are we asking for?

Here’s what is on our list!

Books. I love to read and want to start building her a library early. I wish books were cheap but they really aren’t. I know we could go to the library or get them second hand but I’m still a bit of a germophobe and babies don’t exactly play gently with their books. I’ll also be asking them to inscribe a note in one of the books to make it a special gift.

Clothes. My daughter grows like a weed and at 10 months she’s wearing mostly 18 or 24 month clothes. Our stash from the baby shower is long gone. Hopefully, clothes can help appease the grandmas need to buy cute things for her while giving us something that is an actual need.

Experiences. I’m a stay at home mom right now, but that means most of the time we do stay at home. Without me bringing in a steady income we have just enough to pay our bills, which doesn’t leave money for all the fun classes that are offered for moms and babies.

We take plenty of walks but I would love to go to gymboree, mommy & me yoga, etc. Unfortunately, these classes seem to run about $20 each, even if we only wanted to go a couple of times a month it adds up fast. So, I’m asking for gift cards so we can do some special activities and have some good bonding time.

(Side note, there are free continuing education classes for moms and babies in San Diego. They may exist where you live too and are worth checking into!)

College Fund. She’s 10 months old, do we really need to start a college fund now? Let’s face it college is expensive and the costs only seem to be rising. I’d like to save her from having to have the debt my husband and I have from college loans. If we start saving now we should be able to pay for a large chunk of her education 18 years from now. My father has already opened a 529 account for her that we contribute to.

Letters. This one is specific to her birthday. I heard about this great tradition where family write letters to/for the child on each birthday and then when they turn 18 or upon graduation they get a big box of letters from the family. Letters full of hopes and dreams, letters from family members that no longer are living, letters full of memories of their childhood. I love this idea and plan to start doing it for her.

If you’re looking for a few inexpensive gifts to use as stocking stuffers check out my list of toys that cost under $10.
Toy alternatives for Christmas

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