Are you sick of toys cluttering your life? Well, parents, you’re not alone. I’m here as a super experienced first-time toddler mom to share my top 12 gifts to make your toddler happy this holiday season without EVER having to leave your home. That’s right! No lines, no shopping, no Amazon. Just joy.
12. Half a Cheese Stick
Let’s talk stocking stuffers! We all know that finding small, yet meaningful, items for our kiddos can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! If you want to snag something without dipping into your sad little savings account, why not start with things you already have?
Take a look around your house. Regifting can be a total blessing for everyone involved. Half a cheese stick squished into a chair, anyone? Goldfish cracker crumbs shoved into crevices? How about a simple, sticky popsicle wrapper? See? You’ll have that stocking filled up with joy in no time.
11. A Singular Q-Tip
Not an entire box. Just the one. Your child will enjoy shoving it into places that it doesn’t belong. Down the drain, into outlets, up noses. Bonus, it’s fun to wrap.
10. A Full Cup of Anything
Be sure to leave this very full (preferably dark red) cup of liquid at eye-level. This will surprise your curious little sweetheart! As they stumble across it, they will inevitably grab it with one hand and attempt to bring it to you.
They won’t make it, of course, but it’s the thrill of the spill that you’re really looking for here.
9. A Roll of Something
Get creative! Toilet paper, paper towels, wrapping paper, dog poop bags… literally anything on a roll. These budget-friendly gifts are perfect for unraveling to the point of no return.
Your child will love running around in circles while destroying your living room and every remaining sliver of your sanity. A win, win.
8. An Open Bag of Cereal
Now, this is something that you’re going to want to snag early in the season. Your child will love staring deep into your soul as they dump these tiny ‘O’s absolutely freaking everywhere. This doubles as an instant snack — just grab a handful every time you walk by.
If you and your dog take turns shoveling the cereal into your sad little mouths, you won’t even have to vacuum. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
7. Coupons for Experiences
If you are a true super-parent, then you already know that the best gifts can’t be bought from a store. This year, get your sweet little babe a coupon for a spa day. Your child can redeem this coupon for a day of pampering (random floor snacks, possibly water, and maybe a bath or something).
6. First Time Screen Time
If your children are anything like mine, they have never seen a television screen or a YouTube video, ever.
For Christmas this year, consider allowing them the simple pleasure of watching 14 shows in a row while you eat leftover Halloween candy and cry (something you have obviously never done). Treat yourself… and uh, your kid, too.
5. A Pile of Freshly Folded Laundry
We all know the laundry lifecycle: Wash clothes, let sit in the washer overnight, mildew sniff, second wash, let sit in washer all day, first dry, let sit in dryer overnight, second tumble dry to remove wrinkles, pile on a chair overnight, maybe fold someday.
Is there any greater joy in life than demolishing something in two minutes that someone has spent hours on? Quick answer: There isn’t.
4. Five Free Minutes with the Toilet
Be sure to leave anything valuable within reach. It’s like a water-table, only cheaper.
If you’ve ever thought about wanting a way to permanently repurpose old furniture in a bright and fun way, you are not alone. And it’s cheaper than you think!
For the price of ONE sheet of dollar store stickers, you could have a Poppy covered coffee table! Not a Trolls fan? No problem! Oh wait, nope, it is a problem. Your furniture belongs to them now. Just like your withered soul.
2. Trash Can Full of Trash
“What is that?” “Where’d you get that?” “Why are you…?” A giant trash can full of trash is a great way for your child to explore shapes and texture. For the full experience, fill the can with various items that you would never want your child to touch ever. Then let them go crazy!
For no extra charge, you can even let them knock the entire can over and watch the gifts seep into that light-colored, begging-for-a-stain carpet of yours.
1. Baby Wipes
Looking for something educational? Count with your child as they take out every damn wipe one at a time and throw each one on the floor. “One, two, three…”
Make sure you let them do this at least an hour before a diaper change, so when that time actually comes (and everyone in the family is knee deep in baby poop) there are NO WIPES TO BE FOUND. This is part is crucial. Without the sheer desperation, this barely counts as a gift at all.
Happy shopping! Remember, your wallet will thank you now, and your toddler will thank you never.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Mama. Oh, wait, I have a real name? Let’s start over. I’m Courtney, a Maine girl living in Upstate NY. A teacher turned stay-at-home snack giver. I entered my 30s with a burning desire to give less effs. I live for words, memory foam pillows, and all things breakfast-y. A (very) condensed list of my personal passions: my feisty 18-month-old Finley, coffee of any kind, tiny bookstores, our rescue pup Belle, cheddar cheese & sarcasm. I also enjoy: starting crafty things & rarely finishing them, connecting with friends on a cosmic level, and overanalyzing mostly everything. You can find more from me on my blog, Creating Calm Amidst Chaos, or on Instagram @finleyandbelle.