The Toy-Free Holiday Shopping Guide

Is your house overflowing with your kids’ toys? Do you find yourself wanting to ask your children that famous Marie Kondo question, “Does this bring you joy?” so that you can purge some of the clutter? If so, you are not alone, my friend. And just think — we have Christmas right around the corner! You know what that means: the inevitable influx of (even more) toys.

Now, before you start shopping for more bins and baskets to corral all the new toys that the holidays might bring, why not consider putting some non-toy items on your holiday shopping list? You can cut back on the clutter while also introducing your children to new experiences and activities. After all, I have already prepared a list for you:



What’s more fun than getting a present on Christmas day? Getting a gift every month! Also, what kid doesn’t like seeing mail with their name on it?

  • Magazine subscription
  • STEM/STEAM box subscription
  • Geography box subscription
  • Cooking box subscription
  • Craft box subscription
  • Play dough/sensory bin subscription
  • Book box subscription
  • Clothing box subscription



If your children use a tablet or television, why not provide them with educational material? (You know, instead of them watching another YouTube video of other kids playing with toys.) Have an avid reader to shop for? Give them the gift of unlimited e-books or audio books!

  • Subscription to educational apps
  • Subscription for e-books
  • Subscription for audio books and podcasts
  • Subscription for streaming services for kids’ shows, movies, and documentaries



Let’s be honest: those family outings to the zoo or town pool can get pricey pretty quickly. Give your budget a break by surprising your kids with a membership pass so your family go all year!

  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Children’s museum
  • Trampoline park
  • Water park
  • Splash pad
  • Pool



Has your child has always wanted to try a new activity? Looking for a new way for them to burn off that energy from their stocking candy? Treat them to a gift certificate to try a new class. Who knows—later you just might be credited with giving the future (artist/dancer/soccer Olympian) their start!

  • Art studio
  • Cooking class
  • Dance/gymnastics lessons
  • Swimming lessons
  • Sports lessons
  • Music class
  • Kids’ gym class



Perhaps the kid on your “To Buy For” list would get a kick out of going on an outing with you. No matter which outing you choose, your little gift-recipient will surely sing your praises!

  • Sporting event
  • Concert
  • Train ride
  • Monster truck show
  • Circus
  • Ice skating
  • Movie
  • Kit to write, illustrate, and publish your own book/comic book

Now that you are armed with a toy-less holiday shopping guide, you no longer need to fear the influx of toys that was a staple of Christmases past. Now hurry up and chuck those Amazon and Target toy catalogs into the recycling bin before your kids get their hands on them!



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Madison Stilson
Madison is a Louisiana native who recently moved to with her family to Harmony, a small town in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Madison studied Elementary Grades Education at LSU after which she taught elementary school in Baton Rouge. She is now a stay-at-home mom who enjoys watching “Blippi” and tripping over Hot Wheels that her son Matthew leaves all over the floor. She has an affinity for all things organization; a new planner, label maker, or cubby is like Christmas morning to her. She is often guilty of staying up well past her bedtime reading library books on her Kindle or watching Lifetime Christmas movies. Madison has struggled with chronic health issues for the better part of a decade and is constantly working toward improving her health. She enjoys connecting with other mamas and appreciates the creative outlet that writing provides her.