For most families, this is a time of lots of shopping and gift-giving, as the year comes to a close.  Quite possibly, you have completed your Christmas shopping, but maybe you still have a few things to purchase.  Even if all of your shopping has been done, this post may have some helpful information as you consider the presents you want to give your children in the future, for either Christmas or birthdays.   Let us consider what is God-honoring in all our ways of life.

For many years, I have found some guiding principles in buying gifts for our children, to be very helpful.  There may be many things your children ask for or have their eyes on, especially if they have been used to getting certain things before.  But as a parent, there are many things you can do to make gifts a beneficial thing for your children.

Gifts to Encourage Role Play

I always try to buy gifts that will encourage the children in their different roles of male and female.  For girls, favorite toys that also encourage their femininity and future roles are baby dolls, toy food and cooking items, things to take care of their babies, etc.  For boys, gifts of play tools, trucks, cars, or whatever will point to a future occupation are all good gifts.  Our son currently loves farms and everything to do with farming, so we are fine with gifting him with toy farm animals, tractors, and the like.  Perhaps one day he will be a farmer!  Of course, all of our children are welcome to play together and use each other’s toys, but these types of gifts will encourage children towards their future roles in life.  They naturally like to play with “girl toys” and “boy toys”, because these are things that God has instilled in them.

Creative Toys

For both boys and girls, simple toys that encourage creativity are always a good choice.  These items would be things for art, such as paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, or other craft items.  All of our older girls have hobbies in needlework, so we can purchase items for them to support these hobbies, such as yarn and patterns.  For younger girls, there are even little kits sold in the shops that teach how to do a simple craft that they might not yet know how to do–such as sewing, crocheting, or knitting.  There are so many possibilities for creative gifts.

For the younger children, good creative gift items would also include wooden building blocks, Legos or the bigger Duplos.  For both younger and older children, puzzles are usually a good choice.  Almost all of our children enjoy puzzles, and they are a great way to encourage family time, as several children, and even a parent or two, can sit together to find the pieces to put together a pretty picture.  Creative toys will encourage children to use their God-given gifts and creativity in their play.

Books

Godly, edifying, Christian books are a good choice as well, though I find I often need to pre-read what is in them, as I am responsible as a parent in what I give my children to read.  Good books can be hard to come by, but you may find some good choices at Lamplighter books or from the Maxwell Family.  The Moody books, written by Sarah Maxwell, have been some of my children’s favorite books while they were growing up, and even are read and re-read by our children now.  Our copies are worn and tattered!  And Sarah Maxwell has just published a brand new book, which I (shhhhhh) have purchased for our children for Christmas.  Christian biographies can also be a good book purchase choice.

Gifts We Avoid

There are also gifts that we definitely avoid.  We avoid anything impure, which should be obvious.  There are many toys on the market that would fit into this category.  We have no interest in these and still have plenty of things we can buy.  We avoid dolls for our girls such as Barbie dolls, which do not encourage pretend play such as mothering a baby or taking care of a home, but instead encourage dating, immodesty, and even fitting into a certain “body type”.

We also usually avoid battery-operated, flashy gifts, unless it is something that really needs batteries such as a flashlight.  I just tend to think these can be a great distraction to creativity, as so much is already done for them.

We also avoid toys which have any sort of a fanciful nature.  If a toy has elements that are not in God’s creation (and there are many of these), we do not include it in our children’s playthings.  These types of toys will only cause confusion to our children, and will not encourage them to think on what is true.  We find it helpful to let Philippians 4:8 be our guide for testing whether or not certain toys (or books) are appropriate–(Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things).  We want to avoid fanciful things because we believe they take away from the truly miraculous things that the Lord our God has done in the Bible.  When children are so used to fantasy in their reading or in their play, it can easily distort and take away from the truly miraculous that only the Lord can do.

What to Do With Gifts from Others

Our children have grown up with the knowledge that any gift received from someone else is subject to our approval.  We have just given them this understanding so that they know that all gifts other people give are not appropriate for them.  They know to gratefully thank the giver, as it is the thoughtfulness and intentions of the person who gave the gift that matter, and they are to be thankful for the gift.  But that doesn’t mean we have to keep it out of any obligation.  In private at a later time, we would discuss with our children why a gift is not appropriate for them.  This helps them to appreciate gifts from others but to know that we don’t have to keep something that is not beneficial to us, just because someone gave it to us.

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Emily

Emily and her wonderful husband are raising several children to the glory of God. Emily enjoys homemaking, homeschooling, arts & crafts, cross-stitching, reading, sewing, and playing piano, just to name a few. She is interested in healing the body through the food God has given us, along with other God-given means such as herbs and essential oils. You can find her blogging about all things homemaking at Blessed Homemaking. Emily also has a God-given gift for art and sometimes posts her creations at Emily's Fine Art.

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{ 5 comments }

Amy December 22, 2018

I totally agree with the gift ideas! We love to only give useful, creative, crafty, books, puzzles, Legos, & open-ended play toys as well. One thing we do have is Barbie though. One of our girls was given a house & dolls & the only thing Barbie does is be a mother actually because she has lots of little kid & baby Barbies 🙂 They came in a set to be a day care worker or something, but that’s no fun-being her own babies was the whole point in buying them 🙂 Oh, my mistake, Barbie actually dances ballet too-lol!

Emily December 24, 2018

Hi Amy. Thanks for writing in, and I’m glad to hear that your Barbie is busy being a mother to many children 🙂

Amy December 24, 2018

Yep, Barbie & Ken (her husband) has more than us😄.
All of that said, we are very strict on Barbies clothes😄. Modest only & there’s lots of great homemade ones for sale online. And no Barbies with lots of make up. Older hand me downs only.

Marilyn December 24, 2018

Thank You for the ideas. Merry Christmas and blessings in 2019.
Joan,Marion and Marilyn

Emily January 11, 2019

The same to you, & thank you, Joan, Marion, & Marilyn.

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