Christmas loses a bit of the magic once you’re the grown-up who’s responsible for buying all of the gifts, breaking your back with wrapping sessions and staring down the credit card bill in January.
The best way to take back a bit of that Christmas joy is to live vicariously through your kids, so here are 10 gift ideas that will give your kids the Christmas you’ve always dreamed of ...
1. A techy toy
Remember the excitement you felt unwrapping a Nintendo system or a Gameboy on Christmas morning? Well, now it’s more like unwrapping a WiiU or a PS4, but it’s the same excitement. Pick out a couple of games you can play as a family and you’ll find yourself caught up in that new-console smell.
2. A never-thought-I’d-get-it
It takes a lot to surprise a kid today, but crafty parents take a lot of joy in making their child think they aren’t getting something ... and then getting it for them. Remember how you screamed with joy at getting your very own cordless phone, after your parents had spent months telling you there was no way it was happening? It makes the gift even better when they aren’t expecting it.
3. A stocking stuffed with nostalgia you can share
A tin of vintage marbles. A set of green toy soldiers. A classic slinky. A whoopie cushion. These toys were simple, fun and inexpensive. Your kids will enjoy them now, and you’ll get a little thrill out of trying them after all this time. Best of all, you can still score them online for not more than a few bucks each.
4. A special outing
A hot-air balloon ride. A concert. A day at a theme park. They get the excitement of the surprise, you get the thrill of seeing how happy they are, you all get the anticipation of waiting for it ... and then there’s the fun of the event itself!
5. A biggie
As kids get older, the size of their gifts tend to shrink because iPods and shoes come in much smaller boxes than a huge plastic HotWheels racing track. Surprise an older child with an enormous wrapped gift under the tree, even if you just put something inside a large box for wrapping purposes. Size does matter, sometimes!
6. An unforgettable vacation
When you were a kid, you couldn’t imagine unwrapping airplane tickets for a week at Disney World -- heck, you were probably unwrapping a pair of corduroys. Imagine the looks on your kids’ faces if you surprise them with a vacation on Christmas morning.
7. A surprise visitor
There aren’t a lot of surprise visitors in the age of texting arrival times and even tracking each other through GPS apps. How fun would it be to hear a knock at the door on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and see everyone’s excited faces as a loved one makes a surprise visit?
8. A toy for the too-old kid
Everybody likes playing with toys on Christmas morning -- even big kids. Get your teen a fun board game, silly puzzle or toy to enjoy after they’ve unwrapped their “real” gifts and watch them try to hide a smile.
9. A favourite
What if you got your child one of your all-time favourite toys from childhood, like a Cabbage Patch Kid, a Teddy Ruxpin, a Ghostbusters Firehouse or a Newborn Baby Shivers? There are updated versions of many classics, or you can hit up eBay to rebuy one that’s just like you remember it.
10. A wait-there’s-one-more
Remember holding that final wrapped gift on your lap, waiting as long as possible before you opened it? And then that feeling of disappointment once you did because it meant Christmas was pretty much over until next year. Be the raddest parent ever and “suddenly remember” there might be one more gift hidden in another room. You won’t ever forget how their faces light up.