If you’re buying a gift for a child and not sure what they want, or are concerned that their interest will wane by the holidays, consider some alternatives.
The first substitute is to choose classic toys that retain their appeal over time. Board games, art supplies, crafting materials and building toys such as wooden blocks are some possibilities.
Another option: handmade gifts. If you aren’t crafty, you can buy wooden toys, stuffed animals and other handmade options at crafts fairs, farmers markets and online creative marketplaces like Etsy. These can get pricey, but the quality and charm may justify the cost. Plus, you’re benefiting individuals and small businesses rather than retail giants.
Giving experiences can be another great option, especially for teenagers. Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago found that kids ages 3 to 12 prefer material gifts, while older children get more happiness from experiences. Teenagers have better developed memories and can recall details of an event, which contributes to lasting happiness, the researchers found. Younger children have a harder time remembering and appreciating past experiences, although sharing photos and videos of the event can help, according to the researchers.
Experiences can include passes to a rock-climbing or trampoline gym, a mini-golf course or an amusement park; travel; or lessons to spark or feed a particular interest, such as horseback riding, coding or baking. In normal times, tickets to sporting events, concerts or shows also would be an option, but these may not be feasible or desired during the pandemic.
Read More: How the Toy Shortage Could Affect Your Holidays | Personal Finance