Thoughtful, useful and money-saving presents for your toddler

With Christmas coming up very soon I’ve been thinking long and hard about presents we can give to our almost four year old and his one year old sister for Christmas. We live in a small house and although I love nothing more than seeing the kids faces light up at the sight of presents under the tree, something about it just causes me so much anxiety and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this! Whether it’s the simple question of ‘where the hell am I going to put all this stuff?’ or whether it’s the total waste that seems to come with big plasic toys only that are discarded after a day or two, never to be played with again, I just hate everything about it!  Money is also very tight for us at the moment so I’m really having to try and come up with presents that don’t cost a fortune.

It’s not just what we are getting for the kids but also what our friends and family are getting. We are so fortunate to have a big, loving network of friends and family but this does mean that sometimes, especially at Chrismas, we end up with so many gifts that it is not only overwhelming for us, but also overhwhelming for the kids. So, not only have I been trying to reign in what we are getting, but I’ve also tried really hard to not give the usual answer of “oh they will love anything” to the standard “what would they like this year” question. Instead, I have tried to be specific. Telling people a certain something that either of the kids actually want or, more importantly, need. I’ve always thought that this would come across as rude but so far I’ve been pleasantly suprised at the responses I’ve got – people actually love being told what to get!

I do want my children to recieve things that they love, but I want them to be things they will love for a long time. This year I feel like I’m keeping it under control and have some great ideas that the kids will love. I thought I’d share these ideas with you to see what you think! I hope you like it and maybe get an idea or two.

1.Homemade recipe book

recipe book 3

So this one is very personal to us as Will loves ‘helping out’ in the kitchen but I think it’d be a great idea for most toddlers.  Cooking with a toddler is not easy and I am totally guilty of putting it off most of the time but because he does love getting involved in the cooking I thought it would be a nice personal gift that he will (hopefully) cherish.  I’ve bought this scrap book from The Range for £4.99 and have basically started to write a few very simple recipes that he could easily help with and that won’t take too much time.

recipe book 2

I’ve drawn a little boy chef for the front cover and some simple pics to jazz up the recipes.  My artwork is pretty shocking but he’s three – he will love it and hey, it’s the effort that counts right?! I’ll probably begin with five or six recipes and leave the rest blank so anything else we make we can add in!

2. Brio Train Track


I LOVE wooden toys. They look good, they will last for years and years, being passed down through generations of families and they are much more environmentally friendly than plastic alternatives.  William is a train fanatic.  Always has been.  When he was one we made him a small fixed train track, using brio, that he could slide in and out from under his bed.  He’s now nearly four and it is something that he still plays with most days.  Now he’s that bit older I feel like it’s the perfect time to get him some more track, dismantle the old fixed track and bring it all downstairs so he can build and play himself as and when he likes.  We bought a starter set from Ikea for £15 that will fit to his original Brio track and I used good old Facebook Marketplace to grab another well-loved bag of track for just £5!  This is also something that Olivia (at almost 18 months old) will love and hopefully there will be enough for them both to play without arguing over certain sections of the track – here’s to hoping! This is something I’ve used as a gift idea to a few family members – we’re getting the track but a few lovely new engines will be cherished for a long time!

3. Headphones and an audio book subscription


I’ve been thinking about this one for a while now and decided Will is definitely at the right age for his own headphones now.  I want to get him into audio books over the next year before he starts school and I thought having his own headphones to listen and block out other distractions will be a good idea. I like the idea of him having some quiet time during the day but find myself all to quickly reaching for the TV remote.  He loves reading and is always asking me to read story books but – as bad as it sounds – I just don’t have the time! I’ve bought him the Cath Kidston London Streets children’s headphones for £25.99 but there are many other cheaper options available such as these from Currys.  I also never knew but children’s headphones have a limit to how loud they go as the decibles of an adults headphones can be seriously damaging to a little ones ears!  These will come in handy for a good few years and I’m hoping the investment will be worth it.  I’ve also asked a close family member to get him an audio book subscription for around £7.99 per month, although not a gift a child will probably be overly impressed with I’m sure it’ll be something that gets so much use!

4. Books

So this one is a pretty bog-standard gift at Christmas and Birthdays in our house and probably the things that get used the most.  Ever since both kids were young I have tried to read them a bedtime story every night before bed.  It’s something I remember my own mum doing and I just love seeing how they can get into and enjoy even the simplest of stories.  This year I’ve gone for a few classics.  First up Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, a feel good story with a cute message of kindness and co-operation.  Beautiful illustrations and simple rhymes that the kids will love.

room on the broom

The second book I brought is the number one bestseller The Tiger Who Came to Tea.  A classic and a must for any children’s book collection.


The last book I’ve bought for William this year is a gardening book I found in a charity shop.  He’s an outdoors boy through and through and loves nothing more than being in the garden covered in dirt.  I saw this book in a local charity shop for 20p and I couldn’t resist.  It’s simple gardening tips and pictures will give us some great ideas and much needed help for a total gardening novice like myself!

I hope you get a few ideas from this and enjoyed reading!

Amy xx


  1. So true with toys being discarded after a day or 2. Books and wooden toys are great gifts for toddlers as it can survive the holidays and can be use for a long time. Happy holidays to your family 🙂


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