Christmas gift
exchanges are an annual highlight among school kids. I still remember some of the
treats and trinkets I received during my younger days. There were earrings, small
stuffed animals, a cat figurine, and the ubiquitous holiday-themed socks. My
favorite gift was a package of Lip Smacker chap sticks I received during my
Girl Scout troop’s gift exchange when I was in fifth grade. Those chap sticks came
packaged in a clear tube with a lid made out of a red plastic reindeer head. It
was an awesome gift for a 10-year-old.
What will you give this year?

This year, my
oldest daughter is poised to participate in her first Christmas gift exchange.
She drew a name in her preschool class last week, and we are now on the hunt
for a $2 gift for a little boy. I know much of the fun comes from letting my
daughter select a gift on her own. Yet, the parent in me wants to encourage
some level of practicality. It’s easy for a lot of cheap junk to find its way
into the house during the holidays, and I’d prefer not to do that to other
So as my
daughter and I head out to the dollar store, here are some gift ideas we’ll try
to keep in mind.  
1.       Consumable
These are gifts
that can be used up, eaten, or otherwise made to disappear over time. They are
the ultimate anti-clutter gifts. Items in this category include lip balm,
bubble bath, body wash, hand soap, bath crayons, hand sanitizer, lotion, nail
polish, bubbles, character-themed band-aids (Dora, Cars, etc.), character-themed
toothbrush and toothpaste, temporary tattoos, sidewalk chalk, movie tickets, fast
food gift cards, and hot chocolate mix.
2.      Educational
These are gifts
that engage the creative sides of kids’ brains, or get them thinking. Some of
these gifts are also consumable, which makes them even better. They include coloring
books, drawing paper, pencils, paint, markers, glitter glue, picture or chapter
books, word search or crossword books, puzzles, paper dolls, craft kits,
stickers, and modeling clay.
3.      Practical
These are things
kids need, and maybe some things are just nice little extras, but they still
have that useful element. Practical gifts include socks, tights, mittens or
gloves, winter hat, scarf, hair bows or barrettes, headbands, fun t-shirts, and
Whatever you
give or receive, have a Merry Christmas. And if you want my suggestion, I’d go
with the Lip Smackers!
You can
contact Rachael by e-mailing her at
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