By Cammie Jones

When it comes to gift giving, I have to admit I am not the best. We all have that certain someone who has the knack for finding that perfect present but I am more of the last minute gift giver. Birthdays creep up on me and the next thing I know, I am working against time while racking my brain to get that perfect gift. Same goes with children’s birthday gifts. I tend to do something age appropriate but mundane. What are some unique gifts you can give to any birthday child to make gift giving a little more personal and outside the box?

1. Photo Album

This is not your momma’s three-ring photo album with the pull back plastic and sticky pages. There are many websites that allow you to use photos you have saved on your computer or on a shared site that you can use to create a personal photo album. If it’s one of your child’s friends, create a book using the pictures you have from their time together through the months or years. Have your child help you with it. This does take some time, thought and effort but is worth it in the end when you end up with something they will treasure forever.

2. Gift that Keeps on Giving

Who doesn’t like to get something in the mail that is not junk or a bill? Set up a delivery of something that the child would like. For older girls, there are sites such as Birchbox which delivers skin and makeup sample items once a month. There are many scheduled delivery plans from which to choose that will meet your budget. Another ideas is to give an annual magazine subscription. There are many child-friendly/teen-appropriate magazines that can be delivered directly to the child. Think Sports Illustrated for a boy or Teen Vogue for the preteen girl.  Again, it’s always fun getting stuff in the mail!

3. Gift Cards

My daughter recently turned 16 and many of her friends did too. Needless to say, they are so happy to be behind the wheel and eager to hit the fast food restaurants to pick up a snack or coffee after school. With a gift card, they can use that instead of their own cash (or yours). Gas prices are going up so a gas station gift card is also useful as well.

Many folks think that gift cards are not personal and an easy way out, but kids love to pick out what they most desire using a gift card. You can make it more personal by taking them to the store yourself so that you can be part of the choosing process.

4. Framed Picture & Written Note

Do you have that perfect photo that just begs for a frame? Print the picture at your local drugstore photo center and pick out a frame to put it in. You can even get the frame monogrammed at many local gift shops in town. This is the perfect gift for any age child —  boy or girl. Also, frames not only come in many shapes and sizes but also many price ranges so you can be budget-conscious if needed. Add a handwritten note  that refers to the photo and the experience you had with your friend at that location to make it even more personal.

5. Give As Many Gifts as the Age of the Child

As mentioned above, my daughter turned 16 last year. My mother-in-law (gifted in the gift giving ability, by the way) came over with a basket of individually wrapped gifts – 16 of them — for her Sweet 16. It was so much fun as she opened each one. This can be done at any age and with any budgeted amount. Just put a number on each wrapped gift if you want the birthday boy or girl to open them in order.

6. Something Old, SOMETHING New

Do you have an old spoon or something that is meaningful in your family just laying around your home or stored in the closet or attic? My mom recently gave me a spoon key chain and the spoon was of my grandmother’s everyday stainless.  Do you have an old teacup that can be given as is to your family member? A bible? What about an old brooch that can be made into a bracelet? You don’t always need to go to the store to get a gift. There might be something sentimental just under your nose that will mean much more than something store bought.

7. Collectible

Who doesn’t like to collect stuff? For girls, this might be the start of their silver where each year they get a fork or a spoon. This can get pricey so there are other less expensive ways to start a collection for a loved one. What about starting a charm bracelet for a little girl? Each year you can add another meaningful charm to add to it. One year it could be a tennis racket because they love to play tennis or a dog because they have a new pet. This is handy for the gift giver each year because they will know exactly what to give to the child without having to spend much time thinking it through!

8. Gift of Time

We don’t have enough of it, and this is something we all need to focus on. Do you get to spend enough time with your niece or nephew or do you need to spend more time with one of your own chidlren? Give them a day with you — this can include lunch and maybe some type of fun activity. You can paint pottery, go skating or play miniature golf. Do something they enjoy but don’t get to do everyday. Believe me, the birthday child will remember this much more than any material thing you give him!

This article appears in the February 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
Did you like what you read here?