After all, what was the point of teaching children to be children? They were naturally good at it.
“Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett
Personally, I think that children should not get gifts ‘for children’. You know the kind of gift — make-believe toys that do not work. Cheap crappy quality stuff. Like a spyglass that is of shoddy quality and more a help for imagination than actual viewing, or a toy gun that does not even shoot nerf darts. I think gifts should work — should expand the mind, provide a new perspective, allow the person to do something s/he could not do before.
So for Yule, my niece and nephew get working tools.
Unfortunately, my nice is a “real” girl who likes little-girl stuff (Barbie, Disney’s Princesses, Filly and the like). This is a no-go for me. However, being creative is not. So she gets a book about drawing ‘little princesses and fairies’ (Manga style), two sets of Manga pens, and a layout pad. I don’t know whether she likes to draw, but at least she gets the professional equipment to do so — and create the princesses and fairies herself.
Apparently my nephew is a fan of “The Lord of the Rings”, and given that a ring that is real gold or can turn the wearer invisible is beyond my (or anyone’s) financial or technical expertise, he gets a monocular (spyglass) of ‘sufficient’ quality — together with a book that contains 500 pages (yet is very thin, think hymn-book) and two pens. After all, Bilbo, Frodo and Sam all did not only live a life of adventures but also write about them. I hope these gifts inspire him to do so.
Thing is — as a child I hated to get stuff that did not work … and yes, it may be that I am compensating for what I lacked. And sure, good quality costs money and sometimes this stuff is dangerous. On the other hand, unless you trust the child (within reason), how can s/he grow? I am not doing the same mistake again and giving stuff that my brother confiscates (like a Swiss army knife or a toy helicopter). But I think that Yule is a brilliant opportunity to make a small contribution to the development of your family.
And I hope these two gifts will achieve this.