Kids & Company Blog

A Gift Guide for Kids Who Just Want the Cardboard Box

I was literally looking for a light sabre that had a shark head as a handle this holiday shopping season and had to stop to give my head a shake. Gift-giving for young kids DOES NOT have to be this complicated and I guarantee you can bring ample joy with some grassroots, thoughtful ideas from my inaugural Gift Guide for Kids Who Just Want the Cardboard Box:

Gift Idea #1: Truly – wrap an empty cardboard box and once it’s open dare them to make the best pirate ship they can. If motivation runs low, let them know you’ve seen better pirate ships

Gift Idea #2: Dig waaaaay down to the bottom of the toy bin and whatever you find, wrap it up. 9 times out of 10 they’ll never notice they already had it. HOT TIP: if you’re worried this will be the 1 of 10 times, add a tissue or ‘invisible cloak’ for the toy to hide behind and say it’s something from an upcoming Star Wars movie.

Gift Idea #3: A booklet of coupons to use for things like: setting their own bedtime, one hour to climb on your back and jump off, dessert for dinner, no chores for the day, launching a dance party anytime/anywhere….you get the idea.

Gift Idea #4: A flashlight. You know you have one lying around the house and I’m telling you it is hours of fun for the standard kid so get that sucker under the tree.

Gift Idea #5: Give them a bug. Any kind. Dead or alive. Bonus points if it’s a bug you or your partner are afraid of.

Gift Idea #6: Wrap up a bag of trail mix and three cups. When they open it they’re allowed to separate the nuts, raisins and chocolate from each other and pick one cup to eat.

Gift Idea #7: Put a ribbon on a couch or bed or something they normally are not allowed to jump off of and give them The Magic Wand (a.k.a. a straw) that unlocks that item for one day of jumping.

Gift Idea #8: Pull together your finest, most expensive decorative pillows from all over the house and wrap them up as ‘building materials for a fort.’ You know they’ll get used for that eventually anyways so why not turn it into a gift?

Gift Idea #9: An old computer keyboard seems to be a great gift idea based on how desperately my one year old wants mine anytime I’m typing. That or the dishwasher but that’s harder to wrap and get under the tree.

Gift Idea #10: Rip whatever toy their sibling is enjoying from their hands and give to the gifted in a glorious act of NO SHARING for a day. No siblings? That’s ok. Use a cousin or friend or stranger who is enjoying a toy visibly enough that your kid really needs to have it.


Melissa lives in Calgary and is the Community Marketing Manager for Kids & Company in Alberta and BC. Her vision of what she would be like as a mom was shattered three years ago when she discovered nothing ever goes as planned for parents, but laughter and community sees you through. You can reach her at

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