Tue, November 9, 2021

Parents League Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Barbara H. Scott, Executive Director

Short Days and Chilly Nights

Like many people I live for summer. The bright skies, long days and relaxed pace are rejuvenating. Whether I am at a backyard barbecue with friends or on a boat trip with family, summer is a joy. However, as much as I love summer, being an educator means the fall season is also my jam. Some people enjoy the changing leaf colors and cooling temperatures, but without the sights and sounds of children making their way to classes in oversized backpacks or shiny new sneakers, the season would feel entirely different.

Now, with fall well underway and our clocks turned back many of us scurry to make sure our winter coats still fit. Entering the month of November leaves no doubt that shorter days and chilly nights are ahead. The holiday season arrives like a baby’s nighttime call, vague and faint to start but eventually undeniably loud and clear. Diwali has come and gone and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It seems the cooler air and blustery days signal it is time to shop for those ‘just right’ educational gifts for kids.

Of course, choosing gifts in a household with children can be both joyful and fraught. There are high expectations all around. Older kids make ‘must-haves’ lists weeks in advance, while grandparents plot the purchase of items you wish they would not. And, in the digital age where everything from blocks to bassinets include smart technology, parents and caregivers have their work cut out for them when uncovering the best educational gifts for their kids. As the mother of three, holiday gift-giving has never been perfect but experience has taught me the simplest gifts are often best. With this in mind, we offer you some suggestions for family-focused and educationally meaningful holiday gifts for kids.

We proudly present the Parents League Holiday Gift Guide for 2021:

1. Books (visit our curated Bookshop here)

2. Magazine subscriptions (Highlights, National Geographic, Time For Kids, and others)

3. Art supplies

4. Theater tickets

5. Family coupons (no chores for a day, 30 min bedtime extensions)

6. Camping or sleepover gear

7. Framed children’s artwork (or book of the same)

8. How-to, then-do activities inspired by a science kit or cookbook

9. Puzzles and board games

10. Simple carpentry tools

While no list can account for wanting the plush version of Elmo’s new puppy, Tango, take a moment to assess your desires for enjoying the holiday season. Know your short days and chilly nights can be filled with new bedtime story inspiration, a family trip to a show or time in the kitchen making cookies or cakes. And, don’t forget about sending thank you notes to loved ones. It’s not the number, size or name on the gift received that really matters to kids. It is time spent with family that make the holidays special.