Perhaps it used to be taboo to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the ways of the world are changing. Given all of the safety recalls (ahem, the lead and cadmium contamination), and the manufacturing hazards that have gone hand-in-hand with so many childrens' toys on the market - research, education and a discerning eye are now necessary byproducts when it comes to purchasing childrens' gifts.
Parents should not feel the least bit tacky about giving direction to friends and family who are buying birthday presents for their kids. But there's a way you can do so with finesse. Here are several savvy approaches you can take to ensure your little one will receive a safe, green, non-toxic gift to commemorate her big day!
Most gift givers will be thrilled to have the guesswork taken out of their search for the perfect offering; especially if you're known in your circle (like I am) for being a green consumer with discriminating taste.
If you want your child to open a good old fashioned present, try these routes for making sure what's in the box is suitable:
- Email a wish list to friends and family that you know would like to buy your child a gift. This can be as simple as sending a link to an Amazon wish list you create for your child.
- Select a specific store and create an online registry of appropriate gifts through that store. As with any registry, include a wide range of offerings to accommodate every price point.
For monetary gifting:
- Open a 529 college savings account for your child, and ask people to invest in her future, as opposed to buying her a toy.
- If your child has a particular love of animals, trees, nature, the ocean etc., you may want to discuss with her the notion of having gift givers donate to a charity of her choosing which supports her favorite cause.
- Ask revelers to contribute to an annual membership to your local zoo, science museum, children's museum, or botanical gardens. Then you'll have an entire year to reap the fun rewards of taking your child on many educational excursions.
- If your child is interested in taking music lessons, dance lessons, horseback riding lessons, etc., ask party goers to pitch in to teach her a skill she'll enjoy learning.
- Does a certain friend or family member have a special gift they could share with your child? Can grandma teach her how to make her secret banana bread recipe? Can your best friend teach her how to knit? The gift of someone's time and expertise will be a cherished addition to your child's interior landscape!