Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The Room of Requirement
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You don't say if you live nearby, but if so, a "date" with them, singly or together, to go do something fun - that has been a huge hit with my DD. My mom took them to see "The Nutcracker", (before Christmas) and then their gift to open at Christmas was a ballerina ornament, as a souvenir of the trip.
A friend and her parents took my DD to a play for her birthday, complete with dinner out. These are very special, wonderful for her relationships, and can be tailored to fit your budget.
If you are too far away, I second paying for a class or something they can do - my IL's paid for my DD to take a pottery class at a comm. college, and for Christmas they get swimming class paid for.
Otherwise, another vote for mag. subs., or for craft things to do, rather than toys. My mom put together (probably quite inexpensively) a craft box for each girl - a nice sturdy decorative box, with a variety of things geared for each girl. My eldest got a "Learn to Knit" book (aimed at kids) with yarn and needles and a promise to teach her, along with a crochet hook and a kit for making loop potholders. My middle DD got a knitting "mushroom", paints, paper, and a tie-dye kit to do a pillowcase. They have done these things, and still have the box to keep their craft things in.
~*The days are long, but the years are short.*~