10 Things Toddlers Really Need At Christmas

I personally find toddlers hard to shop for. So here's a realistic list of what my toddler desperately needs for Christmas.

It's that time of year again! Time to bust out the holiday decorations, hunker down for the cold season, and make lists for loving relatives who need to know what your kids want for Christmas.

I have a 19-month-old boy, and I personally find toddlers hard to shop for. They may or may not be obsessed with something like trucks or balls or baby dolls, but because toddlers often have limited interests, they'll likely get showered with those specific items by generous grandparents. Clothing can be a safe option, but if your family is anything like mine, you've got heaps of it and are currently working on sorting outgrown piles into a manageable system of some kind, you hope.

My quirky little kid happens to be obsessed with vacuuming and sweeping-- but only with our full-sized adult vacuums and brooms. He also loves to watch our garbage truck go by, but he doesn't actually show much interest in playing with toys. Unless it's a toy you have, then he definitely wants it for about a second.

Do toddlers really even need gifts for Christmas?

Most seasoned parents say they don't.

The joy of gift-giving is really mostly for parents. Before your child is two-years-old, the act of opening gifts typically has nothing to do with the actual gift but more the act of ripping paper and seeing something inside. Chances are, your child will tear off the wrapping paper and ignore the gift inside- instead they will head right for the next present to rip open.

Toys that are touted as "developmental" toys are not entirely necessary before your child turns three. Before then, most developmental toys can be recreated at home by you and some simple items. In fact, your child will probably more interested in the things they see you using versus some loud, bright, plastic toy that was way too much money and made in a foreign country. PLAY is developmental, so let them do so with imagination and without the need for 'educational' toys.

Watching your child open presents on Christmas morning is a joy for parents. But that doesn't mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on new toys just to see that joy. You can either let your child open your presents or wrap old toys or random houseware items to let them open.

After all, all they want to do is rip the paper and make the big mess. Even if the paper contained a strainer and their favorite lovie, they'd probably be thrilled.

But, like many families, you probably have extended family members who are begging for gift ideas for your little one even though you don't feel that your child needs gifts. If you don't want your house overrun by thousands of noise-making, loud, bright, and toxin-filled toys, you can give them this short list to chose from instead:
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Just about any toy from Plan Toys or Green Toys
  • Outdoor toys like swings, bikes, tricycles, scooters and the accompanying accessories
  • An experience gift such as a baby class to take together, a music class, or a zoo membership
  • A coupon for a special date with said relative so they can have some bonding time (ok, maybe that's more a gift for you but hey, its kind of two-fold)
  • Clothes
  • Diapers, wipes, and other much-needed items
  • Subscription box to a developmental or educational company
You can even offer to wrap these items so that your child will have the opportunity to unwrap their gifts on Christmas morning. Your toddler will love opening anything, even if it is a box of diapers.

There are some things, though, that money can't buy. And quite honestly, these are the things toddlers need the most. They don't need an overstimulated morning filled with cookies, sugar, and way too many toys.

They need mama snuggles, their favorite sippy cup filled with warm milk (no, not that cup, though. The other one, because you know--toddler), and a long, long nap. If any of your relatives can provide those things so we moms don't have to, then they will be gifting *both* of us.

Also, can you send them my way?

With that said, here's a realistic list of what my toddler desperately needs for Christmas:

1. A nap. Probably a long one, because he's currently transitioning from two naps a day to one, and it's turned our life on its head. A lactating nipple must remain in his mouth for the duration of said nap.

2. A snack. A snack saves the day like nothing else can. Preferably something packaged, crunchy, and derived of most nutrients.

3. A banana that is perfectly cut. This may be in half, or in thirds. Or it may need to be whole. This changes day to day, and is only discovered after the banana is or isn't launched across the room.

4. A mind-reader to figure out if he needs the blue cup or the red cup today.

5. Mittens that are warm and waterproof and somehow magically fit and extend up to his elbows, while allowing him the use of his opposable thumbs.

6. "Uppies." The child desperately needs uppies, no matter what you're trying to work on. You must pick him up, carry him around, and show him all the things. You can't use a carrier though; that would be too easy.

7. A room that is 100% toddler-proofed and full of friends, with constantly changing toys for appropriate stimulation. This is the only way to keep him entertained for any significant period of time at this juncture.

8. A shirt without tags or seams or itchy fabric. Also without sleeves, as those are annoying after a long naked summer, but it must also keep him warm.

9. The same three books read over and over and over again, pages turned all willy-nilly.

10. Well-rested parents.

Somehow I have faith that St. Nicholas with deliver. What does your toddler really need for Christmas?

Image: Zoia Kostina/Shutterstock