50 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids 2019

This list is intended for : 1. Non-parents who are looking for alternative gift ideas for a child 2. Non-parents who are told by parents to stop buying toys for their children, and are now panicking because Christmas rush has begun! 3. Parents who are tired of putting away hundreds of toys and trinkets scattered around the house, everyday, and are looking for other ways to entertain their kids.

If you are one of the above, you’re welcome. Don’t get me wrong, we are not anti-toys. In fact, we love toys! We believe that toys are essential to the development of a child and that playing is the best way to learn concepts. However, we also believe that the best way for a child to learn is through imaginative play. Therefore, we are quite selective in the toys we give our child. As much as possible, we get toys that are open-ended, of good quality, and should match his development stage. This way, he does not get overwhelmed, and we don’t get stressed out from too much clutter. So, with this, we totally understand parents when they say, “Please, don’t give my child a toy for Christmas, your presence and genuine concern is more than enough”. This is probably their way of saying, “We have too many toys already”, or “We know what toy suits him best at this stage, so, just get him anything but a toy” or “My child won’t play with that because she likes non-toys like tissue paper and boxes.”

So, if you are currently dealing with this holiday dilemma, here are some ideas to guide you in your gift -giving, if you want to be more creative than just giving cash.

BOOKS

Handmade Busy Books

( Bright Little Minds ) Price starts at P1,700

2. Board Books

(The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P125 (free gift wrapping service!)

3. Bible Stories

( The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P325

4. Activity Books

( The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P570

5. Sticker Books

( National Bookstore) Starts at P200

Experiences

Tickets to Manila Ocean Park

Price Starts at P595 / head

Tickets to The Mind Museum

On Sale now at P675 on Klook!

Kidzania Manila Passes

Get it from Klook for P900 ( Special Offer for Philippine users:Β Get PHP150 off with a min. purchase of PHP2,000 using promo code TRIPNATIN valid until 31 Dec 2019 )

Kidzoona Passes

Price starts at P200

Active Fun Passes

Price starts at P200

Dream Play Tickets

Price starts at P680 ( children below 80cm enter for free!)

Tickets to The Dessert Museum

Price starts at 699

Tickets to Art in Island Museum

On sale now at Klook for only P430

Tickets to Upside Down Museum

Price starts at P450 (Children 3yo and below enter for free)

Admission Tickets to Lakbay Museo

P599 at Klook!

Lessons

Swimming Lessons (Bert Lozada)

Price starts at P5,000

Music Lessons (School of Rock)

Fee starts at around P5,000

Soccer Training (Manila Soccer Academy)

for kids 3-17 years old – Fee starts at P6,000

Art Classes (KIT101 Art)

for kids 4 years old and up – Trial class starts at P888

Cooking Classes (CCA Manila – Young Chefs Bootcamp)

contact CCA for details.

Clothes

Uniqlo Airism Mesh Top

starts at P590

Uniqlo Basic Cotton Shirt

P390

H&M 5-pack Basics

P999

Zara Kids Basics

P645 (you may shop online at Zara Philippines!)

Little Luli Genderless Jumpsuits

P950

Arts and Crafts

Palm Grip Crayons – Starts at P500 in Shoppee

Washable Crayons – P130 in Shoppee

Washable Markers – P240 in Shoppee

Crayola Silly Scents Mini Art Case – P1,699.75 in Lazada

Washable Kids’ Paint – P350 in Lazada

Water Color Set – P399 in Lazada

Play-doh Set – P750 in Lazada

Slime Kit – P260 in Lazada

Bruin My Play Table for Kids – P2,499.75 in Lazada

Coloring Book – starts at P200 in National Bookstore

Bed, bath, and other essentials

Kiddie Sit and Sleep

Starts at 1,499.75 in Uratex

Travel Blanket

Starts at P550 from Ash and Muff

Bath Towel

P600 from Ash and Muff

Drawstring Backpack

P400 from Ash and Muff

Toddler Bag

P595 from Something Personal PH

Bean Bag

Starts at P1,595 from Fun Nest PH

Healthy Snacks

Starts at P365 from The Wander Mommy Shop

Bean Bag Chair

P2,495 from Fun Nest PH

Kid Kanteen Water Bottle

P1,395 from The Wander Mommy Shop

Tiger Soup Cup

P1,750 from Milk and Honey PH

Big- Ticket Gifts

Family Vacation

If you are planning a trip to Hokkaido for Christmas, check this post out for some tips. CLICK HERE

Savings Account

Here’s a guide to the best savings accounts for kids in the Philippines. Thanks, Moneymax.ph!

Age limit: 0 to 12 years old
Initial deposit requirement: PHP 100
Minimum maintaining balance: PHP 100
Maintaining balance to earn interest: PHP 2,000 (0.25% interest rate)

Why it’s great for children:

  • Comes with a passbook
  • Children between 7 to 12 years old may request for a personalized BDO EMV Debit Card upon reaching a deposit balance of PHP 2,000
  • Existing BDO accounts can transfer money to a BDO Junior Savers Account through online banking. A unique perk as compared to other savings accounts for kids in the Philippines.

Learn more about BDO Junior Savers Account here.

Life Insurance Policy (Education Plan)

Check out: Philam Life , AXA , Prulife UK, FWD, Sunlife and Manulife.

photo from Sunlife Financial Philippines

Apple Watch Series 5

P23,990 at Apple

Nikon Coolpix W100

P11,000 in Lazada

We hope this helped you organize your shopping list. Keep in mind that by giving the gift of experience and essentials, you are bringing more joyful memories and less stress in a family home- and that is something no amount of money can buy. Happy Holidays!

Christmas in Hokkaido

Christmas 2018 was very memorable for me and my family for the following reasons : 1. It was Thomas’s first Christmas 2. We celebrated it in another country for the first time 3. The trip was a gift from Thomas’s grandparents. We couldn’t be any happier and more grateful! This was a long -anticipated David family holiday, with some bumps along the wait including my baby bump, but it was worth all the intense preparation because it is the best yuletide celebration we have had to date. (well, for me, at least. Because hello? Snow!)

We celebrated Christmas eve with my parents and siblings in Aruga by Rockwell (will write about this awesome staycation on a separate post) and left at around 9:00 pm to catch our red-eye flight. Needless to say, Justin, Thomas and I were at the airport when the clock struck twelve. Together with us in the flight was Justin’s brother, Martin.

We took the Eva Air Hello Kitty Jet which means, we had to stop over Taipei and wait for a few hours before we get to Sapporo. So basically, the four of us spent Christmas day in transit with luggage and a baby in tow. Not to mention our minute-to-win-it like experience of having to change not just wet but soiled diapers five minutes before boarding! So memorable, indeed!

We reached Sapporo at around 9:00 pm and had onigiri for Christmas dinner. The best! All of us were billeted at Ibis Styles, Sapporo which served as our home for three days before we traveled to Hoshino Resorts, Tomamu to bask in the snow for a few more days and then headed back to Sapporo again to celebrate the New Year.

I would probably run out of headspace (right state of mind) if I write about every little detail of our trip so I will just do a run down of what I think are the highlights of our winter holiday.

OTARU

This deserves a solo post. But, for the sake of this list, i’ll encapsulate my experience in three words: Magical but expensive. Magical because of the snow-covered Otaru Canal and the charming, European feel of the city; expensive because it just is. Most claim it to be a tourist trap because of the scores of souvenir shops selling pricey mementos around town. Nevertheless, I would say it is worth the experience. There are a lot of reasons to go to Otaru but below are my top three.

  1. Otaru Canal – The best spot for a family photoshoot, this attraction has a certain charm that takes you back in time and makes you feel like a character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Thomas and his Daddy
Thomas and the guys
Thomas with his grandparents
Thomas and Mama

2. Naruto Honten – Really good fried chicken! For about JPY1200, you could stuff yourself with their large spring chicken combo meal with rice and miso soup. It was so good I forgot to document my food! But what makes it even better is it was a treat by Justin’s brother, Paolo. So grateful!

Going there is a bit tricky if you are planning to meet up with friends or family for a meal. There are two branches of this restaurant in Otaru and if you are unaware of this fact, you could end up waiting in the wrong restaurant like what happened to us. πŸ˜‚ One branch is located near the station, called Naruto Denuki Kouji which is a smaller and newer shop.  While the main branch, Wakadori Jidori Naruto Honten is about a 15 -minute walk from the canal area. We went to the latter.

This spring chicken meal set is around JPY 1,200

3. Le TAO Honten – The name of the store “LeTAO”, is an acronym for the French phrase “La Tour Amitie Otarumeaning “Beloved Otaru Tower.” As its name suggests, LeTAO became the sweet shop loved by the people of Otaru, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.

As Honten means headquarters, main branch or flagship store, Le TAO Otaru boasts of three levels of cheesecake goodness, with the shop on the first level, cafe on the second and observatory deck on the third. Although we were only able to admire it from the outside due to the massive crowd present at the time, we were able to try their famous Double Fromage Cheesecake at the New Chitose Airport.

Otaru is a very romantic place, indeed.

SAPPORO WHITE ILLUMINATION

Although most of the magnificent light shows ended on the day we arrived, we were still able to catch some illumination shows. My favorite was the one at the Sapporo Station south exit station square . A huge Christmas tree was brightly lit and flashing lights with music reflected on the walls of Daimaru’s exterior. It is a great experience especially for little kids. Here are some of the shows we missed:

1.Odori Park
2.Sapporo Ekimae-dori
3. Minami 1jo-dori
4. Sapporo Kita 3-Jo Plaza “AKAPLA”

While winter illumination events are now held all over Japan, it was in Sapporo that the tradition originated in 1981.

Sapporo Station South Exit Station Square

THOMAS STATION

Located at the 9th floor of ESTA in JR Sapporo Station, this is a happy place for kids under 6 years old. From the train ride, bouncy house and ball pool, the railway toys and the overwhelming Thomas and Friends merchandise, you could easily spend at least 2 hours of fun and maybe a (couple or more) thousand JPY worth of goods. πŸ˜‰

Thomas at Thomas Station

PECHE GRAND

is a little patisserie, cafΓ© and wine bar located on the Red Brick Plaza – a beautiful tree lined road that leads to the Old Hokkaido Government Building. The pretty interiors match the fancy and quality French desserts to complement their fresh brews. There is nothing like sipping hot coffee and savoring a slice of that soft and luxurious strawberry gateau while watching the fluffy snow fall on the fairy dust-covered roads.

I ordered this cake set for JPY 1,100 ( 2 cakes and 1 drink)

FUKUBUKURO

This Japanese New Year custom epitomizes the real meaning of the phrase “shop ’til you drop”. We went to the mall at 9:00 am with high spirits and left at 8:00 pm with aching bodies.

A combination of two Japanese words, fuku, which means β€˜good luck’ and bukuro, which means β€˜bag’, Fukuburo is a lucky mystery bag filled with random stuff, sold by retailers on January 1 at lower prices. Malls could get crazy packed on this day. I highly recommend leaving your babies or young kids in the hotel if you want to keep your sanity. For more information on this event, read my dedicated post here.

Crazy queue! But, since this is Japan, everything was efficient.
Worth the wait! This little bakery too was cramped! but we were happy we waited as this boulangerie and cafe serves really good breads and pastries for affordable prices!

HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU

A ski resort located at Naka-Tomamu Shimukappu Yufutsu Hokkaido, this is a 2-hour train ride or 1. 5- hour private ride (add 1 hour if the roads are heavily covered in snow) from Sapporo. We hired a bus for the entire family to comfortably get there. We had so much fun despite the freezing temperature. Even if you don’t or can’t ski, there are many activities for everyone, including babies. More on this fun trip here.

On the way to the Unkai Gondola Ride

NEW YEAR’S DAY LUNCH AT MERCURE SAPPORO

On New Year’s day, we all gathered at Bordeaux Restaurant for thanksgiving lunch. This is Mercure Sapporo’s French buffet restaurant. This is a really special family lunch because it culminated our Christmas vacation , that which is a gift to all of us from mom and dad, and, it served as a prelude to mom’s 70th birthday on January 3rd.

Everything on the buffet spread was delicious. From the starters to the desserts, I enjoyed every bit. Indeed, it was a celebration meal.

Some of the places we went to but not featured here are: Sapporo Beer Museum, Nishiki Market, Ishiya Chocolate Factory and New Chitose Airport. I will write about these spots separately.

Two days after celebrating the new year, we flew back home with cold hands, warm hearts, full bellies and even fuller smiles as we once again filled our memory banks to the brim.

γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ—γŸ !
(arigatou gozaimashita!)