Gift guides: Minimalist and almost-zero waste gift ideas for toddler girls

For those who do not know, from this year Husband and I have started following the minimalist guide to gift giving. We decided to do this because of a few reasons, the biggest two being that our house was full and messy, filled with things we didn’t need or didn’t use (and that included most of the kids’ toys. Read my post on chucking most of their toys here) and that we were busy raising brats. Our kids get so much stuff that they neither appreciate things nor look after them anymore. I am not sure when this happened, we have always been strict on them merely getting things for the sake of getting things. But slowly material possessions trickled into our house and now they are monsters. Enough. So for this Christmas, they get 5 gifts each, and at this stage they get them from Santa or each other - will explain now. The only extra gifts that they will get from us are the small stocking fillers in their advent calendar, which are mostly jewellery or hair accessories, and one or two gifts in their stockings. The 5 gifts that they get, which are the bigger gifts, are divided as follow: 2 gifts from Santa, 1 gift from their sibling (so A1 gives A2 something and vice versa), 1 gift from us to them which they got at the beginning of December, and 1 gift from us to them that they get on Christmas day. The reason we divided the gifts like this is to teach them to give to others, and also to allow us to give them something that they can spend the whole December playing with - mostly to keep them out of my hair since I still need to work while they are at home. This year, we bought them a steel-frame pool as the Dec gift, and it falls into the “something to do together” category. The rest of the gifts we are still figuring out.

Without further ado, the 5 categories you want to fill are:

  1. Something they want

  2. Something they need

  3. Something to wear

  4. Something to read

  5. Something to do together

I will explain each category followed by a few suggestions now:

·         Something you want

This category includes anything that your kids have been asking for. Here you will most probably consider the more commercial toys or activities. We try to buy toys that are 1. Educational or open ended, 2. Sustainable or at least durable to keep for the next kids, 3. Something that they will play with for a while. You can also include in this category edible gifts, especially if you feel your kids have enough toys as it is. Some of my finds that you can consider:

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Unicorn toy

A special soft toy, like this unicorn from Cotton candyflos

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Sweetie box

If they already have enough toys, but you still want to keep to the 5 gift rule, why not opt for snack or sweetie a subscription box? This one is from The Sweetie Box, and it is a monthly subscription


A wooden puzzle, like this one from Polly Potters Toystore


Another Faithful to Nature find, these dolls are beautiful as well as eco-friendly

Pull along toy

For smaller kids, this pull along wooden elephant is just too cute! Find this on Clever Little Monkey’s online store

Wooden blocks

Wooden blocks provide hours of fun, not to mention teaching your kids how to use their imagination. This set is also from Polly Potters

Doll set

Wooden toy sets, anything that they can use to play dress up and make-belief. This doll and pram set is from Faithful to Nature

·         Something you need

This category includes gifts that your kids need to get, i.e. they need the item for a hobby or a new skill, something that they need for school, or it is a décor item with a practical use, e.g.

Music set

Your kids might love music, and would like to learn how to play an instrument. Get them introduced with a play version first, like these wooden instruments from Clever Little Monkey

Flash cards

Learning should be fun, and these flashcards from Utique ticks all of the boxes

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A fun backpack for crèche or playschool, like this one from Candy Bags

Gruffalo paint set

If you have a budding Picaso, invest in an apron (to safe your kid’s clothes) as well as a beautiful bag to keep all her supplies in. This beautiful themed art set is from Fine and Fabulous

Cloth bags

Want to keep her room tidy? Get a few cloth bags to keep all her toys in. This bunny inspired bag is from Squiggle and Squeak

Star fairylights

We have now gone into loadshedding season, again, and because candles are not the safest option we are kitting out our house with strings and strings of battery or solar operated fairy and night lights. Get a cute string for your kid’s bedroom, like this star string from Clever Little Monkey

·         Something you wear

This category is for that special outfit, or something more practical that they need, like a swimsuit or new jacket. You can also include shoes and accessories, making this category very easy and fun to fill. For Christmas, we usually give the girls a special dress that they can wear on Christmas day, as well as a special accessory to go with it.

Special set

For that special outfit, go to Petit Love

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For beautifully made and practical clothes, visit Schnooky Pie


And for something a bit different, take a look at Bounty Miniwear

Winter dress

For beautiful toddler wear such as this dress, as well as cool accessories, visit Just Chillin

·         Something you read

My favourite category! I love books, and one of my biggest desires is that my kids will love them as well. A love for reading is cultivated from a young age, so never think that they are too small! For this category you can either give them a single book, or a literature inspired item, or subscribe them to a book club, which I think is better. Some of the awesome possibilities:

The read shop

The Read Shop focuses on instilling a love for reading, and they have numerous reading projects and literacy programs.

Secret book box

The Secret Book Box is one of the newer players on the field, and their boxes are gorgeous. Focused on a little older kids, they also do the boxes according to a theme, and they also do seasonal boxes.

Unicorn mug

Get your little one something to associate with the habit of reading, like making a cup of tea and then snuggling in with a book. This unicorn mug is from Big Blue

Kids book club

Kids Book Club focuses on kids, with subscription boxes tailor made for the different age groups. They also include fun activities, and the box is themed

·         Something to do together

Not traditionally one of the 4 categories of gift giving, I added it because spending time together is actually the best gift you can give, or receive. For this category, give anything that will allow you to spend time together, either as a family or you with your child, or the kids with their siblings, etc. Because the only requirement is time spent together, you can get anything to fill this category, from a voucher for a weekly family date night to an outing at the zoo, or a new hobby that you can try together. Some of my suggestions:

Games night

Family games night, with a few of the more old fashioned games. This set is from The Read Shop and the snakes and ladders from Fine and Fabulous

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Snakes and ladders

Board game from Fine and Fabulous

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Yoga set

Get into yoga, as a family. This set comprising of a yoga mat and a book with kid-friendly poses is from Faithful to Nature

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Seed reel

If gardening is your passion, get the kids in on it. There are so many things available to make it just as fun (and safe) for them. Have a look at some of the offers at Faithful to Nature

And those are all of my suggestions. Did you find that one special gift for your toddler girl? Then please share!