Christmas gift shopping can be a daunting task: trying to find unique gifts and not buying the same thing every year. "Gee thanks for the fruitcake. I think we still have the one you gave us last year."You get the idea!
It is difficult with children because they want something tangible, but getting them to understand that some gifts can keep giving all year long will really open up the gifting opportunities.
I've listed some non-present gifts that can offer the spirit of giving all year long. Many of these ideas are also great for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
2) College fund contributions. This is a wonderful long-term legacy that grandparents can leave for their grandchildren. There are many different types of funds to chose from and different amounts that can be contributed annually. My children have had contributions made by grandparents since they were young. It may not be fully appreciated by the kids at this point in their lives, but those funds are growing quite nicely and they will embrace it wholeheartedly when they aren't paying back school loans someday.
3)Wildlife Adoption Program. My kids love animals and it is so exciting to them to think that they have an animal that they have sponsored. I have used the World Wildlife Fund, but there are many organizations that do this type of gifting. If you have someone interested in astronomy, there are name a star registries that would make a unique gift as well.
4) Subscriptions. Most people like getting mail. Why not gift someone with their favorite magazine subscription? It is the gift that you will be reminded of whenever the mail comes!
5) Event tickets. Most large or small theaters have multiple-event packages. We were once given a children's theater package of 4 shows for a gift and it was a truly wonderful experience for the kids. Perhaps tickets for an upcoming circus, ice show or concert would be appreciated.