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Non Toy Gifts for Kids (the BEST curated list)

Anyone else always looking for fresh ideas for how to give your kids, honestly, less *junk* at the holidays…more practical, purposeful gifts…they might still actually be excited about??! So we did all the hard work for you and rounded up the best of the best curated list of non toy gifts for kids.

We’re all about less STUFF and more MEMORIES over here

Hoping this gives you some gifting inspiration and helps you feel a little “lighter” this holiday season 🙂

(Our families FAVORITE gifts to give hands down are experience gifts- we’ve got a jam packed list of 50+ experience ideas for everyone on your list here!)

Trying every year to be better and better about gifting with INTENTION

…and in our book, the less stuff we have tying us down, the more room we have for experiences and adventures, which is just the best stuff of life, amirite?! (less stuff = more adventures…like out month long bucket list adventure to Italy here)

See the list of non-toy gifts for kids below!

  • Nail Polish – Olive and June is our favorite safer option for the girls…this year they each got a new color polish and a sticker set
  • Headbands – I’m a sucker for any headbands from Zara, or really anything baby/kid Kara. Take all my money
  • Tights
  • Jump Rope – I mean even jump ropes can be cute right?!
  • Cute hairbrush
  • Nice Markers – Anything that comes in a neat lockable case? Yes please. Love this contained nice set, makes markers feel just a little more special.
  • Sidewalk chalk – I am just a sucker for good branding…but sidewalk chalk is always a win
  • Paint by sticker books – Our big is obsessed with these, and BONUS they are amazing for travel too. (Don’t miss our round up of our Travel Essentials for the Minimalist Mama for your next trip here!)
  • Sunglasses – I have been eyeing these sunglasses for the girls for a year now. Easter baskets this year- it’s going to happen! One of my favorite non-toy gift ideas for kids on the list.
  • Writing Tablet– For school, for the car, for travel…you can’t go wrong with these!
  • Electric Toothbrushes – Who knew kids would be excited about a toothbrush? This one will for sure be a hit, so many adorable animals to choose from
  • Wooden ABC Letters – This shop has hands down the most beautiful and practical gifts for littles. We LOVE Gladfolk.
  • Items for sorting – This wooden sorting set is adorable, and will teach them a thing or two- its a win, win.
  • Cute Stickers
  • Fun Notebooks
  • Make your own popsicle molds – These dino ones are just too much…I call a dino popsicle made yourself a non-toy gift idea for kid slam dunk.
  • Gloves
  • Washi Tape
  • Fun Bandaids
  • Bubble Bath – Hands down there is no better foaming, safer bubble bath for kids! We purchase this year round.
  • Kids Umbrella – I’m the mom that wants even her kids umbrellas to be tasteful (anyone else?)…this Neiman Marcus one (only $15!) is such a great find

More practical gifts for kids this way! >>>

  • Light-up Alarm Clock – Who knew they could make such an adorable alarm clock?! This unicorn one (and it’s sparkly!) and cloud one here are such cute non-toy gift ideas for kids.
  • Nice Paints
  • Flashlight
  • Sleeping bag – There are so many adorable options, but these ones from Crate&Kids are actually gorgeous (and a total splurge)
  • Cozy bath robe – I mean even when they are older, you can resist a babe fresh out of the bath in a hooded animal towel. NEVER stops being adorable.
  • Fuzzy slippers – Zara again for the win. These fuzzy puppy slippers are too much.
  • Kids Headphones
  • Their own suitcase – Another total splurge- but, I really don’t think their are any more well designed suitcases for kids on the market
  • Super soft blanket – Once you own a Saranoni blanket, you’ll never own another blanket again…trust us. They have kids size ones your little will want to hold one to at all times.
  • Personalized Apron – These patterned ones from Minted make the absolutely cutest gift- an apron with their name on it and promises of cookie making with Mom and Dad?! The best.
  • Highlights Magazine
  • Books, always 🙂
  • New water bottlehttps://rstyle.me/+UpwbBNcEm9nuoZMxiQskIg – So many cute patterns the kids would be excited about!
  • Piggy Bank – Cute enough to display on their dresser for sure 🙂
  • Bug or butterfly kit – Honestly, need to get this kit for my girls…fun and learning and not another obnoxious toy to clutter your living room
  • Safety knife set for kids – This Little Kitchen Helper Set would get the kids to excited to help in the kitchen (did you say HELP at dinner time?! I’ll take it!)
  • Kiwi Co Project Kits – Their new “Shop” section is GOLD…now you can purchase tons of incredible STEM-based projects (not just the subscription anymore!)
  • Tent
  • New backpack
  • Camping or lounge chair – These are hard to find at a reasonable price, but this Pillowfort sherpa one will definitely not be an eye sore in the living room for movie night
  • Gardening Kit – Leave it to Chip&Jo to make the cutest darn kids gardening kit you ever did see
  • Real kids tool set – Tools that actually work! In an adorable wooden case for them to oh so proudly carry around
  • Cute Pajamas – Our two favorite pajamas for kids are here and here– So well made, so well designed…worth the bit of extra $$ because they actually last more than a handful of washes
  • Rain boots – Loving these spotted deer like ones, why are rain boots just so cute on kids?!
  • Color your own placemat – These chalkboard ones can be used over and over!
  • Bathing suit for summer
  • Board Games
  • Activity Books of any kind – This How to Draw Anything book looks like it would be a total hit for your art inclined kiddos

So if you were looking for a few more practical gifts for your kids this year, instead of lots of just stuff they really don’t need…we hope this list of non toy gifts for kids gave you exactly what you were on the hunt for!

And if you are our kind of gift giver- we also think you’d like our post here with 20 Thoughtful Gift Ideas (you’ve probably never heard of).

Less gifts, more meaning.

Happy gifting friends!


The BEST Experience Gift Ideas! (for everyone on your list)

There’s been a rising trend in gift giving in recent years and no, it’s not the newest iPhone 🙂 People are slowly starting to look for experience gift ideas more and more, rather than presents for Christmas and we say, it’s about time!

Researchers at Cornell University have spent the last decade studying why receiving an experience provides more of a lasting happiness rather than gifting material possessions and it comes down to this- people tend to get less and less happy with material purchases over time.


One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a surprise trip to Boston and NYC for my 30th birthday gifted by my husband. I was woken up at 4 am, told to pack my bags, and we were off! Maybe some people’s nightmare…but it was totally a bucket list thing for me – the surprise factor, the anticipation, and the trip itself made for an experience I will never forget.

With two babes and one on the way, we 100% trying to implement this into our own family as well – more memories, less stuff.

  • We been clear with family that we really appreciate quality over quantity when it comes to gifts and that TIME with them is the greatest gift they can give our girls. So for birthdays every year we have encouraged one date and one gift, and truly it is just the BEST thing. That one-one-one time with their aunts, uncles, and grandparents is just invaluable.
  • For a few years now, we have started a tradition of doing a cooking class every year for my sister’s birthday instead of exchanging presents.
  • With another side of the family, we do a long weekend trip together each year (Family Beach Weekend here you come! Our beachfront rentals round up here are both magical AND affordable) instead of gobs of gifts for each other.

We’ve rounded up some more ways to replace the “stuff” on Christmas lists this year with amazing experiences- read on below!

Experience Gift Ideas for Kids:

  • A visit to a trampoline park or mini golf
  • A full day of their choice of activities
  • Coupons for small privileges (ice cream with mom, stay up an hour late with Dad, 30 minutes of extra screen time)
  • Local pottery class
  • A morning at your city Art Museum
  • Tickets to a children’s play or musical
  • Lessons (horseback riding, piano, guitar, tennis)
  • A class they can take (kids cooking class, art, science)
  • One-one-one hike and picnic at a local nature preserve
  • Ice skating, roller skating, or bowling
  • Going to the zoo or aquarium together
  • Tea Party at a local tea room, fancy restaurant, or American Girl Store
  • A meal at their favorite restaurant with just mom and dad (that one-on-one time is truly magical)
  • Painting Date at Color Me Mine or similar studio
  • Studio Movie Grill tickets
  • Asking a talented friend or family member to gift their talents for a one-on-one hour with your child (this year our oldest got two “jewelry classes” with my mom’s friend who is an avid jewelry hobbyist)
  • Rock Climbing at a local gym
  • Not necessarily an experience, but we LOVE Kiwi Crates for gifting for the kids– Seriously fun and enriching science and art projects, delivered
  • Date to the Barnes&Noble (pick out one book they choose!) and hot chocolate

For the Parents/Grandparents:

  • Monthly subscription (cooking boxes, beer of the month, Book of the Month Club)
  • Airplane ticket to visit yourself or family
  • This virtual Italian Cooking Class on Airbnb is truly the BEST gift (Luca and Lorenzo are every bit as charming and Italian as you’d think)
  • Couples dance lessons
  • Photographer for family portraits (I really think parents would cherish this one especially)
  • Spa Day (couples massage anyone?!)
  • Pre planned date night for something they wouldn’t normally do on their own
  • A wine tasting or vineyard tour
  • Theater or Symphony tickets
  • Oral interview or history book of them recounting memories to you (No one does this better than StoryWorth)

Experience Gift Ideas for the Family:

  • A family trip (Dreamy AirBnb getaway anyone?! See our list here of the BEST remote rentals here)
  • A hike or a trip to their favorite park
  • Staycation night at a local hotel (Great Wolf Lodge is a blast for kids if you have one near)
  • Annual Membership passes to local museum, zoo, or aquarium
  • Tickets to an event (sporting events, family-friendly play, concert)
  • National Parks Pass (we LOVE this one…see our National Parks 101 post here!)
  • Volunteer together or do a service learning project as a family
  • Amusement or Water Park Passes
  • Plan a camping trip


For the Husband/Boyfriend:

  • Plan a weekend for him to get away completely on his own (last year I gifted by very busy husband a weekend alone to a cabin in the woods and he said it was the best gift I have ever gotten him)
  • Brewery tour and beer tasting
  • Motorcycle Ride (typically this requires a license, so check your local regulations)
  • Round of golf or golf lessons
  • Indoor Skydiving
  • All Access Masterclass subscription (anything from Texas BBQ with Aaron Franklin to Fitness Fundamentals with Joe Holder)
  • Craft Beer Club membership
  • Plan a trip to one of his bucket list destinations! Better yet surprise him and map out the whole getaway and then shock him with the airline tickets (just SO fun)
  • Date Night in a Box
  • Distillery tour or whiskey tasting
  • Punch pass for a rock climbing gym
  • Luxury or sports car rental for the day
  • Mezcal and Tequila Cocktail Master Class
  • Couples cooking class
  • Escape Room experience
  • Wilderness or survival class (Anyone else Alone fans?!)


Experience Gift Ideas for Friends:

  • An Alice Table’s workshop (one of everything please, these look amazing)
  • Gift cards with set up coffee or lunch dates
  • Yoga passes or book a workout class together
  • A new plant baby (a monthly plant subscription would also be fun!)
  • Sur la Table cooking class for you both
  • Plant Workshop to do together
  • Day or weekend trip together
  • Interior Design Consultation (Husband…this one pretty please)
  • Spa Day! Facials or massages followed by mimosas
  • Fresh flower subscription
  • Wine tasting or winery tour
  • Mani/pedi and lunch date at an local IG worthy cafe
  • Candle Making Kit or virtual workshop
  • Makeup class
  • Airbnb Experience (the options are endless here from a vineyard tour to “A hour with an adorable baby goat”…who would have thought)
  • Closet consultation (I mean are we old yet or what? But what a great gift)

The Bottom Line

YES there can be such joy in giving meaningful gifts (if you are going to go that route, we rounded up the best of the best thoughtful gifts HERE!). BUT satisfaction from buying things like the latest tech gadget will quickly fall away, while the true happiness you find in spending quality time with your loved ones and experiencing something new together will only continue to grow.

Experience Gift ideas for the WIN. Family time and memories made with your loved ones will always mean more than physical gifts!

Have you tried making the switch over to gifting experiences instead of presents? How did it go with your family? Let us know in the comments below!



Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (Quarantine Edition)

I think we can all agree when all of this COVID madness started in early March…none of us thought by Mother’s Day we’d still be sheltered in our homes with no exact end in sight.

We’ve had to grieve the loss of our epic family Norway trip being canceled, the delay of our very best friend’s wedding, and even the heart-wrenching reality of not being able to meet our brand new baby nephew yet….

And we know each and every one of you have experienced some sort of loss or missing out during this wild time in history as well…and it’s just HARD.

BUT here we are…with Mother’s Day only a few weeks away, and most of us in the position most likely of not being able to be physically with our moms this year (cue ALL the sad emojis).

So we’ve rounded up some unique (all shippable!) gift ideas for this Mother’s Day that we think really hit the spot with this ocean of separation between us all right now. Gifts for mom that matter, gifts that bring connection, gifts that make the distance seem not so distant at all.

Here we go, here’s to all the mama’s we love so dear!

  1. Spa Day Kit // Virtual Mask & Mama Night – What lady doesn’t love a little pampering? Send your mama a Spa Kit and have a zoom date with some masking and vino…quality time with a side of self-care, can’t be beat.self-care-gift-box-2_2000x
  2. You & Me, Mom Journal – What a meaningful gift…and one that will bring so much connection, even with all this separation right now! These prompts are so unique, fun and will be sure to have you both laughing, and crying, together this Mother’s Day.51401_1_640px
  3. Personalized Photo Keyring – I mean is this not so beautiful?! I need one of these stat…hint hint husband 🙂 The perfect small treasure to send to your mama that will just brighten her day…and keep her thinking about her babies on those aimless drives we are all going on, just to get out of the dang house (no? just me?!)!il_1588xN.2198763900_dazs
  4. Virtual Painting Class – SO.MUCH.FUN. Sign up for a virtual painting class for your mom and you, many studios have taken their classes online during all of this! Such a fun way to connect with each other during this strange time and let some stress out with some creative fun!rifqi-ali-ridho-VlXlW77swwY-unsplash (1)
  5. Customized Keepsake Box – A gift that’s going to for sure leave her in tears. The present you know she’s always wanted, but just never got around too. A beautifully handcrafted and personalized keepsake box for all her most precious memories…this gift will blow quarantine distancing out of the water 🙂wayfaren-284_1512x
  6. The Stories We Tell // Scrapbook Album – We are HUGE fans of Artifact Uprising over here and this new memory keeping product does not disappoint. How gorgeous is this scrapbook album?! Make a night of it and have a virtual scrapbooking date with your mama once she gets hers in the mail…now you know she would lovvveee that!scrapbook-big-envelope-pdp-4
  7. Personalized Photo Puzzle– Never at any other time in human history have people been doing more puzzles! Take your favorite photo with your mama and turn it into her next quarantine stay-at-home project….a sweet and fun gesture that’s perfect for this Mother’s Day especially 🙂pzf100
  8. Board Games for a virtual Game Night! (…and a bottle of her favorite wine) – Ok for that fun, life of the party mom- this is your gift. Ship her a few board games, that can be played virtually of course, and have her favorite bottle of wine delivered and boom you’ve got a Mother’s Day WIN. Our favorites for a Zoom game night are- Our Moments, Codenames (if you each have the game), Taboo and Scattegories (classics), and Wine IQ (which seems very Mother’s Day fitting :))


Hoping this gives you some inspiration and encouragement that with a little bit of intention, this Mother’s Day can and will be special! Tag us on Instagram at @wayfarenco with your meaningful gift ideas and purchases (quarantine style :))!


20 Thoughtful Gift Ideas (you’ve probably never heard of)

What do you give to those you love most in your life? How do you come up with thoughtful gift ideas that will really communicate the appreciation you have for someone or what their relationship means to you? Practical gifts are always nice to give (or receive!) and gifting an experience (don’t miss our round up of the best ideas here!) is always a win in our book- but what about when you really want to make an impact with some unique gift ideas?

 Having an intentional and thoughtful holiday season is something we feel pretty passionate about over here.  Our motto – gifting should be meaningful or it shouldn’t be gifted at all.

Less is more. Less but better.

We’ve rounded up 15 thoughtful gift ideas for anybody in your life and we’re betting these are SURE to be the favorite presents under the tree this year!

thoughtful gift ideas

Promptly Journals

These journals are GOLD when it comes to thoughtful gifting, and not to mention beautifully designed. They make intentionally guided journals to make documenting, connecting and healing effortless. They have a childhood history one, a couples option, an autobiography one, and they even just launched a gratitude journal. Something anyone would surly treasure forever and ever – shhh might be getting one of these for Luke this year 🙂


Custom Bronze Hand Stamped Ornament

These ornaments are just SO perfectly timeless, I am in love with these. An anniversary date, birth date, the latitude and longitude of a special place…the personalization options are endless. Custom ornaments are such a simple yet meaningful gift to give…at a GREAT price point.

thoughtful gift ideas

Still Novel Print

Turn a moment into a work of art (in minutes). Can I get an AMEN for anytime keepsakes are done in a timeless yet on-trend way?! So often they turn out kitschy or tacky…all the praise hands for Still Novel. This is a very favorite on our thoughtful gift ideas list.

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Plum Print

Transforming your kids’ art into custom treasures one book at a time. Memory-saving + clutter-clearing….this is at the top of our list. Simply mail in all your child’s masterpieces in their prepaid box and they do the rest! This one is a real gem, SO special for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the like.


Artifact Uprising

Our go to for any sort of photo compiling, saving, framing, printing…ALL the things. Anything you order from Artifact is going to wow you with both the quality and design. Three cheers again for keepsakes you actually want to display on your coffee table for all to see!


Custom Family Portrait

Finally a custom portrait that is just as meaningful as it is well designed. A timeless piece of art that is elegant enough to display front and center in your living room. This thoughtful gift is sure to bring tears to your favorite people’s eyes.

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Personalized Fragrance

Alright, alright so this one isn’t for everyone on your list, but those men are just so tricky to buy for sometimes aren’t they?! Enter custom cologne, yes you read that right – a custom made fragrance for your beau. Simply take a quick quiz, find their perfect scent, and voilà, you have a thoughtful and personalized gift for that hard to buy for guy in your life.

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Book of the Month Club

I was gifted a subscription last year and it was hands down my favorite gift of the year! The gift that keeps on giving…and who doesn’t want that. Each month pick from a carefully curated selections of amazing reads, sent right to your doorstep. This one is sure to be a hit this season!

push pin travel map

Push Pin Travel Map

The gift for the person who has everything. A keepsake that both commemorates all the travels they’ve taken and also inspires them to dream up new adventures and get to crossing off that bucket list. The highest quality and most beautiful push pin map you’ll find (call us biased, but we’re pretty convinced of this one :)).

Personalized Handwriting Baking Pan

Thoughtful gift ideas and sometime turn out to be cheesy…not this one. Grandma’s recipe can now be passed down for generations to come through this customizable baking pan. Meaningful AND practical, now that’s a win in our book. Simply send in a PDF of that nostalgic recipe and they do the rest!

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Maybe my favorite idea in the whole bunch. A year of stories bound in a beautiful book. Here’s how it works- each week they send the recipient (or you!) questions they’ve never thought to write about, they write a “story” each week (you can even choose to share them with family then), then that year’s worth of stories are bound into a beautiful keepsake box! This is one of the best thoughtful gift ideas on the list in our opinion.


Custom Star Map Poster

Was it your first kiss, the birth of a child or that moment you realized your world had changed…give a gift of the stars to always remember that special night. These prints are super high quality and art that is sure to be treasured for years to come.

Made By Mary Hand Stamped Jewelry

Such a timeless, thoughtful gift idea that will be cherished forever and ever. I have been eyeing a custom Made By Mary necklace with my kids initials for years now. These pieces can be personalized and are just as high quality as they are gorgeous. I’ll take one of each pleaseeeeee.

Personalized Home Portrait

This custom house portrait makes the perfect piece to mark any significant life event- be it an anniversary, purchase of a first home, moving to a new home, housewarming, realtor closing gift, birthday, wedding, paper anniversary, first anniversary and more. Love love this thoughtful gift idea and know so many people who would too.


Saranoni Blanket

The softest blanket to ever exist in all the lands. The hand-picked, custom knit, proprietary fabric is silkier than anything. The Saranoni Grand delivers double-sided comfort and luxury like you’ve never felt before. Yes yes yes, no one…I tell you no one is going to be mad about this gift.


Custom Keepsake Box

Where to put all those mementos you’ve collected over the years? Our guess is they are probably all stored in a shoe box at the top of your closet. Finally, a keepsake box that is actually worthy of all those memories. Beautiful enough to display on a coffee table or bookshelf, AND build to last a lifetime. Also check out our how to on Quick and Easy Memory Keeping here!

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Framed Memorabilia

Whether it’s an old letter, a meaningful document, a textile, or even something like a hospital bracelet…getting a custom frame made for a deeply sentimental item can be such an impactful gift. Frame Bridge is our absolute favorite for this- their designs and timeless frames are super high quality and built to last a lifetime.

thoughtful custom candle

Homesick Candle

Nostalgia in a smell. Homesick offers specialized candles that tap into your sensory memory through nostalgic scents that can remind you of the place where you grew up or has an extra special place in your heart – so fun! Love this simple, yet thoughtful gift idea for anyone on your list.


Personalized Serving Board

This isn’t your average charcuterie board…this beauty is a work of ART. Handcrafted here locally in Dallas, these board are even more beautiful in person. Customize your board with any meaningful name, phrase, or date. Practical AND beautiful.


Custom Soundwave

Sound Art? What is that you say? Sound Art is any audio or sound, converted to a visual piece of art. The sky’s the limit on design options, colors and sound to use. Your favorite song, wedding vows, inside joke, poem, unborn baby heartbeat, a voicemail of a lost loved one …… if you can hear it, they can make it a visual piece of art.

That’s the round up friends. Here’s to an intentional Christmas and meaningful gifting. Hoping this round up of unique presents, gets you into the spirit of thoughtful gifting. Wishing you the merriest holiday season!