Baubles on Christmas tree with fairy lights in background

Five Fab Ideas for ‘Non-toy’ Gifts for Kids this Christmas


With Christmas looming large on the horizon and for some families the prospect of an incoming deluge of toys, you may be feeling a bit twitchy at the prospect of EVEN MORE STUFF coming into your home!

Toys can be wonderful..creative, educational and fun BUT if you’d love to give gifts to the children in your life  that won’t add to yours or another family’s mountain of toy chaos and pile on the stress, then there are some wonderful non-toy gifts that you can still get in time for Christmas this year.


1) Tickets to an Event

Red velvet theatre seats in empty theatre

Giving tickets to an event can be such a great way to create some special memories..especially if you come along to the show too!

The Waterside in Sale always have a brilliant programme of family shows suitable for a range of ages: you can check out their family listings here: Family shows at The Waterside. They also offer gift vouchers so the lucky recipient can pick a show they fancy: Gift Vouchers for The Waterside

The Lowry in Salford also have a great programme of shows for families (check them out here: Family shows at The Lowry)

And also offer gift vouchers too: Gift Vouchers for The Lowry

If theatre isn’t their thing, then maybe a ticket for a local sports event or vouchers for a trip to the cinema would go down better? How about a ticket for a live music concert? Whichever way you head, tickets are a lovely, thoughtful non toy gift.


2. Magazine Subscription

Pile of magazines on red blanket with Christmas baubles

Receiving your own magazine in the post is SO exciting for a kid and a subscription to their favourite magazine makes a great present that keeps on giving through the year!

There are tons of magazines on offer and you should be able to find one that appeals to the child in your life.

For football mad kids, Match of the Day Magazine is brilliant and has continued to be a hit with my son for over 3 years now and really helped with his reading in the early days. You can check out how to subscribe here: Match of the Day magazine subscriptions

If the child in your life loves crafting, a subscription to Toucan Box makes a wonderful gift..they receive a package once a month with a magazine and all the bits and bobs you need for two craft projects (I honestly don’t know how they fit everything in the letterbox size packages!). They are so inventive and its always really nice to sit down and make your creations together, my daughter and I love doing them together 🙂

Check them out here:

3. Photo Album of Memories

Family photo album open on a blue and white patterned blanket background


A photo album of special family memories makes a wonderful gift for children and can seem extra special when they may have only really seen pictures of themselves on screens before!

They love looking back at days out they’ve had or special days like birthdays, plus pictures of them as babies seem to be extra intriguing.

The quickest way is to get prints made directly from your phone in a high street printers then pop the prints in a classic album.  If you’ve got a bit more time, you can have a photo book made up online from one of the many online printers that offer albums, like

Photo albums really do make special, non toy gifts that can be enjoyed for years (by you too!)

4. Classes for a Hobby

Hands on fabric on sewing machines

For older children, paying for classes for a hobby that they fancy giving a go can give a brilliant opportunity to try something new, learn a skill, make friends and have fun!

If they fancy giving sewing a try, sew creative in Altrincham offer special group classes for children to take their first steps into sewing. They also offer kid’s holiday clubs. You can read about their classes here: Sew Creative Studios classes

If the kid in your life fancies having a bash at a musical instrument, music lessons make such a special gift that could set them off on a lifelong musical journey.

The Music Place in Altrincham offer lessons in tons of different instruments (including singing lessons). They have fantastic teachers and a great base right in the centre of Altrincham where I go for my own piano lessons 🙂 They offer gift vouchers and you can read about them here

5. Your Favourite Book from When You Were Their Age

Little boy smiling at camera whilst mum reads to him

One of my favourite things about reading is sharing the books that I’ve loved. To do with this with a child is extra special. Revisit those books you loved as a child and relive the magic 🙂

I can’t wait to re-read ‘The Worst Witch’ series by Jill Murphy that I have bought for my daughter this year. Just flicking through and seeing the illustrations brought back so many memories of loving these stories when I was her age.

Why not pop into b for butterfly books in Sale for some personal help from the brilliant Michelle or if you need to make an online order head to where you can still support independent bookshops while shopping online. Head here for a little bit more about how works and how it helps independent bookshops:


I hope this has given you a few ideas for  alternative gifts for the children in your life that could work well for Christmas and for birthdays but won’t clutter up their homes!

If you would like me to come along and capture your little gang before you blink and everything has changed again, pop to my main site to download a family brochure to find out more about how it all works:


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It was great fun to have a branding shoot with Sonya. She was very laid back and made the shoot enjoyable, rather than a chore. I’m so pleased with the photos, they’re professional but very relaxed which is exactly what I was looking for. Sonya gathers lots of information before the photoshoot and really listens to your requirements. She’s also very good at suggesting things you might not have thought of, we had a really fun, creative day together.

- Claire Hines (Shine gift shop, Sale)