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Hey there dads and mums, uncles and aunts, are you still scratching your heads and wondering what to get your little ones for Christmas? If no, then why are you here, and if yes, why do you feel I can help, do I look like a kid? Okay, that was a joke, stay with me, please, I’m just going to give a guide to help you so you can take a good look at your child and figure out what he/she wants to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Print out this list, and then ask leading questions, or take the child in question through the the aisles in the departmental store near you that stock these items, and watch their faces or listen to their opinions as you shop. I guarantee that you will get a more enthusiastic ‘Thank you’ when your gift is unwrapped, if you do just as I have said. The top 7 aisles to check out are those for: 1. Toys: Dolls and doll houses, stuffed animals like teddy bears, strong toys like Lego, helicopters and cars, etc. Depending on your child’s preference, toys are the fastest and least stressful path to follow when picking out gifts for children. Just identify their favourites and buy along that line. 2. Books: Your choice of books will have to depend on the age of the child. Not only are picture books most appropriate for little children, those holy terrors need hard wooden books that they cannot tear, or easy wipe books that can withstand their scribbling. They also love books that do more than just sit there; singing books are a thrill for children at the nursery and even primary level. For older children, you have to know the genre they prefer; fantasy, adventure, romance, etc. It would be advisable though to ALWAYS read the book before you give it to them. If you are not an avid reader, enlist the help of a friend who is; said friend can read and tell you the content of the books, and you can decide if it is age appropriate. Do not just judge the book by what the cover says. 3. Phones, laptops and ipads: the younger the child the more toy-ish the gadget, the older the child the more realistic. Children getting into secondary school are encouraged to use computers now so dear parent and guardian, get over the culture shock (‘When I was in university, I didn’t even own a phone! And now you in SS1 want an ipad? What is this world coming to?’) and help them get acquainted with the technology. A few days ago, at a Christmas party, I overheard a 7-year old speaking very seriously about his blackberry. I nearly got whiplash from the way I flung my head to see this ‘blackberry.’ Sure enough, it was a toy, but the boy was the centre of attention at that moment, and that made his toy BB worth it. 4. Pets: Pets help children learn to care for someone other than themselves; feeding, exercising and grooming their pets engenders in kids a sense of maturity and responsibility. You won’t leave a baby for one minute with a child, but you sure can leave a puppy. However, before you go wrapping puppies and kittens in baskets with big red bows, check with the family to be certain that they are welcome in their future home. I remember how a friend of mine was plotting to kill a dog she came home from National Youth Service to meet in her house. She didn’t have the heart to follow through though, thank God, she only chased it away. The dog is alive and well, although it is now a stray. 5. Balls: Footballs, basket balls, table tennis balls and rackets, all sports balls are allowed this Christmas. Once upon a time, sports were taboo in Nigerian homes, now we celebrate the talent in our children. A brother of mine jokingly advocates buying balls even before the child is born, whether male or female. In his words ‘Just keep buying, different types, you can’t tell which sport he or she will settle with, and they all make money.’ So dear parent, increase your child’s financial prospects by buying sports balls of all kinds. Thou shall not regret it. 6. Clothes and accessories: We call them wears, threads, bafts (yes darling editor, I have snuck in that word you do not like, score one for me!), royal rags, but we just mean new clothes that make you not just look but also feel more than a million dollars. The latest sneakers, boots, shoes, bags, and hair accessories for girls are always greeted with pleasure, who doesn’t want to look fly in the new year? So, remember, you can observe the child yourself, or take the child through the aisles that cover the six gift groups above. No, I didn’t miscount, the last gift can’t be found in the store aisles, but it is a wonderful gift that, if played right, will stay with a child for years. 7. Trips: A trip to Disneyland remains the ‘bestest’ gift of all, in my young-at-heart opinion. This gift involves the adults, who have to be there to supervise, and the cartoon characters the child has read about in books or seen on television. Add to that the magic of the place and you have a three-in-one, all out, hands down, excellent Christmas gift. With a camera to take pictures, the memory will last for a life time. I bet even their grandchildren would hear of it.  There are many fun fairs and amusement centres around to help kids have a great time, older kids might just want to vacation somewhere nice enough to boast about when they resume in the next term, perhaps, Calabar, Ghana, South Africa, or the UK. The important thing is to make it a fun and relaxing holiday to remember. Remember to keep an eye on the smaller kids, they tend to wander.   Have fun this holiday, and enjoy giving and receiving your gifts.  

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This article was first published on 20th December 2012 and updated on January 16th, 2013 at 10:47 am


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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