Please Support Local Businesses This Christmas.

By Becky Samford, Publisher Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek & Peachtree Corners Macaroni Kid November 22, 2023

The children in my family have a playroom full of toys! It's very hard to come up with a Christmas gift that they will love, but don't already have.  Here are 15 “out of the box” gift ideas that will surely put a smile on any child's face and keep the unnecessary “stuff” out of the house!

1. Host a party for charity! Talk with your child before sending out the party invitations about a charity or cause that is special to them. Do they want to help sick kids, animals, homeless people, senior citizens, or the environment? Find the organization's "wish list" and request an item or small monetary donation be brought rather than a traditional birthday present to the honoree. Include that information on your invitation. For a list of some local charities and nonprofits, click HERE.

2. Gift an experience! Is there a class, camp or activity that the boy or girl really wants to participate in? A gift certificate for this purpose could be the way to go. Most summer camp registrations start in January. View our 2023 Summer Camp Guide to find a local camp that features your child's interests ranging from robotics, sports and art to dance, performing arts and science. Lessons are also a great choice. What about learning to ride a horse at Go With It Farm in Johns Creek, pottery classes at The Hudgens in Duluth or classes to learn to swim, dance, or play a musical instrument?

3. Who wouldn’t want an elephant (or another really cool zoo animal!)? ”Adopt-an-Animal" gives the recipient a sense of pride and responsibility. Check out your local zoo or animal shelter for information on their animal adoption opportunities. See our list of 5 excellent Animal Sponsorship Organizations.

4. Let’s go to the movies! Give a Red Box gift certificate with some popcorn and treats for family movie night in or tickets to the latest IMAX film at Fernbank Museum of Natural History for an exciting night out!

5. Inspire their inner Picasso! A box of art supplies - paper, markers, crayons, etc. - is simple, doesn’t take up much space and sparks creativity. Or how about classes or camp at one of our local art centers? Check the schedule at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, the Johns Creek Arts Center in Johns Creek, Eye Candy Art Studio in downtown Duluth or Kudzu Kidz at the Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. An art class with a friend would be lots of fun!

6. Tickets! Check local venues for upcoming performances and gift tickets to a show, sporting event or concert to enjoy together. For an unforgettable experience close to home you cannot top tickets to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Duluth or for the newest Atlanta experiences, tickets to the incredible Tutankhamun: His Tomb and His Treasures.

7. Books! Use a book as the gift AND the card. Write a little note inside the cover then sign and date it. Find the perfect book or unusual toy at Johns Creek Books & Gifts or at Hello Rainbow Toys in Duluth.

8. Gift certificates always fit! Gift certificates to Tiny Towne in Norcross, Treetop Quest in Buford, or a 10 Admission Punch Card to Aurora Children's Playhouse in Lawrenceville are great! Gift certificates to movie theaters, mini-golf, bounce houses, ice cream or fro-yo parlors are also fun to give and receive. 

9. The gifts that keep on giving!  Annual memberships to your local museum, puppetry center, aquarium or playplace will allow the child to enjoy a favorite activity on multiple occasions throughout the year. Autrey Mill Nature Center in JC, the Aurora Children's Playhouse in Lawrenceville, the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, along with  the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Michael C Carlos Museum and the Atlanta History Center are all favorite choices! Click to see our list of Atlanta Area Memberships.

10. Subscriptions! The possibilities are nearly limitless when it comes to subscription crates or boxes. Want to learn to cook? Want to build a trebuchet? Want to try beloved snacks from a foreign country? There’s a crate for that.  Craft crates, science club or magazine subscriptions provide fun and creative goodies spaced out over upcoming months. KiwiCo provides STEAM- and STEM-based crates. Little Passports offers children a chance to explore and experience the world around them without leaving their house. Consider supplementing with a subscription from Universal Yum to receive a monthly box with favorite snacks from around the world. Home-PE offers a six-week subscription box full of durable equipment along with activity ideas. MEL Science includes everything you need to turn your kitchen into a science laboratory. Raddish Kids is a cooking club and meal prep all rolled into one. While the box doesn’t provide the food, it does include shopping lists, recipe guides, kitchen project, skills card, and new tools and collectibles. Subscription crates aren’t just for students; be sure to check out something for the adults. Sips By is a tea subscription box. If you need something a bit stronger, look into Winc, a monthly wine subscription that caters precisely to your tastes.

11.Walk (or Swim) on the Wild Side! What child wouldn't be thrilled to experience a unique, one-on-one animal encounter! The Atlanta Zoo offers special behind-the-scene experiences with Pandas, Elephants, Tortoises, Lemurs and more and The Georgia Aquarium offers up-close and personal interactions with Dolphins, Penguins and Sea Lions along with Beluga Whales and Whale Sharks! 

12. Coupons!  Create a few vouchers kids can redeem for fun activities together or special perks such as staying up past bedtime, being excused from a chore, or playing your child's favorite game.

13.Year-round family fun! Atlanta has some of the most exciting theme parks  right in our own backyard! Providing water slides and summer fun and also winter holiday lights and snow slides, an annual pass to Stone Mountain Park, Six Flags Over Georgia or the water park or snow mountain at Lake Lanier Islands would definitely be a hit on anyone's list!

14. Cook up some fun! Print out a kid-friendly recipe your child will enjoy preparing with your assistance and gift it with all the required ingredients. A great place to find family-friendly recipes is at Macaroni Kid Eats!

15. Travel! Plan a family vacation or even just a night in a nearby hotel for a quick getaway. Go Gold Mining in Dahlonega, see an indoor waterfall at Ruby Falls in Lookout Mountain TN or delight in the Butterfly House at Callaway Gardens

These are only a few suggestions to get you started. The sky is really the limit when you start to look at unique gift options.

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