A conscious parenting minimalist holiday gift guide for toddlers

Being a minimalist has its amazing perks: it is easier to get dressed in the morning, I have more money freed up for experiences like travel, and the ability to focus more on life, and living it with less focus on "stuff."

One time when being a minimalist and conscious shopper gets tricky is during the holiday time, especially those certain holidays that involve 8 days of gifts, or loads of presents under a festive evergreen tree.  I do not want my daughter's memories to be fed by consumerist culture, I want to build memories based on family time spent together learning and experiencing life. 

Being a mother and a minimalist means quite simply that I work my very best to purchase or acquire a specific type of toy for my child.  Toys that encourage imaginative play, are made with fair labor standards, can be passed down and stand the test of time. This way, the toys and gifts are selected and curated in a way to add value, and not deplete resources or discourage imaginative play. 

For me choosing a toy isn't about a "good toy" versus a "bad toy", rather it is about bringing consciousness to selecting purchases and what she plays with. Is it beautiful? Does it feel good to the senses? Does it leave room for imagination (or conversely do all of the thinking work for the child)? Will it inspire imaginative play? Is it made ethically, can it be sourced fair trade or second hand, and will it stand the test of time? 

Below are my picks for a conscious, loving holiday.

In my opinion the best gifts are experiences, love and time well spent with one another, but a wooden tool set is also a great addition. 

Wooden Toy Workbench: handmade in USA

Wooden Toy Workbench: handmade in USA

Hammer Balls: made in Thailand

Hammer Balls: made in Thailand

Wooden Tree Branch Blocks: handmade in Germany

Wooden Tree Branch Blocks: handmade in Germany

Sensory Activity Play Pack: Fair Trade, assembled in Nepal

Sensory Activity Play Pack: Fair Trade, assembled in Nepal

Waldorf Doll: handmade in Brazil

Waldorf Doll: handmade in Brazil

Dolls and lovies with sensory appeal and without fixed faces help a child develop their sense of exploratory imagination.  Imagine cuddling a plastic hard toy with a fixed grin and playing a nurturing mother to this item? Children love to emulate and imitate adults and their daily activities. By giving children objects that are not fixed, that are malleable both in touch and image, the child can use that toy for more than one thing.  A doll with a less fixed emotional face gives their imagination free reign. Waldorf dolls are warm and soft, so they are appealing to the senses and have a calming effect on a child. This minimal face helps the child cultivate their inner picturing abilities. 

Playsilks: Fair Trade from China and USA

Playsilks: Fair Trade from China and USA

Playsilks can become a cape, a veil, a belt, a fort, a den, waves, a baby blanket...the list goes on.  As a vegan I searched for ahimsa silk or non-silk playsilks but did not find any that were overall as eco-friendly and responsibly made as Sarah's Silks. If you have any other suggestions, please comment below. As always, finding these bright beautiful silks secondhand would also work. 

Bolga Basket: Fair Trade from Ghana

Bolga Basket: Fair Trade from Ghana

Olive Wooden Bowl: Handmade in Germany

Olive Wooden Bowl: Handmade in Germany

Wooden Spoon Set: Handmade in Jordan by disadvantaged men and woman

Wooden Spoon Set: Handmade in Jordan by disadvantaged men and woman

Rainbow Wooden Peg Dolls: Made in Germany

Rainbow Wooden Peg Dolls: Made in Germany

bogobrush, compostable toothbrush

bogobrush, compostable toothbrush

Owl Gourd Maraca: Handmade in Peru

Owl Gourd Maraca: Handmade in Peru

Kid's Musical Instrument Set: Fair Trade Peru and Bali

Kid's Musical Instrument Set: Fair Trade Peru and Bali

With Love + Kindness, 

D