Birthdays on a budget: my niece is turning one!

We’re not completely cash-strapped in our house (any more!), but we like to spend our money wisely, and save as much as we can. We also believe in thoughtful gifting, where a present will be well used and loved, rather than a novelty. These kinds of presents, I often find, needn’t cost much.

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This is the gift we picked up for my niece’s first birthday. She’s a really outgoing, sturdy sort who like crawling about and petting our guinea pigs with a slightly too firm hand. She’s also from quite a traditional, rural sort of family, where outdoor pursuits are key. So, no silly plasticky toys or anything too large (the latter was the parents’ instruction). I think this is the perfect solution. It’s a set of wooden block shapes, in lovely, mixed, non-gendered colours (why, in 2014, is there so much gender separation in the toy aisle? I don’t get it). It comes in a thin wooden box so they can all be slotted in and then bunged away.

I love these kinds of gifts for children – traditional, solid, and the kind of thing that will last them quite a while. And when they’re done with, they can be put away and kept for any future children, or given away to charity, as they just won’t date. Also – they’re just so darn attractive. I wouldn’t mind these scattered across my living room floor (er, so long as I didn’t stand on an upturned triangle, barefoot…).

The best part about this gorgeous gift is that it was just £10 in Sainsburys. We spotted it during our food shop and in the trolley it went. I remember having one of these as a child too – I loved the feel of the shapes in my hand, and the sense of excitement wondering whether my towers would stand.

What traditional gifts do you like for children? I’ve got my eye on a wooden wheel along duck in the local book shop for Christmas time…!

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