It’s that time of the year again. ‘Tis the season to be jolly with jollof rice, chicken, new clothes, snappy hairdos and of course, gifts. As parents, it is our duty, it seems, to provide our children with a mandatory Christmas gift. And the toy companies are not missing out on the pressure. Everywhere I turn, it seems that there’s yet another ad to buy yet another toy. But how many toys does one child really need, sef? And honestly, how many do they play with? You’ve probably noticed that out of the gazillion toys your child gets, he/she has maybe 4 or 5 favorites. Everything else is just taking up space.
This year, dare to do something different. Enough with the LEGO (those things just find the nooks and crannies of your house to hide in).
Here are 5 unusual Christmas gifts you should consider giving the little ones in your life.
A subscription to a hobby club/periodical.
What are your child’s hobbies or interests? From animals to crafts, from sports to science, there are clubs directed at helping children nurture their interests. The internet makes things accessible and so with a few clicks of a button, your child can be signed up to receive magazines and activity kits relevant to their hobby all year round. Do you think they’re too young for hobbies? How about joining a book club? Yes, there are book clubs for babies as well. It’s never too early to start them off. The Bookworm Cafe is a good place to start.
A rolling investment.
For as little as N5000, you can make an investment on their behalf in the money market. Investing in low-risk ventures like Treasury Bills and Government Bonds are a great gift to give your child. The typical interest rates are double-digit. If you invest N5000 every Christmas and you keep rolling over the capital plus interest, in 10 years, you’d have over N100,000 in their name. And this is at a conservative 10% percent interest per annum. Imagine if you add all those small amounts of money they’re “dashed” by friends and family. Be sure to consult with an investment specialist before committing any money, though. Stanbic IBTC has the best rate so far.
An educational experience or a job.
Send them to coding camp (see relearn.ng). Sign them up for entrepreneurship classes. Volunteer their services with an NGO. Come together with other parents and organize “excursions” to hospitals, radio stations, the high court. Get them a job. Do you have a family business they can help out with? For instance, I used to help proof-read text at my father’s printing press. It definitely helped me with my reading and writing. If you don’t have a family business, can they take up a major task at home?
I know, I know. Who do you want to give work?! Pets can be messy and time-intensive and so your child really has to be ready for the responsibility. But that’s the thing. Pets teach children to be responsible for another’s wellbeing. They learn empathy and discipline and the basic tenets of hygiene. You could start with something small like a fish in a bowl and work your way up to a bigger animal. Trust me, this is one experience they’ll thank you for when they’re older.
I could’ve put this under an educational experience but the truth is that learning another language doesn’t have to be done in formal settings. Instead, all you have to do is resolve that your child will learn to say, French in the new year. And then make sure they watch all their cartoons in French. Let them listen to their nursery rhymes in French. Also consider getting them to learn one Nigerian language, at least. It doesn’t have to be your own, by the way. The only criterion is that there be an adult willing to speak the language with them often. This adult could be their nanny, or housekeeper or your neighbor. Alliance Francaise has French classses for kids.