I grew up Jewish so I never received as many holiday gifts as my Christian friends. Yes, some families around us celebrated 8 days and 8 gifts of Chanukah, but my parents thought that was excessive and I agree. Well back then I didn’t agree so much.

We still aren’t huge holiday gift givers, but I do love any opportunity to get my toddler new toys—mainly because I get sick and tired of playing with them. Many of my friends have been asking me for gift-giving ideas for their kids and spouses, so it’s got me thinking and browsing.

Here are some great ideas that might end up in our home, especially if I change my mind about those 8 days of gifts:

Magnatiles – This is one of the most popular, must-have toy for toddlers. The question is, when is your little one ready for them? They say these tiles are good for ages 3 and up, but every child is different. These magnetic building tiles are known to be a bit expensive than your average toys, which makes them a nice gift for a special occasion like the holidays.

Instruments – If your child is at all musical, and many kids are, there’s nothing better than a new instrument in the home. My husband pickled up a ukulele for our boy and it’s the perfect size for him. We also received this great drum set from a friend which has built in music and a microphone, and he can’t get enough. Though our neighbors aren’t as thrilled as we are. We are looking for a violin next, which might be easier to listen to!

Scooter – Our two-year-old is obsessed with his scooter. He rides around the neighborhood like a pro—with um, his pacifier in his mouth. Yes, he gets many double takes on the street! He won’t leave home without his scooter, which makes things difficult for us—but we manage. This is the scooter brand that was recommended to us, but we also purchased this more affordable scooter in pink for his friend’s birthday  and it works just as well.

Glider Bike – I’ve been watching toddlers use these cool glider bikes, and they look like fun! Since our boy loves his scooter, I think this bike could be another gem. He points to them at the window in our town’s bicycle shop and says, “Me want it!” Though if I have to start lugging around a scooter and bike, along with his stroller we are in big trouble!

Floor puzzles – My kid loves puzzles now, especially ones that feature animals. We have been getting these big floor puzzles and do them together. It’s a nice activity for the family that lasts for a good 20-30 minutes! Even though our boy is two, I get puzzles for ages 3+up because it helps his advance his skills. Though, I have to admit, at 6am, they seem too difficult and I can’t always help him put the pieces together!

Anything at Costco – I hate to be one of those super store shoppers, but have you been down the toy aisle at Costco? The toys are big and plenty and extremely well-priced.  My boy is obsessed with Costco and wants to go there every day now. He actually will grab a bag and walk to the door and when I ask him where he’s going, he answers, “Costco!” Oh no!

While we are on the topic of holiday gifts, let’s not forget our spouses, something I unfortunately I do at times! Here are some gift ideas for the first love of your life:

Massage – Who doesn’t love a good massage? My husband asks me to rub his back all the time and my answer is, “I’m not a professional masseuse!” I’m terrible therefore I need to get him professional massages from time to time. You should find good deals for massages on Groupon.
Expresso maker – My husband and I are addicted to lattes, so why not make them at home. Purchase an expresso maker, which is a gift you can enjoy too…ahem, get my point?
Clothing – My husband neglects his wardrobe and sometimes finds himself walking around with holes in his jackets. Yikes. He might appreciate some new digs. I am loving  Uniqlo these days, which is where I might go to replace his jacket. Their clothing is basic, stylish, comfortable and warm!
Good Chocolate – If you think women are the only chocoholics out there, you are mistaken. My husband can put down as many bon bons as any menopausal woman in front of a Lifetime Channel. Treat him with some special chocolate from Godiva or another quality brand. Oh, and make sure you load in some extra pieces for you too.

The holidays are here! Hurray. Hopefully in the midst of all our shopping and gift giving, we also can find quality time together with our families laughing, singing and playing. Gifts or no gifts, I always love this time of the year. May it be filled with love, joy and happiness, which is always free, thank goodness!