For this Green Friday and ahead of the festive season, here are some of my families tried and tested gift ideas for little ones. Most parents these days are doing their best to reduce their consumption and waste. If not for ourselves, then for our kids and the world that will be passed down to them. If you’re anything like me, you are trying to look for ways to cut costs while also reducing your carbon footprint. Shopping and living in a more environmentally friendly way. Which is easier said than done.
This can seem like a really hard ask when the single thing that generates the most ‘stuff’ is having a child. Therefore it’s more important than ever to try to shop ethically and carefully. We also live in a world where kids, from the moment they are born, are bombarded with gendered clothes, toys, books. Anything you can think of, it will be marketed in a gender-specific way.
As a same-sex parent to two daughters, I’m ever conscious of allowing them to develop their personalities and trying not to push onto them preconceived notions of what it means to be a girl. That’s not to say they don’t love princesses and all things pink. But they equally love to do DIY and build and break things! It’s all about balance.
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the most important thing in life is staying safe and enjoying our family and friends. In a time when we have been unable to spend time with some of loved ones, I’m constantly reminded that stuff is only stuff. In saying that, if you are a parent to a child (or lucky enough to be an auntie or uncle), then you’ll know that kids adore getting gifts. To be honest a lot of the time they will have as much fun playing with the box it came in. But if you are looking for a special gift for the little ones in your life, then this list of gift ideas is just the ticket.
So with the view to buying Irish and local where possible, in an affordable and ethical way, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite vendors where you will find gift ideas for every child. To make it simpler I’ve split them into 5 main categories: Clothes, Toys, Books, Accessories and Experiences.
Clothes are obviously one of the biggest contributors to waste when it comes to kids. They grow out of them so quickly. They are also one of the biggest areas where gender stereotypes come into play. As a same sex parent to two girls, I’m keenly aware of this and am always on the lookout for ethical, and gender-ambiguous quality clothing.
They stock the most beautiful scandi brands. I warn you that RKB addiction is a very real thing and it’s almost impossible to visit the site without stocking up your virtual shopping cart. Did I mention they also do adult clothes?
This is my pick of the moment, the Maxomorra Yellow Forest Helmet Hat. €13.90 We have one of these helmet hats for Arya and it still fits her at almost two years old.
KidHood is an eco conscious kids concept store. Audrey is forgoing ‘black Friday’ in favour of donating to a really worthy cause. 10% of all proceeds going to fealaceain. My pick is this beautiful overall from the brand ‘Dear Sophie’. It’s €44.95 and would be a gorgeous Christmas eve outfit. We have a few Dear Sophie pieces for Ava and the quality is next level.
Mira Mira Dublin is a funky gift shop in Dublin with all their stock available online. They stock much more than just clothes so it’s definitely worth a browse. I’m choosing this adorable Pillow Tester top from the brand ‘Bobo Choses’. It’s €35 and is made with the softest organic cotton.
Fauna Kids is an online store that sells beautiful Irish designed clothes with a Scandi inspired yet timeless vibe. Their designs are instantly recognisable, with illustrations screen printed by hand in Dublin. My pick is this adorable Rabbit Sweatshirt which is €33. **FYI there is a matching adult sweater.
Lillebarn, Swedish for ‘little child’, is an online kids concept store that was born of a need to find stylish yet affordable children’s clothes which could be passed down from sibling to sibling. My pick is a pair of unisex PJ’s from the brand Slim Jym. €35
One of the joys of childhood is the unrelenting fascination with toys and games. I like to look for toys that are simple, educational, genderless and well made.
Jiminy are one of the best ethical online toy stores you will find. They are a self-described ‘activist toy company’ focused on the environment. It’s a family run business and Sharon is a huge advocate for the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity in toys. I’ve picked the Rubens Barn Mini Eco Bud Empathy Doll. These are a range of beautiful and inclusive soft toys for all children. For each one purchased, a tree is planted… you even get a little certificate to show this. They are €25
Toys are just toys. Not for boys or girls. They are for everybody. This is a lovely Irish family business based in Dublin, but with all stock available online. Puzzles are great fun for the whole family. The one I’ve chosen is suitable for younger children, but they’ve got a range to suit all ages and abilities. The farm observation puzzle is a bargain at €14.95
Giggle and Play Ireland is an Irish toy store selling high-quality toys. There is so much to choose from. I picked out something really simple that we’ve found our kids loved at all ages. Stacking cubes! This lovely set is from the brand Moulin Roty and is €26
Kid Store Dublin is a Dublin based concept store with a huge range of gift items. I’ve picked out this beautiful Rainbow Tea Set. Having tea parties is something we all can enjoy no matter what age we are! This one is €26.
Toys and Games Ireland is based out of Co. Wicklow and is an online kids store specialising in wooden and educational toys. There is honestly a huge selection here and we have some much-loved toys purchased from here. One of the all-time hits in the house has been the Melissa and Doug wooden pizza set. It’s €21.99 and has provided more hours of entertainment and fun than I can say.
We are huge book fans and story time before bed is non-negotiable in our house. Reading with kids is a great way to bond, reconnect and help to open up important discussions with them, even at an early age. Here’s just a flavour of some our families favourites and great gift ideas!
The Gutter Bookshop are one of the most recognised independent book stores in Dublin. They are currently operating a full click and collect service or online delivery. I’ve picked Goodnight Moon which was one of the first books we ever bought for our kids and remains a firm favourite. This is €8.35
My Higher Shelf is a really gorgeous website run by Dawn. She not only sells books but also provides coaching and workshops. We were given a birthday present from here for our older daughter a few years back and this book still gets read daily…It’s called I Know A Lot and Arya can ‘recite’ it by heart!
Tales for Tadpoles is based in Dublin and they specialise in beautiful children’s illustrations, books and gifts. They’ve also got a section on their website where they sell second-hand books which I think is pretty awesome. I’ve picked out a signed copy of Julian at the Wedding which is currently on sale for €17 and comes with a free print. This is the sequel to Julian is a Mermaid, a celebration of individuality and self-love.
Vibes and Scribes are based out of Cork and offer a wide range of books, gifting and crafting items. I’ve picked out one of my all-time favourite children’s stories The Secret Garden. This beautifully illustrated and abridged version is currently on sale for €9.99
Little Ones are a Co. Clare based Irish business. They stock many children’s gift and toy items as well as books. I’ve chosen one of Ava’s all-time favourites which is Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. It’s €23.95
Earth Mother is one of my favourite websites. They are a family run business and they sell lots of amazing products for the eco-conscious parent. Who doesn’t love lunch boxes? Here is a great option for any school-goers, the very popular Yum Box which is €32.54
Reuzi is another amazing eco-business run by the very lovely Pat. They’ve got a lovely store in Sandyford but also offer their products in their online shop. I’ve picked out these lovely lemon squeeze bath bars. Bath time is one of my favourite parts of the day and our kids love anything that smells nice and makes bubbles. These are €7.
We Are Byygebo is a store based out of Co. Meath with all their stock available online. Kids chairs are one of the cutest things to behold and can create a lovely space for them to independently play and read. This concept chair is absolutely stunning, in a gender-neutral yellow at €125.
Designist is an iconic Dublin design-led gift and homeware store. They stock all sorts of beautiful gifts. Here is a lovely ‘as Gaeilge’ print for your little one’s bedroom. I’ve chosen the reindeer but there are a wide array of animals available. It comes unframed for €15.
Market Street are a small Irish business stocking all things design! They have an absolutely huge selection of items from homeware to clothing to baby accessories. They also stock the Pickled Pom Pom prints. This one is absolutely gorgeous, it’s the Jar of Stars Art print. €18.
In terms of gift ideas, I’m a big fan of giving gifts that will help to make memories as a family. Possessions will come and go, but spending quality time is priceless,
Giddy Art Studio is a business with the basic premise: to provide an activity ‘where everyone can feel like an artist’ – no skills required. It’s owner Helena provides workshops which aim to boost creativity, encourage a ‘creative pause’, nourish the mind and help the environment with reusable pottery. They provide at-home kits and tutorials where you can get creative as a family. Two of our most prized possessions are a mug and a plate which Ava painted from Giddy Studios. They also offer these family portraits which are incredibly cute. A four-figure frame is €46.
Dublin Zoo One of our family’s best-ever purchases was our annual pass to Dublin Zoo. I have been known to use it up to 3 or 4 times a week with the kids. The annual pass also gives you access to Fota Zoo, which will be handy when travel restrictions have eased. It’s also so important to support the zoo at this time to ensure that they are able to remain open.
Claphandies is a lovely Irish provider of baby and children’s music and sensory classes. We attended them pre lockdown with Arya. Throughout the last year, their founder Liza has been working to develop the PlayLabs at Home which is hours of at-home entertainment to enjoy with your babies and children. Full access to all these classes is only €10 per month with no minimum subscription time.
Luggwoods is an outdoor seasonal experience based in Saggart, Co.Dublin. For the month of December, it’s been transformed into a covid friendly winter wonderland where you can visit Santa and the elves. Children’s tickets are €19.50 and Adults are €14.50. You can also have a personalised Zoom call with Santa for the price of €30 if you are unable to travel. https://luggwoodsevents.com/
Happy Cubs are an independent Irish owned business who provide music and swim classes. They are waiting for level 2 restrictions before in-person classes can resume but you can access the online music classes at any time. A three-week term is just €33.
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.