What Do You Buy a Toddler for Christmas?

Christmas time is coming up quick, and you’ve got no idea what to buy for your young one. Whether it’s your first child or just your youngest, buying gifts for a toddler is always a challenge.

Why is Choosing a Gift for a Toddler so Hard?

If you take a stroll through your neighborhood toy store, you’ll likely find your eyes wandering to small details you hadn’t thought of before. Small parts? Toddlers put everything they see into their mouths, so it’s probably a choking hazard. Are there any sharp points on that doll? You definitely don’t want to deal with any stab wounds on Christmas morning.

If this is your first time doing Christmas with a toddler, I can’t stress this next part enough. Don’t buy anything messy. Nothing messy. Trust me, you’re going to have to clean up enough once the relatives leave. You don’t want to spend an extra 2 hours scrubbing paint off of the walls while everyone else is drinking eggnog.

Toddlers can’t even tell us what they want. You’re completely on your own. You’ll miss these days when they’re teenagers who refuse to tell you what they want, but for now, it’s just confusing. So what do you buy for them?


Alright, if we’re being honest here, most of the gift options for a toddler are toys. However, some are designed for specific types of play. Some encourage your kids to create things, others are supposed to help them learn, but most are just to see your child laughing and having fun! For toys in this last category, your list is pretty much endless. Ultimately the choice comes down to knowing your toddler. What do they like playing with now?

There are plenty of sites that have great lists of toy reviews for you to peruse. These can be very specific. For example, if you’re wondering what to get a 1 year old boy for Christmas, there’s a list for it. 2 year old girl? There’s a list for it. Use them to narrow your search so you don’t spend hours wandering through the terrifying labyrinths of toy stores in a daze, bumping into disgruntled parents and employees.

Educational Gifts

There are plenty of great educational resources hiding as toys on the shelves. LeapFrog is famous for doing this well. Anything that gets your child putting letters together or reading is a smart choice. You might not feel like the fun parent when you’re paying for it at the register, but you’re future college-graduate will (might) thank you in a few decades.

For the Creative Kiddos

Art supplies are always a great gift for a toddler. As long as they’re safe. And non-toxic. And easy to clean up. Alright so maybe always isn’t the right word, but there are certainly safe art kits designed for toddlers to flex their creative muscles without leaving a mess for you. Keep your eyes open for coloring kits where the markers only work on a specific drawing pad, or else you’ll find stick figure families living out their entire lives on your living room walls.

Blocks or Lego-like products designed for toddlers are also excellent choices for the creative types. They get to start their engineering careers early on in life by building towers, and then they can experience the thrill of a career shift when they join the demolition team for the same building.

It’s Christmas!

Spend time with them! Every old Christmas movie stresses this as the most important part of the holidays, and the lessons we learn from old Christmas movies are the truest ones. No matter what gift you decide on for your child, remember that the thing they, and you, will value most is the time you spend together.