I don't mean don't actually buy anything. But choose something that doesn't take up vast parental energy and room or involve marathon opening/building sessions. When storage is an issue, you need to maximise every millimetre.
With three young children, we are stuffed to the rafters. I love Christmas. I cherish their cheery 5.27am 'he's been' expressions. I am slightly dreading the storage dilemma.
As the big day looms, we will see loads of gift ideas shoved in our frantic consumerist bargain-hunting soul-searching faces. It's gotta be special but affordable and not too big. Or small. Wrong!
Just to liberate you - if it's quality and thoughtful, less is definitely more when it comes to buying for children.
Spare the parents from secretly loathing a game that is easy to wrap and tons of fun but never goes back in the box (looking at you, Hungry Hippos).
A huge plastic play set makes you look generous when it's under the tree - but when we are still tripping over it at Easter, wishing you had gone for a sticker book and a magic flannel, where is the love?
The original models are inch-long vibrating micro 'robots'. Award-winning and sciency, they appeal to all ages. The fish comes with or without a bowl. Stick one in the bath/sink for instantly happy children! They're between about eight and thirteen quid. So much joy. The latest version lights up. You can get remote control spiders, ants and inchworms, which move in a lifelike way.
2) Little Live Pet birds
I know you maybe wanted folding rocking horses (which do exist) and dolly prams that flatten to slide under the bed (Silver Cross) ... But what these lack in their ability to fold, they seriously give out in fun. They're a tenner and four inches high. Interesting because they 'sing' tunes and tweet realistic 'bird song'. You can record ten seconds of your own voice, to play back.
3) Lego key rings
There's a trend of children/young people putting key rings on their bags. The Lego ones are just over an inch and come in Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... What are you waiting for? Turtle-y cool and barely there!
You can get Skylanders, superheroes, Moshi Monsters for a couple of pounds each. I don't really like them but tis the season to be jolly 'n' all that. They can pop a mock tattoo on, as a treat for the holidays and then it's quickly worn off in hours. Invisible, see?
5) Personalised bunting
They have a nice choice at notonthehighstreet.com. It doesn't take up much space and can cheer any room, all year round! Kids adore stuff with their name on and many mums love bunting at the moment.
6) A bed cover set
So your child already has a bed. Update their faded scratchy Angry Birds duvet cover, buy them a new soft one and add nothing to your home! Cath Kidston does gorgeous fully cotton covers in single and double sizes, in a beautiful budgie design.
7) A play tent, mat or tunnel
They fold away for top easy-to-conceal points. Argos has Frozen play tents for under £25 but good luck getting your mitts on one of those! In a child's eyes, these are a 'big present'. And at the end of the day, they just collapse. Sound familiar?
8) Scooter accessories
Mic The Monkey is the latest Thing from the official Micro Scooter folk! A cuddly toy, which attaches to the handlebars, it comes off easily for bedtime snuggling. Bells are a big hit, sleeves, streamers, wheel inserts, bags and bottle holders... They add mere centimetres to the scooters you already house! I love the new elephants range and other designs include pirates, dots and dinosaurs. An all-new selection includes honkers, a 'personalisation plate' and dragon/unicorn/Rudolph-themed Handlebar Heroes. Or how about cosy Scooterearz (a handlebar muff-mitt) for the child who refuses to wear ordinary gloves?
9) Wall art
Whether it's a cheap and cheerful Minecraft poster, Disney wall stickers or framed art of names/date of birth for younger children, it fits on the wall. Taking up no space on floor or shelf. Meaningful and invisible.
10) Gardening gifts
Mr Cress Head, grow-your-own fruit or veg kits or a bird box to decorate can provide an ethereal enriching experience between parent and child. These can work, even without any outdoor space, especially when 'mini gardens' or windowsills are involved. The tiny gift that keeps on giving.
11) Give storage
Lego make brilliant containers in the style of building blocks and character heads, with drawer compartments. Cardboard book boxes are eco-friendly and space saving. Trunki toy boxes look great, stack and have wheels. They don't hold the earth but we have hundreds of Hot Wheels cars in ours! Practical and funky.
Make sure you fill their stocking with a few large Christmas selection boxes. Bulk it out a bit! Recycle the packaging and help them make the chocolate disappear. Save the earth and their teeth! Invisible chocolate and invisible wrapping!Suggest a correction