Give your children some valuable gifts this Christmas—worth far more than their price value.
1. The Cook’s Apprentice
Penguin Random House
A tome to cherish and one that will endure, much like its predecessor, the rainbow-coloured The Cook’s Companion, found in virtually every Australian kitchen. Not just a recipe book, it gives good advice on everything one needs to know about the kitchen, including cooking techniques, ingredients, and which utensils to use and how to use them. The appeal of it isn’t about the fancy cooking (although it also teaches you that) but that the bare basics are included. Even those who have spent years in the kitchen will learn something. A perfect reference book for anybody who cooks—virtually all of us.
2. Family memberships
For those who prefer to give experiences. These can be to any number of attractions: zoo, aquarium, museum . . . anything your child is interested in, anywhere your child loves visiting. Family memberships usually pay for themselves after two or three visits, and the fact you will no longer feel the pressure to see everything or do it all in a day makes them priceless. Some attractions also give you free or discounted entries to other interstate ones—cheap holiday activity sorted!
Winning Moves $19.95
Similar to another word game, Bananagrams, this will be great fun for the entire family. Perfect for school-aged children to learn and improve their vocabulary; the fast pace will also capture and retain their attention. The tiles fit into a small portable red bag that makes it easy to fit into a carry-on suitcase if you are going on holidays.
4. Service projects
Extend the spirit of giving to those who need it and cultivate a sense of compassion in your children from a young age. There are many different Christmas-related projects to get involved in, including Operation Christmas Child: providing gift-filled shoeboxes to children in developing countries; The Smith Family’s Toy & Book Appeal for children in need around Australia; or donating items to New Zealand’s The Foodbank Project.
5. The Puffin Book of Summer Stories
A gorgeous collection of eight Australian picture books by well-loved authors, this is a sizeable hardback tome designed to live proudly on bookshelves. Parents may even have grown up with the very first story, Summer, by June Factor and Alison Lester. The stories and illustrations evoke memories of the quintessential Australian summer and the collection will make a wonderful gift for a preschool-aged child.