It’s a tradition we started on our son’s very first Christmas when we saw the mountain of presents well-meaning friends and family had in store. It’s definitely a privilege to be so loved and for a family to have the means to shower their grandchild, nephew or cousin with so many toys, but we realized that if we wanted to teach our son the value of the holiday beyond just the accumulation of stuff, it had to start in our home.

So we limit the presents he gets from us to just one. And we usually try to focus on a gift that can also create an experience. We try to buy something that can last a while and grow with him—at the very least in the next year or so—but hopefully longer.

This is what we’re getting this Christmas and what we bought in Christmases past (nobody tell my 3-year-old what’s going to be under the tree)…

im only buying one gift for my toddler this christmas and this is it 0

1. This year: Plum large climbing dome with slide

An outdoor toy during the middle of winter? Yes, because we can stick it in our basement (for now) to help him blitz his energy on those stark cold winter weekends when we’re all feeling a little stir crazy. Once the weather warms up, we’ll move it out to the backyard where he can climb, slide and repeat to his heart’s delight.

im only buying one gift for my toddler this christmas and this is it 1

2. When he was 2: Radio Flyer Scoot 2 Scooter ride on

This sweet little ride-on toy turns into a scooter with just one flip of the seat. He was big into anything with wheels and we loved that he could get use out of it as he grew bigger. He still uses this on the regular as a scooter, which makes my mama heart happy.

im only buying one gift for my toddler this christmas and this is it 2

3. When he was 1: KidKraft vintage play kitchen

I wanted to celebrate his graduation from babydom (😭) with a big kid toy so we bought him this fun play kitchen with play food. It’s less used than it has been in the past, but is still something he’ll go back to when he wants to pretend to cook me “onion ice cream” and “spicy pancakes.”

Heads up: This one took a while to assemble, but the quality of it is pretty stellar. Still looks fairly new even three years later.