There’s nothing like the joy of watching your child unwrap a gift during the holidays. Unless it’s the dreaded pack of socks or underwear, they’re bouncing and squealing with glee as they tear through the shiny paper and immediately begin playing. The fun continues until another, newer and more exciting toy takes its place (we feel your pain, Woody). And over time, many of those presents inevitably find their way to the donation pile. 

According to the Retail Council of Canada, Canadian’s plan to spend almost $800 on holiday shopping this season. But how many of those holiday gifts will be meaningful? The truth is the best gifts for kids aren’t the biggest, trendiest or most expensive; they’re ones that your kids can’t help but keep coming back to again and again. So, how do you find a gift with meaning, no matter what age your little one is? Whether you have a future engineer, aspiring musician or a science lover on your hands, we have gifting ideas with real value your kids will love.

Experiences keep on giving—and can be a family affair

One of the best parts about gifting experiences is that everyone can benefit. A membership to a museum or science centre can become a regular family outing. Plus, memberships often come with added perks such as exclusive previews, free parking, café discounts and free coat check.

Gifting experiences can also be major memory-makers. Think a concert to their favourite band (BTS or The Wiggles, perhaps?), watching a sports team live in action, or a winter family getaway close to an epic sledding hill.

Open-ended toys spark their imagination

Toys that can be used in many ways outlast your pre-schooler’s latest superhero obsession because the opportunities for creativity never end. Building sets and blocks, such as Lego and Magna-Tiles, let your child’s imagination run free. One day, they could be making a castle, or the next  spaceship. The added bonus is STEM-based toys teach problem solving, help to develop motor skills and promote open-ended learning.


Other toys in the open-ended play bucket are your arts and crafts essentials. Welcome all the crayon colours, paint (from watercolours to washable), modelling clay and Play-Doh. They all encourage your child to use their imagination freely, and help to foster your budding artist. 

Personalized presents bring joy, and stick around

Expect an extra jolt of excitement when your child opens up a gift that’s made just for them. For example, personalized books put your child in the centre of the action. You can put their name on the cover and throughout the book, and some even let you create a character that looks just like them. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a nightly favourite.


Personalized name puzzles are great for little ones, while older kids can have fun trying to put together a favourite family photo puzzle you had made—all you need to decide is how difficult to make it (will it be 48 pieces or 1,000?). 

Board games encourage bonding and teach life lessons

Swap screen time for family time with a good ‘ol fashioned board game. Classics such as checkers, chess, Monopoly and Clue are always winners and you can go back to them again and again. Modern favourites such as Catan, Ticket to Ride and Blokus are recent additions that have become family night go-tos. The best part about gifting your child a board game is it becomes an experience—whether they play with their friends, siblings, or the entire family. Bonus: Games teach kids how to win and lose with grace, an important life lesson.

The gift of a post-secondary education is one that lasts a lifetime

Instead of spending another $30 on a second or third gift for your child—a gift that will quickly make its way under the bed to gather dust—if you invest that money in an RESP, it can grow over time with matching government grants and investment earnings. Then when your child is in post-secondary school, they can use the RESP money to pay for things they need, such as a new laptop. Whether you have $10 or $100 to invest, every bit counts. And with the cost of post-secondary education on the rise, the sooner you start to save the better.


At CST Spark we make it easy to get going. You can start a plan with as little as $10 per transaction, in just a few minutes in your matching holiday pyjamas. While spending time as a family during the holidays, whether you’re playing an epic game of Monopoly or sitting around the fire sipping eggnog, take comfort in the fact that you’ve given your child a meaningful gift.

CST Spark Education Portfolios are sold only by Prospectus. Investors should read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

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