Peggy and Rick from Southeast Portland have two sons, ages 8 and 12. Naturally, their sons enjoy the surprise of unwrapping holiday gifts (what kid doesn’t like the thrill of tearing off wrapping paper?), but they also want to avoid the excess stuff and the waste that often comes with the holidays. So they get creative in selecting new and reused gifts, and make the whole gift opening experience into a family game, too.

Peggy and Rick first buy something the kids need, like a new or used baseball mitt, and something else fun, like a used Lego set. The boys also like getting “experience” gifts, like a day at the batting cages or the movies.

Last year there was only one big gift for the whole family: a trip to Disneyland that the boys had been asking for all year. They gave the boys clues to find around the house that led them to the final note that they were going on their big trip. Even with smaller gifts of experiences or stuff, making a game of finding the gifts adds fun for the whole family that they all look forward to year after year.

Need local resources for shopping for kids?

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, has gift ideas based on the book’s categories and businesses. Using the coupons in the book this time of year can help you support local business and save money too.

Little Boxes, Portland’s answer to Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday), has loads of toy and games shops listed for specials throughout the holiday season. Here are just a few participating businesses:

Child's Play Toys – 2305 NW Kearney St.

Cloud Cap Games – 1226 SE Lexington St.

Finnegan's Toys & Gifts – 820 SW Washington St.

Kids at Heart Toys – 3445 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

SpielWerk Toys – 3808 N Williams Ave. #121

Thinker Toys – 7784 SW Capitol Hwy.

Find lots of gift ideas for treating the kids to a special event or activity at

And if you’re wondering where to get those used Lego sets, check out Bricks and Minifigs in Beaverton, where you can buy, sell or trade Lego products.

Find gift ideas for other hard-to-buy-for people in your life in our resourceful holiday series. #holiday