Rent your child some toys to save cash this Christmas
Santa will "lease" toys this Christmas as more parents rent rather than buy. Renting, swapping or handing down toys have become cheaper options and reduce clutter.
Cape Town mother Juana Parathyras has a bag of rented toys under the tree. She rented wooden toys, a book and one or two items with lights and music for her 15-month-old son, Jack.
"My husband and I don't like clutter and we just don't believe in accumulating masses of toys for our little one. That said, I do believe that kids need toys to keep them stimulated."
The rental route for Christmas has offered Parathyras the "perfect solution … because our little one has a wide variety of toys to play with, he won't get bored with them and we don't end up with boxes of unused toys that we spent a lot of money on".
[Renting toys is the] perfect solution ... we don't end up with boxes of unused toys that we spent a lot of money onJuana Parathyras
She is not opposed to buying a favoured toy but renting has saved her between R500 and R1,000.
"I won't be wrapping the toys, but will pop the bag under the tree with a special note from Santa saying he is lending a few of his favourite toys to Jack over Christmas," she said.
Parenting and toy expert Nikki Bush has seen this trend emerging in recent years.
"There is definitely a place for renting, swapping and hand-me-downs in SA these days, especially for people living in smaller homes and apartments. They don't have storage capacity.
"That's the beauty of the classic toys, like the wooden toys, stacking plastic toys and shape-sorters. That's what the toy rental people are probably sitting with. They are not the type that will break and have moving parts.
"The classics are the toys that you can hand on to people, via rentals, swapping and handing down. Money is scarce so we need to be creative."
The Smart Toy Club, which specialises in toy rentals, has had "a 20% growth in sales year on year" compared with last Christmas.
"There is more awareness in SA now that toy rental is an alternative to buying new toys and that the play-learn-return ethos just makes sense in parents' minds," said Toy Club's Lyneve Pieterse.
Pieterse has also received requests for vouchers from families visiting from the UK and Australia.
"We have a family arriving from Australia, whom we are getting toys ready for and we have a granny that signed up for her two grandsons arriving from the UK.
"We all know how crazy it is to pack toys on top of your luggage allowance."