Children opening gifts

Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation

2 of 10
Tip 2: Ask Other Parents for Suggestions
Ask parents who've been there and done that. People who have kids older than yours may have ideas about which gifts, in retrospect, were a universal hit. Assuming that your kids don't have their hearts set on a specific thing, this is a good strategy for success.

At one point, we had five kids under the age of 7, with the eldest being 6 (yeah, we've heard the jokes). We wanted to get something that would be fun for the group. A friend had kids who were a few years older, and she noticed that they loved the Fisher Price pirate ship. This was a well-received toy by our kids—an instant hit—and it was enjoyed for more than a decade. We later bought the Fisher Price castle, the princess joined the pirates on their ship, and it was all a lot of fun. Although some more classic toys like Lincoln Logs ended up being turned into weapons and lost, the castle and the pirate ship endured.