I'm not quite sure if I've been this excited about Christmas since I was a little girl. Now that Ryder is old enough to really get the concept of Santa (and hopefully, and more importantly, the birth of baby Jesus, right? Real meaning here, people!) Now, back to Santa...I really get now that being on the other end of Santa game is just as, if not more fun. However, it has been so very difficult for me to keep up the charade! Poor Ryder is going to know that Santa Clause isn't real at 3 years-old if I'm not careful.

However, it's tricky, getting your tykes something they'll love. Toy buying for me has always been stressful. I can not tell you the hours I'll spend in aisles of toys trying to find something that they'll love. Love as in they'll still want to play with it after two weeks. I can't stand throwing $20-$40 at a piece of plastic that will just sit in a corner taking up space.

Well, like I said, I'm excited--not stressed because due to an on-top-of-it sister who planned a very productive shopping excursion, I'm almost done. With R and P's stuff, anyway.  Autumn and I like to envision ourselves during the month of December sitting on the couch sipping hot cocoa and watching White Christmas while everyone else looks for a parking space at Costco. It's a good dream. But most likely I'll be in line at Costco with everyone else. But again--back to Santa. So in my few years as a parent I'm starting to learn a few tricks of the trade, if you will. Here are a few:

1. Have a sister who spends hours on researching the best, most popular toys. I told her next year I am going to call her around mid-November and ask, "So what are we getting our kids this year?" If you want to do the same, let me know and I'll get you her number. If I had to choose, I'd say this was our (her) pick for the season:

Why: They are a classic, well-made toy that kids never get tired of. This toy was got 208 reviews that averaged 5 stars. Plus, they have a really cool architectural set that goes along with it. 

2. If they need batteries, then go to Costco and buy in bulk (or get a charger) because they will need to be replaced OFTEN. Maybe it's just my son, but he'll be running a battery operated toy and then a few minutes later, he'll be doing something else, but that still runnin'. I'm trying to steer clear of such toys in general. Mostly because I'm a hideous mom and fail miserably at replacing batteries. Plus, I find all the blinky-blinky, noise making of it all a bit chaotic and they lack longevity in attention and quality. But granted some REALLY cool toys need batts.
 Something tells me this one needs batts.
3. I also love the idea of hand-made gifts. I'm hoping to make my neice and nephews a little somethin' somethin' this year (which shall be revealed after Christmas, if I succeed). I've also had the fabric cut and ready to go to make bean bags like these for Penny. I'm also a huge fan of putting an artist's kit together. I got one of those for Christmas when I was like 7 and I still remember it being one of my favorite gifts as a child. I've also thought of putting together a dress up kit (ie pirate clothes, hat, fake coins in a painted treasure chest that you can get at most craft stores.) And even bigger plus, is that these gifts usually are a bit more economical than others.
 Quiet books make amazing hand-made gifts. Although they are quality and special, they're usually not the cheapest/easy route to go. You can find more about this one here.

4. I know I'm dreaming when I envision shelves filled with classic, wooden, toys that encourage imaginative play and will last until my babies have babies, but dream I shall. I also feel there is something about a room messy with quality wooden/hand-made toys that is a little less daunting than a room full of the plastic, blinky-blinkey noise-makers. Which is why I love Melissa & Doug. FAO Shwartz have some really great wooden, material-made items as well. And I'm pretty sure it's better for our environment:)  Here are a couple of cool ones...

What about you? What do you want to get your kids? What are your toy preferences and tips? I mean in the end, it's really all about us, right?


  1. Its nice to finely be recognized for my amazing toy finding abilities...(hardly). :)

    blinkey, blinkey, noise makers makes me laugh.

  2. So true it's about us. Just like decorating a nursery or the clothes they "need". Isn't that funny? I'm ok with it.

  3. Oh, I remember the days of toys (with some longing I might add)! Teen-agers want gift cards and I learned with the first one I'll end up returning things if I don't. How do you make gift cards fun for Christmas morning? No fun for me that's for sure.

  4. I am so with you on this. I love classic and wooden toys. Imagination rocks! I think I'm going to get Eli one of these for Christmas:

    It looks so strange, but in most of the reviews people LOVE it and love the imagination it requires.

    Have you heard of Automoblox? They are expensive but super cool and really well-made. They're a little old for Eli but we've gotten him a few and he still likes them. In a few years I think he'll get the full fun out of them as he mixes and matches them more.

    Anyway, I'm just with you on everything about this post. So excited for Christmas this year!

  5. Have you ever checked out this blog?

    He comes up with the best natural handmade toys that I think kids would just love!!

  6. I love wooden toys. We have 200 blocks and some wooden trains, but my boys have managed to break some of the axles on the trains, so that was a little disappointing! I think this year I am going to make them a teepee, so they can sleep and play in it if they want to! Ev is really into tents and such. Rex says you can't have a teepee without bows and arrows, so probably have to find some of those too! Good luck!