Christmas Gift Ideas

The countdown has begun, the toy catalogues are showing up in the mail, the kids are yelling “I want that!”  at literally every commercial and I have started to figure out how I’m going to budget in fun toys for each of my four kids for Christmas.    As a mom my job is to figure out what each kid wants for Christmas, research best prices, research reviews if the toy is good or ridiculously dumb and figure out how to purchase and wrap everything in secret.   The place I start is typically with TARGETs toy catalogue. The kids know this is my favorite store and I also have the Target app on my phone. I literally hand my phone to my older two so they can search the toys online and add items to my cart.   I let them know these cart items are building a list for Santa. They also go through the catalogue and circle, or my favorite, post-it note the items they want. My daughter this year had literally 40 post-it notes in the catalogue (I REALLY need to limit the amount of post-its I give her!).   We had to go through the list probably 5 times before I convinced her to pair her list down to her top 10! My kids realize Christmas is NOT all about the presents. We start right after Halloween every year and clean out closets and toy bins. Each kid needs to donate toys to the needy and choose toys for their new “wish” list that they will actually use/play with!

I thought I’d share a few top toys in case you are starting to research top 2018 toys

0-12months

Plush Security Blanket – Christmas stuffed animals are always fun for little ones and offers great comfort from the soft plush material.

Play Mat – Perfect for a baby who is still laying on their backs.

Peekaboo Bear – Super cute, soft and plays peekaboo with your baby while you are making dinner or cleaning.

Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube – This is an educational toy that has colorful buttons for baby to push and hear musical instruments play.

Ball Pit – For babies who can sit (typically 6m+) Choose a ball pit that is soft and offers and easy to clean up option.    Fun for babies but, be prepared to have these fun little balls be everywhere but, IN the pit. My kids loved these but, I felt like I was busy picking up these balls all the time.   

Skip Hop Hedgehog Accordion Toy – This toy is easy to push, pull, and make music.  This is great to work baby’s fine motor skills.

Kid O Activity Board – Great to teach cause and effect.   Turn the dial to hear a heartbeat sound and press a button to hear a bee buzz and vibrate slowly or quickly to name a few!

Mirari Juballees – Looks very simple but, offers many playing options including splitting the balls to mix/match, using as mini maracas, linking, rolling, and stacking!

1yr – 3 yr

Toot-Toot Friends Kingdom Pirate Ship – Interactive pirate ship that opens up to reveal a treasure island.  This ship has a cannon that shoots cannon balls, has a trap door and a spinning octopus.  Comes with a few characters and has lights and sounds that you can also turn OFF!

Nella the Princess Knight Talk & Sing – Soft doll with movable head.   This doll says 10 phrases and sings the theme to Nella the Princess Knight.

Ty Sequin Flippables – My daughter is obsessed with these big eyed stuffed animals! When she sees that there are 11 new collectibles I’m sure these will also be a part of her list.   These dolls come with the “sequin flip”. Pet your doll and “flip” the sequin to change the color.   

Sylvanian Families Grand Department Store Gift Set – Great detail including a revolving front door, elevator and balcony.  Like a cute little doll house for animals!

Paw Patrol Rescue Ultimate Fire Truck Playset – this is my twins interest this year and I “suggested” my mom/dad buy this for them!   Actually I just ordered it and sent it to their house to wrap before they sell out. This firetruck is equipped with a 2ft extendable ladder, a mini fire car and flashing lights/sounds.  Comes with a Marshall figure, water ‘plumes’ to fire from the water cannon, a hose, and a grabbing claw.

Flipazoo – This is a cute stuffed animal that you can “flip” and reveal another animal.  Cuddly, cute and good for all ages!

4yr – 6yr

Fingerling Untamed Dinos – These dinos are slightly bigger than last years monkey fingerling craze and respond to motion and sound.   They respond with growls and roars for those dino loving kids!

Elasti Plasti – Slime is no fun for any mom but, if your kids are like mine they LOVE it.  This version of slime is actually really cool and get this it is NON-STICKY! It is expandable by 100 times and you can blow bubbles with it!

Pikmi Pops – These are brightly colored lollipop style surprise balls.   Some of these have multiple surprises such as stickers, lanyards and plush toys.   Some are HUGE stuffed animals. There are many different sizes and varieties. These toys are honestly very cute and a bonus is they smell fabulous!  No joke –they are scented!

Crate Creatures – There are 6 of these monsters to collect and they make 45 different sounds.   Your child can have fun while “unboxing” these with the crowbar provided. These are not too large and good for smaller hands to carry around and enjoy.

Shopkins Hairdorables –These dolls come with BIG hair and 11 different surprises.  There are 36 different dolls to collect!

Chow Crown Game – This game is recommended for 5+ but, honestly I think even if you didn’t have kids you would have fun with this game!   This game comes with a hat you wear that plays music and spins…..all while the wearer needs to try to eat all of the attached treats.   You choose your own snack and enjoy some laughs.

LEGO DUPLO Cargo Train – Very cute and colorful.   Includes a harbor, boat, café, loading station, 2 cranes, 3 Duplo figures and track pieces.

Hatchables – These are little eggs that you hatch by holding in your hand until the purple heart turns pink then the shell is ready to crack.   There are over 100 to collect. These are small, cute and affordable. If you have a COSTCO near you they have a good deal on a large set of these this year.  

7yr – 9yr

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express – I haven’t been able to find any reviews on how many legos are actually in this kit but, if your kid likes Harry Potter and Legos consider this a win.  This set comes with a train and 5 mini figures!

Monopoly ‘Cheaters’ edition – makes the game a bit more challenging and fun by allowing for fake dice rolls, stealing bills for the bank and even skipping rent.   Possibly not the best things to teach a kid which is why it’s suggested for 8 years and up as they can understand this is a GAME!

GraviTrax Starter Set – This is like a modern day marble run and is super cool.  You can make your own tracks or use the tasks/blueprints included.  

Nerf Laser Alpha – Great light and sound effects.   You can sync these to a phone to track your performance.   Even your husband will think these are fun!

Electric Kids Scooter – My son loves his electric scooter and as soon as he got comfortable with it he “flew’ down the sidewalk.  My daughter on the other hand was terrified of her electric scooter and falling off. So as a parent think of each child and make sure they are safely prepared to ride on this type of scooter – there is nothing wrong with the good old fashioned foot powered push scooters!

There are many many many new toys out there!   If you don’t even know where to start here are a few ideas.    Hand your kids a chart with 10 boxes, a toy catalogue, scissors (if they are old enough) and glue.   They can cut out their top 10 toys/choices and glue them in order of importance! You can try handing your child a toy catalogue and a limited amount of post-it notes to mark their choices.   Another idea is to hand them your phone (for the older kiddos!) and have them add items only to your cart to make shopping a tad easier for you! Remember Christmas is a beautiful time of year and spending time with your family, baking cookies, singing, watching movies and playing in the snow (if you have it) make it magical time of year.  Try not to get caught up in the stress of picking out just the right toy – hopefully this list has helped give you a few ideas.

 

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Mom of Twins and Two more

Moms of Twins may live longer according to some studies……what about ME a mom of one 9 year old boy, one 7 girl old girl and twin 2 year old identical boys? I’m living…….FOREVER! First let’s think of the word BLOG – it’s a funny word and honestly if I told my parents I had one they would think I had some sort of illness. Let me start this by saying my main profession and schooling is not necessarily in writing BUT, I do write many technical communication/training manuals for my full-time job and at home I write many post-it notes, silly messages and reminder messages(that I always seem to forget to read). Like many moms I have a busy, busy, busy life but, I also realize that if I can HELP someone then I am more than happy to try! I am not an expert – trust me if I were I’d get paid WAY more money and would be able to go on a vacation that doesn’t include a kiddy waterpark as the highlight. I am also not perfect – I find myself on occasion driving to work realizing I have two different color heels on. BUT, I do know I am a mom who is happy and ready to share my experiences and help other moms!