The 2013 Smarty Holiday Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold and Park Road Shopping Center. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve!
‘Tis the season to be merry…and spoil the little ones. There are so many options out there and that’s where we come in. Smarties, we’re here to make your holiday shopping easier for you! Here are some of our favorite tried and true gifts for ages 0-2 years. Mom-sourced, kid-approved!
My childhood Christmases were pure magic. I remember setting microphones up to alarm clocks to wake my parents, dressing up in homemade costumes for the nativity and sipping hot cocoa among piles of wrapping paper. Those memories are some of my nearest and dearest. In all of my hopes and dreams about being a parent, creating joyful Christmas memories tops the list. I already have visions of my daughter opening her gifts this year… and I must stop before I get too emotional. It’s going to be magical!
But I must confess, I have one stipulation when it comes to choosing gifts for kids 0-2…I must like the gift as much as my child. Since my 18-month old hasn’t quite mastered the skill of writing letters to Santa, I am vetoing anything that sings, requires batteries, or is otherwise annoying. Let’s face it, I only have a solid 2-3 years to have a say in the matter so I might as well make the most of it.
When it comes to gifts for babies – I say keep it simple! As hard as it is not to buy our pride and joy everything darling in the aisles of Target, we try to remember that we have a lifetime to build our toy supply. Let’s pace ourselves!
Here are my top 10 picks for the babies in your life!
1. Hanna Andersson Pajamas. Christmas jammies are a family tradition and what better PJ’s than Hanna Andersson? They get softer with every wash, don’t have snap buttons and are extremely durable. Last year my family had these matching stripes and it made for the cutest family photo. Bonus, Hanna Andersson has a store in Southpark Mall now!
2. Basic Blocks. Since we are trying to build our toy collection, I want to start with the basics – like good ‘ole fashion wood blocks. I love the brand Plan Toys, they are sustainable, basic and call upon kids’ creativity to operate. Luckily, our local shop Toys and Co. carries them. We (or should I say Santa) are going to start with this basic set this year and I can hardly wait!
3. Land of Nod Plush Toys. Most Land of Nod items are out of my price range, but their plush toys tend to be pretty reasonable. We love our Hello Doll that is soft, darling and washable! They have adorable options for both boys and girls. I am in love with the plush fire hydrant for a boy!
4. Babies First Ornament. I searched high and low for a classy first ornament. I want to create a tradition of getting an ornament or two to represent every year. Pottery Barn has some great and affordable options for ornaments! These gold booties are only $8 and are just the tip of the iceberg of their options.
5. Olivia Helps with Christmas Toys. When I spotted this Olivia toy at Toys and Co I knew it was a must. We love the Olivia board books at our house and I just learned they have a Christmas book to add to our collection. I love giving books for the holidays because they never go out of style.
6. Twig Creative Cameras. I am always in Annie’s face with my camera, which naturally means she is always begging to break hold said camera. When I spotted these on a popular blog, I knew I couldn’t resist. Start snapping Annie! (PS. Check out the instagram camera – to die for!)
7. Rocking Horse or Ride On. Ride-on toys are always a hit with the babies. I saw this modern spin on the classic rocking horse (done by Plan Toys, of course) and fell in love.
If money grew on trees – I’d love to own this little gem.
8. Wooden Puzzle. Melissa and Doug Toys never disappoints when it comes to wooden puzzles! Again, a classic toy that is perfect for building your family’s collection.
9. Table and Chairs. Since mastering coloring is a fine motor skill we are working on right now, I really want to get her a table and chairs to help protect my grown up furniture. Here are a few I really love.
10. Gifting Experiences. Lastly, this Huffington Post article has been circulating through my Mommy friends and I couldn’t agree more. I am of the belief that “experiences” create a happier life than “things.” This Christmas, we are asking our loved ones to consider gifting experiences. With families spreading across the country, I’d love to see our gift money go to flights, visits to the zoo, museums etc. I also love the idea of grandparents gifting a series of music classes or activties rather than toys. I suggest Music Together of Charlotte, Launch Your Kid Dance Classes, Charlotte Junior Gym, My Gym, The Art Room, Charlotte Swim Academy or Little Otter Swim Classes to name a few.
Merry Christmas everyone (eeeek! Did I just say that?)! I am thrilled to be playing Mrs. Claus this year. I’d love for you to share your photos as you are out “ho, ho, hoing,” as I like to call it. Join us on instagram to spread the holiday cheer!
For all of your gift needs, head over to Toys & Co!
You can find Toys & Co at:
Park Road Shopping Center
Charlotte, NC – 704-527-1921
Mon-Fri 9a-7p, Sat 9a-6p, Sun 12p-6p
Cotswold Village Shops
Charlotte, NC – 704-365-7980
Mon-Sat 9a-9p, Sun 12p-6p