Chrismas can be overwhelming for parents and kids. I like to find gifts that allow the family to contribute to (additional pieces, rooms, etc), This seems to be less overwhelming for Zoe and it makes our list for her easier. Ironically, when Jen P. did this post last year, she said the same thing so it must be a good idea!
As with last year’s list, dollhouses are still on the top. I loved the WestPort House from Potterybarn Kids. They didn’t have it last Christmas, but they brought it back this year. They also have the Townhouse, School and others. Last year, I searched eBay and found one that was almost identical and 2/3 the price. I asked family members to buy rooms for the house so that she would have all of the pieces. You can sometimes find those on eBay for a little bit less, especially this year.
Jen mentioned the following houses last year: Ryan’s Room, Home Again, Home Again-A-Frame for around $100. I also like the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Dollhouse for $80-ish or a smaller version (Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Fold & Go) for $50-ish. Melissa & Doug also sells cool rooms and dolls separately.
Dress-up clothes are always a hit for girls. Target usually has a hat box set that is filled with shoes, tutus and all kinds of clothes to build the perfect dress up outfit. Toys & Co has beautiful gowns and Disney princess versions.
Bitty Babies from American are great for girls 3-5. Other relatives can buy clothes or accessories. A great idea is matching nightgowns.
My girls love music and Zoe wants a Hello Kitty CD Player. I found one at Costco for $10 cheaper than Target. Now Santa can stuff her stocking with CD’s. Jen’s Santa makes a special cd mix customized just for her kids – huge hit!
Leapster is another gift that Jen mentioned last year, and everyone can pitch in to buy a game. Comes in pink for girls and there is green for boys.
Leap Frog Tag is a great new gift for kids learning to read. Children read aloud by dragging a pen over words. Additional books are sold separately which make nice gifts from others.
Zoe also loves to play games. We play Candy Land and Memory almost every night. So I am going to look into some other old school games like Perfection, Sorry, Jr. Boggle and Pre-school Uno. We also love puzzles, and Melissa and Doug have wonderful puzzles for kids this age.
Three-year-olds are also ready for their first 3-wheeler scooter. You can find a bunch of them on Amazon. For girls, there is a cheap princess one or you can order a Kettler version in primary colors. 4- or 5-year-olds can get their first Razor scooter with helmet and elbow/knee pads. And 3-year-olds may be ready for their first 10″ bike and 4/5 year olds would need a 16″ bike.
Another fun gift is a digital camera for little ones. Vtech makes a great one that hooks up to the computer so that kids can download their pictures and play games. I also saw in a Little Tikes catalog that they have video camera for kids this year.
A great year-round gift is a personalized lunch box. Alphabet Soup, Lands End, etc. have great flavors!
Thomas or Brio wooden trains are great. We would not recommend the plastic versions. Melissa and Doug also make wooden track that you can buy for $1-$3 a piece and build your own track. These are available at toy boutiques like Toys & Co.
I have been told by one of my friends with a 4-year-old, anything superhero is a hit. Look for Spiderman, Superman, Batman and Speedracer this season.
And finally activity gift certificates are a great idea, especially from Grandparents. YMCA dance/gymnastics/sports programs, Jami Masters School of Dance, Music Together of Charlotte, My Gym, Little Gym, Charlotte Jr. Gym, etc.
And please check out Dana’s article on wooden toys. We all should consider putting more green into our gift-giving.
So where do you find all of this stuff locally? As we mentioned above, Alphabet Soup for personalized gifts. Toys & Co.and Bedford Falls carry great selection of Melissa and Doug toys. You can find most electronics and bikes/scooters at at Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Costco, BJ’s, and Amazon.com.
Happy shopping! More to come on gift ideas for other ages!
Dont’t Forget our very Smarty Giveaway! A $925 shopping spree at the shops at Morrison. Click Here to enter this giveaway, it will end on Wednesday 12/10 at 11pm! Morrison Shops are located on the corner of Sharon Road and Colony Road in the heart of SouthPark.
Two games that are a favorite in our house are zingo and hiss. Both are easy to play, dont take to long to finish and our 3 year old can do them well and the older child likes them too. Hiss is a little card game where you are making snakes and matching the colors up and when you finish a snake but either putting the head or tail on it you get to keep the snake and the one with the most at the end wins. Super fun!
Playmobil is an enormous hit with our 4 year old boy. He will play with it for hours. We also love the kids Cranium games. Hullabaloo is very fun and keeps the kids moving.
Legos are a hit with my two boys (ages 2 and 4). You just have to be careful with the small lego pieces and small children.
AC Moore is the place to buy your Thomas the trains. Watch your Sunday paper for the 50% off coupons. IF the trains are not already on sale…you can use the coupon. I have saved a lot collecting them for Christmas.
I will second the Hullabaloo. My neice got it several years ago when she was 3 I think – now when ever we go visit it is a hit and my kids are 10, 11, and 15. They all love it and it is a great family or friend game.
for trains, we love GeoTrax! easy for little kids to put together and endless layouts for mom and dad to try and come up with. also a great gift for family members to add on to…
I agree… GeoTrax are the preferred train set in our home. We had Thomas and others and finally decided to focus on “growing” our Geo collection. Much easier for little hands to put together and keep together!
We love the playmobil as well, keep them occupied for hours! They make a playmobil 1.2.3 version for younger kids & my almost 2 year olds sets up the animals, people & vehicles for at least an hour everyday. They are harder to find, you may have to look online, but there are some at Brilliant Sky in Blakeney
My son, just turned 4, loves a new game he received for his birthday called “Rush Hour”. I think there are two versions – one for younger and for older kids. Boys or Girls would enjoy this game since it about solving a puzzle vs. just the cars in the traffic jam. I have gotten a little hooked myself!
Love, love, love your ideas and links!! Most of these little gifts can be modified for the holidays too with the substitution of red and green for the ribbons and other trimmings.Thanks for sharing!
I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.
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