Happy Sunday, friends! What a festive, fun-filled weekend it’s been for my family. Today’s post is coming a little later than usual because of all of the time we’ve been spending together. I hope you’ve been able to soak up some time with your loved ones as well.
If there is a secret weapon to being a mama, I’d say it’s Pinterest. Pinterest holds a treasure trove of ideas ranging from the simple-do-now-achievable to intense-complex-failures. I’ve been the victim to some fairly epic Pinterest Fails in my brief time of motherhood, but who hasn’t? Overall, I find this resource to be far more helpful than detrimental. And something that started here is The Gift of Four:
I can’t say I stick to this. I try to, but so far it hasn’t been just four things. We only have our one girl and I tend to start shopping early and things kind of spiral. I black out and then December comes and I have a closet stuffed with gifts. I think we may actually save some of them for next year at this point…
So, I’m going to share some specifics about what we purchased for Caleigh in these four categories in the hopes that it helps you if you need to shop for a toddler (1-5ish). I’d love to hear your favorite gifts to buy for the kiddies in your life!
1. Something They Want:
Last year after Christmastime, Caleigh verbally told us that Santa was going to bring her a “Jeep”. I swear to you, she DID NOT FORGET. All year we heard about this Jeep. At first, it was Frozen themed and then it became Disney Princess. She has not stopped talking about this. She told us if Santa brought it for her, she would always share it with Remmy and Zoey. So, this little number will be her final gift this Christmas and I think she is going to explode with excitement.
I also purchased this Beauty and the Beast Tea Cart for her a LONG time ago when Toys R Us was going out of business. If you know Cal, then you know her love for Belle is an ongoing intense obsession. This also means we can get rid of a leaky Frozen tea set that is taking up space in her play kitchen.
Personally, I find this category to be the most fun because it’s also the least restricting. Last Christmas, we bought her an indoor trampoline because she’d just started gymnastics and we were hoping to better her gross motor skills. She still loves this and it’s served us both inside and outside in the warmer months. She’s gotten much more into the stories of the Disney women (and their music), particularly Belle, this year (see Halloween 2018 featuring town Belle, Princess Belle, and Gaston).
This is also a category where you can be sneaky and ask what they want Santa to bring them. Toddlers usually tell the truth here, I’ve found, so go ahead and ask!
2. Something They Need
I know this is a practical idea, but ugh. I don’t like to give gifts of need unless it’s for a specific purpose. I like whimsy and giving something you wouldn’t treat yourself to. When you ask my dad what he wants for Christmas, he ALWAYS says, “I don’t need anything” <– an infuriating answer. This is my least favorite category in general, but I think it can be really helpful for kids. Or more accurately, for their parents.
If you are buying for a baby, my advice is to skip the soft toy and spend your money where it will be appreciated: diapers, wipes, bath products, lotion, a backpack diaper bag, bath towels. I know this may seem boring, but not having to purchase these items is SUCH A RELIEF. We used a particular brand of diaper that we loved, but was expensive. Caleigh has super sensitive skin, so her bath and lotion brand, Mustela, cost us $20+ every time it needed replacing. Having a backup diaper bag ready is a necessity for the many poopsplosions that inevitability happen.
For a toddler, the needs are similar: an endless supply of undies, socks, facecloths, bath products, lotion, detangler, hooded bath towels, toothbrushes, vitamins, bedsheets. Many of these will be featured in Cal’s stocking this year from Santa!
3. Something to Wear
For us, pajamas could fall under Need and Wear. I swear my child grows 2 inches every day. Her pajamas are always in need of replacement because of how quickly she stretches. Once her little tummy is out and her pants are capris, we know it’s time to size up. We can ALWAYS use pjs!
We were lucky enough to get a snowsuit for her birthday in October, but if you live in colder climates, this can be something that’s overlooked. It makes a great gift paired with a little saucer sled!
Because we are traveling to Disney in February, we also purchased a few themed outfit days. Of course, they two I bought today are both Belle since we’ll be in Magic Kingdom more than once. I know we’re also going to want a Cinderella cosplay or dress, too, because we’ll be having dinner in her castle. And I have two Minnie outfits that will likely become travel day clothes. It seemed like we’d NEVER need clothes when she was a baby because of how generous people are, but the older she gets, the less we have, so I am always appreciative of something Cal can wear! If you are planning on purchasing, be sure to check sizes and not assume the child you’re buying for is exactly in their age range AND please, please, please don’t spend a ton. While specialty items are lovely, toddlers are potty training and playing outside. THEY WILL BE RUINED AND REPLACED. Think durability and climate.
Like pajamas, we are also frequently buying shoes with the growing of her feet. Parents LOVE shoe gifts especially if they don’t have laces! Think snowboots, cute sneakers, and zip boots!
4. Something to Read
Another favorite category! My highly recommended children’s books are:
- Julian is a Mermaid – Julian sees women on the subway dressed up and when he gets home, he creates his own fabulous mermaid costume while wondering what his Abuela will think when she sees him. A vibrant story of a boy who is figuring himself out and questioning how the world perceives him.
- Mae Among the Stars – a beautiful picture book inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison.
- Hello Lighthouse – As the seasons pass, you will see life through the lighthouse keeper’s eyes and logbook.
- The Day You Begin – The message here is all about courage and tenacity. It’s something all children should experience!
- Petra – Petra is a little rock who believes she can be anything! I love the artwork in this book and again, the message about who you are and point of view.
There are SO many options in this area, including even a first library card or a subscription to a service to have books/children’s magazines delivered. We bought Cal two books featuring attractions in Disney to acclimate her to them before we get there.
Really anything can fit into one of these four categories, which is kind of the beauty of them. The idea is quality over quantity and spending your hard earned dollars on something useful that’ll last a while. The children’s toy industry is PACKED with a range of quality, so know before you buy!
I hope this was helpful for you, particularly if you’re buying for someone else’s child. Have a restful evening and I’ll see you tomorrow for more of this incredible season.