Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Gifting for the Kids
It's always amazing to me how quickly Christmas approaches. There's such a build up every single year and what always seems so faraway mid-November ends up creeping up so quickly. It doesn't help that we have all these countdown reminders at every turn in our house - a dwindling red and green paper chain in Cruz's room, a Santa ornament counting down the very minutes 'til Christmas, and an advent house looking a little sparse these days. With just ten days left of this holiday season and another finals' week end in sight, I'm making lists, checking them twice, and sitting back ready to take in all the magic of the next week and a half. I will not let it pass me by...
One of my favorite parts of the holiday is of course picking out special gifts for all my people, especially my little people. It seems so many people view this feat as a task, a big job to get done all at once with a Black Friday marathon or one big fat bill to Blaine's Toy Land. I approach gift giving differently. I start lists early (like early fall) with a google document of everyone's name that I typically buy for. Cruz and Mila, parents and grandparents, nieces, nephews, daycare teachers, neighbors, and anyone else we want to surprise that year. Then, I savor the gift-buying process for the rest of the season, using a Pinterest "gifting" board to collect pictures and links of random things I don't want to forget, taking pictures on my cell phone of unique toys I discover in a random store, and scrolling through Amazon's Hot Toy list to see what new inventive things have made the list this year. After a couple months of collecting lots of ideas and buying those absolute must-haves when I see them, I then sit down to curate a memorable package of gifts that are unique, creative, and personal to the recipient.
The gifting philosophy I strive for is unique, personal, and thoughtful. I want the kids' packages to tell a story of exactly who they are the year they receive them, and include unique and quality items that are going to stand the test of time. I tend to cluster a few items in a box that fit a theme or shine a light on a specific trait I love about my kids, trying to preserve a piece of them in the giving itself. That's what makes the hunt for the gift just as rewarding as watching them open it. I really try to not buy things just for the sake of buying them, and have found it so much more fun to do my shopping at small businesses, both in town and online, places that put such a personal touch their products.
I also love how certain traditions come to be. We have two gifts we always do that I look forward to putting together for the kids. We always do an ornament and Christmas movie package for the kids on the first of December, and my favorite, a special Christmas Eve box with a new pair of Christmas pajamas to wear to bed and a new Christmas book to read together before bed. Christmas Eve is full of so much magic and I want to preserve it as much as I can for them. I want them to look forward to church and holding those candles as we single Silent Night. I want them to get lost thinking about that first Christmas night when Baby Jesus was born in a manger. I want them to tiptoe around our Christmas tree-lit house, with Jimmy Stewart's voice in the background, and get lost in the anticipation of it all. I look forward to years of new pajamas unwrapped and new books read before bed and hope the kids grow up to love that box as a tradition they want to pass down to their babies.
Cruz has talked about the Gingerbread Man nonstop this month and I know he's going to love reading this book. And I cannot wait to see them both in their jammies and furry boots!
As a way to document a few of my surprises I can't wait to put under the tree, and also for last minute gift ideas you might be seeking, I've included a few of my favorite shops, as well as gift ideas for the year. I also love handmade gifts, curated baskets of goodies, and will be sharing one of my favorites later this week.
Peekaboo Baby // I have shopped at this little store in downtown Cedar Falls for years and always walk away with the cutest gift ideas for kids. This year, I scored a Justice League Doodles book for Cruz, the highly raved about game, Pengoloo, for my niece, Charly, the sweetest and softest kitty purse for Mila. My favorite item from Peekabook, though, is the little baby doll I know Mila is going to love. She's small, soft, and infused with baby powder so she smells delicious.
Amazon // I'm assuming this is a no-brainer, but my Amazon Prime account is getting a lot of screen time these days. With free two-day shipping on almost everything, and amazing deals on electronics, books, and toys, it's hard to beat these days. I'm loving this road tape as a stocking stuffer, and know Mila is going to love her ice cream treat duplos set. But most of all, we cannot wait to see Cruz's face when he meets BB-8, an app-enabled droid that won thee best toy of year in pretty much everything. Cruz has been a Star Wars fanatic this year and I wasn't sure I would get my hands on a droid, but lo and behold, he arrived at our doorstep last week.
Sarah + Abraham // I have loved purchasing personalized dinnerware for my own kids, as well as nieces and nephews from Sarah + Abraham. The quality is excellent, you can personalize with not only their name, but a sweet little caricature of them. There are plates, bowls, and cups, and even personalized puzzles to add to their collection. I love these superhero versions of our twin nieces, and plan to fill their package with all their favorite snacks to go along with their new place settings.
My Sweet Muffin // I am a sucker for this adorable store and all their Maileg toys, especially the bunny and the mice collection. I got Mila the ballerina bunny, and we already have Big Brother mouse and Little Sister mouse, gifted to the kids when Mila was born and Cruz earned the title big brother.
HABA Toys // Finally, I love HABA toys. I'm having a Tea for Two birthday party for Mila next month, and loved getting her a few tea time toys for Christmas. I love the quality and detail of this pastry tower and the plush petit fours, and know she'll (we'll) love to play with them for years to come.
Ten days left to shop! I am done and look forward to lots of nights wrapping, with eggnog and sugar cookies and Jimmy Stewart's voice serenading me while I work!