I think most parents begin with such good intentions regarding Christmas gifts. “I won’t be buying too much, not too frivolous, too ridiculous or too plastic craptastic. Oh no, not for my little cherub…”
Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read…and all that. All good intentions. I genuinely hope to stick to this ethos this year, Eleanor’s second Christmas, but honestly? If it all goes a bit pear shaped that’s ok. Last year I very purposefully bought her a modest sized Santa sack to do her whole childhood. We have also decided to go with a system where Mummy and Daddy get her a gift, her ‘main’ Christmas gift (along the lines of a cubby house, a rocking horse, a dollhouse etc) with the big bloke in red filling her Santa sack with assorted smaller items.
I have had a few people with similar aged little people to Eleanor ask me what I had bouncing around in my brain for Christmas gifts. So here is a peek between my ears right now…
Table and chairs – this will be the ‘main’ gift this year from Mummy and Daddy. I did consider a play kitchen, a dollhouse or a teepee but at this age (Eleanor will be 18 months at Christmas) I thought she will definitely get the most use in the coming months out of a little person sized table and chairs, for drawing and play dough and eating snacks at. It’s also on the ‘I was going to buy anyway’ list, which is pretty much how I do my Christmas/birthday shopping! Going to end up getting it at some point? Might as well be a gift! Something she needs. I also think imaginative play items like the dollhouse and kitchen could be great 2nd or 3rd birthday gifts, or next Christmas, so would like to keep them up my sleeve (and let’s face it, Eleanor’s not going to have much of a clue about this Christmas, so boring present it is!) This table and chairs pictured is from Hip Kids, I have my eye on the Jasper table as I really want a table with storage for art and crafty things.
Dolls cradle – I actually picked up a very similar dolls cradle at a friends garage sale earlier in the year, and have it stashed away for Christmas. Eleanor already has the Moover pram which she
lovingly places throws her baby doll in and trundles around the house with gusto. I have such a soft spot for anything Maileg though…
Stacking boxes – Truth be told these were on the first birthday gift idea list, but never eventuated. A friend with older girls has told me these got a lot of use – building them up and smashing them down for hours. I think they will get more use as Eleanor stands and walks more. Her most played with toy of her life so far has been her set of stacking cups (from Ikea), these are just on a super sized toddler level! And the gorgeous garden illustrations don’t hurt Mummy’s eyes.
Wooden animal puzzle – Again, probably more for Mummy’s eyes! I do love the look of the natural timber animal shapes (and clever design fitting neatly together), but wooden puzzles in general are on the list as Eleanor’s fine motor skills build. She also has an ark which I’m sure all these animals would feel right at home in.
Xylophone – Another first birthday gift idea which went by the wayside! Eleanor does have a music set, with a drum, trumpet and maracas, but no xylophone. And…rainbow!
Colours book – Books, books, books! I used to say children could never have enough books…well, I’ll have to amend that: children can never have enough good books. Eleanor does have lots of books, true. But only a handful are read again and again and again. There is much to be said about a good children’s book. She has so far learnt her animal sounds through a great board book with animals in it, this colours book looks similar for more advanced toddler skill building.
Embossing rolling pin – I’d like to stuff some art/craft/play dough bits and bobs in Eleanor’s Santa sack to complement the ‘main’ table and chairs gift. Cookie cutters are always winners, crinkle cutters and rollers. This rolling pin with embossed cars on it is very cool (and could be used in the kitchen too for car cookies!)
Tractor – Eleanor has the matching ice-cream truck in this series, and it has been one of her most used toys. I realised recently though that (shock horror!) she is bereft of a tractor! I know. This is definitely going on the ‘shove down the chimney list’.
Straw hat – Something to wear. I recently bought Eleanor a very practical wide brimmed Toshi hat with ties…but this sweet straw hat is a bit too gorgeous and Eleanor-esque to pass up. Perfect for Summer picnics when we’re already in the shade.
Bamboo dinnerware set – We’re slowly but surely moving a bit away from ‘chuck everything on Eleanor’s high chair tray’ and she’ll now love to pick bits and pieces out of a bowl in front of her. Spoon wielding and drinking out of a cup is yet to come, but in preparation I actually already bought this Love Mae set, which I’d had my eye on for awhile. I had a similar segmented plate as a wee one and remember loving it. I am also a firm believer that not everything in Eleanor’s Santa sack has to be a toy, going back to the ‘something she needs’ theory, and something I was going to buy anyway!
Animals (hippo, pony, pig) – Little animals of various species are always welcome. Eleanor loves her ark (a Little People hand-me-down) and loading the animals in. We’re missing some farmy friends though, and I’m always partial to a Schleich animal. Unfortunately Tessa thought our sheep and goat Anamalz were quite tasty, so I’d like to replace them, Eleanor loved their moveable limbs. EverEarth, a favourite toy brand of mine, also does a lovely looking set of safari animals.
Red barn – This is a bit of a ‘main’ gift from Mummy and Daddy, I didn’t realise just how big it was! This one is made by Schleich, but I have also seen them by Melissa and Doug and other toy makers. A farm set of some sorts is definitely on the cards, if not for this Christmas then for Eleanor’s 2nd birthday (there will definitely be a set of yards like this somewhere in our future!)
Jelly sandals – A pair of Summer staple shoes for walking! I’m assuming Eleanor will be walking by Christmas…or very close, and will spend her Summer walking (running?!) playing and jumping in some comfy jelly sandals, these mint green ones will do nicely.
Tea set – My bestie gifted Eleanor a similar tea set in a gorgeous suitcase for her baptism, but so far it has sat atop her wardrobe waiting for her to really enjoy the tea parties. I think that time is coming! So if you have a similar aged pikinini to Eleanor a tea set would be a perfect Christmas gift.
Do you have a set system when it comes to Santa gifts? I’d love to know how other families do it. Or how many or how few gifts are given. I know Eleanor will be receiving gifts from family and friends so I try to keep what we give her minimal, but throughout the year I also have random thoughts of what she’d like and pop it on a list on my phone. Just please don’t tell me you’re one of those people who has done their Christmas shopping in May…