Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas (our favorite toys!)

Only three weeks left to shop!  Is that little fact giving anyone else heart palpitations!?  Several of you have asked me about our favorite toys so I thought I'd share our favorites for those of you who (like me) still have plenty of shopping left to do!  I'm obviously not going to be much help if you are shopping for teenage boys.  But if you have young daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc. to shop for this year, then I'm your girl.  :)  I've found most of these toys for you on Amazon so it will be easy for you to check out the details.  I'm all about on-line shopping this year!  Here are our favorite toys that get played with again and again in no particular order...

A few years ago Santa brought the girls the Barbie Diamond Castle and a Barbie Jammin' Jeep for Christmas.  I'll never forget the looks on their faces when they walked downstairs and saw that jeep in the living room!
  
 A toy that never gets old!  They have driven this thing all over the place and still get so excited when we pull out the jeep to ride.  Ellie is starting to get too big for it, but I know that before long a certain little boy will be hanging in the passenger seat.  Won't Kole look fabulous crusin' in the pink barbie jeep!  In one of Ellie's shirts no doubt.  ;)

Another look at the Barbie Diamond Castle.  I found this on Amazon but they have it listed as over $600.  What!?  We certainly didn't pay that for it (they probably aren't making it anymore) so look around and if you can't find it cheaper (much cheaper!) then go for our other favorite doll house which is the Barbie Pink Three Story Dream Townhouse.  Ellie calls it the "Barbie Hotel Home Escalator" and that's exactly how she wrote it on her Christmas list for Santa last year.  :)  This doll house is really fun.  It has an elevator, the TV pops up, the fire crackles, it sounds like Barbie is singing in the shower.  I would have LOVED something like this when I was little!  Who am I kidding.  I love it now!!  

Here they are so excited to show it off to their Aunt Carly.



Since we're on the subject of doll houses, this is a great one if you are buying for little girls (ages 2 and up).  It's the Fisher Price My First Doll House and it's just the cutest little thing.  Comes with a mom, dad, and baby.  My girls have played so much with this.  It's still one of their favorite doll houses and they've had it for years!  It's just the right size for all of their little Polly Pockets and Disney figurines.  

This is a toy I will never get rid of because it gives me the sweetest memories of my little girls playing for hours together.  My mom had to buy some new toys for various pre-schools she is in charge of and she called me to ask what toys to get.  My first thought was the Fisher Price doll house!   She bought several and the kids love them.  A perfect gift for a little girl.

 If you've read my blog for a while then I'm sure you've seen plenty of My Little Ponies popping up all over our house.  My girls have always loved them and one of their favorite toys is the My Little Pony Ferris Wheel
 Another toy I will never get rid of!  It entertained them when they were 2 and 4 and at ages 5 and 7 they are still loving it.  (Princess Celestia will be popping up Christmas morning this year!)


One of my favorite things I bought my girls was this little Nantucket Collection Table and Chairs.  They use it for everything from coloring/craft projects to tea parties.  Little kids need little tables and chairs.  :)


My girls LOVE playing games and I have to admit...for some reason I love buying them games!  So we have a lot.  :)  Here are some of our favorites that I would recommend:

Lucky Ducks (Kole is especially loving this one right now)
Let's Go Fishin'
Hungry Hippos (what a classic - only played when Kole isn't around - those marbles make me nervous!)
Candy Land (another classic must have)
Pretty Pretty Princess (the pieces to this game drive me nuts, but my girls LOVE it.  They play it all the time.  Amazon has the price high but I bet you can find it at Target for much cheaper!)
Operation
Jenga

When Ellie was a baby Kenny's cute mom bought me this Little Tikes Swing Along Castle for the backyard.  All three of my kids have loved this.  Many hours have been spent climbing and sliding on this toy.  Perfect for a 1-2 year old. 


Or a 2-7 year old.  :)

My mom just bought these Plasma Cars for the grandkids and they have been a HUGE hit.  My girls LOVE zipping around on these things!  I'm tempted to get some to keep here at our house because my kids have so much fun on them.

This is just a simple, Disney Princess Teapot set I bought years ago but I've been surprised how much my girls have played with it!  Nothing like a spot of tea.  Cheers!


Another beloved gift from Kenny's mom.  Every child needs a rocking horse, right?  (I couldn't find this exact one on Amazon.)  You'll notice hula hoops in the background.  My girls love to hula and they are good.  I taught them everything I know.  I'm not kidding about that.  I was a hula hoop champion back in the day.  It's my one claim to fame.  :)  Another fun, in-expensive gift idea.

What would Christmas for a little girl be without a doll?  And we all know nothing quite compares to the American Girl dolls.  Although, I have to say that my girls play with their less expensive Target dolls just as much.

Unfortunately so does their brother.  

Doll clothes are something my girls love to see on Christmas morning.  

You can't go wrong with Disney Princess figurines.

Another Christmas favorite was this Princess Tent the girls got from Santa a few years ago.  It is darling and they have played in this SO many times.  They always beg me to have a sleepover in it and I'm sure at some point I'll cave and let them do it.  It's easy to pop up and down and it folds small and flat.  Love that!  I keep it behind my yellow hutch and then I can easily pull it out and pop it in place.  (I couldn't find the exact one on-line but found one similar that looks really cute!)


Another favorite for the little ones!  We bought this for Ellie's first Christmas (that's her on the left) and all three of my kids have adored this toy.  I can't say enough about it!  It's the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Home and it is THE BEST toy out there for 1-3 year olds.  In my humble opinion.  :)  It has two different modes (learning and music).  If you have the music on, everything makes music.  If you have the learning mode on, it's all about numbers and letters and learning.  It makes darling sounds and my kids love climbing on it and through the door.  It has kept all three of my kids entertained for hours.  Saving this one for the grandkids.  I really love it that much!

Of course we love reading and children's literature around here.  I always get my girls a few new books for Christmas.  Here are some of our favorites:

The Big Hungry Bear
The Fancy Nancy Books
The Empty Pot (a darling story about honesty)
Tops and Bottoms
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (and the rest of that series)
Pinkalicious
Junie B. Jones (series - Ellie is reading them all for the second time now.)
Ramona Quimby (series - My favorites growing up.  I can't wait for my girls to read them!)
Little House on the Prairie (series)
Two of my favorite books for really little ones are The Wheels on the Bus Pop Up Book and Good Morning Good Night (so cute for bedtime).  These are both darling!  You just have to wait until your little one is old enough to not tear the book up.  Kole is obviously not there yet.  :)

Luggage is a fun gift!  My girls have loved these suitcases I bought them at Pottery Barn Kids and I have loved that they have their own little suitcase for all of our travels.  These were from PB's summer collection, but they have fun patterns to choose from now too.  I've been watching for a cute one to buy Kole.

And if your kids don't want to use their suitcases for trips, they make great doll cases.  ;)  These Disney Princess Toddler Dolls are also favorites around our house.

These next two toys are so simple, but they get played with again and again.  A simple broom (Kole's latest obsession) and a simple etch-a-sketch.


Nothing like a man with a broom.  :)

A few more toys my little man loves:

These Tickle Me Elmo's were given to the girls two different years for gifts and now Kole is loving them.  They sing, flip, fall down and say "Oops!  Can you help Elmo up please!?  We definitely got our money's worth out of these two!


Kole also loves this Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Workbench that makes all sorts of sounds and music when you hammer the toys.

This was a hit last year for Christmas!  My mom bought my girls the Barbie Camper and they have had a ball with it.  

Nothing like camping in style.  :)  If you have girls that like to play with Barbies, then this will be a hit for sure.

Movies are another thing I tend to splurge on.  These are just a few.  Our collection is really quite ridiculous, but I'm basically buying my sanity with these babies and haven't regretted these purchases one bit!  What to recommend?  Everything Disney, Barbie, (Barbie Diamond Castle and Princess and the Pauper are my two favorites) and Strawberry Shortcake for my girls.  The new Barbie Princess Charm School will be a stocking stuffer this year and right now my girls are loving A Barbie Christmas Story and Barbies Christmas Carol.  We own every Barbie movie that has come out and some are better than others so if you are thinking of buying one ask me in the comments and I'll tell you which ones are worth it!  (I know - it's a bit of a Barbie obsession we have.  Kenny and I like them as much as the girls!)  Kole loves The Wiggles, Micky Mouse Clubhouse, and Mommy and Me Playgroup Favorites.

And last but certainly not least, I can't forget the Pillow Pets.  When my mom bought these for my girls I figured they would play with them once or twice and then I'd just be storing them forever.  Not so!  My girls love these!  They lay on them as pillows and then make them back into pets and have endless fun.  They play with them during the day and then their dolls always sleep on them at night. 

So there you go!  I hope that gave some of you an idea or two!  A lot of toys have passed through this house and the ones I shared really are our favorites.  Happy shopping!  And just remember, if you still don't know what to buy your kids this year...

Never underestimate a simple clothes hamper.  

:)

30 comments:

Chappell of Love said...

Thanks for the tips. I have two boys (10 and 4) and a baby girl that is 3 months. We got her the laugh and learn learning house for Christmas. I'm sure I will come back to this post in the future for the "girly" toys we aren't used to just yet.

Jess said...

So glad you posted about this. I've been going back and forth about whether to get the Barbie R.V. for my 6 year old and I think I'm goin' for it. My 3 year old son? He's just another story altogether.

amy said...

someone gave my girls that three story barbie house with the elevator. that thing SAVED me during my first trimester of this pregnancy when i would be on the couch for hours. the girls can play with that thing for hours & hours every.single.day. love it!

Lindsey said...

We have that exact rocking horse, we got it at Sam's club and I noticed they have them this year too. It's a favorite around her too. My paren't bought plasma cars too and my kids love, love them and I think I will have to get some for around here too. Have you noticed, or maybe it's just Emery, but she destroys her shoes riding them though cause she drags them to slow down?!

Megan @ numanums said...

Oooh I've been waiting for this post! For once in my life I actually feel pretty organized for Christmas. Shopping is almost done (oh online shopping, how I love thee!) and soon I will begin wrapping....as opposed to my usual Christmas Eve wrapping marathon. Maybe I'll actually be able to relax & enjoy Christmas Eve this year!!!

Now to the presents....it seems if you have little girls that are more girly than tomboy, then they all like similar things. We have that pony ferris wheel & both my girls love it....and they give a ride to anything that fits in those little baskets. I'm sure they would love the Barbie jeep (or any ride-on) if the way they head straight for the display ones at Toys R Us is any indication, but alas they'd have nowhere to ride it in our complex. Princess dolls & figurines, plus Barbie movies, are all winners in our house too.

And this year my 6-year-old has hit the Barbie doll phase, so she is getting the RV camper from Santa, and the Barbie Perfect Christmas 4-doll sister set & some clothes sets from us. So glad to hear your girls loved the camper! My 3-year-old is totally into baby dolls & cooking, so for her it will be a small kitchen, a stroller & a baby Ariel doll. I've been noticing that my oldest is moving away from princesses lately and more into the pre-teen Disney stuff (eg Camp Rock, Selena Gomez etc)....are you seeing any of that with Ellie? Princess Protection Program is a cute movie if you need more DVDs :)

Thanks for sharing, Erin! Sooo excited for Christmas!!!

gay said...

those jeeps are classic. i should bite the bullet.......

yoshandgayhansen.blogspot.com

melissamevans said...

WOW!...that's alot of toys! It's funny: I was just reading this article: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/01/the-5-best-toys-of-all-time/all/1

Delicia said...

Your girls remind me so much of my two darlings when they were your girls' ages. This week my two are both having birthday's (Friday/Saturday). One will be 11 and the other 13..oh my the teen years :-( Anyway, my girls had that Jeep when they were little and LOVED it, somehow one of them mistakenly ripped the phone out of it. lol. and that Barbie house I'm with you I'd be playing with it also. I've always wanted the Dream House but Santa somehow sent me the cottage because that was all he could send me at the time ;-)

Anonymous said...

You will be so jealous Erin! I have COMPLETED all of my Xmas shopping & all gifts are wrapped and under the tree!! After a simular experience to what you had last year I was determined to be organised this year! My 2 yr old daughter birthday is also in Dec so we need to be organised here.
REALLY looking forward to the favourite thing party post - Such a great idea!

Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life said...

Great ideas! Those goofy pillow pets are a huge hit. My son loves his. I don't really get it, but I guess I don't have to. :) Fun stuff you posted about. I am looking forward to my little one getting older so we can do Barbies.

The Wallace Family said...

We got Kendall the Laugh and Learn House for her first birthday last year and she still plays with it! We have been debating putting it up before Christmas, but then she gets it out and plays with it! She also loves her American Girl Bitty Baby as well! But, I know my Barbie days are coming soon and I can't wait! I loved my Barbies when I was little and can't wait to buy them for my daughter. Can't wait to see what your little ones get from Santa this year!

Shari said...

Of all those adorable photos I LOVE the one of Kole in the clothes basket the MOST. So cute!!!

Bake Party of 6 said...

Thanks for some great ideas! Erin, you have an adorable family and I always enjoy reading your blog. Have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Christmas!

baby accessories boutique said...

Kids are waiting for Christmas festival. They are expecting lots of candies and presents from Santa Clause.

Malea said...

*said with a lisp, kind of like when husbands make fun of thier wives*. Where can I buy that daaaaarling laundry basket child pull toy? Is there a specialty laundry basket pulled with a jump rope boutique? And do they make it in vintage shabby chic? ;) hehe... Your house is fun. I wish there were toys here with the words: diamonds, barbies, and polly. Is it horrible of me to want time to fly so my boys will grow up and give me granddaughters to play barbies with?

Simply LKJ said...

Brings back memories, as ours are now 18 and 22! The jeep is a classic, and kids love them.

Anonymous said...

Love your gift ideas! I have a 2 yr. old granddaughter and I was wondering about the girls doll crib. I like that it has storage underneath. Any idea of where to find it? Thanks!

Colleen said...

this was great! we have the barbie dream house. my daughter loves it (as do I!). I love the picture of the girls with the AG dolls. so cute!

Erin said...

Hi Anonymous!

That doll crib is another favorite! I should have included it in this post! We bought that at Costco a few years ago. Hope that helps! :)

Jen said...

Do you have Barbie's Perfect Christmas? Just released! There is a CD too, which was half off at Target this week.

Erin said...

Hi Jen!

We've been watching it all week! :)

Rhonda Dow said...

That was an AWESOME post! I love all of your ideas. My girls have a lot of those things and love them too! Especially the little doorway/house thing. Even my almost 5 year old plays with it! I am just wandering what the girls might be asking for this year? We have a lot of those things and are looking for some new ideas. Thanks so much for your help!

liz said...

About the laundry basket. A great tip I learned from the multiple parenting magazines I read when my son was a baby.....plastic laundry baskets are AWESOME for a handy bath tool. Place it in the tub, put the baby in it. The sides give the baby something to hold on to and it also keeps all the bath toys safely within the baby's reach.

Renee@LivingLaughingLoving said...

Fun list!!! I've done a lot of my shopping online too!! Can't beat gifts delivered to your door, and lol that the ups man is becoming an old friend, ha ha!
I just saw the real brand name full size Pillow Pets at Ross last night for $12.99 and the smaller ones for $8.99. Super steal if you want to actually get up and actually go IN a store that is. :)

Lucy said...

Erin! Thank you, thank you for the great list particularly with a Disney Princess/Barbie/American Girl obsessed 4-year-old in this house. Can I be selfish and ask for one more list?! In that our husbands are so similar (at least in occupation), can you do a post about your past gifts (Christmas and Birthday) for Kenny? I would love to see what has been a big hit with him. I have a feeling framed pictures of the kiddos will only go so far after a few more years.

Thanks!

Maria said...

Ha! I just wrote a post about gift ideas for the person who has everything! But I need ideas for gifts for my son (10 mo.). Love these suggestions! He especially loves Elmo and anything he can hit. Oh, boy!

Brett Rodgers said...

These are simply wonderful! I love the gifts and the way you organized them. I got a bunch of different baby accessories boutique for my wife and our kids because it is so cute and its beautiful. I love it! Thanks for your blog.

Mom2landm said...

Hi, where did you get their white bookshelf by the reading chair? Where did you purchase the reading chair also? Thanks! Love your organization ideas!

Erin said...

Hi! The bookshelf is from a store here in SD called Children's Land and the chair was from Babies R Us. Hope that helps! Thank you! :)

Christmas Toys 2013 said...

Great ideas for Christmas for kids! I love everything here. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about this. Happy Holidays