So I’ve put my habit of way too much time online window shopping and want/needing all the millions of gorgeous products I see all over instagram to good use and come up with a (just a) few gift guides for you! I’ve got some more to come but here’s some to get you all started (my instagram poll said 75% of you have already begun your shopping)!
I like to mainly shop small because the way I see it how on earth would I find all these products without the amazing passion, creativity and time that these owners put into their businesses? But another favourite place to buy is the second hand market! Some of my best finds have been on local sites and ebay…. Plan toys victorian dolls house for £20 on gumtree, yes please!!!
So my kids love nothing better than a role play set up but one we haven’t actually had ( not sure how with five kids) is the post office! My daughter loves writing notes so this is perfect for her and my youngest loves posting them. Gather a post box ( or just a carboard box with a slot), envelopes, pretty writing paper, postcards, and maybe 1p stamps or some sticker sets that could be used as stamps ( Meri Meri does some good ones). Add stationary, brown paper and string with a few empty parcels to wrap and a set of vintage weighing scales ( another gumtree bargain) and they have their own little office!
Middle row left to right: Stamps, Bureau de Poste poster Wolf Noodle.
Bottom row left to right: Evnvelopes and price tags, Wooden post box, pens.
I like to think through all these categories when putting through a list of what the kids need for Christmas and a little active toy is always great, a kite, skipping rope, french elastic or some bigger investments such as the wobbel boards are great for encouraging energetic play all year round.
Another category to consider especially if a child also has a winter birthday is some outdoor toys, they may not get as much use for it now but as soon as the weather warms up it will be ready for them!
Middle row left to right: Water and marble run Conscious Craft, Seeds and watering can
I think you can get away with buying babies things they need and you want ( the paper is surely the present for them right?). Even older siblings toys that were packed away can be re wrapped and presented!
Mine all love a soft toy and Christmas is a great time to add one each to the collection!
Just some of my favourites I have been lusting over this season!
These dolls are hard to resist! My daughter and son are both obsessed with looking after their baby dolls ( helping out with younger siblings not so much) and I think a little doll play set is always a great present for a child expecting a baby in the family. The Olliella dinkum doll and Miniland dolls are our absolute favourites. Olliella has the most amazing little travel tog sets of clothes and etsy has some gorgeous outfits to fit the Minilands. Plus if you are particularly crafty you could always have a go at knitting some yourself ( or a square blanket in the case of my knitting skills), or sewing some new bedding or an adorable baby carrier.
I had to have a retro category! Quite a few companies have bought out reeditions of the classics, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Fisher Price and most recently Pound Puppies so you can have the exact replica of your childhood toys. I hear 2020 is bringing the He Man classic figures too! Sylvanian families are still same pretty much to the same mould and you can always source old favourites on ebay, facebook marketplace or gumtree ( the big yellow teapot is a great find and has been all of my kids favourite toddler toy)! Check out Five Little Diamonds and Retro Kids
My son is an avid adventurer and he loves nothing more than taking his “Explorers backpack” out with him. It can be filled with binoculars, a torch, compass, notepad, old keys, fossils and stones, shells, a catapault, tools and more. Don’t forget some cute patches to decorate the actual bag too!
Middle row left to right: Freckle Studio periscope and magnifier glass Bon Tot
I absolutely LOVE adding to our Christmas decor box every year. Sometimes the kids may get a few gifts in their advent calendar ( which other wise is mainly filled with activities it would be way too expensive for me to do something for 25 days). So Christmas pjs or a jumper to wear for the season arrive and a new decoration for the tree each, but mainly they are all just excited to get out all the glittery items, bottle brush trees and garlands that have been packed away for 11 months! I also make sure all the winter animals and playsets are on the shelves and the paydoh tray is stuffed with xmas dough cutters and loose parts!
The kids love playing shop although their boutiques are always extremely expensive… if anyone wants to buy an old stone for £1000000 then it’s the place to come! We have all variety of shops, toys, flowers, ice cream, cafes so stock them up with plenty of product, play money, a purse, bag, blackboard price list, till and prepare to spend!
I always include a craft set for the kids as the holidays are long and often with horrendous weather in the UK so what better time for learning a new skill!
I try to encourage traditional game playing as one of the school teachers once told me that children didn’t seem to do it much these days and couldn’t understand the turn taking / winning / losing concept which made me kind of sad…That’s not to say mine couldn’t all still do with a few more lessons in how to win and lose graciously!
The dolls house is another investment buy that all ages love ( yes I am including me). We actually found a plan toys victorian dolls house literally down the road from us on gumtree so I recommend trying out these places if you aren’t looking to spend quite as much. There is nothing better than setting up the furniture ( aaaaah except seeing the way the kids set it up in random places is admittedly quite a lesson in control for me) and there are such gorgeous sets out there from Olliella, Djeco, Lundby and Maileg of course. And you and the kids can always have a go at making accessories over the holidays, mini liberty print bed sheets, or cushions, printing out mini posters etc or look on etsy to find the most incredible accessories ready made for you!
Middle row left to right: Maileg available at Scandiborn
The fancy dress is out every day in our house! I have a big basket full of cloaks, armour, dresses, wings, hats and crowns out so it can be easily grabbed and worn but if we had more space a dream would be to have them all hanging on their very own clothes rail or vintage old hat stand!
Always a firm favourite here and the kids can spend hours setting up different seasonal lands for their fairies and gnomes. We love our felt fairies equally with our Schleich figures and my top tip for fairy houses is to have a look for wooden hamster or guinea pig houses for a cheap alternative!
I do one of these every year in the hope that some of my family may take note! It is always great to be spoilt at Christmas and a magazine subscription would be one of my favourite gifts as you keep getting it all year round. Me and my husband tend to buy a joint present of something expensive that we need, possibly not the most romantic but practical choice, say one year it was a set of Le Creuset saucepans ( still going strong) and this year I will be trying to persuade him we really need this rattan bedhead!
I am literally obsessed with every wooden montessori toy I see at the moment and high up on my list (I am thinking I might be able to persuade a grandparent to buy us) is the From Jennifer perpetual calendar!
One of our all time most used toy in the house has to be our play kitchen. We have the ikea duktig but it doesn’t stop me permanently lusting after new ones that come on the market like this one from Cam Cam one or the Ferm Living amazingness. Mine always get something for the kitchen at Christmas ( when i had more time I did manage to sew a whole load of felt biscuits and donuts one year) but a whole set would be an amazing gift for a little one. It can even be filled with real food, mini cereal packs or jam pots you get in restaurants (disclaimer this did turn out as disastrous one time as mine completely understood these items were for pretend play however one of their friends didn’t and jam and cereal and ketchup went everywhere)!
Ever popular for a category… cars! There is such a wonderful collection out there, our favourites being the Candylab cars or Way to play track. And the green toys are literally the sturdiest toys we have ever owned, I have left them outside in all weather for years and put them through the dishwasher countless times but they are still just as strong and colourful as when first bought!