Because it is that time of year. I've been known to forget this stuff until the last minute, and then Santa goes convenience store shopping. Oy!
1) No junk that will become future clutter
2) Must cost under $15; under $10 is even better
3) Must fit in a stocking
4) Nothing made in China (this made it extra tough and ruled out Chelona puzzles and board books)
And, I would love to hear your ideas, so send us comments. Here goes.
1. For baby, I've never felt the need to go overboard. A rattle and a soft stuffed animal or a clutching toy fill up space nicely and keep baby happy.
Kathe Kruse Gnome Teething Doll ($13.95)
Trix grasping toy ($7.00). I have had one in my diaper bag for years.
Clutching car ($14.19)
2. Bajo Vehicles ($6.99 and up) - I love the simplicity of these Polish cars. So do babies and toddlers. The police car is $8.99 at Oompa.
3. Holztiger figures - I've raved about these before. Arielle will be getting 3 pigs and a wolf in her stocking. The best selection is available at Rosie Hippo.
4. Haba jewelry - No lead! Safe and cute. Haba jewelry will make your little girl feel special. Arielle received this Tulipa bracelet ($4.75) last year.
5. Or, give her a set of Haba beads ($10.49) and let her make her own necklace.
6. Magic Wand ($5.90) - this one is made in the USA.
7. Dollhouse dolls like this Christmas Fairy are on sale for $7.95 at WillowTreeToys.com
A Princess, Prince, Witch and other dolls are available for the same price. Made in Thailand.
8. Cookie cutters ($1.00 and up)
The real gift, of course, is the time you spend baking cookies together. You could add some fun sprinkles (there is a very nice selection at Fancy Flours or at some craft stores) and go all out.
9. Instead of real treats, how about play sweets for the toy kitchen?
Felt ice cream cone ($7.00)
10. Art supplies like Beeswax Crayons ($11.99) are always good. I love that these are very safe, bright, and write smoothly.
11. On the same train of thought: Modeling Beeswax. My older children played with this from age eight and on. It has to be warmed up between your hands to be pliable, but it smells delicious. A very different experience from Play-Do.
Or, try colored pencils (I really like LYRA pencils $7.95), stickers, small sketch books, scissors (for older kids), glue sticks....
12. Haba mini games (about $10.00). Haba makes many games in take-along tins. Everything from bingo and checkers to small versions of their most popular full-sized games.
13. Older girls might enjoy a fairy kit ($13.95-$15.95) from Blueberry Forest.
14. A special Christmas Ornament. The Wooden Wagon has a large selection of wooden ornaments and other holiday decorations from Germany, like this angel singing under a tree ($10.50)
You could make this a tradition and add an ornament every year. When your child is grown-up, he'll have a nice collection for his own tree.
Ho Ho Ho!