This is probably the most difficult gift guide to pull together. I love my kids, obviously, and I have a deep love of shopping, equally obviously. Putting these two loves together creates a head- exploding/rush to the heart/intensity that is difficult to keep under control. For my son, I love buying toys and books. Boys clothing is not that exciting – how many stripes and checks can one really get excited about ? And at four years old, he is at the age when clothing is a pretty boring gift. Not to mention that he is quite discerning so I give his gifts a lot of thought. Now my daughter on the other hand, would be thrilled with the bag the gift came in. Maybe it’s a second child thing or maybe it’s her personality, but she is sooooo happy to get something that is specifically for her, that it doesn’t matter so much what it is. She likes toys and books but she LOVES clothes. I have no idea where she gets that from. When she was born, I received a ton of hand me downs from girlfriends and my mother bought her many an adorable outfit, so I had to buy her very little. But lately, she has grown out of the hand me downs and I have found myself itching to buy her clothing and I am afraid that it has become a bit of a problem. So to purge these extreme desires to purchase stuff for my kids, I will vicariously do it through this guide because I a)neither have the money, b)neither think it is a good thing to shower kids with too much stuff, c)neither have the money. Voilà!
I’m going to start with clothing because I love it so. Loulou is playing a Christmas tree in her daycare holiday show. I know! A bunch of two year olds playing trees. I can’t even. Remarkably, Lou owned not a stitch of green clothing so when I was downtown (a very rare occurrence), I popped into Baby Gap. It was madness! And it was so cute! It was impossible not to want to grab everything. I brought a pile of clothing to the cash and then reason reentered my brain and I left with only a green dress in my hands. All this to say, that I really like the Baby Gap clothing out now and their sales are pretty incredible.
There are few things more irresistible on a kid than tartan, polkadots, and stripes or all of the above. I mean C’MON! And for my superhero-obsessed little man, these sweaters might make getting clothes under the tree not such a bad thing after all.
Because I love me some JCrew and many people prefer to shop in their pyjamas in the comfort of their own home, here are some ideas from their kid section.
And locally, two great brands that do really fun kids clothing. Electrik Kidz make these great leggings that are unisex and really cool. Toddlers are an active bunch and running, jumping, and practicing your summersaults is way easier when you are wearing cozy tights instead of bulky pants.
And Supayana also makes pretty and whimsical kids clothing. I love the foxes and owls. So sweet.
Toys and play things:
I really want to make my kids a teepee for Christmas. A little private play area, where they could read a book or play with dolls. A little magic corner. The real question is: will I get myself together in time to make one? I know I’ll feel so great about it if I get ‘er done but also I know that it will be more complicated than I want it to be. This is what I picture in my head:
There is a real chance that I won’t get it together in time and that I’ll splurge on a ready-made one. Maybe from La Fée Raille? A local designer of sweet toys and super sweet teepees?
I’ll get back to you on that project…
To continue in that handmade gift vein, my talented friend Amy just launched a web zine full of great design and creative ideas for kids of all ages, Pomelo. She found these super cute paper costumes for dress up time that my kids would just love. From Omy, they are fun and cost between 15$ and 20$ each.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine are BIG into animals. These 3D puzzles from Topozoo could be a good under-the-tree treat.
Books! We have a rule for birthdays and for Christmas. There can be toys and clothes but there always, always has to be a book or more under the tree. At our house we love all books by Oliver Jeffers, an Australian born, Northern Ireland bred, currently Brooklyn-dwelling author. His books are magical and kids can get stuff out of them at any age.
I feel like I could write this guide all day long. There are so many great gifts out there, I could shop for my kids forever. I need to keep reminding myself though, that the kids get overwhelmed by quantity. They love to get one or two special things. Anything more and they get crazy and hyper and it’s not fun anymore. And let’s face it, the actual act of heading to the toy store or mall on a freezing winter day doesn’t exactly sound like all that much fun either. But seeing their eyes widen at the sight of a new action figure or a lego set or a new outfit is so very worth it.
Now I need to stop writing and start looking at various web tutorials on teepee making. Oh boy.