Holiday Gift Ideas?

up up and away!

up up and away!

(gratuitous picture of Jasper)

So now that November has settled in and the holiday season is just around the corner, I want to compile a little holiday gift guide.  It will mostly be gift ideas for the babes, but I’d also like to include some other gift ideas too (men, women, hostess gifts etc).

Here’s the thing though, I want it to be OUR holiday gift guide, which means I need your help..

1) What is your child’s favorite toy RIGHT NOW and what is their exact age? – because we have babies of different ages that should help give us toy ideas for a range of ages.

2) What do you covet right now for yourself? (Maybe you could subtly point your significant other to the gift guide later ;)

3) What are some holiday gifts you’ve given in the past that went over particularly well and who were they for?

4) Anything else you feel like sharing! (gifts you are thinking of getting for baby, husband, wife, etc)

I hope to have the guide finished in the next week or so – I’d really appreciate your input!

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Shane says:

Best gift received was the TiVo from Ava — we’ve gone through 2 other units since then, but I still think of that gift each christmas. a year later we gave them to our families and they still love them!

G has been into this Music Cube lately and the music is nice and doesn’t drive us crazy: http://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-3106-Mozart-Magic-Cube/dp/B00004TFLB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1257655342&sr=1-1

The walking toys are really in heavy use as he learns to actually walk.

the plastic storage bins (like a Rubbermaid or Sterilite ones) has a GREAT toy. cheap! It’s a walker, put the kid in and slide around the room, he can play in it, hide under it, put stuff in-take stuff out. it’s great.

As for what I want: I’ve been eyeing a The Energy Detective (TED)to use along w/ Google Power Meter to monitor electricity consumption of our home. I’m a data junkie so that idea of tracking this stuff is fun. And it’s hard to control things you can’t measure: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/google-powermeters-first-device-partner.html

Dawn says:

When Noah was one he loved the big, chunky blocks. They look like enormous, platic Legos and are great for building. At two he really enjoyed GeoTrax. Unfortunately he has grown out of them and doesn’t pay much attention to them now. Now, at three, he loves puzzles. The problem is the mess they make. I have puzzle pieces all over my house. This may totally be my fault and our generally disorganized housekeeping style but it drives me crazy. Noah also loves http://www.starfall.com. We are fortunate to have several computers, enough to allow him exclusive use of our laptop. It’s an extravagant gift but an educational outlet (Starfall is free and amazing!).

At one Kate is loving Magnadoodles and similar items. She loves to draw but still eats crayons so this is a great solution for us.

I have found great gifts at uncommongoods.com, etsy.com, Swoozies (do they have a .com?), exposuresonline.com and redenvelope.com. For kids I love to give a small toy and a clothing or personalized item. Many families have a ton of toys, some don’t want a ton of toys and in this economy a lot of families participate in a toy swap or need items for their children other than toys. I love the personalized pillows from http://www.lilsugarpie.com (not shameless, I pay for them and kids love them – I swear!) especially because they coordinate with the kids’ room colors and make an awesome first pillow. For a more expensive, practical kids gift I love the anywhere chair from Pottery Barn. For hostess gifts I love personalized items. For holiday hostess gifts I love to give ornaments (to those who celebrate Christmas). I also find that anyone worth visiting with the kids loves photos of the kids. I’ve framed some, done books at blurb.com and put together albums from kolo.com.

I love this idea and can’t wait to find more unique items to gift!

Lauren says:

Great post! I don’t really have any ideas to share, my son will be 6 months old in December…but I would LOVE some gift ideas for him. Right now he spends time in the swing (which I don’t think will last too much longer before he outgrows it) and the play gym on the floor. He’s my first so I have a lot to learn. Suggestions on a few things we could get him that will hold his interest and grow with him over the coming months would be great!

Jaimie says:

My hostess gift idea: I like to give Williams-Sonoma “Winter Forest” dish soap. It’s a little splurge that you probably never do for yourself (11 bucks for dish soap?) but it smells really nice and the packaging is pretty too. Would be extra nice with some red or green striped dishtowels.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/h466/?pkey=csoaps-lotions

carolyn says:

I just bought my son a learning tower for his 2nd birthday https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ECHXVC/ref=oss_T15_product. The first weekend we had it we made pumpkin muffins together, which was fun and kept him occupied for a good 40 minutes. I like that it allows him more independence now that he can reach the kitchen counters and sink.

My one month old daughter likes being carried around in the Moby wrap. She also likes being bounced on a big yoga ball – it’s the best thing to get her to fall asleep. (Thanks Ariana for posting this tip!)

I covet the black onyx and gold starburst bracelet by Mizuki http://www.cornellsjewelers.com/shop3.cfm?subcat=32&bycategory=15&myproduct=4272. But what I’d really like is to have a year-long maternity leave so I can enjoy parenting at a more leisurely pace – and to postpone just a little bit longer the demands of juggling a full time job, a marriage, and two little ones.

Mrs Brown says:

Ellie is 11 months, she loves this leapfrog Brightlings explorer station:
http://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog-10500-Brightlings-Exploration-Station/dp/B000NRX5X4

We always get the great-grandmothers salon gift certificates because the LAST thing they need is more stuff.

This year I would LOVE a spa day to get a pedicure and my legs waxed! (and for hubby to arrange child care so I could actually go) I never seem to have time for myself. OK, so what I would really love is Ariana’s camera gear. But not in this economy.

We usually give experiences to the grown-ups in my family. Rounds of golf, art (or other) classes at the local community center, I make my mom a new journal every year.

Samm Ivri says:

1. Mia moves quickly from toy to toy. Its hard to keep her attention too long. But the things that interest her most at (almost) 14 months are the Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train by Vtech and Elmo’s DVDs.

2. For me? Camera related stuff. Perhaps a photoshop upgrade.

3. I have given my husband trips that include hotel and airfare. He’s always loved the idea. I usually use a prop (like a hiking backpack) to make it look like a regular gift and put the itinerary inside.

chantal says:

Last year I made my parents a Blurb photo book of Annora and her (one month younger) cousin. They LOVED it I’m making them another photo book of Annora, starting with pictures from where the last one left off and continuing until her first birthday. They don’t do photo albums so this is a great gift for them and I know they look at it a lot.

Annora is all over her shape sorter toy right now. She uses it to sort the little toy shapes but she also uses the shapes as pretend food she stirs in mixing bowls. Awesome toy. She’s 15 months old.

I want a body with a smaller waistline, firmer abs and less droopy boobs. Know where I can buy one of those on sale for a decent price?

Susan says:

@Alicia – I have the Wacom bamboo fun tablet and LOVE it!!! As a bonus, it came with Adobe Elements, Corel Paint, and a coupon for a free photobook from Shutterfly. I highly recommend it!

Emily is 12 months old and loves her Little People circus animal train. I also had a board book printed for our mommy and me group on mycustomstory.com and she drags the book around endlessly. I’m planning on a small table and chairs for her for Christmas.

I have NO ideas for anyone else and I just want some free time, lol.

kari says:

these will be under Liam’s tree this year:

1) (this was 29 bucks at Costco)
http://tinyurl.com/yjdc4dm

2) (this was 99 bucks at Costco)
http://tinyurl.com/ycs62ap

See Ariana’s Camera Bag for my wish list!
Namely – the Canon 50 MM f1.8 and the Tamron 28-75MM f2.8 lenses!!
(oh – tell Sara B that I have that page from the uncommon goods catalog taped to my wall! i have also been coveting the nesting bird jewelry!!)

For hubby??? i am looking forward to your ideas!

For hubby…

Alicia says:

1. Thomas (the freaky)Train stuff – any and all of it – soon to be 3 year old boy
2. I’d LOVE to get a Wacom Pen Tablet for photo editing, as right now I’m doing all my photo stuff with Photoshop using your basic everyday MOUSE – and its KILLING me!!!!! Maybe like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos3-8-Inch-Pen-Tablet/dp/B00030097G
3. I like to give experience gifts – for my family members who already have it all: tickets to a concert usually, and a gift card to a local restaurant.

Lynn says:

CT is 14 mos and her favorite toys are books, by far. She also loves anything that makes music or noises; she will everything on in passing, even if she’s not playing with it at the time. She is also still in love with mirrors and/or pictures of babies.

My favorite gifts of late involve time! Babysitting coupled with gift certs to spas, movies, dinner, etc. are the BEST!

erin says:

Not to be a gratuitous plug, but my baby (6 mos) and the other babies in my mommy group (2-10 mos) absolutely LOVE my crinkle squares. They feel neat, make noise, can be stuffed in mouths and tugged on, and make noise – all great things to a baby. And it’s not obnoxious noise, either. hannahstoybox.etsy.com.

I gave my grandparents (in their 80s) restaurant gift cards a couple years ago. They LOVED them. The trick was to find restaurants in their area, which is not close to ours. We’ll be doing this again this year.

Dee says:

I have a 4yr old nephew and we gifted him the Easylink internet launch pad with Smart Keys and he totally loves it
http://amzn.com/B0012TLYXK

Also, since he likes to do a lot of artwork, I was thinking of getting him this dynamic art frame to display his artwork, very neat idea!
http://www.dynamicframes.com/store/c/159-Kids-Art-Frame.aspx

As for my 9 month old, not really sure what she likes. Any toy I get, she just ends up chewing it!

Amy says:

My daughter is 8 months and still loves Sophie as well. She also enjoys a play cell phone by Fisher Price. I agree the musical seahorse is a great gift for any age. She loves it for bedtime.

Michelle says:

Jack is 15 months old and he loves his Handy Manny Push car and his golf clubs from little tykes. and, even though it isn’t in his “age group” his favorite, favorite toy is his Fisher Price Musical Seahorse. It lights up like a glowworm and plays lullabies.

Can’t wait to see your wish list… I won’t bore you with what I want!
Michelle

Aggie says:

My 9 month old is still passionately in love with Sophie. She’s been his favorite since he was just a few months old. Others come and go but his love for her remains. It’s quite poetic, actually.

I’m really looking forward to the responses. While he still fancies Sophie when teething, right now he’s most interested in any and all electrical cords. Anything I can get that will deter him from this dangerous obsession will be purchased immediately.

Sara B. says:

Oh, and the one thing I’d like for myself if this necklace with a mama and baby bird on a wire (you can choose the number of baby birds). We can’t do gifts this year (tough fall with medical bills), but maybe one day soon…
http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?itemId=17019

Sara B. says:

My son is 16 months old. This is my son’s favorite toy in the whole world. It’s under $10 and he’s been playing with it every day since he was 14 months old. He plays with the animals and makes them walk, talk, etc. We bring at least one of the animals everywhere we go.
http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Wooden-Chunky-Puzzle/dp/B000E9DPCW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1257354718&sr=8-3

He also loves this book, we play the “this?” game where he asks me the name of everything in the book. He also loves any book with photographs (and is generally not interested in books with drawings).
http://www.amazon.com/First-100-Words-Bright-Baby/dp/B000F7BPCU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257354835&sr=8-1

And we love this magnetic fridge set (we have the farm animal one as well, but I like the songs on here better).
http://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog%C2%AE-Fridge-Wash-Magnetic-Vehicle/dp/B00134V4L6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1257354890&sr=8-3-spell

He also loves this very simple “milk and cookies” jar…he will play with this for 20-30 minutes straight (amazing!).
http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Moo-Sounds-Milk-Cookies/dp/B001IEWSSE/ref=pd_sbs_t_37

All of those are less than $16!

I think I am going to get him a pull toy for Christmas this year…we played with one in the hospital (a dog) this weekend when he really need some good entertainment and he loved it!!

Lindsey says:

Great idea! Ben is almost 9 months. His favorite thing is a magazine but he also loves his Leapfrog music table. His all time favorite toy is Sophie the Giraffe. He is just about to get some teeth so Sophie’s been working overtime lately.

ariana says:

LOL, for a guy it doesn’t get much better than TiVo – you’re screwed ;)

Goldy S. says:

Ok, so I cheated:) I couldn’t resist. I already started giving my 2 1/2 year old son one of his presents. BUT IS WAS SOOO WORTH IT!!!! Wal Mart started selling their own line of musical instruments and I when i saw this mini drum set (with it own little chair) I knew my son had to have it!!! He LOVES it!!! (it certainly reduces his tantrums now that he’s letting off a lot more energy;) At the price of $19.99 I definetely recommend this toy!!! ( for some reason I dont see it on their website yet)

Ava says:

Ooh — good post. I’m stumped for ideas for G (especially) — he got PLENTY of loot for his birthday, much of which he’ll grow interested in.
None-the-less, he consistently plays with, at 14months, his car walking toy, and just regular balls.

Maybe I’ll ask for a Ball Popper for him.

I ruined my gift giving w/ S by raising the bar super high our first Christmas. I got him a TiVO. He’s loved it, but I mean, after the gift of TiVO, where do you go from there?