Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Boys 2-4

I don't want to come across a Scroogette, but I get overwhelmed by the hysteria and consumer culture of the holidays. I prefer the comfort of my home to the over zealous Black Friday shopping at 6am. (And I am a testament that you can get just as good deals from your bed over the following weeks.)

Plus, our house is just going to seem smaller and smaller when Dumpling/Nugget/#3 arrives, so I am trying to keep our material footprint small.

For the holidays this year, we've opted for a big experiential gifts:
  •  North Pole train ride in Chattanooga, TN at the end of the month. 
  •  Puppet show with friends(Thanks AunT and Nuncle for the gift we can now use!). 
  • And we also spent a night with some other friends tooling around looking at lights. 
  • Oh, and we are doing the combo experiential/material with the 12 Days of Bookmas.
And when bullet pointed in the blog, it looks pretty substantial, no?

But let's be honest; kids love opening up gifts. The pressure from friends about "what you are getting" has started. (Apparently for 4 year old boys it's something related to ice man and cars with flames. oh joy.) I don't like to be a slave to the tangible toy, but I also don't want my children to not experience the fun of opening gifts on Christmas.

With a night or two on Amazon and, we got our lot of gifts. And thanks to Black Friday/Cyber Monday, coupon codes, free shipping and 2 vouchers, we saved quite a load of money. And a trip to the store.

At this point, all of the toys are labeled "To Miles and Felix." I like to see them fight over things on Christmas morning. Outside of Jesus's birth, that's a true gift, no? Now, we did get them each 1 big present "from Santa." We have written him a note and want to make sure our children understand the concept of "follow-through" (right after Eric describes the physics of getting a 200lb+ creeptastic man to slide down our chimney with a bike and scooter).

Oh, and because Felix's birthday is January 4, I've added in his birthday items as well. All he told us he wanted is a truck cake. This kid is easy to please. Although, what I am reading when he says "truck cake" is a chocolate zucchini cake with a dinosaur toy on the top--you are reading that too, right?

For under $25 (what up vouchers, codes and deals!), we got the following from

Green Toys EcoSaucer Disc 

Green Toys Jump Rope
We are big outside people and I am always looking for new outdoor toys, and Felix proved to us this summer that he is a pro with disc, and Miles keeps asking for a jump rope so he can play this game he calls "hook 'n horse" where he wraps a line around a willing little brother and has them gallop around. Pants optional.

Green Toys Submarine
We currently referee nightly battles in the bath over bath toys. So with this sub and the sea plane Felix will get on his birthday, I am hoping the full nelsons and water boarding will be reduced.

Plan Toys Measuring Tape

Miles is obsessed with using Eric's measuring tape to see how tall everything is. But the thing is heavy and he has dropped it on various toes over time. 

Sprig Soarin' Sea Plane (for Felix's birthday)
See water boarding above.

Maxim Wud Workers Roller (for Felix's birthday)
This is pretty cool. It has 40+ pieces and you put it together yourself. Meaning, Eric gets to put it together while Felix throws pieces around. I think once it is assembled, he is going to LOVE it.

For over $25, we got the following from Amazon:
3 Schleich Dinosaurs (1 will be for Felix's birthday)

We have been collecting Schleich animals and dinosaurs for years. I have a very strong feeling that the collecting of barbie dolls or charms for a charm bracelet is just not in the cards,  but I really do want to have quality and nice items for the boys to collect and keep for when they grow up and (potentially) have children.

From Santa, the boys are getting (or so the Elves tell me)
Ybike Glider scooter (Felix)

I did lots of research on the best scooters for the 2-3 year old crowd, and think this one came in the lead. We love, love, love our Ybike (totally recommend) and think this will be a good addition. 

Huffy Bike with training wheels (Miles)

Okay, lemme just say that Miles has wanted a real bike forever. I am happily obliging. But it kills me that the options are limited to ones with Disney promotional characters and such. We did find another one that didn't have some sort of character on it, but it was poorly rated. So, I am getting over myself and the fact that his bike has a peplum Cars pooch/pouch in the front.

Given that most of the toys are contained to the outside or bath, I'm feeling pretty good about the house being littered with more junk. And I think with all the fun events and the few fun toys for the holiday and Felix's birthday, these boys should be feeling pretty fulfilled and lucky!

What are all of you getting the 2-4 crowd?


  1. That is a GREAT assortment!!! I love the scooter!

    We just entered the 2-4 crowd with Christmas this year. In years past, we have gotten Maggie one present from Santa and that is it. My smug minimalist approach to Christmas went a little out the window this year. We got her a Bitty Baby from American Girl, a pretend computer thing (she majorly covets the one at the babysitter's house), a doll bed from Ikea for aforementioned bitty baby and a colorful tunnel thing from Ikea. We try not to get her a ton because she is spoiled rotten by all of our family members!

    1. I like the 1 present from Santa, which is what we have done. I think as the kids get older, it is harder to maintain the "you only get 1 present for Christmas." Not impossible, but harder. It sounds like you got her things that she will *love* and use. (I'm a sucker for utility.). And she is at the age where she expresses her likes and dislikes. When they are babies, you can elect their "preferences" (ie, YOUR preferences) and get them what you consider to be the safest, best, most educational toy. And then they start exploring the world...and you find yourself buying things you wouldn't choose. Ah well. And you make a good point about the family, too. It's hard to control doting grandparents and aunts/uncles. And I have no intention of that! :)

  2. I agree with you both about keeping it simple and minimal, but I know the pressure to have the whole room groan with gaily wrapped packages. I think aside from certain special gifts - like the long hoped for bicycle, the memories made will be of the wonderful traditions you are creating - the time spent together, the lights, the anticipation of opening the Advent calendars, etc.

  3. I love your choices! Unfortunately, since Kennedy has 12 and 13 (almost 14 and 14) year-old sisters, her love of electronics has blossomed over the past two years. She LOVES dolls and typical housekeeping stuff (strange, since I never cook). I caved in with a strawberry shortcake bike (with peplum pouch) for her birthday, which was way better than Disney princesses (she doesn't have hips and boobs).

    Last year we got her the Leap Pad so she will be getting downlaod cards so that we can choose new games and e-books together. She is also asking for a crib for her babies. Since she loves to sing, she's also getting some type of karaoke machine (I KNOW I will regret this by January 1st).

    I'm going to the $1 bin at target to find stickers and books/notebooks for her 12 days of Christmas and...that is all she wrote!
    Pretty much a card and 2-3 fun toys and I think she will be a happy (but spoiled)girl. :0)

    1. I think you bring up a great point, and what I am these kids get older, their exposures definitely help determine their preferences. I can imagine if we had tweens and teens in my house, my kids' would want a lot of different things!

      I also find it fascinating that she loves housekeeping stuff (not my boys' cup of tea).

      I am glad that I am not the only one who has caved with a character peplum bike. Strawberry shortcake hides her hips in that cute pinnafore she has, no? I mean, I am sure she has some after all of that cake! (Yeah, and looking at it now, those princesses sure are svelt...I wonder if they eat paleo?)

      I was actually tempted to get a leap pad kind of thing. WE do have the iPad, but after the potty training finished, we sort of kept it hidden. But now that their friends all have them...I am tempted to get one--not gonna lie!

      Um, Karaoke machine is CLUTCH. Because do you know what that means? YOU GET TO USE IT TOO! Late night karaoke at your house! It's like how I wanted to buy Miles Dance Dance and Yoga on the WII when he was like 3 months only so I could use it.

      I am actually going to hit up the sticker area at Target, too. Never too many...

  4. Great minds think alike... I just did my "what Owen doesn't know he wants for Christmas" post today too. Well, the first 5 out of top 10 list. That ish got long. And I even put in pictures with links but then they didn't show up. Durn it.

    The scooter was our big, #1 gift, but no family member opted to get it, and the kid is getting so royally spoiled that I think I'll hold off until his birthday. That's in July, so he'll get more use out of it than in winter in New England anyway.

    Love all the eco toys on your list -- I'm off to check out ecomom!

    1. I think it's like "this week's topic" for all bloggers. I hate it when links don't show up. Bah humbug!

      I'll let Felix do a review of the scooter. I can tell you that winters in New England are probably not the best time to use one...but 70s in December in Atlanta are kinda nice. (I can only rub it in because I was born raised and went to undergrad in NE!)

      Ecomom is great. I also like a site called Fat brain toys. I haven't ordered from Fat Brain, but I use it to find awesome toys, and then just abuse Amazon to get the toys. Ecomom is awesome when they run deals and you can use vouchers. Last year I got $90 of toys for $18 (in part due to an error in their system, but they still honored it.)

      Can't wait to see your post!