Christmas Gift Ideas :: A Few of our Favorite Toys
I posted some of our favorite past Christmas gifts the other day in my Daybook post, but since I have recieved a number of emails regaurding gifts and toys, I thought I would answer a number of questions and mention a few more of our favorites.
Update: I wanted to add that our Christmas celebration does not revolve around the gifts our children receive. They usually receive three each, just like Baby Jesus, and the focus is on attending Mass and giving to others. What you will see below is a combination of many years of gifts from Christmas and birthdays in an attempt to answer many questions all in one place.
~ Play Kitchens, Tea Sets and Food ~
One Christmas our girls recieved an adorable Pink Retro Kitchen & Refrigerator. It was during a year in which Hubby told me I had a budget of only $25.00 to spend on each child… I saw the set at Costco and wanted to purchase it so badly, but it was $140. I can’t tell you how excited I was when we went to a St. Vincent dePaul Auction and they had this kitchen set! It was “new” but it did have a little bit of damage to the fridge from the assembly – no big deal! I won the auction for $40! YAY!! Anyhow, I don’t know where to send you all for a steal like that, but Amazon does have it right now at an affordable price.
That same Christmas, a friend of mine crocheted some darling food to go with the kitchen. Since then we have added a number of play food sets, mostly by Melissa & Doug. The favorites have been the Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set and the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Ice Cream Parlor Set (which you could see Rose playing with on her birthday).
As for tea sets, we love the little tin tea sets by Schylling. We have the one that now reminds me of Serendipity (the Alphabet Path) every time I see it, and the other is covered with Roses (which is also available in a tin basket)! They are so pretty – though they do tend to bend if they happen to be stepped on! 🙁
~ Fairies, Castles and Calico Critters ~
The girls’ favorite toy is their Princess Castle
! I still can’t believe that it is only $49.99 (50% off!) at Amazon right now! (I think I paid around $60 for ours, and it has been worth every penny!) We also have the furniture to go with the castle
, which is also 50% off right now!
My girls mostly play with the hand-painted dolls I have made them when playing with their castle, as well as their Calico Critters. I just LOVE all the little animal families. We have the Fisher Cat Family and the Norwood Mouse Family. My girls love the Kitchen Set that they have, but I don’t think I will be purchasing any more tiny pieces anytime soon. (Perhaps when the baby is a little bit older, or my girls are better about keeping the little pieces off the floor.) I am thinking about getting the little Carriage for Twinkle Toes and maybe another family of critters for Chiquita.
My girls also loved the Poupette line of dolls by Corolle. We currently have the “Fifi” and “Lulu” dolls. For some reason Corolle discontinued this line and I can only find the Loli doll (which we do not own)
but you can see the others here
. Twinkle Toes also loves her Elizabeth Cloth Doll (which she received on her 6th birthday
), but it too seems to have been discontinued!
Looking at these dolls, reminds me of when Twinkle Toes was a few years old and she was “trying to keep her baby dolls warm.” She lined them all up on the edge of out wood stove and Hubby & I ran to the living room to see what was on fire. The backs of ALL her poor dolls heads were completely burned/melted. The funny thing was that we lined them all on the front porch trying to decide what to do with them when some JW’s came to the door. (I wish I had a picture!) I still wonder what they thought of all those “torched” dolls! Needless to say, Twinkle Toes recieved a couple new dolls for Christmas that year.
As my girls have gotten a little older they are now very interested in the Historical American Girl Dolls, and they have a number of the mini versions
My girls also LOVE the Faith Filled Friends they received last Christmas. Many of you have emailed me asking where you can find these dolls… Unfortunately, the only one I was able to find was the St. Therese Doll at Catholic Child which has recently sold out. 🙁
Though I haven’t purchased one yet myself, another lovely option would be the beautiful Zélie Dolls from Family Cloistered Learning Center. Someday I would like to order a couple of these dolls for my girls.
~ Dress Up & Imaginative Play~
Our children all love to Dress Up!!! We have lots of Saints Costumes
, Princess Costumes, Swords & Shields, Camouflage, Leather Vests and Chaps, Toy Guns, and the newest addition Play Silks
! Our children rarely go a day without dressing up for play!
For young boys, I highly recommend the Miniature Mass Kits
from Our Fathers House. Our older two boys each have their own, and when Snuggles gets a bit older I would like to get him a set as well. (Ooh! They were quite a bit less expensive when we bought the set for Captain, and our second set was a gift. Still I think it is such a great thing for boys to have!)
~ Folkmanis Puppets ~
Last year, I purchased a bags of Folkmanis Puppets
at a local going out of business sale. My children’s stockings were filled with them last year and they are played with all the time! They are so cute and fun and make great little gifts/stocking stuffers.
I saved the Gray Squirrel Puppet
I bought last year for this year, and we will give it to either Snuggles or Rose. They would both love it!
My boys have loved Lincoln Logs since they were little. I am always amazed at some of the things they will build… They made the Church above back in 2007.
~ Playmobil ~
We haven’t yet branched out into Legos (I’m still trying to convince Hubby since he is hesitant about all the little pieces…) but our boys really love their Playmobil collection. I love that it ties the sets we own tie so well into their schooling, and we often find the boys reenacting the stories they have read in their History books!
The boys also love setting up their Playmobil Romans
for Good Friday and Easter, and the Nativity Set
for Christmas! I haven’t purchased any of the Egyptians
yet… Perhaps in a couple years when we are studying Ancient History again.
~ Board Games ~
We have a lot of board games… In years past each of our children would receive a game on Christmas, and they added up QUICKLY! Last week, I gathered all the games from all over the house – they were in 5 different spots – and moved them all into my hall closet, getting rid of a few that we do not play. Now that we have a pantry in the kitchen, I don’t need this cupboard for food!! Anyhow, our family really does enjoy playing board games together.
Our family favorites are Settlers of Catan (Hubby & I play this with our oldest two boys – though we do have the extension pack for when we have guests!), Stratego, Battleship, Lionheart, Sequence, and my children especially love playing the Game of Life and Mancala! Captain’s favorites are Risk (we have the Lord of the Rings version) and Axis & Allies – he has the D-Day version and the Spring 1942 version – and I will often find him off playing whenever he has the chance!
This year the boys will be receiving Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan Seafarers Game Expansion (for Settlers of Catan).
Well… That pretty much sums up most of the toys we have in our home at this time – though you’ll run across a bunch of others in my our Alphabet Path posts!
We do have a collection of Little People, a great Wooden Train Set that has been boxed up for awhile, but will come out again soon for Snuggles, a cute little wooden doll house, and, of course, a couple drawers filled with Army Guys and Matchbox cars. Now, I need to get back to checking off the last few items on my own list this year while there is still time to order online!
I would love to hear what toys your children love to play with!
Also, you might have better luck leaving any other toy related questions in the comments and I will try and answer them here… My inbox has spiraled out of control once again and I can’t guarantee a response (or at least a quick one!) if you send me an email. 😉
Prayer of Mothers
Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.