The Best Things in Life are Free...
...but if you'd like to know what James might want or need for Christmas this year, I present to you this year's Gift-Giving Helpful Hints. As always, please don't feel you have to get anything at all, and please know we're grateful to you just for thinking of us, and grateful for whatever we receive.
That being said...Basically anything from the Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide makes our cut:
Our main goals for gift-giving this year are to be creative, trying not to amass too much "stuff," to give useful fun gifts, and to avoid plastic as much as possible. (For an explanation of why we want to avoid plastic, see here. An excellent post about the myriad reasons to avoid plastic toys when possible.) Also, please try to avoid anything that requires batteries or is a "licensed toy." There will be plenty of those in our future Christmases, I'm quite sure.
So... A year's membership to the zoo or the natural history museum, or a family membership to the Y (so we can go swimming all year...James is really wanting to swim right now), would be perfect this year. Maybe we could even make some new kiddie friends that way!
Alternatively, James would love a gardening set (rake, trowel, etc). Or a kid-sized broom. Or one of those chef's sets with an apron and hat, potholder and rolling pin, that he always asks about when we go to Barnes and Noble. He NEEDS a nice warm winter jacket and some footie pjs. Books are always welcome here. Also, he is beginning to get into the wonderful world of painting, so some nice painting paper (canvas? I don't know what to call it as I myself have not painted since my own early childhood days) or paintbrushes would also be quite useful and fun. He would adore a bike (which at this point would be a trike. This one from Toys R Us was pretty fun in-store.).
Another easy way to get whatever YOU like but still know that it's on our "safe good toys" list is to get something made by Melissa and Doug. Their products are carried in all kinds of mainstream stores, from Toys R Us to Barnes and Noble and Borders, and they make everything: puzzles and puppets, lacing cards and bead mazes, trains and trucks, really cool pretend food, castles and stables, awesome art supplies...the list goes on.
Also, I have to show off two of my favorites:
Here's a beautiful wooden set James would spend HOURS--no, DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS, playing with.
And here's a lovely quirky blue bunny in case you're stuffed-animal inclined.
Happy Shopping, Happy Holidays, and as always, thanks for being our beloved friends and family. You guys are the best, whether or not you read a single other word of this post! =)