When Poppy was born I decided I didn’t want to end up with a house full of toys and stuff after birthdays and Christmas that would eventually end up in landfill.
I loved the concept of giving One You Want, One You Need, One You Wear, One you Read. At the time, if anyone asked us what to give her we told them to choose a lovely book as we figured they are special, don’t take up much room and we would love reading them with her.
Both ideas ended up going out the window for a few reasons…the first being that we discovered that the books quickly stacked up and we didn’t have the storage for them. Plus there’s a little thing called a library card which is basically the best thing ever when you have small children. It makes owning a heap of books unnecessary (don’t get me wrong we still have our favourites that are very well-loved). I also got sucked in to the Christmas hype and broke my own rules. I am, however, still a big believer in trying to buy useful presents which wont just be found sitting in a toybox three days after the event.
It’s come to the time of year where I start thinking about (or, rather, start getting asked by grandparents) what the kids can be given for Christmas. They’re both at ages where they don’t ask for anything and they don’t actually need anything so I find I’m always racking my brain to come up with an answer.
I know its obvious to recommend that a donation be made to a charity in their name, and when they’re older I’m sure that’s what we’ll do, but at their current ages and with the ‘magic of Christmas’ all around, people actually want ideas for something they can hand over.
Below are some ideas that I think would be great presents for babies or children. I’ve tried to ensure everything is useful and doesn’t take up too much space. If you are looking for ideas for family members, mothers group and kinder friends, nieces, nephews etc. I hope you can find some inspiration below.
Must-Have for Crafty Little Hands
These crayons are ridiculously good- like nothing I’ve ever seen or used before. They are buttery soft going onto the page and so easy for little ones to use; there’s amazing colour pay off with minimal effort. This range has been developed by an Occupational Therapist and her daughter. If you’re friends with me then this is what I’m buying your kids for Christmas! Poppy doesn’t have much of an attention span for craft (she’s an action girl) but she will actually sit and draw with these for a long stint. With mini packs starting from $10.95 these are also a great stocking stuffer. They’re made by a company called Lunables and available here.
Great Quality Play Dough
I love giving play dough as a gift because its useful, helps with fine motor skills and most importantly, keeps kids entertained for a short period, giving mum a chance to have a cup of tea. Poppy loved putting anything and everything in her mouth until she was around two so I looked for an all-natural one. I discovered Happy Hands Happy Heart products at a market and have been purchasing them ever since. This play dough is made with plant based dyes and each one is also scented, adding to the sensory experience. These babies are $15 for a 400g jar (which will last for a loooong time if you make sure the lid goes back on as soon as you’ve finished using it) and they release limited edition scents for special occasions. This year they have a Plum Pudding and Gingerbread scent available for Christmas- heavenly! They also make a travel pack for those of us who head away during the break- what a fab idea! Happy Hands Happy Heart products are available here.
I’ve had my eye on these gorgeous blankets for a while for both of the kids, as they make such a special keepsake. They’re from Namely Co, a bespoke knitwear brand based in Australia, working with Family Artisans in India. This brand has a dedication to quality and focuses on specialised knitting techniques with ethically sourced products. You choose either bassinet ($89) or cot size ($109), select your colour scheme (good luck with that, they’re all gorgeous) and add your child’s name to get a preview of what the personalisation will look like. They’re all made to order, 100% cotton knitted in the finest quality yarn. I think these are such a beautiful present. We do a lot of travelling in the car at night and I love the idea of my kids having their own special, snuggly blanket for those trips and weekends away.
These Skip Hop Zoo designs are the perfect backpack for little kids to take to daycare, kinder or to hold their bits and pieces when they’re out and about. Poppy has the unicorn one which she has proudly tottered around in since she was about 13 months old. I am still deciding which design to get for Teddy but they’re all super cute so it’s a difficult decision. These are sold at lots of different retailers but I found them at David Jones for $29.95.
Bo-Po Brush on Peel off nail polish
I discovered this brand at a recent Blogger’s Brunch held by Kids Business, or rather, Poppy saw the stand and bolted straight for it before I’d even put my nametag on. Apparently this was a craze in the 80s although I never had any. Poppy has just turned three and loooves having her nails painted but it’s so frustrating to watch because she can’t ever wait long enough for it to dry and constantly asks to hold the bottle (Ummm, No!). This particular product is fast drying, non toxic (tested to an Australian safety standards), does not require nail polish remover and has a spill proof bottle so it is PERFECT for little ones. Prices start at just $7.99 and you can pick up a pack of three colours for $14.99- the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for little people. For stockists head to http://www.boponails.com.au
Feeding and Tabletop
I think that kids dinnerware is a great gift idea as they’re used practically every day, don’t take up too much room and kids actually get a kick out of having their own special plates and bowls (or at least, mine do!). I have a black and white feeding set put away for Teddy that was part of the Emily & Meritt collection for Pottery Barn kids (it’s currently reduced to $38.95 here). I also have my eye on the Thomas & Friends Tabletop gift set ($34 from Pottery Barn Kids) because Ted is obsessed with transport! Another product we love are the placemats from We Might Be Tiny, which come in gorgeous pastel shades in the shapes of bears, bunnies and cats. They’re $29 each and mums will love you as they are dishwasher safe.
Always a favourite in our house. They provide so much entertainment that they’re probably one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ toys you can buy. They’re generally small and not cluttering up people’s living areas, which makes them a winner! This year we are adding to our collection with a set of finding Nemo bath toys ($12.99 at Catch.com.au) a set of Ballet Bath Squirties and a set of Jungle Bath Squirties ($34.00 per set at Pottery Barn Kids)
Push/Pull Toys and Rockers
I consider the above to be really special toys for a baby’s first Christmas. Whilst writing this blog post my parents have bought the little baby walker and block set for Teddy. It’s from Hip Kids for $119.95. The pram pictured above is (in my opinion) the creme de la creme of toy prams; they are super sturdy and such a beautiful, classic design. It’s made by SilverCross. The lamb rocker is from Pottery Barn Kids and it’s $249. This is high on my list of ideas for Teddy’s first birthday. Ben grew up on a farm and had pet sheep so I love that little nod to his childhood.
I know there are sooo many beautiful dolls houses aorund at the moment. I think they’re exquisite and I appreciate all the tiny little details; I could play with them all day. When Poppy turned three I wanted to get her my fantasy dolls house. When I thought about it, though, I realised that these beautifully styled, breathtaking designs are just that- MY fantasy dolls house, not hers. The reality is that Poppy doesn’t give two hoots about the little details just yet. Maybe she will one day but, for now, she’s happy as Larry with the one we got her from KMart. It’s called the ‘Traditional dolls house’ and for $79.00 you get the three storey house and all the furniture is included. Bargain!
Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter
This is hands down one of the most useful presents we have bought for Poppy. She’s had hers since she turned two and she is such a little pro on it now that she easily glides around local skate parks. It folds/disassembles so that it doesn’t take up much space- we actually popped it in one of our suitcases last year when we were off on a holiday. It’s light and easy to throw in the car so it often comes with us ‘just in case’. We purchased ours from Mini Micro Scooters for $159.95.
Gift an Experience
After explaining how I’m all about the practical at the moment, how could I go past adding experiences to this gift guide. Living in Melbourne, a ‘Friends of the Zoo’ pass is something my kids have been given (well, technically you buy the ticket for an adult because kids under 15 are free in Melbourne) and we have absolutely loved the freedom of being able to jump in the car and trot off to the zoo whenever we feel like a family day out. There is also an Australian Play School Tour called ‘Once Upon a Time’ coming up in 2018 which would be a lovely present for a little one.
If you’d like to win an 8 pack of Bo-Po nail polish for a special little someone this year, head over to Instagram and enter this week’s competition.
*Financial compensation was not received for this post. Sample products and a giveaway prize were gifted from BoPo and all opinions expressed here are my own.