We get the holiday celebration started early by gifting new "Christmas" pajamas to Evan every December 1st. For Christmas-lovers like me, this helps stretch the season out as loooong as possible! I had been eyeing these superstar pajamas last year & was thrilled to find them at a discounted rate this past summer. Love the look of excitement when he opened them up!
I love hauling out the Christmas books along with the decorations each year. Seeing a note dated from one of his past Christmases inside a book he's picked out for storytime makes my heart so happy, and will hopefully be meaningful for him to look back on when he's grown.
This year, we got him Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh. (Previous years' books have been: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry, and Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer.)
If Evan had his way, the only gifts under the tree on Christmas morning would be cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, construction vehicles, police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, etc.
In stereotypical boy fashion, he already has mountains more of these than he's able to play with as it is. Several months ago, we whittled them down to about half as many, but the ones that survived the cut somehow multiplied. (Thanks a lot,
Target & Hot Wheels my own lack of willpower.) Also, I'll be honest -- I have a hard time enjoying playtime when he wants to do cars & trucks, so I usually end up organizing them by color or size.
This year, I wanted to focus on getting gifts that allow us to have more creative and/or interactive playtime together (and that will be enjoyable for all). (The ornament doesn't really count, and I know the DVD doesn't fit, but sometimes you just have to.) Also, he's been starting to express an interest in reading (reading = reciting from memory what he knows to be the storyline based on pictures... but that's how they start learning, right?). Although he already has a pretty extensive library of books, it's always fun to bring some new ones into the mix.
Below are some of the gifts he'll find in his stocking or under the tree this year, which I know are going to make him a very happy kid... hopefully so much so that he won't realize no actual cars or trucks are there. :) If there's a toddler/preschooler in your life, maybe this will give you some new (last-minute?) gift ideas for them!
LEGO DUPLO superheroes batcave adventure // Gone fishing game (Land of Nod -- sold out; similar here) // Yeti, Turn Out the Light! by Greg Long // Melissa & Doug jumbo coloring pad - animals // Learning Resources binoculars // Ye olde castle figures - knights (Land of Nod -- sold out) // Turbo DVD // Amazing Machines: Truckload of Fun (10-book set) by Tony Mitton // Fire truck holiday travel ornament // Hoot Owl Hoot! board game
These are a few other fantastic gift ideas for interactive and imaginative fun with a toddler/preschooler.
Crocodile Creek floor puzzles are a favorite at our house -- we have several. They have super cute images & the pieces are large enough for kiddos to easily maneuver them into position. (It's also an activity he can do on his own with little to no help.) Evan loves learning about animals, so we added this little kids' edition of NatGeo to the wishlist sent out to our family members. Also, he's often curious to see what comes in the mail, so I think it would be fun for him to receive something for himself every once in a while. Last recommendation: Janod story boxes. The wooden pieces are packaged in a box which, when opened, serves as a backdrop for playtime. Plus, they come in so many varieties that there's sure to be one (or more!) that matches your child's interests.
And although gifts aren't the true reason for the season, it sure is fun (and heartwarming) to see that huge grin and twinkle of excitement in your child's eyes on Christmas morning!
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