There is a chill in the air and that means the fall holidays are just around the corner. After the thrill and frustration of finding the perfect costume is done and the candy has been eaten or hidden after Halloween , and the last bit of turkey has been made into a sandwich after Thanksgiving, the squeals of delight will be heard through out the month of December.
Why is that?
Kids love presents and Hanukkah and Christmas is around the corner!
Because the Jewish calendar is a lunar one and not a solar one, it falls during different times of year on our Gregorian calendar. But is always the same date in Israel!
This year, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Saturday, December 24th. That means that Jewish families in America will be celebrating both Hanukkah at the same exact time Christians will be celebrating Christmas. We all get to celebrate together this year! For Jewish parents, that means searching for the top holiday gifts at the same time those are shopping for Christmas. We will all be looking for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Since I have to shop for my children and other family members with young children, here is a list of the top Christmas/Hanukkah gifts that children of any faith will be clamoring for this holiday season.
Shopping Strategies for Finding the Perfect Gift
Our children are inundated with commercials whenever they watch television. The attractive advertisements are of course, created to help separate parents from their hard earned money. Advertising campaigns create a want for a toy where there was not one before.
And of course, the more a child wants a toy, the more challenging it will be for parents to find.
Here are some shopping strategies that I use to help find the items on my children’s wish list. Be sure to prepare your shopping budget ahead of time so that you know exactly what you want to spend.
Photo from Pixabay
1. Have your kids make a list.
My children will write down the toys and electronics they want most. I ask them to put a red star next to the top three that they desire, so I know exactly what to zero in on when I am shopping.
I have them make this list several weeks before the holiday, as this will help me with step number two. Since my younger two have an October birthday, I can also see if they want something from their birthday list that they did not receive.
2. Look at the Sunday circulars before the holiday.
Once I have the list from my children, I can peruse the Sunday circulars and begin to compare prices. Some stores match the lowest price from another merchant’s advertised sale for that particular week, so there is no need to run around to save two dollars. Just go to the one store and bring the sales circular with you. Note that most merchants will not match online prices at other retailers and even their own store.
3. Look for online sales.
I also compare prices with online stores. If I find it lower with free shipping, I will buy it there. I may also get lucky and find coupon codes for the items I am purchasing, making it more worthwhile for me to buy the elusive item online. Before you push the “Buy” button, be sure to search for discounts. Even if I wind up having to pay for shipping, I feel better about it if I found a discount on what I purchased.
4. Just buy it.
If there is a popular toy and a store has it in stock, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay full price. There are people who practice retail arbitrage, which is buying popular items and reselling them at a profit. That is why you will see nothing on the store shelves but plenty for sale online at ridiculous prices. You will want to beat them to the punch and pay the full retail price if you come across what you are looking for. Most stores have a 14 day price adjustment policy, where if the item is sold for a lower price during that time period, you will receive the difference back if you go to the store and ask for it.
Top Christmas Gifts for Boys
There are definite preferences that boys and girls have, no matter how many trucks we buy our girls and how many dolls we buy for our boys. There have been many different research studies done over the years to see if these are cultural or biological differences. Scientists have come to the conclusion that while they cannot prove it due to statistical insignificance, the thinking leads them to believe that it is a biological phenomenon.
What will be on your favorite boy’s list this year?
Blaze and the Monster Machine
There is a popular trend in children’s television programming to not simply entertain children as they watch, but to teach them as well. Life lessons, letters and numbers have been around since the premiere of Sesame Street in 1969, science has oftentimes taken a backseat. Not anymore! STEM learning-Science, Math, Engineering and Mathematics-is front and center in a popular television series for children. With the Nick Junior hit Blaze and the Monster Machine, children learn about scientific concepts such as:
- Wind Power
- Magnetic Fields
- Sound Waves
Any toy that is related to this show is going to be on a boy’s must have list if he is under the age of six.
When Blaze transforms into a jet, the concept of thrust is taught. This is a multi-purpose toy, since it can be both a truck and a plane. Add a Baze book or tee shirt and you have a wonderful gift for a preschooler.
PJ Masks Merchandise
This crimefighting trio is beloved by younger children. Disney has finally released a full line of toys that light up, can be cuddled with and used for imaginative play.
Although this could be for either gender, many boys are fascinated by magic. It is truly a skill to accomplish the slight of hand and trick those who are sitting in the audience.
This highly rated kit comes with a DVD that demonstrates 100 different magic tricks. With so many, it will take time for kids to master each and every one. It comes with several props to get kids started on their magician’s journey.
Creating Your Holiday Gift Giving Budget
I tell my children that life is not fair and life is not equal. Their friends may receive more gifts or more expensive items than they do, but there are reasons for that. Some of their friends have two parents who work outside the home, therefore they have a bigger gift giving budget.
Others now have parents who are divorced, and the gifts they given are an attempt to soothe their broken hearts.
I have tried to explain this third one, but they don’t get it yet. Some people go into debt in order to give gifts they cannot afford. They buy with their credit cards and then attempt to pay it off in monthly installments. The cost of the gift is even greater due to interest that is accrued. I have flat out told my kids that their father and I will never do that. We give what we can afford to give.
Create a list and an amount to spend on each person and then stick to it. If you need to make cutbacks tell the person as early as you can. I have had to do this with my friends and they understand.
Top Christmas Gifts for Girls
Some gifts for girls have always been popular. Barbies, craft kits, dress up items and anything princess related are typically on many girls most wanted lists. The frillier and more girly, the better!
My daughters always loved these kinds of gifts. Is this on your child’s list this holiday season?
Elena of Avalor Gifts
Disney Moana Toys
Although the movie is not set to premiere until November 23rd, Disney has been promoting Moana for the past several months. Commercials for the film can be seen constantly on television and trailers have been in movie theaters for months. Disney is banking on this new Polynesian heroine to bring in big bank for the holiday season.
Just like Disney did with Frozen, part of creating the anticipation for the film is to release merchandise, like costumes and toys, for children to love and parents to purchase. Disney has released a line of Moana plush and toys for kids.
In addition to the doll pictured above, there are puzzles, costumes and plush also available. Her pig Pua, the rooster Heihei, her sidekick Maui and an assortment of clothing and play figure sets are all part of the Moana line of toys. After the film’s debut, these will be at a premium to find, so if your favorite girl is already interested in the characters, this would be the time to stock up and get her what she desires.
DC Superhero Girls
Boys are not the only ones who like superheroes-girls enjoy them as well. At Super Hero High School, there are lots of them attending classes. Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Poison Ivy and Star Sapphire are just some of the attendees.
Top Gifts for Kids
Older kids love to play games. It is a wonderful way for generations to get together and spend much needed quality time. Best of all, games bring out laughs and stories as one topic of conversation leads to another.
You are gong to need to buy some whipped cream for this game, but it will be worth it! Families will try to douse the others with this hilarious game that does not require reading.
Giving a child the gift of art is one that will last for a very long time. This art set includes crayons, markers, pastels, and watercolors-different mediums for different kinds of expression. This is a highly rated set that, when given with a package of construction paper and some canvases, makes a wonderful item for your budding Picasso.
Books Make a Great Gift
As both an educator for almost 30 years, I would be remiss if I did not include books on this list of top 10 Christmas gifts for kids. There are so many titles available for every stage of reading. There are board books for babies and toddlers, touch and feel books for preschoolers, easy reading books for children in grades kindergarten through second, easy chapter books for those starting that kind and of course, chapter book series for all ages.
Activity books based on a favorite character, show or movie and even coloring books for tweens and teens make excellent add on gifts that will keep on giving.
Featured image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Picmonkey.