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 throughout 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 Tuesday, December 12th. 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.
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. Now that they are teenagers, they see their peers driving fancy cars, wearing designer clothes and taking tropical vacations. They appreciate these things and want them; however, when I ask them if the parents of these friends have retirement accounts, they look at me like I am crazy. These people may be spending now, but will pay a larger price later. In addition, I share with them that 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 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?
Just Play PJ Masks Rival Racers Track Playset
The PJ Masks phenomenon continues. This popular series continues to be popular with the preschool set. The show is based on a popular French children’s book series, written by Romulad Racioppo. The first book was published in 2008, and presently the series includes 15 different titles. Owlette, Gekko and Catboy are the three central characters who solve community issues at night while wearing their pajamas and masks.
Disney Mickey Transforming Roadster RC Vehicle
Another popular Disney Junior program is Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Mickey and his five pals-Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Daisy they race around Hot Dog Hills, where they live, as well as around the world.
Kids love to play with remote control toys. It gives them a sense of power to be able to “drive” a car. This toy, based on the popular television series, has both lights and sounds. This is another thing that kids enjoy in their toys.
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! Girls also like to have toys that are from their favorite television shows as well.
Vampirina just debuted on Disney Junior in October and already this is a mega hit for the preschool set. It is based on the series of books, Vampirina Ballerina, by Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham. Vampirina is a vampire who moves from Transylvania to Pennsylvania when her parents buy a Bed and Breakfast. Adjusting to being the new girl in town is difficult for anyone, being a vampire with an unusual kind of family makes it even more challenging for her. But life lessons such as accepting people for who they are and not what they look like, as well as learning how to be comfortable being yourself are handled in just the right way for younger children.
Luvabella Responsive Baby Doll with Realistic Expressions and Movement
Little girls love their baby dolls, and this one is going to make them feel even more like a real mommy! First of all, they can choose a doll that resembles them in skin tone and hair color. They can also choose a baby girl or a baby boy. The more your child plays with the doll, the more words it will utter. Tickle the tummy, play Peek-a-Boo…this doll will respond.
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. As children get older, the games you play become more complex and you can really have a fun time with your tweens and teens. While playing Candyland and Chutes and Ladders is fun, for adults, it can become a bit boring after a while-no matter how much you love your kids and enjoy spending time with them. Games for older kids have more meat on the bones, so to speak, and can really lead to incredible conversations while playing.
The game 5 Second Rule is tons of fun to play. The game includes 576 questions, so you can play over and over again without ever repeating one of them. Each card has a topic. After it is read aloud, the person responding has only 5 seconds to answer before the timer goes off and make a sound like marbles are being released. Because it is quick to answer, this game is quick to play and the likelihood of becoming bored is small. It is recommended for ages 10 and up and it requires at least three players to have a game.
If you have younger children and wish to play, there is a Junior 5 Second Rule game for families to play as well.
One of the biggest hits to come on the game market is Soggy Doggy. This is a game for families with younger children, as no reading is required. The object of the game is to go around the board and take turns giving the dog a bath…but you get sent back to start when Soggy Doggy shakes himself dry. The winner is the person who is able to get around the gameboard without getting wet.
Last year’s big fad was Fidget Spinners. This year, it is Squishies. What are Squishies? These are soft toys that children can squeeze and then they bounce back into their original shape. These toys come in many different variations-from food to animals. You can buy them individually or in packs of ten or more. These would make adorable stocking stuffers or something to unwrap if you are giving a gift card to a child. These are also great to have on hand if your child receives an unexpected gift from someone. You can have one or two wrapped and ready to give in a gift bag. They are gender neutral so they are good to have on hand.
Magna Tiles are a 3-D kind of building blocks. Children can create all kinds of designs and see through them. This is one the most popular toys in my preschool class!
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 Canva.