By Tracy Lane
When I peaked into my six-year-old daughter’s bedroom last night, I thought she was journaling. What an endearing idea for a professional writer! Just like mom, I thought.
As I was about to start dreaming of the best-selling novel she’ll pen someday, she shooed me out of her doorway. “Mom! I need my privacy!” Turns out she wasn’t journaling after all.
Instead of chronicling her elementary school day’s ongoings, she was using her newly acquired first grade awareness of the annual calendar to get a head start on compiling her Christmas list. And apparently, if I am privy to the entries on the Christmas Want List, she’ll never be able to prove if Santa is real, like her friends still say, or if I’m the primary gift giver, the truth I’ve told her all along.
As a mom, I had kind of hoped to enjoy this weekend’s Trunk or Treat and town Halloween parade before getting too carried away with a multiple-page toy request list. But I’m thankful for my daughter’s reminder to start planning for how we’ll gather hers and her sister’s most-wanted boxes underneath the tree in 60 days.
You might need the jump start too, so here’s a list of the top items to be on the lookout for this season your little ones. And some tips on how to get them on the cheap too!
If this is your baby’s first Christmas, first off dress your baby in all the holiday things. This season there will be no such thing as too many red sweaters, penguin printed tights, glittery hair bows, and tartan bowties. But you’ll want your babe to open gifts too. You can go more practical in this first year.
- Crib Mobile: Maybe you can keep the baby entertained and steal a few more precious moments of shut eye at 5am. Or at least scroll through Instagram before scooping that pre-dawn baby out of bed.
- Exersaucer: For a little handsfree Mama time so that you can get a quick shower or stir the dinner pot on the stove. These can be pricey, so this is a great thing to pickup secondhand. Every Rhea Lana’s sale is stocked full of like-new exersaucers with all kinds of options.
- Touch and Feel Books: You want them to be as smart as you when they grow up! Now’s the time to start reading to them and growing their interest in book loving.
If you have a toddler, keep dressing them in all the holiday things! This year, you’ll need to add cute, comfy shoes with the holiday outfits. But you’ll still need a stockpile of Santa shirts with ruffled or corduroy pants and flannel Christmas PJs. Think exploring when considering gifts this Christmas for your one to three-year-old.
- Toy Kitchen or Tool Bench: These little ones want to be just like Mommy and Daddy. Let them have at it, practicing home responsibilities as play. These are also pretty guaranteed finds at any Rhea Lana’s event. I scored my daughter’s very first playskool kitchen for $12 at a RL half price sale! Can’t beat the price or the excitement on her face when she saw it.
- Water and Sand Table: This is great to encourage play in an outdoor space, and it’s even compact enough to fit on a small patio. Your toddler will love the texture of the sand, digging and building, and also the splashing fun of the water side.
- Art Table or Easel: Give your growing baby the chance to create. An easel or plastic art desk is great for finger painting, scribbling, and chalk designs. And it keeps your little artist’s mess contained.
If you have a preschooler, duh holiday attire is still an absolute must. Think of your preschooler as a pretend play genius and a lover of learning for guiding gift buying this year.
- Dollhouse or Pretend City Playset: The storytelling of these pretend pieces helps your child process real life in a play setting. The characters they create and the conversations those characters have are such a sweet insight into their growing minds.
- Scooter/Bike: Your preschooler’s gross motor skills are on fire! They’re growing and ready to be flexed. A balance scooter or bicycle is a fun way for your child to use these new skills and a Mama won’t mind the energy burned in the process to tire them out for naptime.
- Dress Up: This goes for boys and girls. It is fun to pretend to be a princess, a pirate, a lion, or a firefighter. Pick up dress up costumes for a couple bucks each at Rhea Lana’s events around the country. And if you’re feeling really crafty, upcycle a thrift store find to DIY a dress up corner for your kids.
If your child is in early elementary, it’s safe to say that one never outgrows getting a special Christmas outfit. So keep the glitter bows, fancy dresses, and bowties coming for as many years as you can get your child to wear them! Matching or coordinating with a younger sibling makes it that much more fun. This age is much more independent—as my daughter pointed out—so consider that in gift choices.
- Nerf Guns: I’ve been to multiple six-year-old boy Nerf Battle parties. It’s time where they’re finally the age to know it’s fun but also know how to handle the competitions in a lighthearted way. Get ready for a little friendly competition in your home.
- Swings and Hammocks: These kids can pump on their own, jump out of their swing, and even relax into a hammock pod for an afternoon of reading. Give them what they need to do it in your backyard.
- Craft or Building Kit: They’re ready for hands-on trying of all their minds are acquiring. Model car or airplane kits, jewelry making kits, and paint or pottery kits are perfect indoor entertainment on a cold winter day.
Now you can get to shopping, or send your list to Santa to help you out with the Christmas budget. Since we all know that Mama is the real gift giver, stretch your gift giving budget by finding your child’s wants at a Rhea Lana’s holiday event near you. What’s on your child’s list this year?