I'm slowly getting into the holiday spirit. I'd resolved to have a more joyous and less stressful holiday season this year. I swore I'd only do Christmas-y things that I actually wanted to do, and therefore declined my company party. I made a plan, mapping holiday things I actually want to do to the available weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I'd love to say it is working wonderfully, but the truth is that I still struggle to let go of the pressure I inexplicably feel to get our various Christmas things "right" and just enjoy the season. But I'm doing better this year than last year, and I am actually turning my attention to Christmas shopping with something approaching the right spirit- i.e., I'm enjoying picking out gifts that will make people happy and not thinking of each gift as just another item to cross off my to do list.
|A local minimum in the ornament distribution function
I also started my Christmas shopping. I started with our adopt-a-family, which is actually a nice way to ease into the spirit. The sometimes overwhelming toy options are narrowed down by the list provided by the parent in the family, and if you can't feel the Christmas spirit while buying toys for kids who otherwise wouldn't have any gifts then your name may be Grinch.
So, now that I'm thinking about toys, I might as well share some of the things I'm finding that I like. (If you want more toy ideas from me, you can check out my old post on the subject of toys that promote skills, which was itself a follow up to a guest post I did over at Mommy Shorts about Princess-phase friendly toys to promote skills.)
Snow White's Cottage. And then I felt bad because there aren't really many blocks in that set, so I bought a standard tub of blocks. (In the end, I got each of the three kids one extra toy, related to the toy on the list. I couldn't help myself.)
I am tempted by Bill and Betty Bricks, which is made by the same company that makes the Castle Logix toy that our girls like. In fact, that company (SmartGames) has a lot of interesting looking toys. If you're looking for toys to promote logic and spatial reasoning and you want to go beyond LEGO and other blocks, check their options out.
Another great building toy in disguise is a train set. We have both the wooden tracks and the plastic Fisher Price Thomas the Train TrackMaster tracks. I know this is heresy, but we actually prefer the plastic set, at least for Petunia, who is the train nut right now. The plastic tracks are more forgiving of being tugged into position by a three year old who doesn't quite get the concept of making sure the two ends line up, and she likes the motorized trains. So we may be suggesting some more tracks for her for Christmas- we need at least one more expansion set, so that we can have two joins and make more complex tracks. She's been asking for Rosie, too (although she calls her "the pink one").
What about you? What's on your toy shopping list this year? Any great finds you want to share in the comments?