12.01.2013

ethan's holiday wish list and gift guide

In one of my favorite movies, someone refers to Maggie Gylenhaal's character -- an overly embellished attachment parenting type -- as "the one without a stroller." This especially makes me laugh during the holidays (or Ethan's birthday) when he becomes, without fail, "the kid without the battery-operated toys." It's not as if my child doesn't have an abundance of plastic, buzzing, beeping toys -- he was the first child in our family in sixteen years, of course -- but it's just that we don't like toys. Any of us. At this point, I don't think I could even force Ethan to play with a clunky piece of plastic that lights up and buzzes and talks. And after two years of crowding our living room, they're all in a box in the garage seeking homes where they will get more action than a cat knocking into one in the middle of the night.

I had fully intended to do a Hanukkah gift guide spotlight first but Ethan was sick, we went out of town and even I was unprepared for an early Thanksgiving Hanukkah this year. All of Ethan's Hanukkah gifts are art supplies -- colored gluesticks, paints, paintbrushes, glitter crayons -- and he's been loving it. Since we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, we tend to do smaller scale gifts on Hanukkah and then the larger gifts on Christmas. In addition to books and pajamas -- which seem to be the two items always on Ethan's wishlists for everything, every year when friends and family ask -- I thought I would put together a little glimpse into Ethan's Christmas wish list and throw together a quick holiday gift guide for anyone looking for some practical-yet-super-fun gift ideas.

(And a few special Cyber Monday deals, too, because it's always fun to shop small and snag some deals in the process, right?)

1. Hatch For Kids

I love every last item in the Hatch For Kids store. They're beyond adorable, but they're also super cozy. Ethan is a big kid and I love the way the shirts fit a little on the bigger side so that they last and last they do, which is a plus when dealing with kids clothing. Ethan has a whole bunch of Hatch For Kids goodies on their way under our tree this year. Through Cyber Monday, everything is at least 25% off and you get a free Mickey Punk tee with your purchase of $65+! (And, I mean, they have Wayfarers for littles. That's a cuteness overload in itself.)

2. Passive Juice Motel

I love anyone who loves Neutral Milk Hotel as much as I do, so I fell in love with Passive Juice Motel instantly. I've been singing Ethan King of Carrot Flowers since he was still in my belly. Anyway, beyond our shared love of Neutral Milk Hotel, I absolutely love Passive Juice Motel's adorable, fun designs on their non-traditional kids clothing.

3. The Striped Fig Clothing

Ethan is too big for these adorable clothes (see also: I obsessively check to see if bigger sizes are being offered yet more frequently than I should admit) but I couldn't not bring them to your attention. I am absolutely in love with the hand-drawn shirt designs and these super sweet little leggings. The Striped Fig is offering 25% off your purchase through 11 p.m. on 12/2 with code SHOPMONDAY.

4. TrulySanctuary

TrulySanctuary are another favorite in this house. I especially loved their onesies when Ethan was teeny-tiny. I also think they might be the cutest family to ever live, but that's another story altogether. When I was doing my Blogathon for charity, TrulySanctuary stepped in to offer up raffle prizes and their generosity speaks volumes about the ethics and heart behind this family run clothing shop. I love that they have everything from onesies up to clothes for adults, too, so it's one-stop shopping for the whole family.

5. Tickle Me Plant

Tickle Me Plant is a huge favorite in our home (and tot school classroom). While Ethan already has one, I think these make great gifts and stocking stuffers. With options ranging from seed packets up to family greenhouses, there's something in everyone's budget, be it a large scale gift or just a small token. Tickle Me Plant is not only so super cool -- a plant that moves when tickled! -- but is something fun for the family to do together and great for teaching kids the responsibility of caring for something living.

6. EZPaint

EZPaint is awesome, and I haven't kept that a secret. It's also an awesome gift to give other little artists. We are very mess friendly in our home but not everyone is and so I'm always wary of giving art supplies as gifts to other children. EZPaint is virtually mess-free without compromising on creativity and it makes the perfect gift. With small five piece sets up to sixteen piece sets, there is once again something for everyone to fit any budget. These make a great stocking stuffer, too. Save 35% off your order through Monday at midnight with code CYBERMONDAY.

7. Automoblox

Ethan loves playing with cars. I feel like I'm always buying him new plastic cars after his other ones break or fall apart. When I heard about Automoblox, I fell in love first with their commitment to quality (they, too, believe it is better to have one quality toy rather than a hundred junky ones). Automoblox are heirloom toys that let children use their imagination when playing with them. They can be played with simply as cars, or children can take the pieces apart and build them to their liking. Ethan opened these for one night of Hanukkah from his grandparents and has so far created everything from "boats" (in the mind of an imaginative toddler) to use stretch limos. These are a lot of fun, and such great quality, too!

8. Toobs by Safari Ltd.

Ethan loves Toobs by Safari Ltd. and received a couple new ones from his grandparents for Hanukkah this year. They're amazing miniature replicas of real animals and have not only helped Ethan learn animals he may not see on a regular basis, but also to identify those that live right in his backyard (like an Ibis, which blew my mind when he identified one at our local nature center). In addition to animals, they also have dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as well as Ancient Egypt Toobs and other historical figures and settings. I love the imaginative play and make-believe worlds these help children create and all of the different ways you can utilize them.

9. Reptangles

Ethan discovered Reptangles at our local science museum. These are not only fun, but super educational. The turtles can combine in over 100 ways and open the door to critical thinking skills, imagination exploration and even mathematical thinking.

10. Spooner Boards

Spooner Boards are so fun and I love that they're not quick to be outgrown. The Spooner Board is perfect for free play since it can be utilized so many different ways. It also helps to improve gross motor coordination as well as balance and stability. For a little skateboarding fan like Ethan, the Spooner Board is a fun way for younger children to practice balance and create their own neat board "tricks."

11. Chairs

This one is actually kind of a funny story. When we first started explaining the concept of Santa to Ethan, he announced he was going to ask him for the chair game at the science museum. I knew what he was talking about, but not what it was called or how to find it. As the weeks went on, he didn't forget and is still associating Santa with the chair game at the science museum. Thanks to the amazing staff at the science museum, they did some research and located the game for me. It's called Chairs and it's a super fun chair stacking game that Ethan can stand there and play for hours whenever we visit the museum. There are rules and a point system, but younger children can simply stimulate their minds by trying to build a tower of chairs without them toppling.

12. Play Haven Teepees

The older he gets, the more I think Ethan would love a PlayHaven teepee. As a place for privacy or independent play or a reading nook, there is something so magical about these gorgeous teeepees. (I mean, I'm almost 30 but I think I would totally love one for myself, too!)

Anything special on your wishlists this holiday season?

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