By Estelle Sobel Erasmus
Disclosure: I received some of the toys and items here for review; others I bought myself. The opinions here, as always are my own.
The Elf on the Shelf has been taken out of his hiding place in the closet, we stashed away the Menorah and we’re planning on decorating the Christmas tree this weekend (yes, we celebrate both holidays as I wrote here), and that means its time for a Holiday Gift Guide.
Let’s face it: the real winners of the Holiday season are the kids. For me and my husband, the joy happens when we look in our daughter’s eyes and see her delight at the gifts we’ve showered upon her. We weren’t sure what to buy her but this year, she was truly spoilt. We were originally looking at low-price/cheap/budget hoverboards but then decided to buy her one of those next year instead. Also, we were considering gifting her a classic videogame like The Legend of Zelda, The – Majora’s Mask. She had recently developed a love for videogames after watching her friends. So, we thought that maybe installing an emulator and majora’s mask n64 rom on the computer could help us. Even with the availability of video games, finding physical copies of old games can be tricky and costly. Therefore, ROMs and emulators are the only way to play these classic titles. However, we saved this idea for her birthday. We can’t exhaust all our gifting ideas too soon, can we? So, we ended up with other gifts. And she was so pleased (and grateful) for her gifts that we had a lovely Christmas.
Anyway, I’ve decided to just focus on five gifts for kids that I have personally tested with my daughter. There are no affiliate links in this post; just items that I’ve received for review or purchased myself that made the cut. I know friends and family members have also my daughter some gifts and I think she’s specifically asked for custom Photo Puzzles from her grandparents so she’s excited to open those gifts later on when she sees them and the excitement of the day has worn off.
1) Bitty Baby from American Girl ($60)
She carries this brand new doll from American Girl around with her everywhere.
Bitty Baby is a 15-inch soft-bodied doll available in 11 different combinations of skin tone, eye-and hair-color, allowing your child to pick her perfect mini-me companion. Each Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in her signature sleeper, along with a special “wishing star” keepsake toy and a beautifully illustrated Bitty Baby and Me hardcover picture book.
From now until December 31, 2013, anyone who buys something from American Girl in store or online will receive a thank you gift–a promo code for a free 20-page, American Girl-themed hardcover photo book (valued at $29.99), redeemable at Shutterfly.com.
2) Tickets to the Broadway musical Cinderella (start at $45 a ticket)
We received tickets to see the show and review it, and it was an extra special experience because it was her first Broadway Show, and she was mesmerized (as we all were). Here is a description of the show from the producers.
More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, the CINDERELLA of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical now on Broadway is a surprisingly contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting: a spirited young woman with savvy and soul, eager to develop a world view, she doesn’t let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She not only fights for her own dreams, but makes the prince, who falls in love with her, open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams, too.
We loved the set (beautifully realistic), the flying effects, the magical transformations (from Cinderella into a mysterious princess), and enjoyed the dancing as much as the music. Although it ended way past my daughter’s bedtime, despite a few surreptitious yawns, she didn’t miss one magical moment.
It’s a don’t miss experience, perfect for the whole family (and I got a kick out of seeing Laura Osnes–who won the role of Sandy in the reality talent show “Grease: You’re the One That I Want”–back in 2007–and has gone on to a stellar career since and in the lead role of Cinderella she shines.
5) Light Up Links-An Imagination Toy
Light up Links are a fantastically fun new building toy that encourage kids’ creativity. Their tagline is “The building links that light up your imagination.”
My daughter literally built huge architectural constructions with the links (see above) as well as a necklace that she wore to preschool. Kids can build whatever they can imagine: goggles, jump ropes, crowns, or cars with the light up links (no battery required). They light up in the light, but also look really cool in the dark. An accompanying booklet gives even more ideas. They are offering a special deal to the readers of my blog: For free shipping go to Light Links World and use the code LUL for free shipping and handling on the two kit offer ($13.98 value).
Because I love the toy so much, I am doing a GIVEAWAY for your very own Light Up Links Pack. You must live in the U.S. and if you win and don’t respond in 48hours, then another winner will be selected. The contest will run from today until December 14th. The company will ship up until December 16th. So enter below, and good luck!! Also, sign up here for my blog and you’ll never miss a post or a giveaway (I promise).
What are your must-get gifts for kids?