Christmas shopping for my 2-year-old little girl, Penelope, gets more fun every year. Last year she didn’t really have a clue what was going on. This year she’s very aware of the big guy in the red suit and I’m cooking dinner for the very first time, so it kind of feels like our first proper family Christmas, especially now she has a baby sister to spoil and look after too. I try not to go too overboard at Christmas when it comes to toys. I usually spend most of my budget on events throughout the month such as pantomimes, the illuminations at Five Sisters Zoo, trips to the Edinburgh market, afternoon tea with Santa and special movie nights with lots of treats. This is my favourite time of year so I like to draw out the festivities for as long as possible! I have picked up a few things in the Black Friday sales and been kindly gifted a few items which I know she is going to absolutely love…
I never begrudge buying Penny books, arts & crafts materials, construction blocks and wooden toys as I know she’ll get a lot of use of them. I found these little wooden animals from Lanka Kade at Muddy Boots, a farm and activity centre in Cupar. You can also find these colourful handcrafted toys at babipur. The bag contains 6 chunky easy-to-grip animals including a crocodile, giraffe, elephant, gorilla, lion and meerkat all for £13.96. Lanka Kade’s toys are built to last so they’re a brilliant investment. They are made from rubberwood and painted with eco paints. They provide sustainable, fairly paid employment to over 200 Sri Lankan families and support schools across Sri Lanka. There are also sets containing woodland animals, farm animals and dinosaurs which I can’t wait to add to her collection next year.
Able Labels are a British business that specialises in personalising baby gifts and art prints, name labels and stationery. This Owl Soft Toy is just one adorable creature in a lovely collection including a unicorn, rabbit, dinosaur, reindeer and traditional teddy. The Owl is incredibly soft and perfect for cuddling up with at bedtime. It’s made from 100% polyester plush and is 40cm tall. It can be personalised with up to 14 characters (including spaces and punctuation) and is intricately embroidered in either pale blue or pale pink thread. The Owl comes with a handy zip so it can be carefully hand washed when Penny inevitably covers it in tomato sauce!
The ‘That’s not my…’ collection is one of Penny’s favourite series of books. The story itself is mind-numbingly simple but it’s the colourful illustration and touchy-feely elements of the book that keeps Peny entertained plus, a lot of them come with soft toys to accompany them too. I’m actually going to pop these two in her Christmas Eve box. If you’re struggling for affordable ideas this year, you can check out my post here.
Penny was recently sent two new books to add to her collection this Christmas. The first is Scott and the Runaway Sock by Niall Cunniffe.
“Scott the sock has never left his drawer. And why would he, when he’s got his matching sock (and best friend), Stitch, to play with? But when Stitch runs away, Scott must choose between the safety of the drawer or following his friend into the big scary world outside.”
Penny loves it when I make puppets out of her socks and chase her around her bedroom with them, so she found this book absolutely hilarious! The illustrations are colourful and bold, plus the story has a lovely message about friendship and the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone and going on adventures. It isn’t too long that it loses her concentration but it’s a charming quick read perfect for bedtime.
Scott and the Runaway Sock is published by Smiley Books and is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookshops and online booksellers. For more information visit: www.scottandthesocks.com.
Santa Goes on Strike By Jem Vanston is the perfect picture book to read with your little one on Christmas Eve. The inspiration for the story came one Christmas when there was too much snow for the Amazon delivery drivers to get through but Christmas happened anyway! It’s a fun rhyming story and a heartwarming reminder that Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, not just presents and things.
“Santa is depressed. Tired of the selfishness and greed of people, he decides to go on strike. But what will the reindeer do? It’s their duty to deliver presents to the world’s children every Christmas…”
It’s a story that parents will love just as much as children. Penny is still a little young to understand the message but this is the kind of story you can read year after year together and never get bored of.
If you are still struggling for gift ideas, don’t forget to check out The Christmas Good Toy Guide by Fundamentally Children. It’s a free resource packed full of independent toy reviews by child psychology experts and, most importantly, a panel of children, so you know they’re reviews you can trust! There’s also practical advice and ideas to help you budget, prepare and enjoy a stress-free Christmas.0