As another Christmas threatens to roll down on the family with the weight of a dumper truck, I do my normal helpless gaze around of the beleaguered mother; first I have to think of new and original gifts for 5 children and then I have to find somewhere to put them.
When a little boy happens to have 4 older sisters, all of who received politically correct gifts that didn’t pander to ridiculous gender stereotyping for the sake of it, there is precious little left to purchase. And with the previously mentioned sisters having been bought good quality, lasting toys and all being hoarders by nature, most toy niches have been filled anyway.
Which leaves me with a problem. He is SO excited and last year he simply loved opening things. This year all the big girls know presents are mostly minimal and ‘need’ things but I do want him to have the magic.
So what to do?
I’ve come up with a plan, a three point plan that solves most of my problems.
- a) buy things that are disposable
- b) buy things that go with sets you already have a place for anyway
- c) buy a main present that will then hold a number of tiny ‘unwrap constantly for 4 hours’ type of cheap items.
1. This month we reviewed the Mega Bloks Thomas 123 Learning Train which he absolutely loved. Not only is it a favourite character of his but he adores construction bricks and had a wonderful time playing with the train and loading it with bricks.
It’s compatible with the other leading brand and had the added fun of stickers for hedges and luggage blocks which made him very happy. Since that has automatically gone in with the box of this we already own, it hasn’t added to bulk of toys particularly and he’s desperate for a Percy too so that will be in his gift pile this year.The train is really detailed and robust and nice to use and the blocks are nice to handle and clip together well.
We were also sent the First Builders blocks to try. He loved making scenery and towers to bash with these but they are designed for the 1-2 age and we can happily pass those on to the gym soon (see, I get to feel good then )
2. For disposable I’m going for some Playdoh. He adores vehicles and the bin lorry in particular so that is easily bought, Playdoh won’t last forever and then the main item can go in the sandpit for next year.
3. Another disposable thing that would make him happy is a mass of cheap colouring books, magic painting sets and chunky pencils. They will soon be used up, they are cheap and I won’t have to look at them for long, plus they will keep him lovely and quiet for ages.
4. Being a lucky boy who has parents with a toy shop, Bene doesn’t go short. He’s already got lots of BigJigs Rail items and a few new engines tucked into the basket won’t cause us too much trouble.
5. His main present this year will be a wooden toy garage. (He’s getting lucky here as a customer returned one with a bashed box so we put it aside for him!) It will take up some space, admittedly, but it means I can buy a whole clutch of single cars, wrap each one separately for him to open and they can all be stored on the garage when it isn’t being used, or in the box of cars we already have.
6. Dressing up. As previously mentioned, Bene is all about the bin lorry. He makes his own one with our paper bin, two small chairs and a big chair and sits in the ‘front’ with socks on his hands for gloves and a teacup (he observes very closely it seems) which is adorably cute. So this year a home made outfit of tiny high vis jacket, bobble hat, plastic flask and gloves will make his week I expect and will go in his clothes drawer when not in use.
My only current problem is stocking fillers. I’m stumped. Any ideas?