Just before December arrived, I was done with Christmas shopping for the kids. It felt so good to be “ahead of the game” so to speak so I could slow down and truly enjoy the Christmas season with my family.
I set a budget and made a very intentional list – along with prices and who was getting what – and edited the list a bit, too, and then I got to shopping. To keep things simple and purposeful, we adopted the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” notion. Some years they get one item from each category, other years they get a few things in one category, one in the others, etc. It’s whatever you make it!
They also get stocking stuffers, which typically include something sweet, artsy and practical. This year, that includes hot chocolate bombs from a local vendor (they are SO into hot cocoa right now), glow in the dark washi tape for Bryce and a fresh set of markers for Blake, as well as fun toothbrushes that make sounds along with a fresh set of bath colors/bath slime.
Between Target’s deals on toys/clothes throughout the year, local shop Black Friday deals and Amazon Prime Day, I found a lot of great deals on items I was already planning on buying. But! since I was shopping with an intentional list + budget I also got the things I wanted and didn’t get the things I didn’t want. (When I shop online, I also use the Rakuten’s free browser extension to get cash back wherever I shop, and it adds up! Use my link to get $40 cash back on your first purchase!)
My focus this year was for items that I knew the kids would use for the long haul. I took a good inventory of the items that had gotten a lot of play in the past, as well as what the boys are currently into, and went from there. I wanted items that would encourage creative play, didn’t have a thousand small parts, and wouldn’t end up in the trash three months later.
I hope this list is helpful for you! I included some items we already have and love because you might not have them – and it’s always nice to know what others have used and loved.
Something they want:
Nerf gun set
Bryce has been asking for this for quite some time…he will be SO thrilled.
The boys got this as a joint present last year and let me tell you– it is pricey, but worth every penny. They use it just about daily and I love that it encourages creativity!
Antsy Pants set
Another great gift from the past– you can make countless life size forts, displays, etc. with these pieces. They even sell fabric cover kits to make farmer market stands, fire trucks, you name it!
Ice cream set
This set is used by both boys and their friends always reach for it whenever they all play together. It appeals to a wide variety of ages too!
Bryce has outgrown his smaller scooter and loves riding this more than his bike so he will be thrilled to have a “big kid” version!
Build your own vehicles set
Bryce has a more advanced building kit, so Blake will be getting this version. I spotted it at a local toy shop and knew it’d be perfect for him!
I got a slightly smaller version, but this will be great since we got rid of the large Crayola easel that they never used. Bonus! It’s perfect for road trips.
Raddish Kits subscription
It’s a monthly kit with a new culinary theme every month and is basically a cooking club, culinary lesson and mealtime solution all in one! This cooking subscription box is such a fun treat, and something to look forward to in the mail. Blake in particular loves to help me make meals, so gifting him a box!
Something they need:
Bryce wants to start taking soup to school and this is the perfect way to keep his lunch warm!
Spill proof tumbler with straw
We drink a LOT of smoothies at our house, and these spill proof ones are going to be a wonderful upgrade to what we currently use!
We have been using Contigo water bottles for quite some time, and Blake likes to bite the straw portion, so these look like a great alternative. I love how there aren’t tons of nooks and crannies for dirt to collect, either.
I’ve found the Old Navy kids masks to work best for the boys, particularly because they are adjustable. A fresh stash of masks in fun prints will be good to have on hand.
Warm and cozy sheets in a fun print for winter are a great nice to have (and needed as we enter nighttime potty training mode and have to change them often!)
Something to wear:
The boys are outgrowing their pajamas at an alarming rate, so a fresh pair is perfect. (And yes, I am going to give them matching pajamas as long as they’ll let me…perhaps into adulthood?! Sorry not sorry.)
One of Bryce’s goals at school is to learn to tie his own shoes so a new pair to replace his current Velcro ones is on the list. Our favorite brands include Old Navy (great prices), Pediped (great quality and last the long haul), and Cat and Jack from Target.
Fresh socks & underwear
We love the Target Cat and Jack line for these I’ve found the quality is great and they hold up fairly well without breaking the bank. A splurge on socks but well worth it (and what I love to wear) is Bombas. Get 25% off with this link.
Whether it’s a new coat, or staples like long sleeve tops or sweatshirts, sweatpants, etc. I usually get the boys something from this category (and try to buy it at the end of the season in a size up and save it for the following year!) I love shopping Target’s Cat and Jack line, as well as Costco for some surprising good finds, like an Eddie Bauer winter coat I scored for under $15!
Something to read:
This year, the boys are getting these amazing flap books (one for planets, one for construction). We have one on vehicles and they love it so know this will be a hit. I find great books at great prices at Costco. Other honorable mentions? Dave Ramsey kid set and Richard Scary and the newest book from the Goodnight Goodnight Construction series.