Kids’ Christmas 2018 Wish List: Calico Critters Town Grand Department Store Gift Set, Plus Designer Studio

If you’re currently looking for a very special gift for a child this upcoming Christmas season, take a look at the Calico Critters Town Grand Department Store Gift Set.

The folks at Calico Critters sent my family one, along with the Designer Studio.

I made an unboxing video, which you can watch above, as I show the set in action.

The Grand Department Store Gift Set consists of an elevator, a revolving door, a Chocolate Lounge, a Boutique Fashion Set, a Fashion Showcase Set, and a Cosmetic Beauty Set.

I need to note, though, these toys contain small parts; which are not intended for use by children under the age of 3. So adult supervision is required for children that young.

The Grand Department Store Gift Set is designed as a base for other attachable sets, to further build your town square. We have the Designer Studio, for example.

There is also the Creamy Gelato Shop, the Delicious Restaurant, and the Ride Along Train.

My guess is by now, you are already familiar Calico Critters, and have at least half a dozen of the characters in your children’s playroom.

That definitely is the case at our house.

The Grand Department Store Gift Set will help bring all of your existing Calico Critters to life in an exciting new meeting place.

Hopefully you’ve watched my video at this point. Now, it’s time to click on this click to be magically transported to Amazon, where you can find this gift set for a great price, and even rack up some points well you’re at it.

And here’s a link specifically for the Designer Studio, as well.

The Calico Critters Town Grand Department Store Gift Set just might be that perfect special big gift that you’re looking for, as you are currently planning which gifts to buy your children for the 2018 Christmas season.

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

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Dear Holly: You Want Everything for “My Christmas”

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend while we stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house, I noticed you debuted a new catchphrase: “I want it for my Christmas.”

After you saw a coloring book that had a picture of Daisy Duck on it, then you immediately announced, “I, I want Daisy for my Christmas.”

When you played with the Cozy Coupe, it was, “I, I want this car for my Christmas.”

And even with each newly discovered vintage stuffed animal you found at their house, “I, I want this one for my Christmas… for my Christmas.”

Your brother tried to explain to you, “Holly, you don’t have to wait for Christmas. Nonna will just give you that old thing right now. Go ask her and she will say yes.”

But right now, you want everything for your Christmas.

 

Love,

Daddy

Toys for Nine-Year-Olds: Buying Tips When Searching for the Perfect Gift

Gifts for nine-years-olds are more than just objects to them because they’re slowly evolving into mature young individuals. While they can still be interested in toys, children at this age begin to explore different interests. It would be great if they could master some skills using their toys. Thus, you should take gift shopping for them seriously.

If you’ve been trying to think about the perfect gift for a nine-year-old child, here are the buying tips you should consider.

  1. Development – Nine-year-old children have a natural curiosity about the things that are happening around them. As they begin to age, their attitude, emotions, and even hobbies also change. Therefore, when buying gifts for them, think about their interests. Kids at this age also become more interested in the arts, sports, sciences, and other areas of learning. So, you better consider their stages of development when searching for the best gift for them.

 

  1. Usefulness – When you give a gift to a nine-year-old child, be sure this is something that he can use over and over again. The gift shouldn’t be good for one-time use only. Instead, select a gift with a real purpose. If your goal is to spark their imagination, buy something that they can learn how to build while they’re playing. Also, avoid giving gifts that will only be placed in the corner, such as decors.

 

  1. Profile – Gifts for children aren’t tough to find. However, the problem comes in if you buy a gift for someone you don’t know. For instance, if you want to buy a birthday present for your nine-year-old godchild, you should make the real effort to get to know him/her better. By doing your research, you may discover something special about the child that will help you in your buying decisions.

 

  1. Good Quality – Aside from being useful, your gift should also be of good quality. Nine-year-old children value their toys seriously because, for them, it’s more than just an object that they can play with. If your gift is something that is used often, it should last for a long time. Take note, a child who receives a gift with nice quality will appreciate the effort and thought you put into buying it.

 

  1. Element of Surprise – Nothing is more exciting than receiving a surprise gift. Children at the age of nine appreciate gifts that offer an element of surprise. It means you put a lot of thought into buying a gift that will make them happy. Also, surprises create good memories that children may never forget.

 

  1. Experience – Children, because they’re young, love experiencing new things. It’s best to buy a gift that gives experience. Search for unique gift ideas for children. Create a list of all the things that kid is interested in and come up with the gift ideas that are aligned with their interests. For example, if your child loves music and acting, then you can buy him/her a ticket to a musical. A trip to a museum for your history-loving kid or a temporary hair color for your little fashionista are some examples.

 

  1. Creativity – Kids are imaginative. They can get the most out of your gift when you give them a toy that encourages their creativity. Craft materials, journals and notebooks, construction toys, and nonfiction books for learning are excellent options.

Final Thoughts

Consider these buying tips when searching for the best toys for nine-year-olds. With the kind of energy and imagination they have, you should find something creative, exciting, and useful. Since they are at a crucial stage of development, the kind of toy gifts you give can mold them as better individuals. Give them gifts that they can cherish all throughout their childhood.

 

 

Dear Holly: Your Surprise Christmas Gift Arrived in the Mail!

1 year, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

The plan was for Uncle Joe, Aunt Rebecca, and your cousin Savannah to drive up from Pensacola to spend the Christmas holidays in Alabama with us at Nonna and Papa’s house. That was inspired by how well their Thanksgiving visit went just a month earlier.

However, the three of them got way too sick to ever leave Florida. So sadly, unfortunately, we didn’t get to see them as planned.

But even still, our family was pleasantly surprised this past week when an expected box arrived on our doorstep.

It turns out, Aunt Rebecca had our Christmas gifts shipped to us in the mail, so we could celebrate Christmas a little bit longer, into the new year.

I loved watching you open your gift. Your face lit up, “Baby!!!”

It was a Cabbage Patch Kids Cuties doll. And since that day you opened it, you’ve yet to spend a day without it.

You take the doll with you to bed, you push it in the stroller, and you attempt to even eat your meals with it.

As for your brother Jack, he was obviously pleased to receive a whoopee cushion, silly string, and slime. And Mommy loved her Mary Kay products.

Even I received something cool!

It’s a new mug with a big pickle for a handle. The next day at lunch, you sat next to me as I enjoyed my standard Ramen noodles it; while you munched on oatmeal.

There’s just nothing like getting a gift after you weren’t expecting to get anymore gifts. Typically, if there’s a mysterious box waiting for us on our doorstep, it’s because Mommy ordered something on Amazon, like a new water filter for our refrigerator.

But not this time.

This time, our whole family got a fun surprise!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A 1st Grader Boy’s Christmas is One that Requires Pokemon

7 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Every couple of years, the theme changes and you’re suddenly into a new toy; one that will further challenge your current state of mind. I enjoy seeing shift that occurs every couple of years. I have grown to expect it now.

For example, when you were 2 years-old, everything was Hot Wheels. When you were 3, it was Thomas the Train. At age 4 and 5, you couldn’t get enough stuffed animals.

But at age 6 and now 7, your obsession has been Pokemon. You even told me you still believe there’s a chance that Pokemon are actually real. You are serious about Pokemon!

It’s becoming difficult for me to understand how you can even trade cards anymore with your friends, as I would have to imagine you already have two of every card ever made!

Apparently though, that was still not the case, even after Christmas, when multiple friends and family members gave you gift cards; which are mostly being spent on more Pokemon cards.

Even our next door neighbors surprised us with a gift package on our front door, which included a pack of Pokemon cards!

To really top things off, my Uncle Al brought you a shoe box full of vintage Pokemon cards from 20 years ago. They came with some baseball cards he ordered off of the internet.

Not to mention, Nonna ordered you a big bag full of Pokemon figurines, as well.

What else could you possibly need?

Uncle Andrew and Aunt Dana figured you could use a few new books:

Farting Pokemon Coloring Book and I Need a New Butt!

Yeah, those are just right for what you and your friends at school talk about when you’re not talking about Pokemon.

I just can’t imagine though, a year from now, how you could still be in to Pokemon cards. How will there be any left?

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your “Ashes, Ashes”, Peppa the Pig Christmas

1 year, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

It is my job to remind you what Christmas 2017 was like, since you likely won’t remember. For one, you were quite proud of the Peppa the Pig sneakers Nonna got for you.

Since Christmas, you have insisted on wearing them inside our home; even for your naps in your crib. As I wrap you up in your blanket before I lay you down, I have to wrap the blanket around your shoes. But this is what you want.

You also took a liking to the nursery rhyme, Ring Around the Rosie. Much of your fascination for the song and dance is that now you are beginning to repeat certain words, you like to say, “ashes, ashes” while holding hands with anyone who will sing with you; as you know that is the key phrase that allows you to immediately stumble to the ground and laugh.

Therefore, you have a habit of inserting “ashes, ashes” pretty much right after the opening line, “Ring around the rosie…”

Since coming back from Nonna and Papa’s during those 5 days for Christmas break, I have helping you play with all your new toys.

It’s not uncommon for you to suddenly smile at me, stand up, reach out for my hands, and then wait for me, as if to say, “Daddy, aren’t you going to start singing the song?”

The moment I do, you’re ready for your favorite part… ashes, ashes.

I should point out that you’re not simply just falling down in a carefully calculated, casual way.

No, instead, you act like you just slipped on a sheet of ice and then tumble and roll on your side, and lay still for a moment; as if you’re waiting for someone to say, “Oh no, Holly fell down! Holly, are you okay?”

But there you are, smiling up at your audience, so far not realizing that no one else ever takes the fall in Ring Around the Rosie as seriously as you do.

Love,

Daddy

Love,

Daddy

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: Christmas is Over, Yet I’m Still Home with the Kids

In a normal version of reality, I would be back in my office today. My wife and I would be paying for our kids to be in day care all day, or we would have left our kids at my parents’ house all week while the daycare was closed.

But now, there’s no need. Because… Daddy’s home!

Not only do my kids get to just hang out here in the aftermath of their Christmas gifts as my wife returned to work today, but I myself don’t have to return to an office and force a smile while I have to answer everyone’s annoying questions about how my Christmas was.

I am also grateful that I didn’t have to negotiate with co-workers, leading up to Christmas, which of us would have to work certain days. Where I worked, it was normal that at least one person from each department would have to consider working certain days either on or immediately following holidays.

Now that I am completely removed from that setting, none of it matters anymore. My schedule is now exclusively based around the two young children; one of whom can pretty much take care of himself.

I am still soaking it all in; to experience the days in between the Christmas holidays and the days before day cares open back, with my kids.

It’s funny because when I first adopted my new role as stay-at-home dad, I don’t suppose I really considered that I would be completely replacing child day care during the holidays as well during the summer. Somehow, that part caught me by surprise a little.

But it’s no big deal. I can take care of my own kids all day long. All week long. All summer long.

It’s easier to take care of two kids than it is to take care of adults, actually.