Christmas Gifts on the Brain

Mid-October may be the earliest I’ve ever bought a Christmas gift. Last night, I was surfing on the Toys R Us website and happened across this neat art desk from Step 2.

Step2ArtDesk

We saw it at a friend’s house over the summer, and I really liked it — so did Emily, who kept wandering away from the party to try to play with all the art stuff they had on it. (“Accessories not included,” naturally. But of course we have all the markers, paints and crayons needed to make a mess… uh, I mean, make art.)

I wasn’t really looking to start my Christmas shopping. While I’m not a last-minute Linda, I will get a good jump on gifts sometime in mid-November, and then get caught up in the holiday madness that descends upon my professional and personal life this time of year, and forget to complete my shopping list. An unfortunate side effect of the “early” gift-buying is that I tend to forget one or two of my stashed presents. Good thing I have time to find the lost gift and re-purpose it for Emily’s birthday 6 weeks later…

This year, we’ll be celebrating Christmas with our newest addition, Jenna. As she’ll only be 5 months when the holiday rolls around, we won’t be doing a ton of shopping for her. She’ll be barely able to sit up by then, forget about being able to play with most toys.

Emily, on the other hand, has reached the age where she wants everything she sees — on TV or in the multitude of toy catalogs that have hit the mailbox in the past week. I’ve had to hide those suckers to preserve my sanity. Not that it’s stopped her from asking where they are — the kid has a memory like an elephant.

All in all, it will be a fairly lean Christmas since I’ve been on maternity leave since July (and returning to work mid-November), but I’m pretty sure the kids won’t even notice. Unless I manage to lose even more gifts this year.

All the Leaves Are Brown

It’s officially fall — the leaves turn colors, temperatures drop and Nicole gleefully pulls her boots and sweaters out of storage. Summertime has come and gone, and everybody’s home again.

I’m ready for pumpkin picking, Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving turkey. I’m ready to shop for a fall wardrobe for Miss Emily. But I’m not ready for the “Christmas creep” — the barrage of holiday displays that started showing up in retail stores before the calendar even hit September (Costco, I’m looking at YOU).

Sure, I’m starting to think about what Santa Claus (and Mommy and Daddy) are going to get our little sweet pea for Christmas. I have some gift ideas rolling around my brain, but I haven’t put them to paper yet because I know it’s far too early, despite the link bait and “news” stories popping up all over my social media feeds. Even CNN got in on it, with an ‘early peek at the hottest holiday toys.” Believe me, there’s nothing ‘hot” about a “Tub N Toot” doll, which does exactly what you think it does.

For now, I’ll be content with squeezing in as many trips to the park as possible before the really cold weather sets in, and buying the cutest outerwear and boots I can find for a toddler who will only wear them for a season or two.

Just don’t ask me if I’ve started my Christmas shopping yet — it can wait.

Spoiling Children

I now understand how parents can want to give their child the world — both figuratively and literally. Every cute outfit, every neat toy I see, I have to dig deep inside to find some restraint so I don’t wind up with a cart full of kid stuff in my cart at the store. Target, I’m talking about you here.

Between Christmas in December and Miss Frugalista’s first birthday in February, we were inundated with toys and clothes. I did think to request summer outfits in a larger size — which our little chunker is quickly growing out of already — and some small beach/pool items for our upcoming trip to North Carolina.

Toys are in abundance here, too. We have lots of little toys that play songs and teach the alphabet and numbers, along with the more traditional wooden blocks and fabric dolls. There are a few larger items, too, such as an outdoor water table and slide (two separate items), a music table, rocking horse, bouncy turtle, and a small Fisher-Price Little People dollhouse. That’s all in addition to the Little People ZooTalkers zoo and about 15 different animals that go with it. (Aside: Do you know how freakin’ hard it was to find most of those animals? They’re never in stores, so I wound up ordering many of them from the Fisher-Price website at $3 a pop.)

She has a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, a Radio Flyer wagon complete with seats, seat belts and canopy, and, not to be outdone, a motorized mini Power Wheels car. Then there’s the stuff at her babysitter’s house.

Since her birthday in February, I haven’t bought her anything “major” besides some extra ZooTalkers animals and her Fisher-Price dollhouse. However, I do have my eye on a little outdoor playhouse for her…

Do you have trouble controlling your spending impulses when it comes to your little ones? Please tell me it’s not just me!