With Thanksgiving next week, I've been thinking more and more about what we're going to do for our kids for Christmas. So, here are some of my thoughts on toys and such:
We don't like to go overboard with Christmas presents, and since my husband is still looking for a job, we have to stick to a budget. The funny thing is, as my husband and I were finalizing the gifts we wanted to give, we realized that even if we had a lot of money to spend, we probably wouldn't change what we had on our lists. I've found that you don't have to spend lots of money or buy lots and lots of gifts to make kids happy. In fact, I've found that with my kids, more is just more, it's not better. With that in mind, a couple of years ago, I bought a big blue tub from Target, and we keep ALL of their toys in it (with the exception of their Tonka trucks). If we get to the point where their toys don't all fit in the tub, I go through it with my kids and we decide together what to keep and what to donate/throw away. It makes cleaning up much easier and faster, and they play a lot more with the toys that they do have. And you know what? It makes them grateful for what they do have, which is a big deal to me.
So....I'll post a different day some of the things we're doing for our boys, but today, I thought I'd share what I'm doing for our 12 month old daughter.
1) Felt food. Have you seen what's floating around on the web in the way of felt play food? It's amazing! And, it doesn't break the bank, which is especially important this year :) You can find free tutorials HERE and HERE, and you can find lots of inspiration HERE. You can also do your own google search and find lots more tutorials, or just come up with your own ideas. For my daughter, I bought enough felt for grapes, fried eggs, bananas, donuts, corn on the cob, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi slices, tomatoes, pears, peas in a pod, cauliflower, tomato slices, pineapple slices, cookies, heads of lettuce, and enough leftover to make whatever else I can come up with. I bought EcoFelt off the bolt in several different colors, and only spent $4.50 total (sweet!!). It's on sale at JoAnn's until tomorrow. There's a big debate over which is better: wool felt, wool blend felt, or EcoFelt. For me, it came down to price and availability. The EcoFelt off the bolt (which seems a little nicer than the sheets) is good enough quality for me, and I could find it in a lot more colors than the wool felt. I already have batting, polyfill, and an assortment of embroidery floss, so it's a great "make it do" Christmas present.
2) This Black Apple doll. I think it's adorable, and I can make it using fabric from my stash. Though, it wouldn't be terribly expensive if you had to buy all the fabric. The pattern is free! Click HERE.
3) And, if I have enough time, I'll also make alphabet beanbags, also using fabric from my stash. Click HERE for instructions.
In addition to these gifts, my husband and I give each of our children (and each other) a new book on Christmas Eve, and as our big "splurge" we bought each of our children a Pillow Pet. It's really the only thing they asked for this year, and since our other gifts are costing us very little, we thought we could indulge :)
In this economy, I think a lot of people are trying to make do with less, and do a little more handmade. And you know what, I think it's fun :)
Have a happy weekend!