My new favorite way to get my daughter to eat a healthy dinner? Distract her with holiday catalogs. I don’t know how it happened (was it you Hanna Andersson?) but somehow the word is out that yes, we do indeed have a child. And the kids catalogs have started rolling in. Ah, how things have changed since my brother and I poured over the Sears catalog in the late ’70s. While the Bean points out everything she “needs” on each page, I ply her with quiche. Not sure what we’ll do on December 26th, but I’ll deal with that when the time comes.
The quantity and variety of toys available this holiday season is staggering. So over the next few weeks I’m going to chime in too with some of my favorite gift ideas for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and beyond. Here today are a few of the newest, greenest, most original holiday gifts for babies that may not have made it onto the shelves of the department store nearest you quite yet, but merit a gander for possible “under the tree” consideration. Enjoy!
Soft Blocks and Baby Cloths from Apple Park
This wonderful new company has a great line of baby, toddler and preschooler products all made with love from organic, recycled and sustainable materials. Apple Park’s sweet Soft Blocks made from 100% organic cotton are adorable and make a great first Christmas present. Each block makes a different sound and the little Picnic Pal animal appliques are darling ($30 for a set of three). Consider also the 100% cotton Baby Cloth sets. For $24 you can choose either the apple lamby and bunny set or the monkey cubby and ducky set.
This clever take on the classic rubber ducky is free of all that yucky stuff (it’s BPA, PVC, and Phtalate free), top rack dishwasher safe, and adorable. The bottom completely opens up so you can clean the inside and prevent black mold growing when it gets wet (Think I’m exaggerating? Cut open a regular tub toy and see what you find). And it comes in 4 fun colors: Citrus, Raspberry, Carribbean and Mint. At $8 per quacker, a colorful set makes a terrific gift, or wrap up one as a stocking stuffer.
You may not be able to do your holiday shopping at a French market. But with gifts from the French company Moulin Roty, your sister-in-law might wonder if you did. Amazon.com has a nice assortment of their products including the scrumptious Loupiot Penguin Rattle.
This company so doesn’t need me to plug them. They are everywhere. But I like this product so here it is. My First Green Toys are made and assembled in California from 100% post-consumer milk jugs and are free of all that icky stuff I talked about above. This colorful stacker is a terrific early toy.
And finally…if you want to splurge on that sweet baby of yours…
Bambino Grande Pull Sled from Mountain Boy Sledworks
Just in time for those snowy winter days, the Bambino Grande Pull Sled from Mountain Boy Sledworks, engraved with your child’s name, is not only a super fun toy for children ages 6 months to 4, but an heirloom to be passed down. This sled is made from kiln-dried birch and hand carved willow and is designed with a wide-stance for extra stability.
Happy Holidays, baby.