Category: Christmas

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

I was on Facebook the other day when a Meme popped up about Christmas and stockings. It was a child asking Mom for toothpaste in December but Mom said that will be part of your Christmas gift. I had to laugh because that is me.

The holiday season can be a very expensive time of the year if you let it. There are gifts, work parties, school events and gifts to buy for and the list can go on and on. The first few years into parenting, I would stress and want to make Christmas magical for my child. Which meant I would go overboard, spent too much and most of the stuff was never used. We had a great time don’t get me wrong but the money spent was way too much and we still had to buy so much in the new year.

I have learned over the years that practical gifts make the best gifts. Now half of the presents under the tree are clothes, shoes or soccer equipment. I want the gifts to be something that they can use all year round – if I am going to spend the money it has to be worth it.

The same holds true for a stocking. It can be easy to go to the Dollar Store and load up on a lot of items that your child may not use (and it isn’t cheap either there).

Instead I try to pack their stockings full of items that they can use. My top items to include in a stocking for children and adults are:

Toiletries – this includes their deodorants, gels, body wash, tooth brushes, tooth paste, lip balms and hand sanitizer for school. I love to buy the boxed sets from Shopper Drugs Mart every year (usually Axe or Dove) and use my points to get the most for my money.

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

Underwear and socks – we all need them and they fit in their stockings perfectly. My boys go through socks like crazy and the cost can really add up throughout the year. Adding this to their stockings is a win win for parents.

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

Chocolates – I cave here and buy them their favourite chocolate bars. Who doesn’t love to get a little bit of yummy chocolate here and there? I know I do!

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

Music and DVDs – everyone loves music and watching movies, this makes for a great stocking stuffer. Maybe you have a younger child who would love the sounds of Will’s Jams or an older child that really has to have the newest Taylor Swift. Or maybe a child who loves My Little Pony. The options are truly endless when it comes to music and DVDs, the bonus is that this is a gift that is great for the colder, winter months when your child may be stuck inside more.

Practical Stocking Ideas for Children of All Ages

However you organize your spending during the holiday season make sure you enjoy every moment and live in each moment.

How do you as a family navigate the holiday spending when it comes to stockings?

Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday season!

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Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

Every Christmas holiday season, I begin the search for the perfect family gift (which I am sure so many of you do too). Every Friday night we try to have a family game night, it helps us unwind after a busy week and we can re-connect over friendly competition and team work. We get to hear about the kid’s week at school and we can tell them a little bit about our week. For an hour or two there is no thought about work, what needs to be done around the house or worry about driving to extra-curricular activities.

Not all family games are suited for bonding and unwinding. You need an activity that requires team work, encourages talking, has a goal and is not connected to an electronic (sorry for all you gamers!).

Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

The Observation Puzzle Enchanted Forest fits all these must have requirements and more. The Enchanted Forest has 100 puzzle pieces to put together as a family. Once the puzzle has been put together around the edges are images of items that you will need to find inside the puzzle.

Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

We had a lot of fun putting this puzzle together. While it is a 100 pieces, the puzzle pieces are on the medium size so that little hands can put the puzzle together with just enough difficulty to help them with their fine motor skills. The box includes a large poster of what the finished puzzle should look like which helps you fit the pieces  together.

Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

Once the puzzle was completed, your family can move onto the second challenge – find all the images on the outside white frame within the puzzle. Some of the images were easier to find while others really made you think. This was a great addition to this puzzle and added extra fun to this activity. You can even through some competition in this one – the person who finds the most items wins something special or gets to choose the family movie.

Cross The Family Gift off Your List with Enchanted Forest Observation Puzzle

You can find more information on the Observation Puzzle Enchanted Puzzle on iLo307. The puzzle can be purchased at specialty toy stores and select book stores across Canada. The puzzle sells for $19.99 CDN.

What is your favourite product to purchase for a family gift?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Creating Magical Christmas Memories with the Portable North Pole Magic Pass

Portable North Pole

For the last six years, our family has been creating Portable North Pole (PNP) Santa calls for our children. My Dad started this tradition with our eldest son and we have carried it on.

Portable North Pole (PNP) allows parents (or grandparents/aunts/uncles,etc) create a personalized video call for the special child in their life. They can personalize it with their name (which you can choose the right pronunciation of the name), their pictures, an achievement they made this year and what they have been asked to do this year. At the end of the video the child finds out whether they are on Santa’s naughty or nice list (not going to lie, my husband and I made joke ones for each other that the kids think are hilarious as Daddy is always on the naughty list!).

Creating Magical Memories with Portable North Pole

Each year the video calls are different with the most amazing attention to detail. The calls are engaging and Santa is animating and attentive. He really makes you feel part of the video call. Our youngest sits there listening to his video answering ‘yes Santa’, ‘I will try Santa’ and ‘okay Santa’. It is priceless and something we can’t wait for them to experience each year.

With the magic pass, you have access to all of the premium videos for an unlimited amount of video videos, a reaction recorder (this is for the mobile app), unlimited Santa calls, HD downloads of your videos and a story time video with Santa every week during the month of December. Right now you can save 20% on the PNP Magic Pass by visiting their website here.

Portable North Pole

I highly recommend downloading the app on your phone for the PNP. You can always watch the videos online but the app has so many extras that are perfect for parents and kids. There is a parent section (password protected!), where you can create the videos as well as email them. I used the app to create all my videos this year. There is also a call button on it that I have convinced my youngest and all his friends that it gives me a direct line to Santa when they are being bad. The second section is just for kids where they can playing a matching game, tree shaking game and watch their videos.

Creating Magical Memories with Portable North Pole

Make sure you follow Portable North Pole online to keep up with all things Christmas and Santa, you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Happy video calls!

Disclosure: I received a Magic Pass in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Personalized Holiday Gifts with Acrylic Blocks from Posterjack!

Posterjack

The holiday season is just around the corner and I am sure many of you have either already started shopping or at least planned out some gift ideas!. Many of the items on my list are personalized items (like photographs) so that my family member can cherish that memory just as much as we do. Using your own photographs is one of the best ways to capture special moments for family members and friends, especially for those who do not live nearby.

Unique Acrylic Blocks from Posterjack

Acrylic blocks are unique gift ideas that the recipient can display at home or even at work (my acrylic block is proudly displayed on my desk at work and I have patients constantly stopping to have a look at it!). Your photograph is displayed on a clear, one inch piece of premium cast acrylic block. Posterjack prints your image onto the back of the block and the result is an image that appears almost 3D with crystal clear quality. The light catches in the acrylic block in such a unique way that really makes your image the centre of attention.

Unique Acrylic Blocks from Posterjack

Ordering acrylic blocks from Posterjack is simple, which is something we all need during the holiday season. All you have to do is visit Posterjack, choose the acrylic block option and upload your photo. Simplicity at it’s finest!

Unique Acrylic Blocks from Posterjack

The acrylic blocks fit the home decor and styles of any individual and help keep those special memories alive (your favourite fur baby, a family member or even a new baby!).

Make sure you check out Posterjack online, Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with news, contests and more!

How do you like to gift photographs for family and friends? Do you buy calendars, frames,etc?

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The Knights Before Christmas

Raincoast Books

The Knights Before Christmas is not your usual Christmas story but brings with it silly humour and a new kind of Christmas fun.

The Knights Before Christmas Book Review

About The Knights Before Christmas

‘Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons.

‘But nothing would stop
their white-whiskered foe.
No matter their efforts,
he just would not go!’

My Thoughts

Silly, fun, rhyming humour is what you can find with this trio of Knights as they protect their King from a jolly invader with his fierce dragons (think red suit and his sleigh!). The rhyming follows the much-loved, Twas the Night Before Christmas, which helped as my children could almost guess the  next words. We have so much fun whipping this story out, snuggling on the couch and reading it to each other. We have read it almost every night for the last week and it still hasn’t grown old! It definitely puts a new spin on an old family favourite, while adding in humour, excellent illustrations and a theme most young boys and girls can relate to! A fantastic addition to our Christmas book collection.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5+

About the Author

Joan Holub is the author and illustrator of more that 130 children’s books, including Zero the Hero, Little Red Writing, and the Goddess Girls series. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

About the Illustrator

Scott Magoon is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and the author and illustrator of The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot and Breathe. The art director at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, he lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Knights Before Christmas in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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