Kids-Only Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway

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Her Light Up Links (see below for giveaway) glow in the dark!

By Estelle Sobel Erasmus

Disclosure:  I received some of the toys and items here for review; others I bought myself. The opinions here, as always are my own. 

The Elf on the Shelf has been taken out of his hiding place in the closet, we stashed away the Menorah and we’re planning on decorating the Christmas tree this weekend (yes, we celebrate both holidays as I wrote here), and that means its time for a Holiday Gift Guide.

Let’s face it: the real winners of the Holiday season are the kids. For me and my husband,  the joy happens when we look in our daughter’s eyes and see her delight at the gifts we’ve showered upon her.

That’s why  I’ve decided] to just focus on five  gifts for kids that I have personally tested with my daughter. There are no affiliate links in this post; just items that I’ve received for review or purchased myself that made the cut.

1) Bitty Baby from American Girl ($60) 

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She carries this brand new doll from American Girl around with her everywhere.

Bitty Baby is a 15-inch soft-bodied doll available in 11 different combinations of skin tone, eye-and hair-color,  allowing your child to pick her perfect mini-me companion. Each Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in her signature sleeper, along with a special “wishing star” keepsake toy and a beautifully illustrated Bitty Baby and Me hardcover picture book.

From now until December 31, 2013, anyone who buys something from American Girl in store or online will receive a thank you gift–a promo code for a free 20-page, American Girl-themed hardcover photo book (valued at $29.99), redeemable at Shutterfly.com.

2) Tickets to the Broadway musical Cinderella (start at $45 a ticket)

 

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Here she is at the show right next to Cinderella’s slippers.
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Rebecca Luker (Fairy Godmother) and Laura Osnes (Cinderella. Photo: Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

We received tickets to see the show and review it, and it was an extra special experience because it was her first Broadway Show, and she was mesmerized (as we all were). Here is a description of the show from the producers.

More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, the CINDERELLA of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical now on Broadway is a surprisingly contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting: a spirited young woman with savvy and soul, eager to develop a world view, she doesn’t let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She not only fights for her own dreams, but makes the prince, who falls in love with her, open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams, too.

We loved the set (beautifully realistic), the flying effects, the magical transformations (from Cinderella into a mysterious princess), and enjoyed the dancing as much as the music. Although it ended way past my daughter’s bedtime, despite a few surreptitious yawns, she didn’t miss one magical moment.

It’s a don’t miss experience, perfect for the whole family (and I got a kick out of seeing Laura Osnes–who won the role of Sandy in the reality talent show “Grease: You’re the One That I Want”–back in 2007–and has gone on to a stellar career since  and in the lead role of Cinderella she shines.

CINDERELLA is at The Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway). And right after you see the show go to the Kidzvuz website, sign up, and post a video review from your child.

3) Barbie Deluxe Styling Head Just Play ($40.85 on amazon) 
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I learned about this toy from Just Play by @ClassyMommy at a twitter party, and I immediately went out and purchased it for my daughter. It reminds me of the type of doll heads I used to apply lipstick and eyeshadow to and cut their hair when I was a little girl. Ah. Memories. Now my daughter can make her own memories as she uses cold water to color change Barbie’s hair, nails, eyes and lips (which means no mess, and mamma likes that). It includes 17 styling accessories, such as a toy hair straightener, a play nail polish bottle, a makeup applicator bowl and brush, hair clip, barrettes, hair ties, nail stickers, ring and sets of fake nails.
4) Kiwi Crate (12 Month subscription for $220; also available for 6 and 3 months)
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I can’t tell you how much I love Kiwi Crate. Each month we get a crate focused on a theme  containing art supplies plus instructions on how to make it (string puppets, mobiles, toys, and stamps). Kiwi Crate, launched in 2011 celebrates kids’ (ages 3-7) natural creativity and curiosity. What I like about it is that all Kiwi Crate projects have been developed by parents, reviewed by early childhood experts and tested by kids.  Each project encourages key developmental skills, such as problem solving, creative expression, gross and fine motor skills, and communication. An annual subscription, priced at $220, includes one free month.  Gift subscriptions for 3, 6 or 12 months are also available.

 

5) Light Up Links-An Imagination Toy

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Photo courtesy of Light Up Links

Light up Links are a fantastically fun new building toy that encourage kids’ creativity. Their tagline is “The building links that light up your imagination.”

My daughter literally built huge architectural constructions with the links (see above) as well as a necklace that she wore to preschool. Kids can build whatever they can imagine: goggles, jump ropes, crowns, or cars with the light up links  (no battery required). They light up in the light, but also look really cool in the dark. An accompanying booklet gives even more ideas. They are offering a special deal to the readers of my blog:  For free shipping go to Light Links World and use the code LUL for free shipping and handling on the two kit offer ($13.98 value).

Because I love the toy so much, I am doing a GIVEAWAY for your very own Light Up Links Pack. You must live in the U.S. and if you win and don’t respond in 48hours, then another winner will be selected. The contest will run from today until December 14th. The company will ship up until December 16th. So enter below, and good luck!! Also, sign up here for my blog and you’ll never miss a post or a giveaway (I promise).

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What are your must-get gifts for kids?

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 Kids Only Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway

About Estelle Erasmus

Estelle Erasmus is an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor-in-chief who is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Estelle blogs about life raising a young daughter in midlife at Musings on Motherhood & Midlife. She is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media), and has been a featured author in several anthologies. Estelle won BlogHer Voices of the Year awards in 2012 and 2014. She is a 2014 Disney Social Media Moms, and a 2014 National Geographic Kids Insider. She has spoken about publishing at Folio MidWest and iRetreat2014. She writes regularly on travel, parenting and lifestyle issues.

25 thoughts on “Kids-Only Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway”

  1. my children would love these! I can only imagine the things that they would come up with playing with these. My son loves to make anything he can be a super hero with. Im sure he could think of many things.

  2. Both my daughter and son have ADHD and I think these lights would be great for them they are very creative and have awesome imaginations

  3. Those are wonderful ideas for a little girl. I wish I still had one around to give these to. Maybe a granddaughter someday.

  4. My four year old would love the light up link things, anything that lights up is amazing to her, I think she would try to make a tiarra since she is the princess of the house and I’m the queen

  5. My boys love any type of blocks, links, etc. They would certainly like links that light up. Also, the gift guide for the little girl looks amazing!
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