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A Gift Guide for Littles- The Wants

I love searching for holiday gift guides this time of year. I have found some of my favourite brands and items by reading other people’s best ideas for gift giving. Mark Twain famously said write what you know and I find it time and again to be some of the best advice there is. What I know is the kind of toys that keep the adults and the babe happy in our small space. Toys that encourage imaginative play and are easy on the eyes.

I have always gone for quality over quantity when making my Christmas lists. My Mom would often check with me to be sure I wasn’t going to be upset if Santa just brought me one or two things since what I wanted was more expensive. I didn’t mind at all, and I still don’t. I would rather treat myself to one thing I love than a whole pile of gifts I will probably lose interest in after a few months.

When it comes to buying gifts for Eleanor I take the same approach. Only time will tell, but I hope as a result we end up with a few things she will treasure for years to come. I also like the idea of gifting some useful things as Christmas presents. This, together with my constant goal to keep the toy avalanche at bay, led me to decide that one of our Christmas traditions will be gifting Eleanor one thing she wants, one she needs, and one she can wear. This is how I have broken down our gift guide, into wants, needs and wears.

The Wants

What toys do toddlers want to play with. I know that this is a question that plagues many a parent trying to keep these busy little monkeys occupied for more than two minutes. It’s not easy, and even if you try everything there is a good chance they will end up playing with the tupperware. My fool proof gift items for toddlers are musical instruments. Kids love them and they will last for ages. If this is not your child and you want their parents to speak to you again tread carefully. Eleanor loves her tambourine, but I might goes for something slightly more low key if this isn’t your kid.

We have a really nice Ukulele, and I’m excited that Eleanor is interested in it, but this sweet version is one she can bang around for a few years and learn to use without me cringing.


I bought these maracas for Eleanor last Christmas. She loved them right away and shows no sign of losing interest.
This is the magic kid gift. Babies love to chew on it, toddlers will learn to play it sooner than you think, and kids will love it for years. Plus they are cheap and easy to come by, I like this version because my Dad has had one since I can remember.


I love handmade soft toys for kids. They’re made with such care and creativity. I don’t want to fall into the trap of getting a million space hogging stuffed animals, and I’m hoping investing in a few extra special ones will help me avoid it.

Hazel Village has some of the cutest soft animals and dolls around. Each one has such personality. Zoe rabbit here looks like a free spirited, nature loving kind of girl, our very favourite sort of bunny.
We fell in love with Vancouver based Tuk & Milo after a friend gifted us with one of their sweet soft toys when Eleanor was born. This sleepy linen Elephant looks just as adorable as a stand in for a throw pillow in the baby’s room as it does for play time.
Parisian brand Big Stuffed's animals are serious investment toys, but when you see them in person it is obvious why. They are the softest, most beautifully handmade sea creatures to be found anywhere, and they look so amazing you'll want to steal them from your kid.
Parisian brand Big Stuffed’s animals are serious investment toys, but when you see them in person it is obvious why. They are the softest, most beautifully handmade sea creatures to be found anywhere, and they look so amazing you’ll want to steal them from your kid.

In our house we swear by imagination based toys, also sometimes called Waldorf toys. These are simple toys that encourage kids to create a world of make believe and keep their creative juices flowing.  They are often wood and look pretty out in the open or stashed in a basket in your home. These toys may be simple but they will stand the test of time. They become something new for a child at every age.  Sure it doesn’t blink and move and light up, but when you leave something open to interpretation a child’s imagination will take over and that’s the toy that really keeps on giving. It is also the reason why when all is said and done the kid will probably end up playing with the box anyways.

I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love building blocks. These ones are beautiful and full of interesting shapes to work with.
These nesting bowls will look pretty on your coffee table, but are also perfect for building with, playing house, or general stacking fun.
Sweet wooden people to live in the cities your little architect will dream up.
Playsilks were always my favourite to grab out of the dress up box. They can be anything, a tent, a lake on the living room carpet, or a superhero cape.

Happy shopping parents. Next time on the guide, the wears.


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