Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shopping Ahead

I had something different planned for today, but after mentioning yesterday that I'm done with my Christmas shopping your cries for shopping ahead help were heard :)  So today I'll be sharing how/why I shop ahead and give you some ideas for your kids and other family members. Get your gift list out, ladies!

First of all, I probably do about 95% of my shopping online.  I don't have tons of time to shop in store and online is just so convenient.

For our kids, we do one bigger gift from Santa that is left out under the tree for them (unwrapped) on Christmas morning.  These were there gifts from Santa last Christmas...



This year, Santa will be bringing Griffin this doll house.  She's REALLY into imaginative play and I think this will be a big hit for many years.  I also picked up this set of people to go in the house.


Santa is still debating, but it looks like he's probably bringing the boys a Wii U MarioKart bundle thing (can you tell how much I know about video games?!?!?!)  I've held out for a long time on the video game console requests, but am fairly certain I'm caving.  Mama can't resist Mario Cart.  Neither Dave or I are video game people - so let me know if this thing stinks :) hahaha


After Santa gifts, we give them each three presents each to open.  They get SO MUCH from family and they already have more than they could ever need, so we try to limit it.  I also make them each pick three toys (at least!) to donate prior to Christmas to get ready for the new things coming in.

Luke has requested Legos, specifically the Minecraft Ender Dragon, so this set is one of his three gifts.  I found it HERE for 20% off - SCORE!


His next request was a rock tumbler.  Yes, friends.  A rock tumbler.  His specific words were, "it's all I've ever really wanted.". :)   I found this Smithsonian for Kids one and it was on sale and had great reviews so I snatched it up and I can't wait for him to open it.


Last up is not something that he requested, but I think he's going to be really into it when he sees it. He and Mason are always building ramps out of books and boards and all kinds of things - so I think this ramp exploration kit will be perfect for him.  I also think that this is one of those toys that we'll hold onto for grandkids (I can't believe I even typed that!)

I picked this up on Zulily a couple of weeks ago and it's sold out now, but be sure to create a Zulily account so you can be ready when they restock!


I anticipated the desire to build BIG structures (and the arguments over sharing), so one of Mason's three gifts is also going to be a ramp kit :)

His second gift is Magformers.  If you haven't heard of magformers before you need to check them out ASAP!  They're awesome and all three of our kids love them.  They're pricey, but are really well made and have always provided a lot of creative play opportunities for my kids.


Last, he's getting a box with a few Melissa and Doug games/puzzles/activities to hopefully trick him into working on his letters and direction following :) hahaha


Melissa & Doug See & Spell





Here are a few other things that my boys either have and enjoy or things that they would LOVE (you can click on the picture for more info)

 



Griffin LOVES taking care of her babies, and so she's getting a high chair which will be great with the cradle she got last Christmas.


I picked up this bead lacing set that I think will be great for making patterns as well as fine motor skills.


The boys have a design and drill set and they lost the drill (boo!), so I think she will LOVE this flower themed one!


A few other things that Griffin either has and loves already or would love are below...

Jellycat Cordy Roy Cat - MediumMommy & Me Doll Stroller Swiveling Wheels with Free Carriage Bag 9351AMelissa & Doug Dress-Up Reusable Sticker Pad
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Watercolor Paint Set (21 colors)


I can't be too specific since I don't want to reveal too much pre-Christmas, but here are a few gifts that are always go-to's for my mom, sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, teachers, etc.

The BLARDIGAN!!!  It's kind of a splurge which makes it extra special and fun - something that a mom or mother-in-law might not buy herself. If you haven't felt one before, they're heavy (but not too heavy) and insanely soft.  Mine has worn and washed beautifully and I can't wait to wrap some up for Christmas.  I picked up a few during the Anniversary Sale, but they're actually 30% off right now!!!!

Drape Front Cardigan (Nordstrom Exclusive)

I have a few girls on my list getting THESE multi-colored glitter studs (which are now back in stock!)
glitter stud earrings

And the items below are some of my go-to gifts for girlfriends, teachers and co-workers.

 'Vintage Blossoms' Notebooks (Set of 2)Lollia Breathe Peony & White Lily Shea Butter Hand Creme - 4.0 oz.
'I Am Grateful For' Initial Mug'Inspiration' Beaded Bracelets (Set of 3)'Don't Forget to Be Awesome' 16oz. Owl Mug


So... on to guys.  They're the worst to buy for!  Maybe it's just the guys in my life :)

I've given Dave, my dad and my brother different variations of this pullover several years in a row. hahaha.  They last forever, wash well and are warm without being heavy.

'TKA 100 Glacier' Quarter Zip Fleece Pullover

I gave Dave this pair of gloves last year and he used them a lot.  They're nice because he could use his phone while wearing them.

'Denali' E-Tip Gloves

Dave is a big fan of fun socks, so at least three or four pairs of these will probably end up under the tree for him as well.

Happy Socks Men's 1Pk Combed Cotton Big Dot Crew Sock, Navy Combo, 9-11Happy Socks Men's 1Pk Combed Cotton Stripe Crew Sock, Assorted, 9-11Happy Socks Men's 1Pk Combed Cotton Disturbed Stripe Crew Sock, Medium Purple, 10-13



I love shopping early because December is always so fun and full and the last thing I want to be doing is going to the mall.  I want to be baking cookies and watching Christmas movies and all of that - not running errands.

I also like to have lots of time to wrap gifts at my own pace :) hahaha

I hope that this list helped!  If you have other great recommendations leave them in the comments!

Happy Shopping, girls!

PS - This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and purchase an item I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU!

54 comments:

  1. Love your suggestions Andrea! I am also done with shopping for all of my kids' presets and it feels so good!! We have the drill set you are talking about and my girls and baby boy is obsessed with it! I saw the flower version of it and thought it was so cute!! Hope you have a great day!

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    1. the drill was definitely a surprise hit in our house - and it's lasted for YEARS!

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  2. This is a motivating post!! Santa needs to get on the ball!!!

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  3. Hi! Love your blog and I'm dying to find a ramp exploration kit. I know my 6 year old will LOVE it. Is there one similar on Amazon you'd recommend? I have no experience with zullily, will they definitely restock and if so, how will I know? Thanks. Great gift ideas for the kiddos!

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    1. Hey! I googled them manufacturer and I found a similar set on their website...
      http://kodokids.com/discovery-ramps-480#tabs
      Hope this helps!

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  4. I grew up in a house where you started Christmas shopping the day after Christmas when everything was on sale! That habit has always stuck with me. I'm about 90% done now.

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    1. Yes! Love taking advantage of sales and it always feels so good to not be caught in the holiday shopping hustle!

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  5. Yes! I love this! I'm still needing one or two ideas and this totally helps!

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  6. Wonderful ideas. So many to choose from. Love all of these learning toys!

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    1. I tend to err on the side of educational :) hahaha

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  7. Yes!!! I like to shop ahead too especially when I see deals on things on my shopping list! Love your gift giving suggestions and ideas. We are planning to simplify this year like you guys do and I'm so happy about it. :)

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    1. Christmas can get so out of control, so having a limit on the number of gifts REALLY helps. Have a great day, Jessica!

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  8. I honestly cannot sing enough praise about Snap Circuits. We have soooo many of the kits as I started with the basic version one year and bought the expansion kit the next and so on and so forth.

    My son is now ten and knows so much about voltage and amps and how to configure circuits that he used his snap circuits in his science fair competition and won. They are played with and used and refigured by all the friends who come to our house.

    So, buy the basic kit for your boys and work the way up to the light kit. I think they'd have a blast!

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    1. That is so good to know! I didn't get it for Christmas, but am putting it on the short list for their birthdays! Thanks, Liz!

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  9. Oh my goodness!! I need to get started!! Somehow, I haven't even started this year! Eek!!

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  10. I love how you heard our cries and answered:) Great ideas, thanks Andrea!

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    1. hahaha You're so welcome! :) Thanks for letting me know what you wanted to see!

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  11. I love the idea of donating a few toys before new Christmas toys arrive! What a great post!

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    1. Thanks, Reba! I usually clean out all the broken toys and throw those all away and then have them come in and pick out their three to donate. There have been tears at times, but it's such an important lesson and I like getting them involved in the process rather than me just picking toys.

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  12. I haven't even thought about Christmas shopping...I love that you limit the number of gifts they get. We started doing that a few years ago and I'm so glad we did!

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  13. Can you tell me how you wash your blardigan!?!? I'm afraid to wash mine! Lol

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  14. Thank you for this post! I always need ideas for the guys in my life. They are hard to buy for :)
    I also think my 5 yr old daughter would love the rock tumbler. I am going to check it out. Have a great day!!

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  15. We limit the grandparents, too (gasp!)! :)

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  16. Thanks for sharing!! I kept telling my husband we were completely done with our Christmas shopping and then I realized I forgot him!!! 😳

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  17. This really helps! I'm about half finished. I can't wait to finish! Thanks for listening to our cries for help! Haha.... :)

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  18. Thanks for doing this post! I'm almost done Christmas shopping... I also do most of it online! Love the convenience of it.

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  19. If Dave, or any one in your life, loves fun socks be sure to check out Sock101!

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  20. My oldest is a Mason and could be Luke's twin- from the love of math, to the always building things, to the wanting to be an engineer...the similarities are uncanny! He got a rock tumbler for his 7th bday last month (I was a little surprised by the request and questioned it, and he said it was the only thing he wanted for his birthday!!) and it's been a BIG hit! Am guessing Luke will be thrilled! :)

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  21. Mason got a Magformers set for his birthday and instantly LOVED it. We got the small one and can't build much so I'm planning to get him another one for Christmas. Maybe even the race car set! They make the best gifts!

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  22. HAHAHA madeline (now 10) HAD to have a rock tumbler last year - and got one - be sure to check reviews about vaseline on the inner seal. also prepare him before hand it takes 3-4 weeks. we finally unplugged because my hubby is a tight wad when it comes to electricity. so funny.

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  23. I've just started making my shopping list for Christmas!! :) & GG is going to love love love that doll house!

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  24. Love all of your ideas! I am also an online shopper - but need to get on it...only 49 days left!!!

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  25. A woman after my own heart!! I'm a Piano Teacher, and December is CRAZY busy for me, think Christmas Recital, and Solo Concerts I perform. I have already started and got some of my people done for Christmas AND wrapped what gifts I have!!!

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  26. I love seeing what people buy their friends and family. I need all the help I can get!

    I love that all Luke has ever really wanted was a rock tumbler. So sweet.

    I just looked at the blardigan, but it is out of stock on "normal" sizes. Plus sizes have a few. I also just saw the cable knit cardi. OMG. It's beautiful!

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  27. Thanks for the boy gift ideas. Those are definitely things my boys would love. And yes, men are the worst to buy for! :)

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  28. Mario Kart (and the Wii U in general) is the bomb! You'll all love it!! Awesome gift ideas!

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    1. So I'm completely uninformed when it comes to video games - is everything I need included or do I have to buy steering wheels and stuff. HELP! hahaha

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    2. At least for the regular Wii you needed to buy the steering wheels. I also bought additional controllers, charger for controllers and nunchucks.

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    3. My guys don't use the steering wheels, but you will probably want to have a total of four controllers including the master controller that comes with it, so you can all race on the same screen. I would consider buying at least one (if not three) more controller and nunchucks, which connect to the controller and give you a joystick type directional pad. For just starting out, you can just use the controller and "steer" by tipping it right and left. I promise you it's so easy and fun! I think you all would enjoy playing!

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  29. You are my new best friend for posting about the blardigan being on sale!!! I tried to buy during the anniversary sale but they cancelled my order due to it selling out. Snagged it today! Somehow $60 is much more justifiable than $90. Thanks again!

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  30. Love this post!! My daughter (only child) is turning 11 in December and we also have Hanukkah early in the month. I am struggling with what to get her at her age. We have lots of magformers. They are the BEST! She got them when she was around 5 years old and still pulls them out once in a while. We also got her a KidKraft doll house when she was 3 years old and STILL plays with it almost every day!! It is the BEST dolhouse!! Also, if you ever need replacement furniture of pieces, KidKraft is the BEST! Several times we need replacement furniture and their website is so easy to use. It comes in the mail, for free, in a few days! I couldn't resist attaching a link to my daughter when she got her dollhouse, almost 8 years ago. Not sure where time went. Griffin reminds me a lot of my Samantha! Here is a link.
    http://i724.photobucket.com/albums/ww241/mindyf76/Image-1.jpg
    Have a great day. My mom is a recently retired high school math teacher, so your teacher posts make me smile. Math was ALWAYS my favorite subject. Never was a reader!

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  31. Griffin is going to ABSOLUTLEY love the dollhouse!!!! I got Greer the same exact one last May for her birthday & she plays for hours with it!!! Love the flower drill set & stickers are on Greer's list, so thanks girl for this post!!!

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  32. Love all of the suggestions! My hubs loves fun socks as well so a couple of those were already in my Amazon wishlist for later. :o)

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  33. I remember the year I got my son a rock tumbler. Can't wait to hear your thoughts after do you some tumbling. LOL Ours was pretty loud and after a while made me kind of crazy. I didn't follow the instructions very well, but be prepared to put it in a cooler in the garage to help with the noise aspect. Your son will love it!

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  34. Loved your ideas!! Just as an awesome man/ guy idea, I previously bought a subscription to @footcardigan for the guys in my life. It is a sock subscription that is totally fun. You can buy one pair, a few months worth, a year, etc. They make it for woman and children too. It comes wrapped in kid drawing (I think from the founders kids) for a $1 or $2 extra. Men...so hard to buy for!

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  35. I'm ordering that educational drill set!! Pretty certain Baker will love it!! I remember you posted it before and I forgot about it till now. Thanks friend!

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  36. Thank you for this! What great gifts!

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  37. Andrea, I love you. Great list! Thanks for sharing!!

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  38. I love how your Santa gifts aren't wrapped that how it was for is growing up. What sort of things do u do for Stockings & do you wrap their stocking presents. Our stockings were never wrapped & that's what we got to go through first until everyone was up & coffee was in hand & then presents began!!!

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  39. A heads up on the rock tumbler-find a place far away from everyday life to plug it in. They are noisy!

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  40. Thanks for quickly doing this post! Any suggestions for stocking stuffers?

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