Gift guide for the little one

Hi friends! How’s your Black Friday going? Ours has been pretty glorious so far. We slept in, and then went with some cousins to see Frozen, which we all loved. I’m counting it as Livi’s first real movie! (I took her to see The Lorax with a friend and her newborn when she was 7 weeks old. I thought she’d sleep the whole time, as my friend’s baby did, but nope, she sat in my lap, fully intrigued and watched the entire thing.)

We all loved it, especially the music 

First movie

and the snowman, Olaf. 

Olaf snow


(Photo source.

This afternoon, we’re decorating the house and having a mini Thanksgiving meal here at home. It’s all for the sake of having leftovers for day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches (you know the ones: bread, turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. Oh em geeeeeee)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my last gift guide: for the kiddos! Please keep in mind that this list is for toddler age, since (in my brain) kids age 5+  are wearing space suits and talking in another language. I feel so old.



Here are some fun things for the little dude or lady on your list:

(Head’s up: I’m not affiliated with any of the companies below, but chose the products because we either have them or have heard wonderful reviews. You may see some Amazon or ShopStyle links, which have no impact on purchase price but I earn a very small commission. Thank you for supporting the blog!)

1. Hape toys. We love Hape toys in our house, especially because they’re made of sustainable materials. A current fave is this castle blocks set. I love any toy which helps facilitate problem solving and imagination.

2. Joovy Tricycoo. Livi is getting one of these this year, and I love the fact that you can use the handle to help steer and push, then later remove it. Next, I’m looking for a toddler helmet to go along with it. Another bonus: I bought it at Buy Buy Baby and they let me use my 20% off coupon, so I got a sweet deal! 

3. Play kitchen. I wanted to get Livi one last year, but am glad we waited as I don’t think it would have gotten much use yet. Now, she is obsessed with her cousins’ kitchen whenever we visit, and I know she’ll love it. There are a ton of different types at various price points, and you can also easily DIY your own, too. 

4. Books. We’re big Eric Carle fans over here, and Livi also likes any books that give her activities to do, such as finding certain things, pushing/pulling tabs or lifting flaps. I also like books with brave heroines (like these ones!). I’m just thankful she finally fell in love with reading. For a while, she’d be off playing while I’d read aloud, and now she’ll bring up a stack of books and intently sit in my lap as I read each one. 

5. Baby TOMs. She can walk well in them, they’re easy to throw in the washer… and they look really cute.

6. Fun beanies. Bonus points for beanies with ears or pom-poms on the top.

7. Blabla dolls or Jellycats. These have been a longtime favorite in our house. They’re sweet, super soft and easily washed.

8. Twilight turtle. We still use the Twilight Turtle every night before bedtime. It shuts off automatically and you can choose the color stars you’d like. Now, Livi will tell me what color she wants, and then we’ll look for the moon and count the stars.

9. Plasma car. I feel like at almost-two, it’s an awesome age for one of these little cars. A little shifting motion of the hands helps to power the car, and they can drive it around the house. They have one at a local toy store here, and Livi loves driving it around.

10. Dress-up outfit. There are so many fun dress up outfits to choose from: fairies, Western, doctors, princesses, firefighters, anything you think the kiddo would like. 

11. Puppet show. It’s fun to act out different characters and voices -my French lady is pretty fab, I’ve gotta say haha- and I think any kiddo would love a puppet set to act out shows.

12. Mini trampoline. One of our friends has this trampoline, and if we weren’t moving, I would have ordered one. It looks SO fun, and I especially like that there are no hard parts and it’s fully enclosed.

13. Puzzles. Melissa and Doug has some fantastic ones!

14. Sweet slippers or jammies. Just because they’re cozy and cute 🙂

15. The wrapping paper. Let’s be honest: kids seem to love the containers and wrapping just as much, if not more, than the actual gift. Even though it’s fun to get little surprises and gifts for Liv, I know she’ll remember feelings and experiences a thousand times more than any present. As she continues to grow up, we’re going to focus more on experience gifts -like seeing a show, taking a vacation or road trip together- instead of material items. I maybe remember a handful of gifts from when I was young, but vividly remember the hugs, funny memories, mugs of hot cocoa, and trips to look at Christmas lights. It’s such an exciting and magical season, and I’m really looking forward to this one with our little family 🙂

Are you shopping for a toddler this year? Any fun gift ideas you’d like to share? Any awesome experience ideas??

We’re planning on a trip to Winterhaven to see the Christmas lights, kids’ Nutcracker and some squadron and family events.



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  1. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on November 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Oooh I can’t wait to see Frozen — and I’m 30 with no kids… I just love Disney movies 🙂

  2. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on November 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Love this! I don’t have any kids but need to babysit soon so that I can see Frozen because it looks so good to me!

    • Fitnessista on November 30, 2013 at 12:30 am

      it was SO GOOD. i kind of want to see it again

  3. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on November 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Great items! I’m trying to get a few things for our little guy who will only be 10 months! I found an amazing Aussie eco-friendly store and ordering stuff from them. I don’t really want to go overboard, but with kids I can certainly see how it’s possible. I’m obsessed with the cuteness of Baby Toms, and glad to hear that they are practical as well.
    Speaking of which, do you have any suggestions for your favourite ‘first walking shoes’? Something with lots of support, but not ugly as sin? hah!

  4. Melodie on November 30, 2013 at 1:27 am

    I love what you said in #15. This will be our 5th year to experience Christmas as a parent, which is so joyful. But the toy overload always drives me crazy. Even though we really limited what we bought for our kids, all the family loves to buy for them also. So this year we will do a few little stocking stuffers. But instead of gifts we will spend a night or two at a local hotel/indoor water park. It will be some much needed fun and family time and hopefully a sweet memory we can all tuck away.

  5. Julie on November 30, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Those moccassins are cute! I would like one for myself…

  6. emma @ a mom runs this town on November 30, 2013 at 6:21 am

    These are GREAT! My husband and I are having a Christmas present discussion now. my parents always overwhelmed us with presents and his stuck to just a few ones. We think we are going to give one or two so that Christmas doesn’t turn into gift gift gift… but it’s going to be SO hard when I want to buy her EVERYTHING!
    PS- Love baby TOMS but the toes always wear down so much. Toddlers = too rough!

  7. Lauren @ Confessions of a First Time Mom on November 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

    This is a great list! I’ve also blogged about Hape toys before. They’re wonderful! I also like that you deferred the play kitchen purchase. Many of my friends bought them for their children (who all range in age from 12 months – 16 months or so), and I was tempted by one recently, but thought better to wait until my daughter (16 months) is closer to 2. Her attention span just isn’t conducive to focused play yet. She plays with a toy for two seconds, then runs to the other end of the house!

  8. Jess on November 30, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I’m all for less ‘stuff’ and more experiential gifts. Hard sometimes to get relatives on board with that.

  9. Kristen on November 30, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Shopping for little ones can be so overwhelming. There’s just SO MUCH out there for them. I heard a little rhyme not long ago that may help.
    Get them:
    Something they want,
    Something they need,
    Something to wear,
    And something to read.

    It kind of covers everything and you can buy one of each category or 10 of each. I feel like its a nice little guide. I’m gonna use it this year for my little guy!

    • Fitnessista on November 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      i love that saying!
      hope you and your fam had a great thanksgiving 🙂

  10. Tracy on November 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I hope Liv doesn’t read your blog! Haha!!

    Glad to hear Frozen was good…can’t wait to see it!

    • Fitnessista on November 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      i wouldn’t be surprised if she did haha

  11. Ann on November 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Which Tom’s do you recommend? I have a almost 14 month old who is not walking yet – just learning. There seems to be a variety of choices on their site – mary janes, sparkles, etc. Thanks!
    The puppet show also looks like a good gift.

    • Fitnessista on November 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      i would probably get the originals (the ones that velcro with the flap). livi had some sparkle toms when she was that young, and they were a little too stiff for her feet. she did much better with the stride rite mary janes and original toms

  12. Maria on November 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    What a good little attention span Liv has!! Our 16 month old won’t even sit still for an episode of Mickey Mouse so movies are still a little ways away for us. This year for Christmas we are getting her Giant Lego (Duplo blocks) we were also thinking of a little kitchen set. Something with lots of buttons/cause effect toys.

    • Fitnessista on November 30, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      she doesn’t usually sit still for tv shows at the house, but she was REALLY into the movie. i was excited because i’ve been wanting to take her for a long time. she loved the popcorn too!
      those duplo blocks are awesome. i was thinking of something like that for her birthday. building gifts are always a great idea
      hope you guys had a wonderful weekend <3

  13. Leslie W on December 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I love your blog, Gina, and have been reading since before you got preggers! 🙂 Am I the only one suddenly getting ads here? Specifically an Aveeno ad with Jennifer Aniston?

  14. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on December 1, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I so want to see that movie! I’m amazed that you were able to take her so young. I took my son for the first time this summer (planes) at nearly 3.5.

    Those 3-in-1 sort of trikes are great! It’s so nice to be able to push them. Also, at 2 she’s probably ready for a Strider, but that’s a good bday present too.

  15. Jaime M on December 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

    My boys have both gotten a balance bike at 18 months old for Christmas. They are SO amazing! My oldest loved his so much, that he was able to learn to ride a bike at 3 yrs old! My youngest one is getting his this year. They definitely need a good helmet to go with it though!

    Bonus- If you buy a Strider from The Axel Project website, they will donate a 2nd bike to a child in need.

    • Fitnessista on December 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      i was looking at striders, and have never heard of them before! i think if liv outgrows the joovy trike too quickly, i’ll get her a strider for her birthday. she gets really frustrated with having to push herself on her little car that she has, so i’m thinking she might like being able to pedal on the trike? who knows haha.

  16. James on December 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I can’t wait to head down with the kids tomorrow and see Frozen! Hope its as good as it looks.

    Great present ideas, my son just wants computer games, but I have added some pyjamas as well. His favourite ones are upto his elbows! They might ‘dissapear’ after Christmas!

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