While I’m trying really hard this season to teach my daughter that there’s more to the holidays than presents, and toys, and STUFF—I must admit there is something completely heart-warming about watching her open a wrapped present and get totally excited about what’s inside. Especially when I know I’ve chosen well and I get a reaction like this one...
I don’t know about you, but I find myself getting all giddy and excited when I go shopping for toys. It’s like I’m reliving my own childhood, picking out dolls and toys inspired by our (I mean, her) favourite TV shows, and searching for creative crafts and thoughtful games that will challenge her and help her learn.
But, this year, when it came to finding Hanukkah gifts for all of Willow’s little boy cousins (and there are a lot of them!) toy shopping didn't seem like so much fun anymore. What do boys even like to play with? Is there anything non-violent that will still elicit an “Awesome!” or “Wow!” reaction from a little boy? If so, what is it? I’m totally in the dark when it comes to boys.
I really could have used the help of the Toy Marshalls…if only I’d have known about them before doing my Hanukkah shopping.
What are Toy Marshalls? you ask.
They're a group of adorable real kids (not actors) who were gathered by the creative folks in the Marshalls Canada PR department to provide some advice and insight for parents looking to buy great gifts for their kids this holiday season. These kids are totally adorable and quite candid when it comes to dishing out advice. They know what they like, and they're more than happy to provide grown-ups with some toy-buying insight.
Here's some sound advice from a few of the Toy Marshalls:
Khalil Heron, age 9
"Choose a toy they can play with over and over and not get bored with. You don't want to have toys that just sit on a shelf and or can break easily."
Sydney Fox, age 10
"Kids don't always like a toy just because it's cool or popular. Stick to what you know they
Carson Burk, age 12
"Always look for a toy where kids can use their imagination. When you do, you raise the level of fun!"
Jenna Dart, age 12
"You have to know who the child is that you are buying for, their age, personality and whether they have any siblings who they can share the toy/game with if their friends are not around."
We have a Marshalls store around the corner from our house, and I did a bunch of my holiday shopping there this year. They have a huge selection of toys and books (all the stuff you'd find in the big toy and book stores) at a fraction of the price! While I was doing my own holiday shopping I also picked up a gift for the toy drive my daughter's daycare was conducting. I had her drop the toy off herself, and explained to her the significance of giving to others, especially those in need, around this time of year...and always!
While chatting with Marshall's about their Toy Marshall program I found out they're also encouraging giving back this holiday season. They've partnered with CTV for their annual Toy Mountain drive and have placed collection boxes in the foyers of all their stores. So while you're at Marshall's doing your last-minute toy shopping this week, consider grabbing an extra toy or two for a child in the city who wouldn't otherwise have any gifts to open on Christmas morning. Giving to others is truly the best feeling in the world!
Still need more gift ideas? Check out these great suggestions from the Toy Marshalls:
For the Mini Musician:
$9.99 (Compare at $20)
For the Animal Lover:
$12.99 (Compare at $19.98)
For the Builder:
$9.99 (Compare at $15)
For the Crafter:
$12.99 (Compare at $20)
For the Retro Kid:
$29.99 (Compared at $40)
Visit Marshalls Toy Land site for more gift ideas.
*Note: this post was not sponsored by Marshall's, however they agreed that in exchange for me writing it, they'd provide me with two Christmas stockings filled with $500 worth of gifts (suitable for an entire family) which will be donated to the Red Door Family Shelter in Toronto.