Cool kid holiday toys (hint: Target ain't advertising 'em)

I'll tell you who has the right idea. My brother. He very specifically said he wants a solid gold bar for Christmas this year and I have to say, he's on to something. Familiar, yet rare. Simple, yet usefully high-range (door stop! paperweight! weapon!) and best of all, not chemical-laden or jacked up by the profit margin of mass kiddie retailers. Yay Jay!

I found out today that every single toy in this week's Target coupon catalog is total crap. They are all light-up, noise-making gizmos that will hold your child's attention for the time it takes to peel away the box. They are the toy equivalent of frosted corn puff cereal. Hate on them.
So what are the cool kids* getting this year? Here are some ideas and they are ON SALE. Love me!
Wooden toys 
These are a sign of both prestige and humility. You hate BPA-ridden plastic toys (secretly: looking like America's great unwashed) but you also hate to spend too much money AND you want your children to use their true gifts this year: their imaginations. Boom, wooden toys. The go-to brand here is Melissa and Doug, but you have to be crafty to catch them on sale. Here is an M & D tool set for $10! Yayz!
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Santa doesn't have to blow a paycheck on an electric guitar (yet). All you need is $26 bucks for authentic music makers. The point is to buy things your child will not only keep playing with all year, but will not out-grow during childhood. I mean, I'd totally shake that tambourine and I'm married. Let the cacaphony begin!
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Play kitchens 
I researched the pants off these** and found the best deal was the KidKraft version bought through Barnes & Noble with this coupon. I ended up getting the little byoot below for around $130, which left me enough dough (HO!) to splurge on some accessories. Please note this is a unisex toy. Do not be bullied, young chefs! Ladies LOVE a little man who can cook! 
(For an even more economical approach, remember your friend Craig's List.)

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Kitchen Accessories 
Go ahead and spend more on Etsy to support the mamas who know how to crochet or just pop over to Ikea and pick up some fabric fruit for $7. (NOTE! If you step foot in Ikea you will spend no less than $200, so Etsy is probably the way to go. Self-control is a unicorn.)

Now we're back to our good lady Target. They have a section of educational wooden puzzles on the cheap. For more selection, better quality and to keep the bucks in Chi-town, hit up my pals at Green Genes. When I was in a Sophie-gifting phase I always went there because they were actually cheaper than Amazon.
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Art supplies
Who knows, maybe you have an Akaine on your hands. I discovered the best way to find out is to walk m'self into any art or frame store and they'll have art supplies for young 'uns - or art supplies for oldens on sale because IN THIS ECONOMY everything is on sale. May as well buy it for Christmas right? Get the ole American machine a-rollin' again and perhaps gain some decor for your refrigerator in the process. Lesson: Not all toys have to be toys.
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Key words of toy snobbery to look out for this year are Waldorf, upcycled, local, wooden, natural, BPA-free and creative. Happy shopping! Don't forget Thanksgiving! 

*Cool kids being the offspring of internet-educated hipsters who are suspicious of vaccines and non-organic food. That's you. 

**Play kitchens totally have pants

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  • I'm a huge fan of classic toys especially wooden ones. This sounds horrible, but with such a close birthday to Christmas, we put half of the presents D received up in the attic. He was too young for them last, he'll be getting those this year with a couple of additions.

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    That's a great idea! Teeny tots are excited to open anything. No, literally, I had mine open a potty chair last year and it was *way* exciting. (Not that it was ever used!)

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    In Canada the day after Christmas is similar to Black Friday (we call it Boxing day, for anyone who doesn't know!) We bought Layla's wardrobe for the year on boxing day and wrapped it all up for her birthday on January 9th, we are doing the same thing this year. I totally agree that they just like to open presents. We also don't buy toys, instead we buy things we know we'll need anyway (this year a wagon - last year we also bought a potty that has been used a grand total of 5 times) since we are the first on both sides of the family and of all of our friends to have a baby we get way too many toys as it is.

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    We totally have that wooden tool set. He LOVES it!

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