i love olliegraphic because they take it even a step further and allow you to create a picture that looks like your special little recipient. the innocence of children (at least the really young ones) makes it so they don't understand how very easy it is to order things personalized, so it feels somehow fortuitous and amazing that they should end up with a plate chart with their name and likeness.
they make melamine plates and bowls, growth charts, magnets, pocket mirrors, art prints and more that would be such adorable additions to the life of a cute little kid.
SPECIAL NOTE: the ordering deadline for the plates and bowls was november 30th for christmas delivery, but the other products are still available even if you order them now. and bookmark the page for birthdays or late breaking holiday gifts!
i also love kidlandia's personalized puzzles which use a child's name and specific text with people, places and things from their life to create a whole world. they also make fine art prints, growth charts, placemats and more.
if you find yourself at ikea, first of all i hope you're okay...it can be a bit crazed this time of year...and second of all, you MUST, and i repeat MUST get yourself a produkt milk frother. thank me later.
but also be sure to go through to the kids' section for these adorable finds and many more you'll see and fall in love with - first cause they're cute, and then cause they're cheap. i love the leka building blocks which, at $4.99 for the set of four could be a tiny treasure in itself. i love how they're soft, colorful and cute - a perfect trifecta for kids' gifts.
and the fabler bed canopy is whimsical and retro-circusy in a fairy tale kind of way. which is to say i deeply love it. i have wonderful visions of a child reading a cozy story underneath this canopy. or of me reading a cozy story underneath this canopy. whichev.
along similar lines but with even more "privacy," we also have the home sweet play home from land of nod in several color choices and with the option of a coordinating floor cushion. well excuuuuuse me.
my favorite toy store options for kids are color me a song, the name of which says it all, but here's a little more: "the faster you scribble, the faster the song."
and the aquadoodle, which has been around for a couple years but is fabulously unmessy but still fostering of creativity.
NOTE: most boxed editions of this come with only one pen, which for multiple-child households could be problematic. luckily, they sell additional pens and brushes separately.
for most kids, you can't beat the thrill of driving. i can remember go-carts being my favorite activity at day camp and the thrill of going to safety town on a third grade class trip because WE COULD DRIVE!! more recently, i walked by safety town and i'll say this - "town" is a strong word - it was a miniature sidewalk with 2 foot tall stop signs through which we drove manual carts, but who cared? WE COULD DRIVE!whatever the kids on your list get to open, i really think it's the holiday traditions and the lessons about generosity, hope and love that mean the most...whether they realize it yet or not.
so with that in mind, i'm a little obsessed with the radio flyer classic bumper car, because it's just that - classic. i love that it doesn't look like the cars of today because it's a visual throwback to the innocence of children and a simpler time...and cheaper gas prices. and at $49, it doesn't break the bank so you can actually pay for all that gas you need to drive around and do your shopping.
and sometimes you just want a gift for its general cuteness factor, like these monkey and lion mittens. totally adorbs.
and pillow pets are undeniably cute as well, don't you think? i have two anecdotes about them that make me smile...first, one of rosie o'donnell's little boys (or her partner's, can't remember), proudly said "you know how they say on the commerical that over a million pillow pets have been sold? well now every time you hear that, remember that it's a million and one because i have one now." and then there was the thirty year old woman on the bus the other day saying how they're impossibly soft and how she'd love to have one...she quickly remembered to add on "if i were a little kid" but i was on to her, and i don't blame her.
fabler crib image, all other images from linked sites