Now on the day after Christmas, it’s nice to sit down, look through our family photos, and think about what really mattered on such a special day. Each year, we develop new traditions and continue to celebrate the old. While opening gifts is only one part of the many traditions we celebrate and cherish, this part seemed well worth sharing. I hope our Christmas Day celebration can be an inspiration for your children’s birthday shopping ideas this year and more.
Christmas Day Celebrations
From waking up early to sharing the day together, Christmas brings some of the most incredible moments of the year. Since my daughters opened some awesome toys this year, I’m going to share the photos as well as a few things my children were excited about as they opened their gifts. This will be a three part series with a focus on a couple special toys coming up soon.
Anticipating The Big Day
Every day leading up to Christmas brought excitement. Days after Thanksgiving, we rushed out to buy our Christmas tree from a local tree farm. From that day on, the celebrations began. We baked cookies, looked at lights, and decorated our home all month.
On Christmas Eve when our Elf on the Shelf announced her departure, it was like a weight was on our chest. We all knew Christmas was leaving, and there was nothing we could do about it. It’s a shame this holiday happens only once a year. Everyone seems a bit happier, more giving, and more caring. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christmas spirit lingered longer?
As we took one last look at our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, I enjoyed the decorations once more, knowing they wouldn’t be out much longer.
With my children happily tucked into bed, we had only some hours before my older daughter excitedly burst into my room. Ready to open presents, she had to be convinced to wait for her sister to wake up too.
We Are Blessed With Wonderful Girls
When we went downstairs, my daughters’ faces shone with excitement. They couldn’t wait to discover what Santa had brought for everyone. Even though they were eager to find out whether Santa had read the letters they had sent, one of the highlights of the day was the thoughtful gifts Samantha picked out for everyone.
Opening the Stockings
We started with the stockings. Georgiana was happy with everything. She got some awesome Disney bath toys and a Minnie Mouse cup, a Mary Meyer FabFuzz plush puppy, Pokemon stickers, and more. I love how grateful she was to get plain white socks, although it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the stocking. Teaching children gratitude starts on Christmas morning with small, simple gifts that children learn to be appreciative of, even if it’s not something they asked Santa for this year.
Then, we were on to the gifts! We started with the small gifts and worked our way to the bigger items. Do you have a strategy for opening your gifts?
Most of the smaller items offered some entertainment. We got Blu Rays (Angry Birds and Finding Dory), CDs (Taylor Swift’s 1989 album), and fun children’s books (like the Baby Lit Primer Secret Garden book).
Unwrapping Our Favorite New Toys
Games And Crafts
First, the girls opened some delightful games from Educational Insights. Since we went to Disney World this past summer (read about our vacation on Huffington Post), the Wave of the Wand Cinderella Game was a great selection for my younger daughter. A major highlight from our vacation was visiting Cinderella’s castle. Because the playing cards feature her castle and have a wand dice roller, the game went over very well.
Next, Georgiana was excited to get some Once Upon A Craft Sets. These educational craft sets focus on artistic abilities as well as literacy. With a focus on a new book and craft in each set, children can learn classic stories and work on their motor skills.
Everything On The Letter To Santa Was Under The Tree!
One of the most exciting toys was Pie Face Showdown. This game was a hot item on the wish list for Santa. To play, you use real whipped cream! It sounds completely messy and fun.
Each girl also got Puppy in My Pocket purse sets. These small items offer a lot of fun for children who enjoy using small figures to play make believe. I found them in an awesome sale Black Friday weekend. Although I had never heard of Puppy in My Pocket, I thought it was neat you can fun play sets for them and collect the different puppies.
Peppa Pig Falls Down
My younger daughter was hoping for Peppa Pig Peppa and George Giggle and Wiggle Plush. She’s still at a good age for this cartoon, and she adores toys that move and talk. In a kind gesture, she gave Peppa to her sister so both of them can play together. They both enjoy seeing the characters fall over in laughter.
A New Camera
Samantha was the most excited about her FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 camera. She had been hoping for a real camera this year (not a toy). Choosing a camera for a six year old was a difficult decision. I considered getting a digital camera we could use on vacations, but this model ended up being the best choice. I like that she can get the instant satisfaction of seeing her picture printed.
FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon
Another hot item this year was the FurReal Friends Torch Doll – My Blazin’ Dragon. Last year, we got the Star Lilly Unicorn, Flurry the Cat, and JJ the Pug. At first, I wasn’t sure if we needed yet another FurReal toy, the dragon was the only toy Samantha included in her final list to Santa. She drove a hard bargain, explaining that she always does a good job of setting the table for dinner. Thankfully, Santa came through last minute and this fun, interactive toy showed up under the tree.
Not only does the dragon move, but you can also feed it a marshmallow and watch it breath a flame-colored mist. One disadvantage is that the dragon doesn’t come with an app like Star Lilly did. Since I was never able to get the Star Lilly app to work on my phone, this didn’t affect whether or not my children enjoyed the dragon. The FurReal Friends toys offer a lot of fun even without the app.
All winter, Calico Critters have been high on my daughters’ wish lists. Together with some grandparent gifts, both girls will get to play with a Calico Critter world complete with a home and a school as well as several families.
I love that Calico Critters are such a classic toy that I would have played with decades ago. It’s awesome to see that children are still entertained when they play make believe figures, even though there are so many more high tech items out there today.
Aurora Plush Toys
Another nice gift under the tree was plush toys. My older daughter had been asking for the Tinklink Santa Gnomlin. She saw it in some stores and catalogues before Christmas Day. Its soft beard and tummy makes it a perfect toy to cuddle with at night.
She adored the Sea Sparkle Crystal Mermaid with its beautiful pink hair, but her favorite was the Yorkie Princess. Since Yorkies are a family favorite, she couldn’t wait to share the news that she got her own plush Yorkie.
Georgiana adored the plush giraffe she got. Even though we had a ton of plush toys taking up space in our home, it’s nice to have some brand new, cuddly toys that are clean and soft.
Schleich Horse Figurine
I was glad to see that the Schleich Horse Wash Area Playset went over well. My older daughter enjoyed playing with the different parts. The playset looks nice outside of the dollhouse because it creates the look of a large yard and farm for the doll figures we already own.
Once Kids Wanderlust Play Sets
My daughters loved the Wanderlust play sets from Once Kids. They both love hearing about big cities and hope to see the world some day. With play sets that feature London and Paris, they can imagine themselves away on vacation, while also learning about important monuments in the different cities.
Mindware STEM Toys And Crafts
Some more favorite items my older daughter received were from Mindware. All of the kits were perfect for a six year old (almost seven soon) since they require some dexterity and maturity.
At the top of Samantha’s wish list was clay. She loves sculpting things and creating realistic representations of her favorite things. When she opened her Pottery Wheel, she was delighted. She can’t wait to set it up in her art room and set aside space for creating pottery.
Next, she opened her Science Academy Clean Chemistry sets. I thought it was cute that she checked with me and her dad to make sure we are okay with her using perfume and lip balm. Soon after opening the sets, she wanted to play with them, but we’re going to set aside a clean spot on the art table since this is an intricate set with parts that could easily get lost.
Finally, the Rails Builder Set went over really well too. Samantha said she has always wanted a maze runner, and she was delighted that she could design this one by herself.
I didn’t help Samantha open or set up the marble run. Within only about an hour, she unboxed the toy and played with it enough to figure out how to make a successful, working marble run. At first, she had a hard time figuring out the best set up to make the marbles run down, but that made it more satisfying when she discovered a working design. Check out the video of her using the marble run.
The Beauty Of Sisterly Love
My favorite part of Christmas morning was watching my daughters spend time with each other. Samantha is at a good age to learn what it’s like to choose to spend money on her sister’s Christmas gifts, rather than for toys for herself. When we recently went to a bookstore, she chose a cute puppet book for her younger sister because she remembered an older cousin choosing a special one to give her when she was a toddler.
This book was one of the most meaningful gifts to Georgiana. Don’t gifts mean the most when you know the love and kindness that goes into selecting them? I enjoyed seeing her happy expression when she realized this gift was from her sister.
I hope as the years go by, Samantha will continue to remember how important her sister is to her, and that Georgiana will be wise enough to know to reciprocate that love for a lifetime.
Seeing the two of them have this special memory together was adorable. I’m happy we documented our day so well with pictures and video. Hopefully for years to come, they will revisit these moments and think about how exciting it was to spend Christmas morning together.
Although these girls might argue from time to time, they are completely devoted to each other, and they love spending this Christmas break together.
Looking Into The New Year
Lately, keeping up with my writing and social media accounts has been worrisome because my MacBook Pro from 2012 has a dying battery. Santa (or a very thoughtful husband) really came through this year and got me one of the brand new MacBook Pro computers with a touch bar. I can’t wait to type my first article on my new computer!
Since part of being a blogger and influencer is keeping up with photography as well as social media, I’m happy that Samantha can take on a new role of taking vintage-style photos with her camera. For a six year old, she does a lot behind the scenes at Theresa’s Reviews. Not only does she help me with social media upkeep, but she also helps me with selecting which pictures to post, how to crop and edit them, and what to say in the caption.
What did your children enjoy opening on Christmas morning? Since my daughters will have birthdays coming up soon, I would love some inspiration of what they might want. Share the toys they loved in the comments.