Parenting Blog

2009 Christmas Gift Winners and Losers

The OWTK Christmas Tree

The Bear and Mouse each received, roughly, 7 gifts from Santa and 8 from The Mrs. and I.  That doesn’t include the 2 joint gifts from the jolly ol’ elf and another pair from us, stocking stuffers here or at Mom mom & Pop pop’s, or gifts from family members.  In total, each of my little ladies took home a small toy store and an aisle’s worth of books.

Most everything was well received out of the box(es), but here’s a look at the big winners and sore losers from the lot:

Look’s like we have ourselves a winner!

  • A Girl Who Floated

    Princess Hyacinth (A Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floats) – Hilarious book, with stunning visuals from Lane Smith (John, Paul, George & Ben).  The girls have wanted it read to them every day since Christmas.

  • Silk Scarves (set of 4) – a gift from a family member for the Bear and Mouse.  Huge winner as they danced with ’em, dressed up with ’em and twirled ’em about my parent’s house.  Simple, enduring and imaginative.  Perfect for my kids. The deep pink one also enabled me to become (big) little red riding hood, much to the delight of my girls and my folks.
  • Mary Poppins!

    Mary Poppins figures – the 1st Barbie dolls to enter our home, although you’d have no idea.  Barbie and Ken are replaced by Mary and Bert, and the Barbie kids, whoever they are, are for us, Jane and Michael Banks. Not as jaw dropping as the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car and people I sprung on the Bear a couple years ago, but still incredibly awesome.

  • Elisa, the Bear’s 1st American Girl – A few years ago she received Baby Nora, a Bitty Baby.  This year, my Mom decided the Bear was ready for a classic American Girl doll.  The Bear loves her, taking her everywhere, snuggling her at nap and bedtimes.
  • Bath Towels – 1 of the 5 things on each girl’s simple list for Santa was a big, soft bath towel embroidered with their name.  The towels, purple for the Mouse and Green for the Bear, are so big the girls get lost in them.  They met, and exceed, all of the girl’s criteria.
  • Layla & Magic

    OWTK Girls in Santa's big box

    Dolls with Pink Hair, Unicorn and Giant Horse – The other things on the list for Santa were dolls with pink hair, a stuffed unicorn and horse.  Santa used an enormous box (a 20″ cube) stuffed with tinsel and crunchy paper to display these gifts next to the tree.  The packaging was a big hit, as you can see, as was the cube’s contents.

  • The Calico Bear

    Calico Critters Nursery School – Our 1st Calico item.  My general impression of Calico Critters is that the stuff is overpriced plastic junk, but the Bear asked for something from the series and we settled on the Nursery School.  It’s cute, and she loved it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the 1st and last Calico Critter product.

  • The Bear playing Royal Rescue

    Royal Rescue– An awesome puzzle game for 4-7-year old kids.  48 different puzzlers with instructions to build a pathway from princess to prince (and vice versa – alternating between the prince being the hero and princess, the heroine) using specific blocks.  The Bear dove into this one right away, and as of right now has only 2 puzzles left.  She already started to make her own puzzles, testing them out and giving them to me to complete.  Just an awesome toy.

It’s all here, black and white, clear as crystal…you lose:

  • Zhu Zhu Pets – my surprise gift (meaning the Mrs. didn’t know about it).  I got each girl a hamster and an accessory, all of which I found in stores just days before Christmas, meaning I didn’t pay insane secondary market prices.  Thank goodness, because the Zhu Zhus failed to impress the kids and, frankly, me as well.  The Adventure Ball is a $12 piece of shit.  That folks were buying them for $40+ on eBay over the past 6 weeks is idiotic.  I wish I’d sold the one I found.   Hey, after that ringing endorsement…anyone want a barely-used one for, say $12?
  • Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversay Blu-Ray DVD Set – a joint gift the Mrs. and I gave the girls.  Maybe they’re too young – the Bear already decided she isn’t watching it.  The Mrs. quickly declared it a gift for herself.  *Update: the package of stuff inside this set is amazing, and having now opened it all up the Bear is getting more and more curious.  No doubt she’ll come around and fall in love with The Wizard of Oz.  But until then, it’s a stinker of a gift.
  • Polly Pockets – Santa went overboard. The Bear asked for some Polly Pocket stuff as we had none and she liked what she saw in a toy store.  Santa served up 3 PP sets with tons of minuscule elastic-plastic accessories.  Also, it’s the kind of toy that the Bear will probably ignore more often than not, making it a waste of money and, when she does play with it, a waste of time cleaning up.
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