This is the year of so many ups and downs but seeing the boys so excited about Christmas is a huge encouragement. Daily they tell us what they want Santa to bring or what they want on their Christmas list. Big Brother is into Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, our big blow up Santa in the yard, and everything Christmas. He is learning that Christmas is not just tomorrow that we have a few more weeks of waiting but is enjoying his special Lego City Advent Calendar where he has a new mini set to open each evening. This was a favorite last year and is sure to be a favorite this year too. Little Brother decorated the tree, meticulously deciding by which color bulb every ornament should go. He loves his Hot Wheels Advent Calendar and his small Christmas tree in the Loft.
One List For All
Big Brother is fantastic at articulating what he wants and making sure we know that he really really wants it. Little Brother just wants everything Big Brother has, and we have recently realized that he has always ignored all Duplos but now shows a huge interest in Legos. In an effort to simplify I simply combined their lists. We have a rule that no toy belongs to any individual, so this helps drive that point home. When there are clothes involved or something that is special to one kid, there are notes in the description.
Big Ticket Items
We are super excited to have brand-new bikes with training wheels for each of the boys for our big gift to them. We are trying to get outdoors more, and we think they are both ready to start learning how to ride. This is a big surprise, we don’t think they know anything about it!
The other bigger ticket items include a large Lego Dinosaur set and a large Hot Wheels set. Both are really popular play items in the Hoover household so it will be enjoyed by all.
Wish List Apps
Being a Techie Family we have always been a huge supporter of apps that make things easier to make our wish lists. We even maintained one for a bit at gifts.hoover.ws LOL. All four of us have Amazon lists that we maintain more or less throughout the year. When it comes to Wish List apps there are so many to choose from. For years, we just kept it simple and used Amazon and then just added a few extra things from outside of Amazon (a little known hack that is possible). This year I have seen things on a more broad scale and decided to look into some more wish list apps. My brother actually sent out one called Giftful and it looks like this is the one we might use but there are several others as well to consider.
The idea for all of them are similar, make it easy with an app on the phone or a Chrome extension to add as many things from as many sites as you want. With Giftful and others, when you add a URL or click the extension, it magically grabs information about the item, such as an image, price, and title. This doesn’t work across the board, it has to be configured in the right way but for many big stores it works great.
MogulMom has a great breakdown of several apps. My favorite so far from the ones I have used is Giftful. Her review is a little older so does not include Giftful. She does include GiftHero, Giftster, CheckedTwice, and Wishlistr. I have used Giftster in the past and Giftful is just so much prettier and user-friendly. It is a modern design that just makes me happy instead of the older clunkier websites.
Buying Big from Small Businesses
As a small business owner, I know how much of a difference a purchase makes for my family. I read a meme once that said when you Buy Small Someone Does a Happy Dance 🙂. It is VERY true every time I get an email of a new purchase, I jump up and down in pure joy! This year I think buying small is more important than ever. Amazon is super easy but there are more and more marketplaces that are making buying small easier than ever. One big discovery I made while getting into the spirit looking for Big Brother’s Legos is Bricklink. They are an Etsy of sorts for Lego shops and mom and pop (or dad and son) shops. It got me thinking – If I purchase from one of these shops, I might be helping a teenager afford college, or a family put food on the table. Big Brother is all into watching Lego builds of older, retired, sets, but this gives him a way to have a few special ones that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise get for him. It’s kinda neat. Also makes me realize that I need to keep track of all the stuff because one day we might have a Lego collection worth selling! LOL. There are small shops for everything! Marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market make it possible for so many who have many talents to share their passions. Even Amazon is supporting buying small by featuring various sellers.
A new trend that is growing in popularity is subscription boxes. It is a great way to get someone something unique that is spread over time and who doesn’t like getting a special something in the mail once a month or quarter. It is just fun to wait for that surprise. One that I have my eye on is called Peaceful Play. I heard the founder do a podcast interview on the Boss Mom podcast and fell instantly in love. The boxes are designed around a theme but still open-ended enough for a huge amount of play and creativity. Big Brother loves telling stories and Little Brother is right behind him. I feel like this box will be a perfect companion to that. All boxes feature a collection of a book, crafts, and more to have hours of play. Just like small business, which many of these subscriptions are, there are subscription boxes for all kinds of hobbies and interests.
For my Lego lovers (the whole family) can’t wait till the boys can go to a Lego camp! The BrickBox subscription looks great!
Big wishes this year include Lego sets, Hot Wheels, and for mom help to entertain inside and outside. We used Giftful this year to chronicle our wishes. It allowed us to put a combination of Amazon, small business, and subscription boxes all together. It also allows for claiming gifts even if it is not purchased right on Amazon. I like that I was able to put notes and additional sites on where to purchase for some items.
For mama, during this pandemic it is even harder to take care of myself. My gym time is limited if at all and so my big wish is a small treadmill. We do not have much space for it, but I am ready to make it work somehow because I need it for my health. The other thing that has caught my eye as a great little something is the BoxyMomma subscription box. A special something just for me every month that has a bit of sass, yes please!