Christmas is just around the corner and I am ready for it! Rob and I have been busy working on our family wishlists, fine-tuning our Christmas shopping budget, and excitedly planning the gifts we will share. Even though Christmas this year will be very different from years past, there is still plenty of Christmas magic in the air. Dessa is three years old and has reached a whole new level of Christmas excitement. This week she rediscovered her Christmas pajamas from last year (which still fit) and spent the entire evening parading around the house and declaring herself to be Santa Claus. Since we are already getting into the swing of the holiday spirit, I wanted to give you a little peek at our Christmas wishlists for Dessa and Harvey. I hope our lists provide a little inspiration for the young children on your holiday shopping list this year!
This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of our links, which helps to support the blog.
Harvey’s Christmas Wishlist
Harvey was easily the most challenging member of the house to create a wishlist for. We love him so much and want him to experience the joy of new toys on Christmas morning, but he literally needs nothing. Harvey has access to far more toys than Dessa did when she was the same age and we already own plenty of developmentally appropriate toys for a one-year-old. Eventually, Rob and I were able to compile a Christmas wishlist that is perfect for Harvey. The toys on this list are all a great match for our little man’s age, interests, and personality.
Click any of the toys in the image below or scroll down for descriptions and shopping links.
- LeapFrog My Pal Scout ($20): Dessa was given a LeapFrog My Pal Violet toy for her first Christmas. I typically hate any toy with batteries, but it was a gift from a close family friend so I held my tongue and begrudgingly kept it around. Honestly, I’m so glad that I did because Dessa loves singing and dancing along with Violet and especially loves turning on the bedtime music right before she tucks Rob or I into an imaginary bed. Harvey has also begun to take an interest in Dessa’s My Pal Violet, which is programmed to say and spell her name. Given his growing love of Violet, it only seems fitting to add a My Pal Scout to Harvey’s Christmas list this year.
- Mega Blocks Big Building Bag ($15): Back when Dessa was a baby, I made a choice between Lego Duplos or Mega Blocks for our house. I chose Duplos because I fondly recall my own childhood love of the oversize Lego bricks. We still don’t exactly need a second set of building toys, but Harvey deserves to have a few gifts under the tree and I’ve seen how much he loves stacking the Mega Blocks toys at my parents’ house – which makes this one a no-brainer for Harvey’s Christmas wish list.
- Stacking Cups ($4): These are such a babyhood staple and somehow our house has been deprived of stacking cups for three years. Not anymore! This cute little set of stackable nesting cups has a great price and is the perfect stuffer for Harvey’s Christmas stocking.
- YBIKE Pewi Walking Buddy Ride On Bike ($55): I bought Dessa a pink YBIKE at a mom2mom sale when she was a few months older than Harvey is now and she LOVED it! That little bike must have been driven in circles around our first floor 1,000 times before she finally lost interest and we tucked the little bike away in our attic. Knowing how much Dessa loved the little bike, it seems like a sure thing that Harvey will love it as well. It also seems like a very safe bet that Dessa will have a renewed, competitive interest in riding a bike around the house the moment that Harvey touches it. I found a great deal on another gently used blue YBIKE for Harvey, which will conveniently leave Dessa’s pink YBIKE available if she decides that she needs to ride her bike too.
- HABA Wooden Toy Camera ($15): Harvey has been cracking us up because he has learned to instinctively say “cheeeese!” (or more accurately “eeeeee”) any time he sees a camera. Not only that, but he is always trying to get his hands on my camera, Dessa’s little point & shoot, and any phone that has been casually left within his reach. The second Harvey gets a device in his hands, he holds it in front of his face and immediately recites “eeeeeeee”. It seriously is the cutest thing ever and I can’t help but stoke the fires of his freshly sparked interest in photography. Granted, he has no idea what a camera actually does, but we will learn one day. And in the meantime, I really want to give him a toy camera of his own to play with. I love the HABA camera because it has an old-school retro look, is made of wood and has handles that will be perfect for Harvey to grip. I also love that it features a little kaleidoscope for when he finally does start to look through the “lens.”
- Wooden Abacus ($16): Harvey is still at the stage where there are very few toys for him on our family wish. Most of Dessa’s old toys are a perfect fit for his age and interest. An abacus would be a nice addition to our playroom and I’m sure both kids would be mesmerized by the sliding beads. I especially love this version because the color palette is a little softer than traditional primary colors and easier to blend into the decor.
- Llama Llama Wakey Wake ($7): Our little man LOVES reading Llama Llama books and excited proclaims “La La” each time he sees one of his favorite books around the house. We already own several paperback and board books from the collection, and Llama Llama Wakey Wake would make a great addition to our home library.
- Llama Llama Plush ($5): Speaking of Llama Llama, I noticed that Kohls is featuring a $5 Baby Llama plush as part of their Kohl’s Cares® program. Harvey loves giving hugs and snuggles to Dessa’s stuffed animals and I think he would light up if he saw a plush Llama under the Christmas tree.
Dessa’s Christmas Wishlist
It was a challenge to think of fresh gift ideas for Harvey, but Dessa’s Christmas wishlist was a totally different kind of challenge. I had to use an incredible amount of restraint as I crafted her Christmas list. Like three year old, Dessa LOVES toys and lights up at the thought of getting a new toy. I had to keep reminding myself that Dessa doesn’t actually every fun toy that I could imagine. In fact, I’ve struck out enough times to know that even the best-intentioned toys are often neglected for months at a time five minutes after the thrill of opening a fun new toy has worn off. After a lot of careful consideration, these are the top gifts on Dessa’s Christmas wishlist this year.
Click any of the toys in the image below or scroll down for descriptions and shopping links.
- Micro Kickboard Scooter ($90): Dessa has a hand-me-down plastic scooter that she loves the idea of riding, but it’s a cheap model and can be pretty awkward for her to manage. Our girl is ready for an upgrade and the Micro is very highly rated so it’s at the top of our list!
- Little People Big Helpers Home ($40): Dessa’s imagination is alive as well and she always amazes me with her ability to transform ordinary household objects (like lotion bottles and dot markers) into people with dynamic problems and interactions. Dessa also loves dolls and playing with her Little People figures. I was tempted to put a dollhouse on her Christmas list this year, but there doesn’t seem to be any rush to bring elaborate toys into her world of play with simple toys bring her so much joy and take up so little space in our playroom. So a Little People house seems like the perfect gift for a young preschooler. The Little People Big Helpers home is officially on our Christmas wishlist, but Santa’s elves are currently stalking Facebook Marketplace in search of a good deal on a retro Little People house like this one, which is more traditional and a little easier on the eyes.
- Poodle Hooded Bath Towel ($17): Even though Dessa is now three years old, we still use the same hooded bath towels that we purchased for her when she was a baby. Needless to say, the towels don’t provide our growing girl with much coverage these days. It’s time for an upgrade and the Pillowfort line of hooded bath towels are the perfect blend of style + affordability (and a nice alternative to the ones at Pottery Barn Kids that simply don’t fit into the budget).
- Hi Ho Cherry-O ($15): I still can’t quite believe that my little girl is old enough to understand and engage with simple board games, but she can and does! I added Hi Ho Cherry-O to her Christmas list this year because it’s a great, fun way to practice counting, taking turns, and learning to cope with the bad luck that often comes your way during gameplay.
- Gray Children’s’ Sofa ($80): Rob’s parents have a little fold-up toddler couch that Dessa has loved ever since she was big enough to toddle over to it at their house. Almost every foldable toddler couch that I’ve seen features a brightly colored cartoon character and is the last thing I would ever want to bring into my home. Luckily, I found the cutest little couch on Amazon. The removable, washable fabric cover is gray with white stars and will blend seamlessly into the decor of any room in our house. This couch is priced higher than the character-based couches I’ve seen online and in stores, but I like the significant style upgrade. I keep debating whether or not to purchase a Nugget for our playroom, but I’m not quite ready to commit to one yet since we have such limited floor space and this seems like a nice alternative for now.
- Baby Annabelle ($35): Dessa is convinced that Santa is going to bring her a new baby to play with on Christmas morning. She already has a high-quality baby doll that we all love, but I am considering an interactive doll for Dessa. I generally despise any toy that requires batteries to work, but I started researching interactive babies for Dessa and Annabelle seems like she could be perfect. Annabelle’s mouth moves when she drinks and she burps when she is finished. She responds to bouncing and tickling with laughter, cries real tears when she is sad, and yawns before closing her eyes and finally falling asleep when soothed. Lately, Dessa often pretends that her baby is upset and I see how gently she hugs and soothes her doll while offering reassurance that “I’m right here.” I’m pretty sure that Dessa’s mind will be blown when she discovers a doll that actually cries and responds to her gentle soothing. Dessa will certainly find a brand new baby under the tree this year. I just need to decide if Baby Annabell is the right choice or if a second basic doll will be best for her active imagination. Either way, the baby she receives will have brown skin to help our little girl love and appreciate people of all colors. A light-skinned version of Baby Annabelle is available here.
- My First BIG Book of Princesses ($9): I have raved countless times on Instagram about our all-time toddler favorite coloring book. It’s called My First BIG Book of Coloring and truly is the best coloring book for little hands that I have ever seen. The pictures are simple and bold, and the pages are made of a high-quality thick paper that can handle all of the ink from Dessa’s beloved dot markers. Dessa is actually making our way through our second copy of the book because she filled every page in our first copy. I’ve had my eye on several themed coloring books (dinosaurs, trucks, unicorns, fairy tales, and outer space) by the same publisher and they all look great. I had a chance to flip through My First BIG Book of Princesses and it’s perfect for Dessa. She doesn’t care much about princesses, but Dessa LOVES fancy dresses and this book is filled with princesses wearing all sorts of fancy dresses. It is also filled with pictures of flowers, horses, cakes, butterflies, birds, and other fun things.
- Daniel Tiger Figurines ($20) and Toy Trolley ($15): We are all big Daniel Tiger fans in the Gavin house. Dessa adores the TV show, Rob and I love that it teaches helpful life lessons that help Dessa cope with her everyday problems and experiences, and Harvey is always craning his neck to get a peek at the screen any time Dessa watches it on our iPad. And then there are all the catchy tunes that we sing around the house on a daily basis. We don’t own many toys or clothes featuring cartoon characters, but these Daniel Tiger toys are simple and perfect for Dessa to play with as she reenacts her favorite episodes.
- Chutes and Ladders ($13): I couldn’t help but add another board game to Dessa’s Christmas wishlist. Chutes and Ladders is great because it provides an opportunity to work on number recognition along with counting, with the added thrill of climbing a ladder and going down a slide. (Even though the slides are technically setbacks in the game, I have a feeling they will be her favorite part.)
- Melissa and Doug Deluxe Activity Road Rug Play Set ($60): Dessa is definitely ready for some sort of vehicle play and I’ve been searching for a high-quality play mat with a road for her. This set from Melissa and Doug seems perfect! I love that it includes so many basic items you see around town (like cars, buildings, and street signs) with a simple scene on the rug.
And there you have it: an in-depth peek at our kids’ Christmas lists this year. Don’t let the lists fool you though, Santa will only be bringing a few gifts for our children this year. Rob and I are sticking to a fairly tight Christmas budget and carefully selected a few gifts from each of these lists. I’ve already managed to find a few gently used wishlist items for the kids on Facebook Marketplace and Mercari, which will help to stretch our budget even further. We then sent the remaining list of toys to family members as shopping inspiration, along with some new clothes for the kids that I’ve had my eye on. And honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not the toys or any other gifts that really matter on Christmas – it’s spending time as a family and celebrating the birth of Christ.
These are all such great toy ideas! We also have a smaller home and really try to filter the toys that are given to our son. People feel the need to buy him things “just because” which is a problem. Also, he now simply prefers to play outside and has no interest (or ability) to sit and play with a toy for a prolonged period of time (5 year old boys are nonstop!).
Some things that he loves is the “Pop the Pig game which helps with counting (and no batteries) and also PlusPlus blocks. Those blocks are amazing and actually come in a “big”size for smaller/younger children.
If Dessa doesn’t have Candyland, I’d recommend that! My 3.5 year old got both Candyland and Chutes and Ladders for his birthday and Candyland is by far the favorite. Chutes and Ladders gets long and he loses interest. He’s also getting Hi Ho Cheerio this year!
Maria Gavin says
She has been playing Candyland at grandmas house and I try not to overlap the toys between houses. She LOVES that game. Thanks so much for the suggestion.
I love these ideas! It’s kind of funny though, the one that really caught my attention was one just mentioned in passing… 😬😄 Can you tell me more about Dessa’s point and shoot camera? Our middle child is about to turn 3, and he is always trying to convince us that he can be trusted with Daddy’s big camera. I hadn’t thought of getting him his own, but I’d love to hear which one you recommend! Thanks!
Maria Gavin says
Hi Nicola! So last year for Christmas we gave dessa a toddler that I bought on amazon that was made for toddlers. It was tiny and a total piece of junk. The menu was hard to navigate and it was hard to use. After it bombed, I went in FB marketplace and paid $15 for a used Kodak digital camera for grown ups. I’ve looked at tons of kid camera listings and I don’t think any of them are good. For some reason, they all have game installed on them and I just wanted a camera to take pictures. Highly recommend buying an old used camera over a kid camera. It’s a better and less frustrating experience for little ones and he will feel so grown up.