Advent Calendars 2016 – Toy Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers. To my fellow Canadians, Happy Thursday before Black Friday. I hope folks on both sides of the border score some really great deals!

With December 1st approaching, it’s time to talk about Advent Calendars. I really love the idea of Advent Calendars – the opening something everyday in the countdown to Christmas. Both Daughter and I are allergic to chocolate (serious hives and eczema) so here’s a round up of some non-chocolate, toy-based Advent Calendars that I’ve seen. Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list so be sure to add any that I’ve missed in the comments.

I’ve been seeing Advent Calendars since September, which always seems so ridiculously early to me. In the past, the really popular ones like Lego and PlayMobil sold out really quickly but now they are clearly making more as I saw them both in multiple places while I was shopping yesterday.

Lego has three varieties of Advent Calendars. Friends, Star Wars and Lego City. I could’ve sworn there was a fourth so if you see another, let me know. I’ve linked the ToysRUs website but I’ve seen them at Chapters, The Lego Store and Kite and Kaboodle as well (same price).

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All three images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

PlayMobil is the other really popular one that usually sells out pretty quickly.  This year they have five sets: NHL Advent Calendar ‘Rivalry on the Pond’1.2.3. Advent Calendar Christmas (for toddlers), Fire Resuce OperationChristmas on the Farm, and Dress Up Party. Again, here I’ve linked ToysRUs but I’ve seen them at Chapters, Toad Hall Toys, Kite and Kaboodle, and Hudson’s Bay.

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All images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

MegaBloks does two calendars: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Monster High. Strangely, ToysRUs doesn’t have pics of the box for the TMNT one, only what’s inside. *shrug*

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mega Bloks Advent Calendar

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Images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

Barbie does an Advent Calendar that includes shoes, purses, necklaces and even one outfit. I would’ve LOVED this as a kid. Daughter is still a couple of years from Barbies yet but I’m super excited when she gets there.

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Image courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

Preschoolers will get a kick out of any of these Advent Calendars: Go! Go! Smart Wheels Advent Calendar (both English and French available), Crayola Christmas Countdown Activity Advent Calendar, and Play-Doh Advent Calendar.

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Images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

As of publishing time, all of these were still available but act quickly, they tend to sell out fast. Happy Shopping!

My Christmas Wishlist 2015

Hey folks! Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, both Daughter and I got that terrible flu and it’s been busy at work plus all the Christmas shopping I have been doing. Actually, it’s been a mixture of birthday and Christmas shopping as I realized I have five family birthdays in December – craziness!

Anyways, in honour of Black Friday, I thought I would post my Christmas wish list. My real wish list, the one I will also be sending to my husband and my mother. If only I could have everything off of it…..

Apple Watch, starts at $449 CAD

AppleWatch

Now this is definitely the item I will not be getting for Christmas. Especially since I “need” a new iPhone more than an Apple Watch. But aren’t they pretty to look at?

MAC brush 196, $42

Macbrush196

I saw this foundation brush at a MAC counter and have been lusting after it ever since. But my family constantly complains that I buy everything and don’t leave them anything to buy me, so it’s on my list. [See mom, I listen… sometimes…..]

Paderno spiralizer ($40 for three blade model shown)

Spiralizer

I bought the Inspiralized cookbook earlier this year and realized it’s made so much better by buying a spiralizer. This isn’t the exact one they use in the book but I think it’s close and Paderno is a great brand. Pretty excited for all the low carb meals I’ll be able to make with this baby! The link above is to Amazon.ca but I think it’s also available at Home Outfitters.

Foldio (large, $90; small ~$50)

Foldio

I just found this earlier this week but I WANT WANT WANT it! It’s a fold-up light box that quickly sets up for an instant studio in your home. As someone who has no dedicated blogging space and is in desperate need of some bright lights to take pictures for her blog, this is perfect.

Mukluks, $180

Halfmukluk

I have asked for these mukluks (from Manitobah Mukluks) for about four years in a row. I’m not sure why I don’t just buy them myself. They are gorgeous and warm and are exactly what you need for surviving winters in Manitoba.

Matt and Nat Tia in Petal, $168

Tiapetal

I know I posted this briefcase earlier this year in the Grape colour but once I saw this pale pink, I knew I needed this colour instead.

What’s on your wish list? I’d love to hear, please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

How to Organize Your Christmas List

A couple of weeks ago the Sears Christmas Wish catalogue arrived in the mail and I felt a flood of memories coming back. I loved writing my Christmas wish list. I would spend hours looking through the catalogue and writing down the things I wanted.

Now that I’m an adult, my Christmas wish list is a little faster to write but it’s my gift list that I spend the most time working on before the holidays. I buy presents for nine nieces and nephews and six of those have birthdays between August 30 and Dec 25th. Add in my husband, Daughter, parents, siblings, in-laws and Great Grandma and my gift-giving list is exceptionally long. Of course, I also shop for clients and help my MIL and Great Grandma buy presents for the assortment of grand- and great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of presents!

Over the years I have created what I think is the close-to-perfect list. It has everyone’s name on it, the budgeted amount I spend on them, ideas for that year, the actual gift once I’ve bought it, the actual amount I’ve paid and a catalogue of everything I’ve bought for Christmas in the last four years so I don’t buy repeat gifts.

Here’s the jpeg version of my Excel worksheet:

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Once someone’s been crossed off the list and I’ve finished shopping for them, I highlight their gift. I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting some kind of symbol when it’s wrapped but I never get around to it.

I like to keep a total of what we spent each year so I know if we are spending more than the budget.  In 2011 we got married and there wasn’t much money leftover for gifts so everyone got framed photos of the wedding. The next year we added Daughter to our family so we spent quite a bit more. 🙂

If I feel this list isn’t going very well or I’m forgetting to work on it, I write up a list of people’s names that I put in a conspicuous place in my house. It also helps to remind my husband how many more gifts there are to buy and that he can help with the list too. It definitely helps with the feeling of accomplishment when you get to cross names off of that list!

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My goal is always to be done shopping or at least have everything ordered by Dec 1. The theory is so that I can deal with any last minute client crises and have plenty of time to wrap too. Plus it’s always nice to be shopping during December and not feel that panicked feeling that’s clear on everyone else’s faces. Inevitably tho, I’m still picking up one last gift on Dec 24.

Does that help you feel more ready to conquer the Christmas season? What tips do you use to help you feel more organized during this busy time? Happy Shopping!