Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas! New and Improved!!

I have no idea how much lead it takes to harm a small child. And would owning half a dozen toys decorated with lead paint be enough to seriously hurt Logan? I don't know. Maybe. But the more I think about it, the less time I spend pondering the Chinese toy-making debacle and the more time I spend considering how refreshing it would be to simply avoid all the brightly colored plastic and opt for something a little more rustic and a lot better made.

This Christmas we are spurning Toys R Us and Wal-Mart in favor of small, non-chain retailers. We are lucky that Logan doesn't watch TV (he's just not interested) and is not yet infatuated with Elmo or Diego. He isn't asking for the latest and greatest toys - he probably still won't even understand Christmas. I know for many parents this would be next to impossible and I'm certainly not criticizing anyone for their choices. I have to admit though, that it does warm my heart to think that I'm supporting mom and pop retailers (many of them local, too) and thumbing my nose at the corrupt big businesses while simultaneously purchasing some really beautifully made toys for my kids. And these toys will last. There aren't a million small pieces to lose in the sofa cushions. They're not cheap plastic that breaks the first time mommy trips over a carelessly strewn toy on her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The only downside is that they're more expensive - and rightly so - the materials are top notch and they're handmade in America (some are from Europe), so we had to pick only a couple of things. Lately, I've come to the realization that I'd rather have a few really nice things than hundreds of pieces of crap. I hope little boys feel the same way. I know the twins don't care just as long as I keep shoving my boobs at them every 3 hours or so.

So, here's what we got:

The stacking rings will be for the twins and the jumbo lacing beads and the work bench will be for Logan.

Logan's really into vehicles right now and I think he'll have a blast with this school bus and the little people inside it.

I found these blocks for Logan that I LOVE. They're like Legos, only they're wooden and they're made by the residents of Camphill Village.

Emma and Molly are each getting one of these wooden bowl and spoon sets - I'm trying to move away from the plastic bowls we used for Logan.

They're also each getting a maple teether.

Oh, and this parachute toy for Logan. I remember playing with an el cheapo plastic version when I was a kid and loving it.

I also bought him a SIGG water bottle for taking in the car and to the park. We had been using a Nalgene bottle until we read how dangerous they might be.

And of course, everyone's getting pajamas and clothes and other boring things like hats and socks.

I know what you're thinking, and no I haven't become some sort of tree hugging hippie, but I have to say, it makes me feel really good to be buying quality products for my kids instead of mass produced pieces of junk. And I'm sure the time will come when they will be begging for some heinously crappy Made in China doo-dad, but this Christmas I'm going to enjoy simplicity.


Kathleen said...

Oh My GOD!
I just peed - in the best possible way it is to pee. I LOVE the toys you have selected (although I was confused at first by the bowl and spoon - I thought you were getting them as gifts for Logan.) My first thought was that you are SO RIGHT to go for quality over quantity. Please, someone tell my mother-in-law.

Jules said...

Good for you!! These are beautiful presents. And it is so true how poorly made most toys are these days, so celebrate this time before the kids get sucked into consumerism!! Bravo!

Cynthia said...

I love your choices!
Also, I think I need to copy and paste this post into an email and send it to everyone who will buy cheap, useless crap for my kids this holiday season. You have just made the point I've been trying to make since first giving birth to my oldest child!