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What girls want for Christmas

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Maybe your kids don’t show you their Christmas List for Santa.  Maybe your kids are too overwhelmed to tell Santa what they’d like. If your kids are like mine, you might have to hit half a dozen Santas. Well, I’ve done that for you! (The real one is at Market Square.)

Girls really want Shopkins, Dragons, Kendamas, and Bunchems. So what are all these fad toys? And what are this mom’s picks?

Christmas picks

Watch my children’s wish list video and then read more below.

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What are Shopkins? Shopkins are tiny bits of plastic about the size of the top joint
of your middle finger. They look like grocery store items with a happy face painted on them. Kids collect and trade these plastic pieces of garbage (some are actually little garbage cans, so that comment isn’t just a comparison). The sparkly ones are worth more, so if you happen across a package of sparkly ones, your kids will love you that much more. Elementary school-aged kids love them. Parents hate them. At least I hate them. If you don’t hate them, wait until you step on a few.

Cost: Buy more for a lower price and you’ll pay about a $1 per Shopkin.

dragonFurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

I panicked a little but when my daughter asked Santa for a fire breathing dragon that cooks marshmallows. Another mother let me know that it was “just a toy that costs over one hundred dollars.”

I chuckled at the kids’ lists, until Santa looked at me and said, “Santa delivers!” Maybe Santa should deliver, because over a hundred bucks is insanity! That was on a Friday night. The next morning, the toy dropped to less than half price at all the local stores, so I guess Santa did deliver.

What is this fire-breathing dragon? The FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon is a cute toy that you fill with water and he sprays an orangey mist to look like flames. He also burps, which kids adore. Kids can also pet his nose for a cute response. He comes with a marshmallow on a stick that changes color from the dragon’s “flames” to look like it is torched. It’s definitely a gimmick, but FurReal Friends are still better than Hatchimals. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for one.

Cost: These are up to $120. Look for the half price sales, which likely will remain until the current batch is sold.

Kendama

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Kendama < $20

Kendamas are the toys every schoolboy and girl wants this year. They are built to last, require no batteries, and provide long-term appeal, so both you and your kids will be happy.

What is a Kendama? A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball. Kendama is a well-constructed toy and actually holds kids’ attention long term, unlike most of the battery driven toys. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

Cost: This classic costs less than $20.

bunchemsBunchems

These are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs that stick together to make whatever you can imagine.

What are burdock burrs? If you ever had a round spikey thing from a small bush stuck to your clothing, in your hair, or on your pet, you know what they are. The are so sticky and annoying that they inspired the invention of velcro.   Read more on wikipedia. So they serve their purpose, but can you imagine intentionally bringing these into your home?

Cost: Who cares what they cost. They are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs.

Mom’s picks

My standard Christmas shopping list is: Dress, PJs, Doll, Book, and Art supplies. The dresses arrive before the Christmas concerts. The PJs before all the Christmas parties. So that just leaves the Doll, Book, and Art supplies for Christmas morning.

I always start my shopping at L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square. Read more…

Gifts for Parents

And what about a gifts for parents? Everyone I talk to would love:

  • Furniture, especially shelves—Getting rid of furniture? Single, divorced, or new parents really need it! Offer it to them first, even if you are selling it. It’s hard to find affordable quality furniture. We’ll pay!
  • Free babysitting—This costs you nothing, but a few hours of your time.
  • Hats and mittens—This is actually for the kids, but really helps parents. Decent hats and mittens are pricey and kids always lose the last set long after they are out of stock in stores.
  • Anything else—Ask. It’s okay for Christmas gifts to not be a surprise.
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Finding happiness after highschool

I remember that time of my life just after graduation. I went to university right out of highschool and struggled to find a balance between meeting my parents’ expectations and following my own passions. My personal battle was between engineering and fine arts, which eventually led me to my current role as a technical writer.

My career happiness

I’m a technical writer. Basically, I figure out what developers and engineers want to make for people and I provide the details, so that the rest of us can use products. I’ve made help content, manuals, textbooks, videos, and all kinds of publications to make your life easier.

It took me about a decade before I finally made it to this career path and there were times I struggled to find fulfillment at work. Now, I work at a company that has higher employee satisfaction than Disney. That’s right! My workplace is better than Disney! Not many can say that.

Kate’s Path

These days, I am lucky enough to watch and hopefully support my niece Kate on her road to happiness. Kate’s a strong, smart woman with great talent and strong work ethic. Below she shares confessions of her firsts this year that tug at my heartstrings.

You can probably imagine why I am excited for Kate as she starts on her own path. Perhaps I’m reliving my past and realizing it all works out for the best. Perhaps I am living vicariously through her. Perhaps I just want to help her achieve her dreams.

After graduating, Kate was smart and took a year off before beginning her studies in Fine Arts. Finally, this past fall, she made the leap. Already, I see brilliant photography and paintings filling her instagram accounts and I am so excited to see what her her future holds.

First times

My heart was overwhelmed when I watched Kate‘s video about First Times. She’s had a lot of firsts this year! When you get to the one-minute mark, you’ll hear why she melted my heart! Hearing what she has to say makes me believe she is on the right track in life and I am so proud of all she has done to get there. I know we all will be there to support her when the road gets rough (and not just so that she’ll support us in our old age). Her journey is an exciting one.

Here is the video from Kate and her friends’ collaboration Youtube channel called Just Us. Skip to 1-minute mark to melt your heart.