I’ve finally gotten out of bed after being down with a viral fever for almost a week. From running full steam fitting the kids and work into my schedule, to being knocked right to my feet by a tiny unseen bug, it was very frustrating.
Alas, another timely reminder to take care of myself and not neglect my health. And to get enough sleep, on a daily basis!
Feels like I’ve being given a new lease of life. Can’t wait to spring out of bed and start running again. As I drifted in and out of restless slumber, trying to will the throbbing headache and aching bones away, I was conscious there is still so much to be done.
Oh, Christmas is right round the corner and a whole new year begins in 10 days. I’m not ready!
This year, more so after Konmarie-ing my room, I’m torn between being minimalist and keeping to the excesses of the season.
As I was lying in bed mentally counting down the days I had to finish de-cluttering the whole house before 2017, I was thinking of the presents yet to be bought, and really not looking forward to battling the crowds in the malls.
|Kids decorating their aunt’s tree next door
Besides dealing with Christmas presents, I still have so many items yet to be struck off my ever growing to-do list before the new year dawns, and I’m feeling frantic.
Settling back-to-school matters, the burgeoning pile of home admin paperwork, work admin issues to clear and planning the schedule for next year to fit everything and everyone in.
Amidst all of this, I have to keep reminding myself to take it slow and not get caught up in the meaningless rush of the season, or end up getting snappy at them. I’m more mindful this year, especially because of Kate.
I have discovered that she has an unusual need for routine and ample transition time. We figured it must be very chaotic to be the 6th child in a household where things are happening all the time and with random (to her) people streaming in and out.
So this Christmas, as I try to find time to plan and reflect, I will be mindful to slow down and focus on the important things and remember to be grateful for all that we have. And perhaps, I will be successful in guiding my older girls to understand the real meaning of Christmas, instead of getting caught up in the commercial excesses of the season.
They want the works. I want it simple.
Kate? She doesn’t quite care either way. All she needs is mummy and daddy, to be surrounded by people (and dogs) whom she loves and who loves her, and she is one contented kid.
May we experience the true joy of Christmas and bring peace and love to those we meet.
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
I often get asked for suggestions on Christmas gift ideas for kids, so I’ve compiled a list of the things my 6 kids have enjoyed over the years.
Included are some bigger budget items for the super doting aunt or grandpa with only 1 or 2 little ones to splurge on. (This is the part where my kids never fail to complain “If we were an only child, we would get extravagant Christmas presents!”)
As I have 5 girls and 1 boy, the items are slightly skewed towards the girls (especially in colour), although the majority are suitable for both genders.
The ages are but a rough guide, depending on the child’s maturity and current preference, so do cross over for ideas.
Those without a tag at the end can be found at departmental stores like Takashimaya, Robinsons or Isetan. Tom & Stefanie at Westmall also carries a wide range of kids merchandise. I have included the Malls where the items can be found, right at the end of the post. Hope this list helps to lighten the year-end madness!
1 YEAR OLD
- Musical instruments – Plan Toys from The Better Toy Store. They also carry good educational toys for babies and toddlers.
- Wire and Bead Maze frame – Ikea
- Simple puzzles – Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzles from Mothercare
- Duplo (toddler sized Lego)
- Stacking cups
- Pull-along toy telephone from Fisher Price
- Cloth books
Splurge: “Snuggle Bug” Car, powered by foot from Toys “R” Us
Every toddler who comes to our house will automatically get into the little car. As they get older, they add pretend play into the mix, “driving” to the supermarket and creating stories. Buy it when they are 1+ to get more mileage out of it!
If space permits, a mini indoor slide is also a good option. My kids played with theirs every single day, and even draped an oversized cloth over it and turned it into their secret hiding place.
|Snuggle Bug $190
2 YEARS OLD
- ‘Build-a-Snowman’ Playdough Kit from Tickle your Senses (Pre-orders until 29 Nov, delivery in December to ensure freshness)
- Collapsible Scrunch Bucket for sand/water play (great for travelling) – Mothercare, Not in the Malls (online store)
- Cut fruit set – Melissa & Doug Mothercare
- Cooking set – Eco-friendly Green Toys from MothersWork.
- Toy stroller
|‘Build-a-Snowman Kit’ $24.90
|3 YEARS OLD
- Trucks, planes, excavators. Boys at this age love vehicles. Big ones or small ones like Hot Wheels car collection.
- Plus-Plus puzzles are great for little hands and convenient to bring around. I put a handful into a drawstring bag and it’s enough to keep Kate occupied during family meals out, from The Children’s Showcase.
- Doctor Set pretend play
- Large Floor Puzzles from Growing Fun.
- Vitamins for kids (amidst all the toys received, my kids love the surprise of getting gummy vitamins. They see it as healthy sweets!)
Splurge: The entire kitchen set with sink and microwave oven or Thomas the Train track set for boys. #5 played with his trains almost daily for about 2 years. Well-worth the money spent.
|Plus-Plus puzzles $29
|4 YEARS OLD
- ‘Fun-on-the-Run’ Car Table Bag from Ministry of Tots. Review of this innovative portable table to keep the kids occupied during car rides. Best used with booster seat.
- Cute lunch boxes, drinking cups or utensils. “Rice” car/heart-shaped snack boxes from Motherswork, The Children’s Showcase or Not in the Malls online shop
- ‘Build-a-Bear’ cuddlies where they can customise their own bears
- Assortment of Swimming floaters from sports shops or departmental stores
- Ride along luggage bags
|“Fun-on-the-Run” Car Table Bag $29.90
5 YEARS OLD
- Sylvanian Families animal figurine sets
- Zoobie Pet (Ultra cute Soft toy, pillow & blanket rolled into one. Great travelling companion and too cute to boot) Small $36, Large $55 from The Planet Traveller
- Simple board games – from Growing Fun
- Stationery/Wallets/Water bottles from Smiggle. Time to get them ready for Primary 1, and don’t forget to ask their favourite colour.
Splurge: My girls were smitten by the adorable Sylvanian animals and the assortment of miniature furniture. One fine Christmas, they made a pact to request for this together so the grandparents took them to Takashimaya and they had a field day buying the entire village, complete with pool, jumping castle and lights to illuminate the house. Now, Kate has inherited everything!
For something more practical, a good quality school bag like SPI, Impact or Deuter would last them a good 6 years. Although in reality, after Primary 4 they wanted a different design, and passed down their old bag to their sibling. #5 is still using #1’s SPI bag which I bought her in Primary 1, and she’s now in Polytechnic! Super durable.
|Zoobie Pet $55
6 YEARS OLD
- Citiblocs from My First Games online store. Review of the myriad of structures which can be built by these seemingly innocuous looking flat blocks. They are having a massive 30% discount (only for Citiblocs) just key in CTBTHIRTY at checkout.
- Luggage bags
- Micro Chargers Cars for boys
- Small haversack (for excursion days in school)
- Craft kits from Spotlight
- Subscription to Young Scientist
Splurge: Rollerblades or trampoline to get them bouncing, from sports shops.
|Citiblocs 200 pieces $89
7 YEARS OLD
- Handmade Scrapbooks for journalling, doodling, crafting. Hardcover with blank pages. More details at Dottieshop Facebook page. Order via email: email@example.com
- Washi tape from craft or scrapbooking stores
- More Lego (my son played with Lego from 2 till now, upgrading to sets for older kids. Ask if they have any preference of character themes.)
Splurge: Wrist watch for school (we gave each of our kids a Casio Baby G watch before entering Primary 2, which lasted them for years). Or splurge on a new bicycle if they have outgrown the previous one.
| Mini Scrapbook $16
8 YEARS OLD
- Assortment of markers from Typo, Smiggle or The Paper Stone
- Pretty computer accessories
- Remote control car from Toys r Us
- Soap making kit from Soap Ministry
- Sporting equipment such as soccer balls / basketballs / badminton racquets
|Remote control car
9 YEARS OLD
- Cheery Stationery and more from The Paper Stone
- Plush toys from Craftholic (these cute Japanese characters come in a variety of colours and have a huge following among tweens, teens, and even young adults)
- Dart board, chess board
- Skylanders merchandise
Splurge: Penny Skateboard from White & Black Trading (colour can be customised)
|Rabbit Type Alien from Craftholic
10 YEARS OLD
- Colourful cushions to brighten up their rooms, Cupcake cushion from Candylicious
- Large Globe from Popular bookstore
- Cross-shoulder sachets
Splurge: Remote control drone (the gramps can’t remember the name of the retailer, but you can find them in hobby shops)
|Remote control drone
11 YEARS OLD
- Family board games from My First Games. They have a mind-boggling array of unique games for all ages
- Ear phones, mobile phone covers.
- Converse shoes
- Hoodie jackets, preferably in solid dark colours
|Ubongo Extreme family game
12 YEARS OLD
- Swave Board from Toys r Us
- Large, less childish water bottles in preparation for Secondary 1
- Polaroid refills if you bought them a Polaroid last year
- Christmas Starbucks card (this one needs clearance from mum, but you’ll be the coolest aunt around!)
- For girls, they are starting to be little ladies, and love pretty lip balms (from pharmacies), sling handbags or metal chain necklaces.
Splurge: A new schoolbag for Secondary school. #3 requested for this very popular Swedish backpack from her aunt, and I thought it looked rather strange initially. I discovered that it is extremely light yet durable and very practical, and the logo doubles as a reflector! See retailers below, or purchase online.
|Fjallraven Kanken $129
Books are always a good idea, even though they may not be as well-received by the kids. I notice a look of disappointment when they tear open the present only to reveal books. However, it is the books they read over and over again, and take to school for morning reading sessions.
Here’s a whole list of good books, sorted by age. A good set for preschool children is the Timmy & Tammy series, which is written by local author Ruth Wan, to introduce Singapore landmarks to children in a fun way.
For the older kids aged 11-16, popular series at the moment include The Hunger Games, I am Number 4 and John Green books.
If you are still stumped for ideas for the remaining kids on your list, just ask the child what character he or she likes and you can’t go far wrong. I don’t encourage Character merchandise, although it is usually a losing battle. Kate is now into Sofia the First and I can see her inching into the Frozen phase (gasp).
Another option for kids with too much material things is to give them the gift of an experience or one-off classes. Why not surprise them with a Gold Class movie date (my kids have been wishing for this), or classes such as pottery, mosaic art or Christmas craft workshops.
Mummies, do share with us if you have good recommendations, especially for the older kids!
Check out the following stores and you might pick up something that the child might like.
Happy Christmas shopping!
The Better Toy Store: Tanglin Mall #01-11, Parkway Parade, #01-70, The Centrepoint #03-07
Motherswork: Great World City #02-16, Tanglin Mall #03-11, Marina Bay Sands #B1-58, 112 Katong #03-33
Not in The Malls (online store Singapore)
The Children’s Showcase: Cluny Court #02-31, PasarBella #02-06
Growing Fun: Paragon #05-01, United Square #02-08, Parkway Parade #02-34, Marina Square #03-157
Ministry of Tots: Purchase via Qoo10 or PM via their Facebook page. Take $1 off by quoting “Mummy Wee blog”.
The Planet Traveller: Ion Orchard #04-19, Marina Square #03-126, Paragon #04-15, Changi Airport T3 #03-34
Smiggle: List of 20 Smiggle stores islandwide
‘Build-a-Bear’: Plaza Singapura #03-04, Harbourfront #02-17
Spotlight: Plaza Singapore Level 5
Typo: Wisma Atria #B1-54, Vivocity #02-39, Westgate #02-22, Anchorpoint #01-03
Soap Ministry: Liang Court #02-33
Craftholic: Bugis Plus #02-23, Plaza Singapura #03-19
Candylicious: Resorts World Sentosa, Takashimaya #B2-25, Vivocity #02-41
Fjallraven: List of retailers in Singapore
~www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore~
Santa Claus is coming to town…
|“On a buggy?”
Santa giving out presents…
|“Hey Santa, I’m here!”
Oh well, since I’m too small and Santa can’t see me, I’m gonna check out his cool reindeer buggy.
|“Wonder if this thing can fly”
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~