Amalia’s Christmas Gifts + Stocking Stuffers

Our holiday gifting strategy for Amalia (and our future baby boy!) is as such: She gets one present from Santa plus a stocking full of little things, one present from mommy and daddy (or one from each of us), and, eventually, one present from her brother. Her grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins spoil her during the holiday season so we are steadfast in our philosophy of not going overboard.

The picture above is from last Christmas. Her big gift from us was a ball pit that now lives in our basement playroom. Have you seen a happier kid? That was the best morning. I hope Christmas morning 2020 lives up to it!

Her Gift from Santa

If you’ve seen my Instagram stories, you know that her big Santa gift is a diner for her American Girl Dolls. She saw this one in a catalog over the summer and hasn’t stopped talking about it. I couldn’t get over the price tag for a plastic toy so I found this one from Target at 1/3 the price. I showed her a picture of it so we could “ask Santa for the right thing” and she gave her approval. Phew.

Her Gifts from Us

For her presents from us, Anel bought her a little kids golf set and I bought her a second American Girl Doll because she loves to play pretend and is constantly asking for a friend for hers.

Her Stocking Stuffers

I like to do a mix of fun toys and practical gifts like a toothbrush and underwear. She gets just excited about those things and I know they will actually get used.

Last year I posted 15 great toddler stocking stuffers and still stand by those as well.

Toothbrush & toothpaste: She gets oddly excited about oral hygiene (clearly takes after her mother!) so I got her an Elsa toothbrush and Hello Unicorn Sparkle toothpaste.

Glass Slippers: We play dress up at least once a day and she never stops talking about Cinderella and her glass slippers. I found this set of dress-up shoes so she can have “glass slippers” of her own. She’s going to flip over these!

Brain Quest: My sister and I used to ask each other Brain Quest questions on road trips to our grandparents house all the time and I saw that they made Brain Quest for 3-4 year-olds and thought that would be a fun and educational thing for us to play together.

Bandaids: What is it with little kids and Bandaids? She loves them! I bought her a pack of Frozen Bandaids at CVS to throw in.

Nightgown: Her new thing is that she’ll only wear nightgowns, not PJs. Which is the same as her daytime rule of dresses only, no shirts. Her reasoning is because dresses and nightgowns are beautiful and shirts and PJs are not… I’m scared for our future! I bought her a Cinderella nightgown to add to her collection.

Underwear: One of her favorite things to do in the morning is picking out her undies so I got her a cute pack of colorful organic cotton underwear to add to her collection.

Hair Clips: She wears one every day and they’re constantly getting lost so this 120-pack felt like a very practical gift that she would also love.

Candy: We have so many treats at the holidays that I try not to pack her stocking with more, but I bought her a set of  little Lindt chocolate snowmen.

Water Bottle: A good water bottle is always useful.

Sticker Book: Last but not least I found a Cinderella-themed Little Sticker Dolly Dressing sticker book (if you know, you know). To say she is obsessed with these would be an understatement and to have one featuring her fave princess du jour will blow her little mind!

Bootsie’s Stocking

In her letter to Santa, she asked him for a reindeer toy for Boots. I found one at our local pet store that is super cute.

Baby’s Stocking

I wasn’t planning on getting anything for bebe but Amalia also asked Santa for a gingerbread pillow for him. If this sounds very specific, it is! She saw one at a local store and insisted that the baby would love it. The store has a website and sells it online if you want to support a small CT-based business.

What are you getting your kiddos this holiday season?

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  1. Katherine said:

    My son just turned 1 and Santa got him a play kitchen. We will do some fake food in his stocking along with some toy cars. Since he is still so little and likes the boxes the more then the actual toys I figured I could get away with only a small handful of toys. Plus the play kitchen should last years and more kids so it felt like a good present.

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Amalia got a play kitchen for christmas at 1.5 and she still uses it almost every day! It’s such a great gift.

      12.3.20 · Reply
  2. Laura said:

    why didn’t you just get Amalia a seventh generation doll from Target? much more budget friendly and comparable to the American Girl dolls

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Good question 🙂

      12.3.20 · Reply
  3. Tracey said:

    My kids are older (12 & 8) and they get so expensive. Santa does bring a lot and then they get wrapped gifts from us. The grandparents only spend about $40 on each grandchild which is plenty (my mom lives on fixed income since my father passed) and aunts/ uncles do not buy for each kid. Instead we try to do stuff together throughout the year with all the cousins . Anyhow , my 12 yr old asked for a new phone or a mac book pro (she is getting the laptop Bc with virtual school she does need it), American eagle & Abercrombie clothes , shoes, Kendra Scott necklace , hoverboard , blankets , candle, hydro flask, soccer stuff & fuzzy socks. My 8 yr old wants hoverboard, mini iPad , fishing pole, tackle box, snow globe, books, stuffed animal , cars, crocs . From us they get undies, Nike tees and pants , socks. Their stocking is toothbrush , candy, roblox gift cards , Starbucks gift cards , Nike headbands (for my daughter ), bath bombs , face masks (even my son loves them) , phone cases . I love Christmas and probably buy too much but we don’t buy a ton throughout the year . Also we normally go to NYC the week before Christmas so Past Christmases they would get half what they get this year . Since we can’t go there they are getting more. But it makes me happy and holidays are hard since my dad passed away.

    12.2.20 · Reply
  4. Kristin said:

    Any tips on how to tactfully ask family to tone it down with gifts? I have a 2.5 year old and we’ve been dealing with this for only a short amount of time but I can foresee issues.

    We keep gift lists short and mostly practical with maybe one or two toy items if they can’t resist. She still just gets SO MUCH and it’s so overwhelming. We started distributing gifts early so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed on actual holidays but that doesn’t help much. , I also get really frustrated that for holidays we always feel the need to put our little gifts to the side so we can send pictures / videos of her enjoying grandparent, auntie gifts, etc. as they arrive, so as not to appear rude or ungrateful.

    Example: Her birthday is in June and I held off on giving my bday gift to her until about August because she just got so much during June. I’m already kind of irritated – we bought her one, big Xmas gift from Santa over the summer on major sale and I feel like it is going to get lost in the sea of gifts that will be waiting for her from everyone else.

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Laura said:

      so i have twins with a May birthday and i’m sure this will change as they get older, but they are also 2.5 and we don’t have local family, which helps so when gifts arrive via mail, i take a look at them, send a thank you note and then often return them (shh) or put them aside for a rainy day (like this past weekend when it rained 24/7) to pull out when we need something fresh, especially during this pandemic as a lot of the places we would normally go we can’t go. my husband and i randomly buy them some new stuff throughout the year, like play dough or a new puzzle or something, but we don’t buy them gifts from us for their bdays or the holidays bc they get so much stuff from other people.

      12.2.20 · Reply
    • Melinda said:

      My family decided no gifts between aunts/uncles/cousins except for high school and college graduations. Grandparents still did gifts, but most years it was a check. We could spend half and save half.

      I never felt like I was missing anything and my parents (and Santa) were able to control gift giving.

      We also always would do a family volunteer opportunity and adopt a kid or family around the holidays. Maybe you could ask family to donate to a charitable cause in lieu of physical gifts? Or you could ask about setting up a college/education fund?

      12.2.20 · Reply
      • Kristin said:

        Thanks Melinda and Laura. We are not local with family either so gifts usually arrive via mail – but we’re in the “let’s FaceTime to watch her open them” conundrum. I do rotate her toys so it feels like every week she’s getting something new, but that jig will be up the older she gets and knows where the extra toys are being stored.

        The relatives are generous and donate in her name, especially to reading causes. This year we also started donations to college funds but we still end up with so much lol. Maybe I should just embrace it and appreciate the generosity, however I don’t want a spoiled child. It makes me a bit sad that at 2.5 she gets excited about the Amazon truck.

        12.2.20 · Reply
        • Melinda said:

          My friend told me that she lets her kids unwrap all of the gifts on the holiday/celebration day, but they don’t unbox and play with everything. She takes most of it and stores it where the kids can’t find it to open later, regift or donate. The little kids don’t remember everything they open.

          12.3.20 · Reply
  5. Mary said:

    I have a 3 year old born within a week of Amalia! I LOVE the Brain Quest idea!!! And love that you went for the Target version we did a “verification” for Santa on getting the doll.

    Thank you for your genius ideas!!

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yay so happy I could help!

      12.3.20 · Reply
  6. Melinda said:

    Love your gifting strategy! My family did things a little differently. Mom, Dad and Santa did most of the gifting and we didn’t exchange gifts at all with aunts/uncles/cousins. Grandparents would give us a check- half to spend and half to save.

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I love that. Might bring it up to my family as an idea.

      12.3.20 · Reply
      • Melinda said:

        The check and half spend/half save was something my parents instilled in us very young and I am by no means a budget or finance expert, but I think it was a valuable learning tool. Anytime we were gifted money, half automatically was saved for something big or long term.

        12.3.20 · Reply
  7. Angie said:

    When I was Amalia’s age, I had also had very specific ideas about what was appropriate to wear and what was not (my husband would probably say that I still have them LOL). Your explanation about “dresses and nightgowns” reminded me of Savannah Guthrie’s children’s book “Princesses Wear Pants” which she wrote to convince her daughter that girls can wear pants AND dresses. Just a thought, in case you’re looking to branch out!

    12.2.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      We have that book and her excuse is that she wears dresses WITH pants lol. I’m hoping it’s just a phase…

      12.3.20 · Reply