Wait, what? It’s December already?! It feels like this year has swooped by in the blink of an eye…wasn’t it only a matter of weeks ago that I sat down to write last year’s Follow Your Sunshine Annual Christmas Gift List? Looking back over that post, which was aimed at babies and new mums, I’m reminded of how far we’ve come in a short space of time. We’ve entered the realm of the toddler, and with numerous activities and international travels under our belt, I feel that I’m now qualified to give you my lowdown on the best gifts for active toddlers and travel-mad families.
Enough of the nostalgia. Here are my top pressie recommendations for the entire family, which are guaranteed to put a smile on your loved ones faces, without leaving a huge dent in your bank account. For my Qatar readers, I have tried to include options that you can purchase in this country, but where that hasn’t been possible, I’ve provided links to where you can find them on Amazon.
Gifts for Active Toddlers
Tricycle or Toddle Bike
Of all the gifts for active toddlers that I can think of, the best ones are the ones which make them want to get outside and get active. We have previously loved the smarTrike for our outdoor pursuits as it’s super-convenient with its push-along handle, in-built bag and handy sunshade, but now that Baby Sunshine is a little older and wanting to be more independent, she can’t get enough of the Toddlebike2, a unique ‘pre-balance’ bike for toddlers aged 18-36 months. She enjoys the fun scoot-along action of this bike which can be used inside and out, and is super lightweight when she inevitably exhausts herself from all the excitement, and I end up having to carry it (and her!) home.
The best thing about this little bike is that encourages balance and coordination, and I’m hoping that it will make the transition to a two-wheeler much easier in the future.
You can find the Toddlebike2 on Amazon here.
There’s also another pre-bicycle option for slightly older children who have outgrown the Toddlebike here.
Outdoor Clothing and Accessories
As the days get cooler, I have been looking at snuggly outer-wear items such as gilets and hats to keep Baby Sunshine snug on those chillier evenings (yep, believe it or not, it can get cold in the desert, especially when the winds blow in from the north!). I am especially loving this season’s deep plum and aubergine shades for accessories, along with Autumnal floral prints, fluted sleeves and little booties: gifts for active toddlers that are practical as well as pretty!
My favourite store for all of our winter staples is currently Old Navy, which has stores across the UK, as well as in Gulf Mall and Doha Festival City in Qatar. It has some lovely pieces for little boys and mums too!
Family twinning anyone?
Take a look at some of my top winter accessories that would make great gifts for active toddlers that are available on Amazon:
Gifts for Frazzled Mums
If there is one stationary item that I feel is worth splurging on, it’s a really good planner. As a full time, working mum I don’t think I could have survived life over the past year without one to keep track of my daily meetings, events, playdates and baby classes. These days, planners are more than a straightforward diary with some notes pages. Many include meal planners, inspirational quotes, list pages, and handy stickers for highlighting and organising your scribbles.
My favourite for 2018 is the Taqweem planner by Sarazone, an online shop based in Qatar. The planner’s pages include all of the above features, as well as mindful colouring patterns to help you to get in the zone when you’re feeling extra frazzled. If you order one for a loved one this Christmas, the lovely lot at Sarazone will even gift wrap it in special paper with a personalised note and deliver it straight to their door! Have a browse and place your order on Instagram here.
Personalised Handmade Gifts
Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like a personalised, handmade gift which is entirely unique to the recipient. If you’re a crafty type and can make your own then that’s great, but if you’re all fingers and thumbs like me then you might need to turn to the world wide web to help you out. This could be a little daunting – searching ‘handmade gifts’ on Google throws up a cool 60 mil results – but did you know that Amazon has it’s very own handmade department now, where talented sellers are displaying everything from paintings to handmade jewellery? (Check out these gorgeous Recycled Vintage Mason Jar Drop Earrings for example).
Outside of Amazon, one of my favourite handmade sellers is Moody Scribbler. Sharmaigne is a Qatar-based artist who specialises in calligraphy and hand-painted lettering. She creates the most beautiful quote pictures, as well as bespoke gifts such as mugs and cards. You can contact her on Instagram here to commission your own, individual piece of art.
Don’t forget that you can also check out one of the many courses provided by Hobby House Qatar if you’re interested in crafting your own gifts this Christmas.
Gifts for Busy Dads
Who else finds shopping for their husband incredibly difficult?! Men tend to have simpler tastes and not require so many ‘things’ in life (or rather, my husband doesn’t seem to). One thing that I can always fall back on however, is the trusty designer accessory. If it’s clad in black leather, has a practical use in his everyday life and is designed by a reliable brand then chances are he’s going to like it.
(Pictured: scent by Dior, watch by Georg Jenson, wallet by Mulberry).
I was surprised to discover that as well as high street favourites, Amazon stocks numerous designer items for the men in your life. Here is a selection of my favourites:
There is actually a fabulous range of watches on Amazon if you fancy a browse, and for the women in your life, there are lots of great Timex ones. This is mine:
Gifts for the Extended Family
Online next day delivery gifts
The autumn and winter of 2017 has been a very special one for us, as FOUR new babies have been added (or are about to be added) to our rapidly expanding family. Unfortunately, living as expats halfway across the world has meant that we are yet to meet these little bundles of joy and properly welcome our nieces and nephews into the world along with the rest of the family (hurry up Christmas!!). It’s at times like this that I am so grateful for the internet, not just for some of its world changing inventions like Facetime, but because it also means that we can send special gifts to our loved ones in a jiffy.
My very favourite new discovery is Bakerdays, a unique online store which allows you to order personalised cakes to your loved one’s door. What makes them unique? Well, these cakes are slim enough to fit through a letterbox, so your recipient doesn’t actually have to be at home to receive it – asking someone to stay in all day in case a package turns up kind of takes away the element of surprise, no?! We recently ordered one when my brother and sister-in-law welcomed my niece into the world, and were seriously impressed with the speedy next-day delivery and quality of the personalised cake.
(Photo courtesy of my brother, Tim)
You can find Bakerdays here, where you can select from a huge array of different designs and features to personalise your creation.
For all other gifts that you want delivered in a hurry, there is Amazon Prime Now.
As I’m sure you’re starting to understand by now, I’m a sucker for a personalised gift, and in my opinion, you can’t beat an old fashioned photograph. After all, who doesn’t love having a precious memory immortalised in an image on their wall?
There are so many websites that offer photographic printing services these days, but my favourite of them all is Photowall. This Swedish-based company prints hanging wall murals, canvas prints and even bespoke photographic wallpaper to an incredibly high quality in a variety of different sizes, and ships worldwide, with speedy FREE delivery within the EU!
You can choose from a wide range of motifs, or upload your own photo to be made into artwork here.
Alternatively, why not buy one of these items to allow your loved ones to create their own images at home? This device turns your phone into a poloroid camera, and you can dock your phone to this one to create photo-quality prints in seconds.
Almost every travel-mad family with a toddler that I’ve ever spoken to has raved to me about the Babyzen Yoyo as a travel stroller. However, it’s pricey. If you want to consider a more pocket-friendly option, then allow me to introduce you to the Mamas & Papas Acro Buggy.
Weighing in at only 4.8 kg, and folding up small enough to be popped into overhead storage in an aeroplane, this buggy has been our travel saviour this year. It’s travelled with us over the rugged terrain of the rice terraces in Bali, all around the cobbled streets of Venice and has been quite the trooper for our nursery runs at home too, due to its quick-collapsing frame and the ease of flinging it into the back of the car.
You can find it on Amazon here.
For those of you still intent on purchasing the Yoyo (which is still widely considered to be the best travel buggy on the market), you’ll be pleased to hear it’s also on Amazon, here.
Travel Car Seat
In the same vein, if you regularly travel with your family, then in all likelihood you will be looking at car seat solutions which don’t involve lugging a heavy seat halfway across the world under one arm. We were gifted a folding travel seat for review, but unfortunately weren’t satisfied with some its safety features and have returned it, so I am not going to mention it here. However, I am still on the lookout for a fab one, and I am convinced that there are some great models on the market, as brands are definitely getting more innovative with designs which provide both a lightweight and practical solution, as well as a safe option when travelling. If any of you have any recommendations, please let me know!
In the meantime, I have been checking out options which would allow me to take our usual car seat away with us, such as this solution which allows you to convert your normal car seat into a stroller, this car seat backpack or these straps which allow you to fix your car seat to your suitcase for easy transportation.
It’s the bain of Mr Sunshine’s life having to lug half of mine and Baby Sunshine’s wardrobe plus the kitchen sink around with us when we fly anywhere these days. It’s created so many problems for us that I listed packing lightly as one of the most important things to adhere to in my blog post about how to travel with a baby.
Yet there are some vital supplies that you just can’t afford to leave behind when you have a toddler: nappies, drinks, snacks, books, toys and enough changes of clothes to name just a few of them! To accommodate this when on the move, I’ve stopped trying to pack savvily, and instead, I’m trying to use better packing solutions. In other words, better bags with more compartments and practical uses. I love Cath Kidston for this, because they combine clever designs with pretty fabrics that actually look good on your arm. For this reason, their bags make excellent gifts.
Personalised Passport Holders
The only item on my Christmas gift list which was also on last year’s, I feel that our personalised passport holders from Smythson deserve another mention because they’ve travelled all over the world with us, they’re super chic and I love them! They would make an excellent stocking filler or special gift for the entire family, with each member receiving their own embossed gift.
Click the links below to view my favourite passport covers and document holders which you can find on Amazon:
So that’s it for another year folks! If you end up purchasing any of the gifts for active toddlers or the rest of your family that are listed above, then please let me know – I would love to hear your feedback!
I hope you have a wonderful festive season, and a brilliant end to 2018.
Follow Your Sunshine xxx
Please read my disclaimer here.
Pin for later: