My Favorite Finds This Christmas!REVIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | December 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm
I have not been reviewing many items this holiday as I have been trying to focus on my charity initiative Mommy Niri Cares 2010 but I would be remiss to not share with you a few things I have discovered (or rediscovered).
Organic Candy Canes:
Surf Sweets is a company I learned about a while ago and one that I have become a fan of. Organic candy at one stage in my life would have looked something over the top and unnecessary to care about, but not any more. Since I have learned about artificial flavors and worse colors I am pretty adamant about it in my home. While at a party or other event I allow my kids to indulge but both my girls will tell you a thing or two about FDC colors – or in their words “Mama does this have the yucky colors?” It is why Surf Sweets are often bought on my visits to Whole Foods and once you taste candy made with real fruit juice you will not be able to eat that artificial nonsense without gagging. I am super thrilled that they have added the organic candy canes to their product line.
I have been on the fence about trying the Elf On The Shelf for a while and when I was asked if I would review the Elf Magic I was totally game. The most popular games in my home are dolls and doll-houses so I knew this would be an easy sell. Building up the hype to invite the elf over is just the start of the magic. It allows your kid to be part of the entrance of the elf into your home. I love the alternative to leaving cookies for Santa to crackers for the elf. It is said the crumbs of the crackers remind them of crackling in the snow. That is only the beginning. The countdown to Christmas becomes more than bearable with having some elf adventure each day, in fact it becomes looked forward to.
The elf itself is something to appreciate. The fact that it comes in girl or boy was great since having 2 girls I loved that they could have a female elf. As a mama of color I was happy to learn that you could choose skin tones and hair color. To some that may not seem relevant but growing up being in minority you miss having toys that look like you. The book and DVD that comes with Elf Magic further builds the fantasy and excitement. There is an element of religion in the book which I would have preferred not be included but it is brief. Unlike the “watch over you” like elves, this one is totally touchable. Forget just touchable, dress-able too. It is with that thought in mind clothes like pjs and other fashions are available to dress to their heart’s content. True the familiarity may not breed the “be good” attitude that many parents seek an elf for strictly so but they will find the kids find a friend in the elf.
It is exciting having the elf appear in different places each day, including crazy ones like the fridge. I am sure the one thing the kids will miss after Christmas is saying goodbye to the elf until next year. Which reminds me I have to think of something creative yet enough for them to understand without being sad.
PlayMobil Advent Calendar
Being a Lego fan it took me a while to adopt PlayMobil, but adopt it I did. I love advent calendars – any type. When I learned of the Playmobil one I thought it was pretty exciting to have an actual piece come out each day that finally builds into a full scene. What I did not know was that you had to set it up, something I wish I knew when we pulled it to use it the 1st of December. The setup is also not a 2 minute type so needless to say we did not start it on day one. The quality and design of Playmobil is beyond compare though for the price I did feel more that one person character would have been preferable. I did love the addition of the unicorn fairy theme set.
Trader Joe’s Sugar Cookie Workshop (Complete Baking Kit)
I was in Trader Joe’s and was looking at a kit for decorating a giant gingerbread man and another lady and I were discussing about how much we both knew that once decorated that gingerbread would mostly be wasted. Then she showed me another find – complete baking kit. With just pure ingredients like butter and eggs you have everything you need to make cookies. Th package contains the mix, the cookie cutters, the frosting and also the colored sugar sprinkles. But you want to know what my favorite part is? The fact that those colors are real and no FDC color # anything. Trader Joes rocks by not selling stuff with artificial colors. My kids had a blast making the cookies and frosting them too. This kit is a bargain for just a few $$
I may not have grown up on snow during Christmas but Christmas crackers were a must during the holidays. They are not as common here but I do find them (at ultra expensive prices) at a few places. Since I am forking out money for it I found some that had some real neat nifty “toys” inside. I managed to find a nice package of 16 at my local BJs and they are coming with me to a Christmas party this weekend.
I really wanted a kit but did not find one that satisfied my 2 requirements: not be pricey and not have all that candy with artificial colors. Finally found a basic one at IKEA, there may be some candy in the box but I am not paying that much for it, so I can really toss it aside for my safe candy from Whole Foods. The price makes this an awesome holiday play date event.
Disclosure: The candy canes, Elf Magic kit, and Playmobil Advent calendar I received to review, the rest were my own purchases.