Sunday afternoon, as I was wrapping gifts for a customer, she shared a sweet story. Her child perused through our Holiday Catalog. He carefully cut out all of his favorite items and placed them in his treasure chest next to his bed. Then, he gently placed the catalog under his pillow and went to sleep.
There can’t be a better commentary of this year’s selections! We are truly honored!
The trucks have been delivering toys for weeks. All of the Kiddly “elves” have been ticketing toys, stocking the shelves, decorating the stores and readying for holiday events. When the decorations go up and we turn the lights on, I still get as excited as I did 27 years ago when we had our first holiday season!
We have chosen what we believe are the best toys of the season. We have tried to edit out the stuff that is not made well. We have chosen fun, intelligent and creative products that will help your child grow, be challenged, laugh and have fun.
Please join us for Adult Shopping Night to preview the latest and greatest products. Our sales representatives and experienced toy team will be there to guide you through toys, games and books while you enjoy wine and hor dourves, jazz music, raffle prizes and free gift wrapping. This is an adult only event. So, get a sitter or have a friends night out. We promise to delight and entertain. We think you will feel good about your toy decisions. And guess what… you will have so much of your checklist done; supported a local business and have “talk of the town” gift wrapped packages ready to go. What a fun evening!
Adult Shopping Night will be Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Longmeadow and Friday, November 16, 2012 in Canton. Both events are from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Space is limited so please call either store to make a reservation.
For days before this powerful hurricane we all experienced, I watched thoughtful, loving Moms & Dads come into the store to buy games, puzzles, books and arts & crafts to get their kiddos’ minds off the storm knowing full well that their days & nights would not going to be filled with TV, computer games, videos and XBox if they lost power. Occupying time with enriching, productive toys is a pleasant choice for those parents. As they left the store, I reminded them to build pillow forts, create puppet shows, write poems, face paint and, don’t forget, eat chocolate pudding for breakfast. These times mark a special place in time for a child. It creates memories for your family. It is a time for everyone to slow down and just be… Be together without all of the outside pressures of school, jobs, sports, lessons, phones and computers. It is a time that your kids might remember forever. “October, 2012 we lost our power but we had so much fun with flashlights and snuggling the whole family in our living room in sleeping bags.”
So the hurricane passed, lights came on so I thought I needed to pass on this advice to all of you… I spoke with a Dad just before the storm hit. He took a deep breath and thanked me for reminding him to enjoy the moment rather than stressing about what he was missing at work. The lesson is not to wait for a natural disaster to stop and turn off the technology – just make a date with your family. Turn the lights off and create a new tradition, new fun and special family memories for your kids.
While vacationing on a beach this past January, we met a rather charming, precocious 4 year old named Piper. She obviously observed several people selling their wares on the beach. She and her much older (all of 6 years old) cousin, who provided moral support, cautiously approached us with a pile of small pictures she had created. We browsed through her collection while she informed us she was selling her art. My husband and I had to control our laughter because it was so bold and earnest. We just LOVED it! I asked “so, when were these masterpieces created?” Piper looked at us with her big blue eyes and answered: “This morning!” We asked the prices of her fine art and she responded “Oh, 10¢ a picture.” So, I picked one picture and asked her to sign and date it. Piper could only write her name, so we dated it. We gave her a $1 to further motivate her entrepreneurial spirit. Besides, we were not sure how much more successful she would be… We enjoyed giving her a good start. By the way, her parents were close by, enjoying the moment and laughing with us.
Here’s the masterpiece:
I am hanging this wonderful picture in my office to be cherished. If she can navigate this scenario, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Meg Cox wrote a wonderful book called The Heart of a Family where she explored how rituals anchor us to our roots, provide honor and stability in the lives of children. And they can be inexpensive and uniquely yours! These are some ideas that come from this author as well as from friends. But you’ll have to find what your think resonates with your tribe and make it your own…and then repeat each year!
§ One family uses February 14th to have Red Food Night. Only red food can be served…think red sauce, tinted mashed potatoes, beets, strawberries, pink lemonade, ham??? Desserts are easier, but the children in the Straw household looks forward to innovative main course features.
§ In the Chesto family, mom tries to “characterize” each child in a way that celebrates that child’s strengths. So she bakes a heart-shaped cake, frosts it red or pink, then writes a word for each of her three children (justice, courage, forthright). Then her kids debate and guess which word mom intended for each of them! She says the conversations have been great.
§ One family started a Valentine-Validation book for each child. Every year the parents add a page or two to the book. Mom and dad start secretly compiling a list in late January and then write a few statements. “We love you because ____________”. They found that their children’s books chronicle their lives and their development.
§ Dee Ann prepares “high tea” for her children after school on Valentine’s Day. Pink milk in the precious china, pink cream cheese-heart shaped tea sandwiches and all! Funny pretend-English accents are required for tea conversation.
§ Dad in the Kerry family always buys each of his daughters a box of chocolates. When they awaken on Valentine’s morning, their box has a love note from dad followed by their once a year Chocolate Breakfast!
What family activities or “rituals” can you establish to focus on each child’s unique strengths? Have fun! Celebrate!
I am about to embark on my 31st annual International Toy Fair. Honestly, I can’t believe it! So just as you are making pink cupcakes and filling out sweet Valentines’ cards with your kiddos, I am actively hunting down what I hope to be the best of the best toys for your families to enjoy all year long. I am also searching for our top picks that can be part of our 2012 holiday catalog. So many people think I might be jaded, indifferent or simply downright bored after all these years. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!
I still walk the aisles with a spring in my step. I still get totally jazzed by all of the exciting new products. I continue to be passionate about empowering children and families to embrace their love for play. We are dedicated to finding high quality playthings that will inspire healthy, creative play.
So, I have already begun the journey as the International Toy Fair renews the motion for the year to come. Thousands of vendors will be there; both old and new. It is an ongoing challenge and inspiration to make all of you happy with new exciting products for 2012.
I’ll keep you posted…………