Grandma Gets Ready for the Holidays 2013: Best Baby Gifts for Christmas or Chanukah 2013

This Grandma gets ready for the holidays early.  Searching Toy Portfolio for the best new Oppenheimer Toy Award platinum award winning toys is the first place I look.  I make a list, not only for myself, but for GG and the aunts and uncles for the best gifts for Christmas and Chanukah at every price range.  I save the list past the holidays for visit presents during the year.

First, here are some of the best choices for baby in 2013.  The baby does not know anything.  The best present is a coupon book for the parents that includes babysitting, a cooked meal, time alone for mom, time alone for dad, etc.

The next best baby gifts are those the parents need.  I have bought diapers in the next two sizes for the parents to store.  I have bought supplies the parents needed.  New babies are expensive.  Ask the parents what they want for the baby.  Do not be surprised if the first holiday list from the parents of your grandchildren includes staples and necessities.  Do not forget a 529 plan contribution for college too!  We cannot start planning for the future too soon.

The one gift I always want to get is the outfit the baby is going to wear for a picture with the grandparents.  I send three alternatives to the parents and let them pick one.

A great gift is pajamas.  The parents do not want to spend money on pajamas and this Grandma comes to the rescue.  Think the next few sizes up.

Another great gift, if the parents have not already gotten this great DVD, Calm Baby, is to give them this $18 DVD for some respite.  Our grandchildren placed in a bouncy seat in front of this DVD seemed to calm down immediately.  Click here to buy. Also, our baby grandchildren loved Sunshine Symphony by Neurosmith for $25, a previous Oppenheimer Toy award winner.  If the baby does not have this toy, great for keeping the baby occupied on the changing table, Click here to buy.

Now, here are choices for stocking stuffers and small gifts.

Anything by Sassy in the way of rattles and small baby toys is a winner.  In 2013, the Oppenheimer Toy Awards (Toy Portfolio) awards 2013 platinum (the highest) to Sassy Rings Around Rattle (Sassy $6.99) Click here to buy:  and describes it as:

An easy-to-grasp kidney-shaped ring rattle. There are beads that roll around inside a see-through part of the ring and textured black and white bands on another part. Three little colored rings clack between a black and white ball and an orange textured ball. Well designed for sensory learning. Bring this home when baby is able to reach out to take hold of things to explore. 4 months & up.

This year Sassy has come out with a new product, called non-sters.  There are two 2013 platinum award winner non-sters: Sassy Non-sters Ba-bee  (Sassy $9.99) Click here to buy and describes it as:

One of the smaller non-sters, from a new line of silly cuddly toys. Ba-bee is wedge shaped owl, with stitched features with a soft squeezy body all done up in an interesting velvety teal blue cord fabric. It has a small high-contrast black and white pocket, cut out fringe on top and sides and a quiet rattle inside. Ba-bee comes packages with Sassy’s two teething keys on a bright yellow ring. The keys have bumpy and smooth surfaces and are chunky and easy to hold.

 The second non-ster awarded 2013 platinum is a little more expensive, but still reasonable in price: Sassy Non-sters Buppy-Uppy Touch and Giggle  (Sassy $ 19.99) Click here to buy and is described as:

One of the non-sters line, this silly cuddly toy has a shaggy texture, is soft to the touch and push its belly and it giggles. Like all the huggables in this collection it is anything but a monster. It has stitched features, patterns to gaze at and contrasting textures on hands and feet.

This year, Oppenheimer Toy Awards has gone green.  There are two green toys awarded 2013 Platinum:  Green Toys My First Keys for Infants (Green Toys $9.99), Click here to buy described as:

Four pastel teething keys on a yellow ring that babies can chew, shake and manipulate. They make a nice clattering sound and are made from 100% recycled plastic in the USA. They contain no BPA, phthalates, or PVC.

The second is Early play Green Toys Seaplane by Green Toys Inc. 1-plus years, $20, Click here to buy described as:

Made from recycled plastic milk jugs that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this buoyant yellow and green floatplane features a spinning propeller and chunky, oversized pontoons perfect for coasting into any port.

This Grandma loves Manhattan Toys for babies too.  Any of their products are wonderful.  The 2013 platinum award goes to FOUR of their products. First, an old classic played with by all of our grandchildren made of elastic and wooden beads: Classic play Skwish Classic by Manhattan Toy. 6 months-1 year, $16. Click here to buy.  Second, Manhattan Toy Turn & Discover Rattle  (Manhattan Toy $10),  Click here to buy described as:

A new look and interesting shape for baby to explore with almost all their senses. Unusual vibrant colors and patterns to look at, bumpy edges to chomp on for teething and touching, three different clicking sounds to hear when the bug knobs are turned, and a rattle sound when the toy is shaken. Turn all the keys in one direction and then spin it to make it look like a flying saucer. Marked for 3 months and up, but this seems more like a toy for sitting up babies who are getting into two handed play.

SNAP: A good choice for developing hand muscles to twist and turn the three oversized”keys” give kids three different rewarding sounds. This will be of interest to children well beyond the age marked on the box.

 The third Manhattan Toy 2013 platinum award winner for newborn and up is: Manhattan Toy Winkel (Manhattan Toy $14.95) Click here to buy described as

Easy for little hands to grasp, this colorful toy can be used for tracking games with newborns and will be perfect as baby begins to reach out and take hold of things. It is easy to clean, light-weight and fun for passing back and forth when baby gets to that stage, as well.

 Don’t forget that babies grow quickly.  Buy up in age too so the baby will have toys ready to play with. The fourth Manhattan toy 2013 platinum award winner is for older babies (12 months and up) and toddlers.  Each of our grandchildren played with a version of this toy: Manhattan Toy Push & Spin Carousel (Manhattan Toy $15), Click here to buy,  described as:

A classic spinner that baby can activate with push on the big top knob. Inside the see-through dome there are puppies and beads that spin faster and faster. A fun way to learn about cause and effect and gain a powerful sense of making things happen.

SNAP: A satisfying toy for learning about cause and effect that needs little or no adaption. The big knob on top is easy to grasp and the base is broad enough to be stabile. If needed, you can add velcro to surface and bottom of the toy to make it stay in one place. Children like the repetition and sounds as well as the action. Good for building hand and arm strength.

The third company this Grandma loves is International Playthings.  You cannot go wrong with any of their toys.  The 2013 platinum award goes to Earlyears Teether Toes Tiger   (International Playthings $11.99) for newborns and up, Click here to buy described as:

A soft plush blankie with satin on one side and plush on the reverse. It has a sweet face with stitched features that will attract visual attention. Chewy feet with interesting textures, each in a different color are nice to explore with little fingers and will no doubt end up soothing sore gums.

If the baby does not have a shape sorter, this is a must have toy for sitting babies.  These last into toddler years.  The 2013 platinum award goes to a shape sorter that is also a ball drop, another must have toy: Infantino Stack, Sort & Ball Drop Elephant (Infantino $25 ), Click here to buy described as:

Sitting up babies will love the fill and spill action of this clever elephant with a shape sorter as well as a ball drop. Put the pieces in the big opening at the top or match the shapes on the side and ab-ra-ka-dab-ra they set off music or elephant trumpet as they come rolling out. Or, show baby how to stack the rings o the elephants trunk or press the big button and set the wheel spinning. Best news is the volume control lets you turn the sound down. This well designed activity center is not random as so many electronic toys tend to be. Baby can actually begin to understand that his actions cause reactions – with repetitive lessons of cause and effect babies gain an empowering sense of making things happen.

SNAP  Unlke so many electronic toys, the connection between actions and reactions is clear. Children can actually connect their actions that cause reactions – so repetitive lessons of cause and effect empower the child’s sense of making things happen. The actions also involve dexterity and refining fine motor skills.

If the baby does not have a push walker, this is a must have toy for standing babies who are beginning walkers.  The 2013 platinum award goes to: Gorgeous Products, Inc. Boikido Pushwalker ($49.99)(Ages 12 months+). Click here to buy.  Every push walker seems to turn into a ride-on toy and this is no exception.  Every time this Grandma has purchased a push walker, the mothers of the grandchildren have taken it home and I have had to buy another!  This one has a built in xylophone.

Fisher Price toys are everywhere and some are rated higher than others.  The 2013 platinum award winner looks wonderful and will also grow with baby: Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car (Fisher-Price $60)(6 months+), Click here to buy, described as:

You know how car salesmen tell you the car they are selling is fully loaded? That would be a good description of this red activity center that is shaped like a car. It has wheels but does not move around. It’s designed for sitting up, crawling, and even toddlers who are cruising. There’s a dashboard with steering wheel, lights, and buttons to activate. The back wheels spin and one side door opens and closes so tots can go in and out. There is a shape sorter on one side and a ball run on the other, a windshield wiper that talks about the weather. All the pieces are sized up for young players. This toy takes some time to put together with screws and stickers. It says 6 months to 36 but we think this will be used most by babies who are crawling and cruising. Lots of ways for them to make things happen and for early games of pretending.

SNAP: There is lots to do without wheels that move the red car. So, this makes a good choice for a child who is ready for pretend without the need for pedals or foot power. Think of it as a pretend setting with so many ways of making things happen.

Last but not least, grandparents love buying dolls.  When our oldest grandson was born, we bought him a boy doll he loved.  That was before Ugly Dolls.  Always high rated, every baby, boy or girl will love Ugly Dolls.  Here is what Oppenheimer Toy Awards says about this 2013 platinum award winner for ages 1+:

Award-winning plush toy maker Gund signed a licensing agreement last year with Pretty Ugly, makers of the beloved boutique Ugly Dolls. Now Gund is expanding the line with 26-inch-long Cuddly Ugly body pillows, and a Double Trouble doll with an Ugly face on either side. Cuddly Uglys: $40, Click here to buy.

For a first baby doll, the 2013 platinum award goes to Corolle, as usual, as Corolle makes the best dolls: Corolle Babicorolle Miss Pink Cotton Flower Doll (Corolle $23), Click here to buy, described as:

Miss Pink comes dressed in dreamy pink velour and has a soft plush body. With all stitched features, the Babicorolle makes an ideal first huggable. We loved the bright, cheerful colors of her outfit. As you would expect from a little French doll, she is very stylish.  For older babies and toddlers, this vanilla-scented armful will be a favorite.

 This Grandma has tried to give choices that are free or cost little to those that cost a lot.  There are more award winners to choose from for baby on Toy Portfolio.  Parents and grandparents spend an average of $250 for gifts for Christmas and Chanukah and all the toys above add up to just a little more than that.  Of course, offer some of these fabulous choices to GG and aunts and uncles to buy for baby and spread the holiday








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