Friday, December 2, 2011

Online Shopping Or Bust: Great Toy Websites

I made a very weak goal late in October to have my Christmas shopping done by December. I haven't purchased a single present yet. 

I did start to fill various website carts last weekend, however, and hope to get things pretty narrowed down this weekend. I'll make sure I get free shipping (AMAZON is only $25 minimum), push the little "ORDER" button, and wait for Christmas to come to my door. Beautiful.

I realize many people out there like the "fun" of driving to The Mall/Target/Walmart/Toys-R-Us in the freezing cold, wandering up and down the aisles of merchandise while maneuvering their massive carts around other people and their massive carts, rummaging through every blessed thing in a painstakingly slow way, standing in super long lines having to listen to other people's conversations, and then lugging everything to their cars and then again into their homes. Fun, right? 

As for me, I will do anything to avoid an unnecessary trip to any retail establishment at any time of the year, but ESPECIALLY during the holiday season. I am NOT a shopper. So many reasons:

1) It's a huge time waster. The driving, the lines, the wandering from store to store. 
2) It's annoying. The driving, the lines, the wandering from store to store with scads of other people (not always people you'd choose to spend your afternoon with), potentially obnoxious music, and even more obnoxious advertisements. And what happens if you run out of time and have to hurry to the school to pick up kids or whatever? What do you do? Hurry and buy everything without taking time to really sort out what you want, or leave it all for another day? (The only thing I hate more than shopping is shopping with time constraints.)
3) It's boring. The driving, the lines, the wandering from store to store looking at stuff and fluff. Absolutely mind numbing. 
4) It's overwhelming. If you don't have a pre-determined list in hand, how can you possibly make a decision wandering through The Mall/Target/Walmart/Toys-R-Us with it's thousands upon thousands of options? Forget it! And if you do have a list in hand, have fun hunting down everything on your list and going back and forth to make sure you got it all. 
5) It's inconvenient. If you've spent almost a decade and a half of your life like me with pre-school age children at home, how DO you enjoy shopping? More specifically, when are you supposed to go Christmas toy shopping by yourself? (Because heaven knows the only thing worse than cleaning the mysterious goo under the bottom drawer of the refrigerator is trying to get through the toy section of a store with small children in tow.) Well, you have to get a babysitter/swap with someone/work around their nursing and napping schedules OR go late at night when you're exhausted. Spare me, please.

But I must shop for Christmas presents, and in the end I do love to see the kids open their gifts on Christmas morning, even if it does end up being overkill. But I never ever EVER leave the confines of my bed to do my shopping. It's been me, my laptop, and my jammies for over 7 years now. Online shopping is THE BEST. 

Along with the annoyances of shopping at The Mall/Target/Walmart/Toys-R-Us, I'm also not that fond of the toy options they have available. Bratz dolls, singing Elmo, Nerf guns, cheap plastic stuff. Blech. If I'm going to spend the time and money, I want to get something different and educational, and something that will last through the years. I'm not saying I've never purchased a "dumb" toy just because someone really, really wanted it, but by and large I go for quality as I define it. Which is another reason online shopping is so great. The toy options are SO MUCH BETTER. The options can be even more overwhelming than those at The Mall/Target/Walmart/Toys-R-Us, but most toy websites have great search options such as by price, age, gender, pretend play, outdoor, board games, etc. It makes shopping a million times easier. 

So without further ado, here are some great websites for Christmas toy shopping. I've used about half of these myself, and threw in the other ones just for fun after googling "educational toys". So get your jammies on, make some hot cocoa, and do some serious shopping:

P.S. I often get ideas from these sites and then see if the same toys are on Amazon for less. I also like to google "Best Toys 2011" or "Best Educational Toys" or "Award Winning Toys" for gift list ideas. 


  1. Thank you Allyson! This is just what I needed this year!

  2. Totally disagree. But that's okay, we can still be friends, right?

  3. I'm with you, Allyson. Shopping is not fun when there are crowds of people vying for the same parking space, shopping cart, and fabulous gift. What did I ever do before online shopping? Can't remember and don't want to.
    Here are a couple of my other favorite shopping websites for gifts. Hope you like them too!


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