I’ve seen mixed reviews from parents after their Amazon Prime toy catalog came in the mail. This year, my only review is that I’m bummed we didn’t get one! Personally, I’m a fan of toy catalogs, but I can understand why other moms want to pitch it before it crosses through their front door.
Some of my pro toy catalog feelings are due to nostalgia.
I loved flipping through the Toys “R” Us Christmas magazine growing up. I would star and circle the toys I wanted, sometimes dog-earring the page to make sure my mom didn’t miss my notes in the margins. When I see my daughter scanning the pages over her breakfast, it sends me back to sitting at our kitchen table in the old farmhouse.
Nostalgia aside, we have been able to use the catalog to buy and recommend gifts that our kids will enjoy. Since commercials aren’t on any of our streaming services, this is their opportunity to see what’s new! After having looked over the toys a few times, I try to keep a list of what was pointed out the most. Then, I’m able to look around in-store and online to watch for the best price.
Speaking of price! My oldest has the same remarkable taste that most children have – expensive! We’ve been pretty upfront about what’s out of our budget. I don’t want her to get her hopes up, so I simply tell her that what she’s asking for costs too much money. This is one of the downsides of having pages of toys stare you in the face. For one, many items are too expensive, but it awakens the greediness that often rears its ugly head around the holidays. I can’t keep the green monster out of our kids, but we have a pretty good buying strategy that has helped keep it in its place.
We follow the four-gift guideline for our family.
If you’re unfamiliar, there are four categories. Some families may differ from ours but we do something to read, something to wear, something you want, and something you need. Using these categories has simplified buying gifts and when the kiddos are older, this will help them make their wish lists (it’s been helpful for my husband and I buying gifts for each other, too). Santa also makes a stop at our place to fill stockings. While Santa brings something special, Mom and Dad buy that most wanted item.
Overall, the catalog, whether it be the holy grail of toys from Prime or the smaller ones from the grocery store, has helped my gift buying. Yes, it comes with its flaws and brings up unwanted behaviors. Not to mention that it gets gross from kid fingers. But there’s a little sprinkle of magic in it, too. Plus it kept my toddlers entertained on a 6-hour car ride. If that’s not a Christmas miracle, I don’t know what is.