What Do I Buy My Kids for Christmas?



We were careful through the years not to buy trendy toys for our kids. We wanted toys that would allow them to simulate real life situations. We often made suggested lists for relatives to buy from so that they wouldn’t get things we really weren’t wild about them having. Our goal for our kids is to prepare them for real life, to be responsible people who serve God and care for others- so generally that was our guideline in choosing purchases for Christmas or birthday giving.

Below are some of our recommended toys. (I’ll recommend some of our favorite books real soon.)


My kids spent many happy hours playing Legos. It encourages their creativity and dexterity. This is one activity I let my older kids participate in during “naptime” hours for little ones. The older kids would stay in their rooms for an hour and half each day. They would do their Bible reading and then quiet play. During this time, we played audiobooks in their rooms, and much learning was done. (although it was so fun listening, that they sometimes would stay after the required “quiet time” was over!) The Christmas Audio Bundle Special is on sale now.

Here are some of the Lego sets I recommend. We tried to get things that encouraged “real” kind of play and creativity rather than fantasy.

Boys or Girls:


Please note that this article may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something, I may earn a small commission.

  1. LEGO Minecraft 21114 The Farm
  2. LEGO Minecraft 21121 the Desert Outpost Building Kit
  3. Lego Creator Cargo Heliplane
  4. Lego City Van and Caravan 
  5. Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box 
  6. Lego City Fire Station 

And here are some more great sets:

DUPLOS- for toddler sized hands

Girl- Specific Legos:

Melissa and Doug

One of my very favorite companies, hands-down, is Melissa and Doug. We own MANY of these toys, and they last for years. Things we bought for our kids we are still using for our grand kids. They are made from quality materials, mostly wooden items.

Here are a few of our favorites, and others that just caught my eye!


  1. Cutting Food Set– This is an all-time favorite. There is a wooden knife with which to “slice” apart the pieces of fruit and veggies. Makes for HOURS of fun play.
  2. Melissa & Doug Magnetic Car Loader Wooden Toy Set With 4 Cars and 1 Semi-Trailer Truck– I just bought this one a couple months ago for our family beach trip. I love to purchase a new toy or two to take on vacation to occupy the kiddos while we’re making supper or cleaning up afterwards. This was a big hit. The cars are hoisted onto the truck with a magnet. Lots of fun.
  3. Melissa and Doug Cash Register– Boy, ours is years old. We’ve lost some of the money by now, but the kids just make their own and use real coins. It dings when the drawer opens. The kids can do real calculations on it to figure out what I owe, when I buy food from their play kitchen. Learn while they play!
  4. Melissa and Doug Geometric Stacker– Great for toddlers to learn shapes and sorting. Builds eye-hand coordination. Ages 2 and up


  • Melissa and Doug Easel– Great for your budding artist. They can use the chalkboard to draw or attach drawing paper to use watercolors , crayons, or colored pencils with. Encourages creativity.
  • Melissa and Doug Shopping Cart– How about that? A shopping cart just like the one mommy uses! Add some play food and they’ll be good for hours of stimulating play.


  1. Melissa and Doug Joey Magnetic Dress up Set– This is super great for boys. We have some of the sets for girls, but now the boys can join in play too as they dress Joey up to be a fireman, policeman, or many more choices.
  2. Melissa and Doug 60 piece block set– Talk about creativity! Just wait till you see what your kids will come up with when they have a quality set of blocks. And they never wear out!
  3. Melissa and Doug Abby and Emma Magnetic Dolls– This is one of the favorite sets for our girls. They love choosing what to dress Abby and Emma in and then playacting what the girls are doing. We’ve gotten our moneys-worth on this one!
  4. Melissa and Doug Wooden Train set– Especially great if you have a place where you can leave it set up! Hours of fun.


  1. Melissa and Doug Doll Jenna– Very cute! We got this for one of our grand kids. Soft and realistic. She can even suck her thumb or pacifier. My girls loved to play with dolls. For me growing up the smell of a new doll was one of my favorite Christmas smells. Encourages little girls to be good mommies. (They have several other dolls too that are equally as nice.) 
  2. Melissa and Doug Fold ‘n Go Barn– Includes 7 realistic animals. The barn doors slide open and shut. Farm animals are always of huge interest to kids.
  3. Melissa and Doug Vacuum– How cute is this! We don’t have this yet, but want to get one. Includes 56 things (pretzel, peanut, bandage, coin, cereal Os, and diamond ring.) the vacuum can pick up.
  4. Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Counter- 20-Piece wooden ice cream play set. Includes counter, 8 wooden ice cream scoops, 6 toppings, 2 cones, plastic cup, scooper, wooden spoon, reusable menu card. Scoops stack on cone or in cup and toppings fit snuggly over scoop. Lift and release scoops with realistic scooper.
  5. Melissa and Doug Waffle Set- This is one of our newest acquisitions. This is the other new toy I bought for our beach trip this year for the girls. It was very popular! 


  1. Melissa and Doug Workbench– For the little boys in your life who want to build things like Daddy. They offer incredibly cute sets of tools too. Check them out.
  2. Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Cookies– We have this set and I have to confess, it’s a blast playing with it! They don’t have to beg me to come play
  3. Melissa and Doug Pots and Pans– And if you get a kitchen, yes, you need pots and pans to go with it. Great idea for Grandma to get for them!
  4. Melissa and Doug Kitchen  -Great for ages 2 and up. “Kitchen” was something my kids often played, and now the grand kids are following the tradition. On hot summer days, I’ll take it to the patio and fill the sink with water and let them play. Boy, do they ever love that!
  • Pizza Party– There is hardly a time that my toddler grand kids come over when they don’t ask to play with the pizza set. They make Nana her choice of mushroom, pepperoni, green pepper, or all three on my slices of pizza.  The pieces of pizza fit together with velcro and the toppings go on with velcro too.
  • Triple Layer Party Cake– I don’t have this set yet, but it’s on my list. How fun to “cut” and serve cake on pretty little plates. I KNOW this one will be a favorite.
  • Melissa and Doug Fire Chief Dress -up– Dressing up has been one of kids and grand kids VERY favorite things to do. We’ve bought so many costumes that we have two tubs full and now the grand kids play with the very ones my kids did when they were little. Believe me, your kids will have hours of fun being a fireman or whichever one you pick. (There are more on Amazon too so check them out)

Well, that is only SOME of our favorite Melissa and Doug toys. We also have a bunch of their puzzles, both for beginners and also floor puzzles for older kids. I love them all. It’s a super fun way to learn, and they have a great selection. Plus, they offer lots of entertaining craft supplies and kits that we’ve found very beneficial. We never bought our kids tons of things for Christmas, but what we did buy them, we tried to get quality items that would last. In our experience, Melissa and Doug won’t let you down on that.

Happy shopping!




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About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

4 Replies to “What Do I Buy My Kids for Christmas?”

  1. Pingback: More Gift Ideas: Toys & Games - Character Concepts Blog

  2. Is there a schedule of where you have upcoming events? We’d love to meet you both!
    We just finished listening to “Boy Pilot of the Lakes’ Uncle Rick mentions when he was pursuing a criminal with his bloodhound. Was he able to help capture him?

    • Yes, we’ll soon be posting our conference schedule for 2017 on our website under speaking ministry tab at top of page. We’d love to meet you too! What state do you live in? Suggest us a speakers to your state group and maybe we can get to meet you.
      Yes, Uncle Rick and his dog were able to find the criminal. Maybe sometime he can make a CD telling of some of his adventures. Let us know if you’d like him to do that sometime.

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