I am a huge fan of Oompa Toys and their vast selection of well-designed, safely-made toys, gear and furniture. Every time I check their site, I find something new to lust after.
Right now, my current Oompa Toys obsession is the Cheekeyes range of wooden playsets. These toys showcase the parity of Dutch design with animal silhouettes rendered in blonde wood with just a touch of playful color on the edges. I figured my dinosaur-loving kids would love the Cheekeyes Wooden Dinosaur set, too. But I didn't realize how aesthetically pleasing the Cheekeyes would be in person. It's almost a shame to take them out of their lovely box!
Cheekeyes accessories (trees, caves, fences) are available, as well as other animal playsets including African Animals, Polar Animals, Farm Animals, and my other favorite, Forest Animals. Orders placed by 12pm CST on Dec. 17th can still make it in time (via 2-Day UPS Air) for Hanukkah and by Dec. 22nd for Christmas!
Another great online destination is the website of San Antonio boutique Sugarplum Dreams. If you have grandbabies on your list, this is a must! Sugarplum Dreams offers an exquisite selection of special occasion wear for little ones including dresses and suits that will make you want to plan a wedding just so you can outfit the flower girl and ring bearer! They also feature stunning nursery decor and bedding as well as elegant children's jewelry and gear for new moms.
My favorite gift idea at Sugarplum Dreams are the plush renditions of favorite storybook characters. Roo was totally thrilled to receive this Skippyjon Jones doll for herself and her best pal, since they are obsessed with the crossdressing cat-who-thinks-he's-a-chihuahua:
Sugarplum Dreams also stocks familiar characters from "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" and "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?", Judy Moody, Ella The Elephant, Walter the Farting Dog and many other much-loved books. I was impressed with the dolls representing famous artists and their works, too, and historical figures like the Lewis & Clark Adventure Set, which features Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea, York and Seaman the Dog in a plush canoe, complete with paddles! And this Rosie the Riveter doll would be a great gift for feminists of any age!
Enter code superdumb15 for 15% off your order of $50 or more at Sugarplum Dreams.
Another great gift idea available online is Smart-e Bear. Merging the cuddliness of a stuffed animal with interactive technology, Smart-e Bear and friends provide hours of fun for toddlers through kindergartners. This is not some creepy animatronic throwback to Teddy Ruxpin or Furby! Smart-e Bear comes pre-loaded with entertainment options ranging from interactive games like Simon Says to sing-a-long songs and stories performed by well-known artists (Bill Harley, Joe McDermott, Sara Hickman, Trout Fishing in America, and more). If you manage to wear out Smart-e Bear's initial 90 minutes+ of content, you can use his handy USB cord to download more from the Smart-e Bear website. Some content is available free and others may be purchased for a nominal fee.
Ordinarily, I would choose Smart-e Cat for Roo, especially since she's pink and purple (like Roo!), but in deference to Jasper we got Smart-e Dog. As a plain stuffed toy, Smart-e Dog would be pretty irresistable. He's soft and the perfect size to hug and cuddle. I love his floppy ears. But add in the interactive content and Smart-e Dog is a party animal! Did I mention you can program him to say your kid's name, too? Awesome. (Amazon has Smart-e Bear on sale right now for $31.99 with FREE SHIPPING that will have him delivered before Christmas! An amazing price, since Smart-e Bear and friends usually retail for $80.)