Fab Frugal Mama’s 2016 Gift Picks

In case you didn’t already know, I LOVE gift guides! I rely on them to discover new brands, innovative products and – bonus! – they also help save me time. More often than not, gift guides help me find perfect presents for all of the hard-to-buy-for people on my Christmas list.

That’s why I love sharing all of my favourite finds, too! While this is my fourth annual gift guide, I’m especially excited to share 2016’s round-up right here, on MomResource.ca, to celebrate my first holiday season as Editor-in-Chief.

Every item on our list has been given the thumbs-up by my family, so I hope you love them as much as we do. And be sure to check out a special giveaway at the end of the post!

love2learn-elmo Playskool Friends Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo (SRP : $79.99)

Little ones love Elmo… and now they can play personalized learning activities right along with him. Parents can use the Elmo app to select their child’s name (over 10,000 currently in the database), desired subject, level, and more… and the Elmo toy will talk and play based on those selections. I love that the app even has “parent helpers”, which allow the Elmo toy to encourage kids in real time to clean up and use the potty!  Now *that* is awesome! (The list price is $79.99, but I found it on sale for $49.95 here!)

beatbo_beatbelle Fisher-Price BeatBelle / BeatBo (SRP : $49.99)*

The BeatBo / BeatBelle has three modes – Dance n’ Move, Learning & Games, and Customized Sing-Along – ensuring many hours of engaged play. It will even record phrases that your child can remix into a song. There’s a lot of personality in this little package!

bumbo-suction-toys Bumbo Suction Toys (SRP : $19.95)*

Designed for playtime and teething, these suction cup toys attach to any smooth surface, including the Bumbo Play Tray or Bumbo Multi Seat Tray. The bead maze, rotating body and rattle beads help baby develop motor skills and stay entertained.

charley-the-chameleon-off Cloud b Charley the Chameleon (SRP : $44.99)*

Cloud b has been helping kids transition to sleep time for many years, and the newest addition to their lineup does not disappoint! Charley the Chameleon illuminates with rainbow lights with multiple settings, including a night light. I love that he also plays soothing sound to help children relax: rainforest noises and tropical tunes. Because Charley is plush, your child can cuddle with him – and what’s better than a soft, soothing friend at night?

leapstart LeapFrog LeapStart Interactive Learning System
(SRP : $49.99)

LeapFrog is known for making learning fun, and they carry on that tradition with their latest LeapStart systems. The starter book encouraged my son’s curiosity about famous places; he was full of “fun facts” for days after! I like that this system is completely affordable, with each additional book priced around $13.

torch-furreal-friends FurReal Friends: Torch the Dragon (SRP : $99.99)

Who doesn’t love a furry friend? Torch the dragon is the next best thing to having a real pet… he breathes flame-coloured mist (very cool; I saw this in action!) and loves being fed colour-change treats. He responds to touch with 50+ sound and motion combinations, so kids will have lots of interactive fun with him. My son loved feeding Torch and was completely fascinated by the “fire mist”.

trolls-coronation-pod-1 Trolls Coronation Pod (SRP : $44.99)

If you’ve got a Trolls fan in your house, they’ll love the this Coronation Pod, featuring Poppy and Branch. This set comes with lots of accessories, party-themed outfits and more, ensuring lots of dress-up and role-playing fun. My favourite part is the dance floor, which lights up and spins! And, of course, who can resist styling the Trolls’ fun, crazy hair?

dc-super-hero-girls DC SuperHero Girls (SRP : $24.99)

Kids will love these kick-butt teenage versions of Wonder Woman, Super Girl and more! Each doll has her own unique look and is completely posable, for hours of superhero play. I especially love the cool costumes and accessories, and I know my daughter will too. (Wonder Woman is on her wish list!)

viewmaster View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
(SRP: $34.99)
The all-new View-Master VR is very cool… something both kids and parents would appreciate.To use it, you need a smartphone with the View-Master VR Destinations app. Place your phone in the viewer, and choose a Preview Reel or Experience Pack Reel (sold separately) to virtually visit famous landmarks in destination cities, wildlife and space scenes, while interacting with your surroundings in 3D. I tried this out and was blown away by how real it felt to be “in space“. Kids are going to LOVE this!

holiday-barbies-2016-1 Holiday Barbie (SRP: $49.99)

The unveiling of Barbie’s annual holiday fashions are eagerly anticipated by kids and parents alike. This year, her dresses include an aqua ombre sparkle skirt and blue ombre sparkle skirt, each with detailed bodice and bracelet, and a dramatic garnet-coloured gown with cascading ruffles and an underskirt of silvery foil brocade. Barbie is the best-dressed doll around!

star-wars-rogue-one-interatech-imperial-stormtrooper Star Wars Rogue One Interatech Imperial Stormtrooper (SRP: $49.99)*

Star Wars fans unite! This Imperial Stormtrooper figure is much more than just a posable toy… it boasts over 65 different sound effects and phrases, and its motion sensor responds to specific movements. When its blaster is in hand, it makes battle sound effects; when engaged in combat, there are punching sounds; and when equipped with its jetpack in flight mode, you’ll hear amazing sound effects based on various motion-activated aerial maneuvers… so cool! It’s also compatible with the Hasbro Star Wars Studio FX app, which takes interactive play to a whole new level.

bounceoff1 Bounce Off Rock ‘n’ Rollz! (SRP : $24.99)

This game is addictive and a lot of fun! Players can either work in teams or on their own, bouncing balls to make a specified pattern on the board. The first person (or team) to make the pattern wins. But, this game has a twist…the board moves! The age rating for this game is 7+, but I think smaller kids (4 or 5 +) could easily have a blast bouncing balls onto the board. Be sure to have Bounce-Off Rock ‘n’ Rollz for your next family game night!

simon-air Simon Air (SRP : $29.99)*

Classic games never go out of style, and Simon Air an update on the original… with a modern twist! This game (where you watch, remember, and repeat patterns) uses touch-free technology to recognize when a player follows the colour sequence by sensing their motions. Simon Air features modes for playing on your own, or with an opponent, or you can take on the Simon Air challenge to try and defeat the Simon game. This really keeps my family on their toes… definitely a fun option for game night!

dkgiftbooks-1 DK Books – My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things + other picks (SRP : $20.99)*

From the time my kids were very little, many of their favourite books have been from DK. Whether it’s the book they barely put down this year (hint: it’s about Star Wars!) or 2017’s sure-to-be-hits, DK has something for everyone on your list! Eye-catching visuals, timely topics and superb writing make their books, hands-down my choice for holiday gift giving.
My picks for this year: My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things* and Star Wars: Rogue One for my curious 6-year-old; Coding Projects in Scratch and Star Wars: Complete Locations for my 9.5-year-old coder-in-training.

happy-spa-lidays-spa-package-fb-1024x1024-2 Glama Gal Tween Spa: Happy Spa-lidays Package (SRP : $75)*

Someone said, “the best things in life aren’t things… they’re moments” and, if you’ve got kids that like to be pampered, one of the best ways to make great memories with them is at Glama Gal Tween Spa. (Despite the name, they offer wonderful services for the little men in your life, too!) I love their holiday-themed Happy Spa-lidays Package – perfect for unwinding with your kids this busy season! I also love that their products are natural, safe and kid-friendly. My daughter is a huge fan of their bath bombs and Glamspiration nail polish – it’s water-based, peelable, completely VOC free, odourless, and non-toxic. (Tip: for a great gift under $30, check out their 10-piece Nail Shine Kit)

evenflo-platinum-safemax Evenflo Baby Platinum SafeMax™ All-In-One Car Seat (SRP : $379.99)*

If you’re buying for an infant this holiday season, there’s no greater gift than safety! The Evenflo Platinum SafeMax™ All-In-One Convertible is highly rated, innovative and could be the only seat you’ll ever need! It has exclusive impact-absorbing headrest technology and an integrated steel frame, and it’s the first (and only, at publication date) rollover crash-tested seat in Canada!  More Info

chimparoo-trek-evolution-mom-and-me Mommy & Me Baby Carriers – Chimparoo TREK and Mini TREK (SRP : $254)*

I loved babywearing when my kids were babes, but when I bought my first carrier (almost – gasp! – ten years ago), they definitely weren’t as beautiful as the gorgeous ones from Chimparoo!  I love this TREK carrier, which is the contemporary version of a woven wrap. If you’re looking for an ergonomic and supportive soft-structured carrier, then the TREK is for you! 

Why should Mom and Dad have all the (babywearing) fun? If you’ve got a little mini me, you can give your child the gift of baby wearing with the mini TREK, so they can be just like you!  The mini TREK can be used with their favourite dolls, toys or stuffed animals. 

senseez Senseez (SRP : $49.99)

These cushions are colourful, lightweight and come in fun shapes. But what makes the Senseez pillow different from other cushions is that it vibrates! Senseez has a relaxing, calming effect and is perfect kids and teens who have trouble sitting still for meals, stories, school work and more.

kidsleep-moon Kid’Sleep Moon (SRP : $59.99)

If you have a child who’s an early riser, this clock is for you! Many young kids have trouble regulating their sleep, and the Kid’Sleep Moon is here to help them understand when it’s time to get out of bed and when it’s not. When the sleeping animal is lit, it’s time to stay in bed; when the awake animal is illuminated, kids know it’s time to get up and start the day.

ucbaby-bronze-pkg UC Baby 3-D Ultrasound Bronze Package + Heartbeat Bear (SRP : $159)*

There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby in the womb in 3D. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went to UC Baby for my 3D ultrasound, and the experience was something I’ll cherish forever!

UC Baby® Heartbeat Bears® record the precious sound of baby’s heartbeats during a 3D ultrasound session, and can be done as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy. Not sure what to get Grandma or Grandpa-to-be this year? Heartbeat Bears make excellent gifts!

bookjane-logo BookJane – 4 hours of Childcare (SRP : $84)*

If you’ve ever needed a babysitter at the last minute, you know how tough it can be to find qualified caregivers! That’s where BookJane comes in. BookJane connects people seeking caregiving services with qualified, fully vetted caregivers. Through BookJane’s mobile app, you can arrange, evaluate and confirm caregivers at the push of a button – all within hours! Try BookJane when you need to run errands, go on a date night with your spouse, or take some important “me time” this holiday season. BookJane is currently live in the Greater Toronto Area and will be soon rolling out to Vancouver.

weeks-until-were-grandparents  Weeks Until Grandparents Chalkboard (SRP : $11.95)*

Let the countdown begin! Our weeks until grandparents chalkboard sign is the perfect way to countdown the special day of becoming grandparents. Customizable sign includes one chalkboard with ribbon to easily display around the home and one piece of chalk to customize each week. Display in your house and get excited for the arrival of your little grandson or granddaughter! Countdown the weeks to being grandparents!

gro-egg Gro-egg (SRP : $44.95)

Peace of mind at a glance – the innovative Gro-egg changes colour to let you know at a glance whether the temperature of a room is too low, too high or just right, helping you maintain a safe sleeping environment for your baby.

The colours act as a reminder for you to cool or heat the room, to modify the baby’s clothing, to use a different tog Grobag Baby Sleep Bag or for non-sleep bag users to alter the level of bedding.

preschool_1 Oliver’s Labels Preschool Package
(SRP : starting at $33.99)*
When you become a parent, you come to the realization that kids have a lot of stuff. Between school gear, seasonal apparel and toys (oh, the toys!), there will never be a shortage of things that need labeling. That’s where Oliver’s Labels comes in! Their Preschool Package has just the right mix of labels and tags for your little one’s belongings. If your little one likes to throw off shoes and mitts while in the stroller, you’ll want to check out their free Found-it™ service; it’s one of my favourite features.

 now-for-mothers-healing-mix-2 Now for Mothers Healing Mix (SRP : $14.99)*

Looking for more energy and nutritional support after giving birth? Now for Mothers Healing Mix is a superfood that’s formulated for new moms, as well as those who have toddlers or even older kids. It helps sustain your energy and balance hormones naturally. It’s easily incorporated into your diet, and is delicious on its own or sprinkled on cereal or yogurt. Bonus: Now for Mothers Healing Mix now retails for $14.99!

Win It!

It’s always a lot of fun finding the best products to share each year. But, do you know what’s even MORE fun? Giving them away!! 

Many of the items found in this gift guide could be yours!! (Those marked with an asterisk * are included in the giveaway.)

Click here to visit the Gift Guide contest page to enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win over $1200 in prizes!

Good luck!

Giveaway ends December 18, 2016 at 11:59 EST. Open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) aged 18 years and older.

Full contest rules and regulations can be found on the contest page.

Lisa is a writer, social media consultant and editor-in-chief of MomResource.ca. She’s a crafty, DIY-loving, fashionista who loves to unwind with a good manicure and an afternoon spent at a museum. Her husband, two kids and dog keep her pretty busy, but in her spare time, you can find her blogging at Fab Frugal Mama.