It’s unbelievable that the holidays are already just around the corner. Last year, the focus for Christmas was on safe, quality, American-made toys for the children…avoiding potentially lead-tainted Chinese-made products at all cost. But what about this year? With financial times so challenging, budget is definitely a major consideration. It’s tempting to run out to the nearest Target or Wal-Mart and buy all cheap plastic toys to make sure there are lots of toys and gifts under the tree, while still keeping to the budget. But what is that teaching our children about quality vs. quantity? And how long will that Chinese-made plastic toy really last? Are you certain of its safety? It is still important to remember the many reasons for buying American-made items wherever possible. Here are a few reminders:
1. Safety – American-made toys and products have much stricter safety requirements than many foreign made toys. The recalls for lead paint last year are still fresh in the minds of parents, and when it comes to our children…safety trumps all.
2. Quality – American manufacturers have a high standard of quality, and as many are still smaller, family-run operations, the focus on the quality of the products remains top priority.
3. Supporting our Country and Economy – Any shopping money that is dropped into our economy at this time will be helpful, but when you spend your money on products that are made in the USA, so much more of your hard earned cash is going directly to Americans, instead of supporting huge US corporations that pour the money in foreign economies.
4. Your Child's Development – Have you noticed how much noise those plastic toys of today make? American-made toys are typically more classic, and yes, quiet, toys…just like the ones you grew up with. How much more freedom does your child’s imagination have if they are not being “told” by a toy exactly what to do and how to play? So many skills can be developed by a simple set of blocks or a wooden train set: creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, collaborative skills, science skills, math skills, motor skills…just to name a few! And the time YOU spend interacting with your child and their “quiet toys” has so much more developmental impact than any songs or lessons a talking toy can teach.
So how can I make this a classic, quality holiday season for my children and myself, and still stay within my budget? It may not be practical to think that every item you place under the tree this year will be American-made, but you might be surprised at the wonderful, reasonably-priced gift ideas that are out there! Here are a few suggestions. Many of these items can fit in a variety of categories.
Holiday Gift Ideas from All-American Baby:
Boy Rag Doll
Soft Knit Dolls
Soft Knit Animals
Hats and Blankets
Remember that with American-made gifts all the batteries, blinking lights and loud sounds are NOT required… but IMAGINATION is!!