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The Easiest Guide to Shopping for Kids this Holiday

We have a lot of parents who make up the Care.com family. So we know how important - and stressful -- it is to buy just the right present for kids at the holidays. Here are some great ideas, broken down by age, all recommended by real Care.com employee/parents. We hope this makes your holiday a tad bit easier. Now, if only you had someone to string the lights evenly around your house! (Oh wait, you can find someone for that here too!).

Age 0-3 months:"You won't find a more useful gift than an Aden + Anais swaddle pack. Not only are they excellent swaddle blankets for newborns, they are great for catching baby's and big kid's liquid messes.  My 15 month old likes to rest his cheek on one at naptime, and my 3.5 year old uses them as parachutes for his stuffed animals."
- Melanie G., mom of Eliot (3.5 years) and Spencer (15 months)
"My baby loves to explore new things and this Tug and Clatter Key toy is her favorite thing. It's colorful, has different textures and works as a rattle and a teether, which is perfect for helping her with the new teeth coming in!"
- Sminu P., mom of Leanne, 6 months

Age 3-9 months"We bought this musical stack & ball game for our daughter and she absolutely loves it.  She laughs every time the lights light up!  It's priceless just for that alone!  The grasping rings are an added bonus, and watching her drag this along as she learns to walk is too funny!"
- Chris S., dad of Christopher, 7 and Carlee, 13 months

"I heard a lot about The Very Hungry Caterpillar from other new parents and, now that we have a copy for our 4-month old, I totally get the hype! The vibrant illustrations keep our son engaged throughout the whole story. I think he will like the book even more as he gets older and can better understand the metamorphosis, not just of the pages, but of the caterpillar as well."
- Joe A., dad of Jackson, 5 months
Age 9-18 months:"My little girl loves the Baby Stella Peach doll! It keeps her entertained whenever she's in her car seat. She ‘talks' to her, gives her ‘hugs' and generally likes to snuggle up to her. She also gets drool all over the poor doll. But as a new dad, I'm pretty sure that's just a sign of true love."
- Mike M., dad of Mackenzie, 7 months
"My sister gave my son Hape Maple Blocks for his first birthday and they're still his favorite toy. He plays with them at least once a day.  At first he loved the lid of the box the most (taking it off and putting it back on), but progressed pretty quickly to examining each piece to understand its shape and color.  Now he gets really excited when he's able to stack more and more blocks on top of one another until they all fall down - and of course he loves demolishing anything that we build for him."
- Katherine S., mom of Louis, 1.5 years old
Age 2:"This magnetic rocket kit from Janod is a great gift for toddlers. I have given it to several of my friends with little boys and it is a favorite. Moms love that it's wood and doesn't require batteries, and kids love the magnetic pieces that make it easy to put together over and over."
- Kristin R., mom of Elizabeth, 13 months
"My 4 year old loves the Green Toys Tea Set. He's an aspiring chef and ever since it appeared in our home a couple years ago as a gift for our older son, he's been serving coffee and tea to us with every (real or pretend) meal.  It's really durable and looks (pretty much) like new after years of use."
- Matt C., dad of Liam 6, and Henry 4
"A favorite in our household is the Llama Llama series of books.  Besides the author being a neighbor (she lives here in Vermont and we are all neighbors up here), the Llama Llama books are fun reads that really resonate with our kiddos. Some teach great lessons like Llama Llama Time to Share, while others are just silly and fun like Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop which became participatory over time!
- Chuck B., dad of Emerson 2 and Charlotte 1
"My son LOVES trucks, truck books, truck-trucks, truck sounds, anything trucks - so this truck box with the additional helicopter (a new thing to love) was the perfect gift for him. Plus, the wooden trucks are indestructible, which is good when you have two young boys."
- Mike S. dad of Luke 2, Jack 1
Age 3:"The best/most favorite gift my kids have ever received was the Melissa and Doug Pizza Party.  While it's for 3 year olds, it never gets old. My now 6 year old still enjoys making me a slice of pizza from time to time, and my 2 year old loves placing the toppings on top of the pizza."
- Danielle, mom of Shane 8, Ben 6, and Lucas 2
"This Red Sorter Clock has been a favorite of our 3 year old daughter's. She plays with it all the time and we love it because it teaches her colors, shapes, numbers and even time -- all in one toy."
- Tom, dad of Lucy 8, Jack 6 and Emme 3
Age 4:"The Color A House was a huge hit with our son! Not only did it give him the opportunity to finally have his own ‘fort' (in his words), but he flipped out when he learned that he could color it and design it himself!  It provided him hours of fun, and the ease of picking it up and moving it around ensured that he could use his imagination as to where his ‘fort' resided!"
- Chris S., dad of Christopher, 7 and Carlee, 13 months
"My 4 year old received the Tomy John Deere Real Sounds Lawnmower for his birthday this year. He loves to pretend to cut the grass, just like his Daddy."
- Erin, mom of Jack 9, Sean 6, and Connor 4.
Age 5:"My son is really into saving his money. My daughter likes to spend. For my son, the game Monopoly has taught him fantastic money management skills. But for my younger daughter, this Spend-Share-Save Bank has provided a nicer visual of how she can divide her money (aka the spare change she finds around the house)."
- Katie B., mom of Chase 6, Reid 4, and Smith 4 months
"We have a huge basket of Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks in our playroom. Blocks are a classic toy that every child can use. My 7 year old son loves to create castles, and his little brother loves to knock them down!"
- Erin, mom of Jack 9, Sean 6, and Connor 4
Moms-to-Be:"As a first time mom, I can't rave enough about the monthly box from Citrus Lane. I have been getting it for my daughter for the last year and it's the only reason we've discovered most of her favorite toys. Each month you get a box with 4-5 great products and samples specific for how old your baby is -and what she's going through. They always pack something cute and unique that I haven't seen before. Plus they sometimes throw in a product for me as well. This would be such a nice gift for a new mom or mom-to-be!"
- Kristin R., mom of Elizabeth, 13 months

> Order by 12/12 to arrive by Christmas

"The best gift anyone can give my kids is books. I am always looking for new, great reads to get sucked into at bedtime (or any other time), and I really appreciate other people's reading suggestions -- especially if they have older kids and can give me a solid recommendation. Now that my friends all have kids, I plan to buy a whole lot of our favorite books and give them as Christmas gifts. It's a great, inexpensive present. But can also be very meaningful with an inscription. This bundle of Barefoot Books gives you 12 parent favorites that you can break up and gift to different friends."
- Katie B., mom of Chase, 6, Reid, 4 and Smith, 4 months

We hope this helps make your holiday shopping less stressful. Please note the last day for standard shipping is December 15th.  Another great place for gift ideas is the Citrus Lane real parent community, where toys and products are rated regularly.

Tell us, what have been your kids' favorite presents?

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