Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Gift Guide

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Where we take part in sharing our top ten of the featured prompt that week. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.
Holiday Gift Guide (IE: Ten books for your dad, Ten books for your sister, etc.)
I'm going to twist this post a big and talk about great finds I made this Christmas season. AKA How to afford Christmas for three kids. Ages, 15, 12, and 5.

First things first, I'm basically a "demon organizer" or so my friends have call me. It's agree, I'm slightly OCD (about specific things!) and a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning things out. Like Christmas. Because it takes a decent amount of thought, effort, and general planning!
But.. this one in particular, this is the second Christmas with my partner, the first one we'd only been taking a couple of months and didn't make a big deal of it, but this time around it's different. Along with that, children are involved. We have visitation on Christmas this year, FIRST TIME EVER. BIG DEAL ALERT!

Each child has 2-3 major themes/fandom of gifts. With that in mind we made idea lists then searched around for related items of fandoms we picked. We shopped around, both physically and online.
Hit lots of different stores around mid October to mid November. Hit Big Lots, Target, Walmart, Book stores, nerd stores. If we saw something we liked, added it to our "idea list" and then compared prices.
As of about two - three weeks ago we finished with Christmas shopping.
Here's a brief breakdown of the best/biggest presents for everyone!

Please be warned, long winded post.

15 year old girl: Doctor Who, Anime/Manga, Artist
Big presents:  Doctor Who Timeline Poster & Doctor Who Necklace
  • Poster: After searching around I found that BBC has an interactive timeline for you to play with, here.
Ended up finding someone that merged all the layers together into one image (here) and a friend that's a graphic designer, to print it up for me to a desired posted size. But not before adding her birth date onto the timeline.
Charged me cost of materials. = Win.
  • Custom Gallifreyan Necklace: Probably one of the more expensive gifts we got, but it's a specialty item we searched around for. Came gift wrapped and with a note stating our personal message "I love you". About $19.
  • Also an aspiring artist. I found this wonderful sort of "starter/variety pack" of Prismacolor. (I did research to make sure they were a decent brand, turns our they're considered professional grade. Here & here.) Was around $12.
Still searching for a nice protective travel case.

12 year old boy: TMNT, Nerf, & Five Nights at Freddy's
Big presents: Nerf Gun Set & Mega Bloks

We are a big nerf gun family. From thrift stores to clearance sections. I went from owing no Nerf guns 2 years ago to owning almost 20. We even bought a 200 pack of knock off darts this summer for sh*ts and giggles. (Plus if the cats destroy them, because they do, no hard feelings.)
  • Nerf Set for him Gun, extra darts, and a bandolier (which was a mistake purchase, I ended up with a cheaply knock off from China and turned into a project trying to reinforce and make it sturdier. Got refunded my money, like I well should have been.) Only cost me the price of the gun, which was under $10
First, a bit of information as research was involved in this shopping.. Lego was making TMNT sets until 2014, they no longer own the licensing to do so, you can still find them, but they're ridiculously expensive. Now Mega Bloks pick up the license and introduce THREE LINES of TMNT.
Overly cute kiddie (racing) version, pre-teen series, adult collection (aka collector's sets).

Also, there's usually only one turtle per set. We made it our goal to buy each of the four turtles.
The pre-teen style looking TMNT sets usually go for $9.99, $14.99 and $19.99 (x2) = out almost $65.
The most I paid for one was $12.99. I got them all either price matched at Target or though Amazon and under $7. I spent around $35 on the whole set. I'm really proud of myself with this.

5 year old girl: Blaze and the Monster Machines & Paw Patrol
Big gifts: Big Blaze, Paw Patrol Figures & Play-mat

I saw this guy at Big Lots for $25 and flipped. "Must have, but not for that price." I found it on Amazon and kept and eye on it, ended up snagging it for $17.
  • Paw Patrol: We got lucky while shopping around and found this Paw Patrol set split up at Big Lots and $1 PER pup. Easily saved 50% of Amazon's price. I went looking for a picture of Adventure Bay and could not find one I liked. But she's 5, so we settled on the overall shot from the wikia page, here, tried to blow it up too big, and once again had my friend print it up, laminate it, and charge of cost of materials.

Big presents: Nerf gun & Hobbes plush

  • Nerf Zombie Strike Doominator Blaster
Again, nerf gun lovers here. Ever since I got my Zombie Strike FlipFury someone's been obsessed with wanting a Doominator Blaster.
I ended up going to Target, having them price match from $39.99 to $29.99 (which was the current price on Amazon at the time) and use a $10.00 off coupon, $20.
Note: Be careful if you use their method. Target will not always accept coupons if you price match. I had a cashier refuse me to use a coupon even if it applied to other items, because I price matched something. It is at the cashier's discretion. BE NICE. Be understanding!
  • Hobbes Plush
By far the most expensive thing I got was Hobbes look a like plush. If you know anything about Bill Watterson, he will not license merchandise (or rarely does so) for his comic series Calvin and Hobbes.
This means there no official Hobbes plush out there. I toyed with the idea of buying a pattern and making one, but weighted the pros and cons of cost of materials and time for the project + having to keep it hidden meaning I had less time to work on it.
I caved and decided that a plush under $20 would be what I'd spend trying to make one. I haggled down an eBay seller from $24 to $20.99 for Sweet Sprouts Tiger Plush.

Along with that there's the previous things I've mentioned in my FTW posts.


  1. OOoh niiiice! I love giving personalized gifts as well! Though it seems to get harder every year! LOL! Very nicely done!

    Here's my Tuesday post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

    1. It really does get harder and harder! I usually try to make at least ONE gift per person a year, which is a stretch sometimes.
      I know children don't always appreciate it as much, but I look back and think about how nice that was now that I'm older. :)