Christmas in July? Really?

I got an email earlier this week from Jessica at Life As Mom.  She is doing Christmas in July this week, talking smart about budgeting, avoiding debt and other important ways to plan wisely for a meaningful, debt free Christmas.  Go check it out–looks like good stuff, and there are some good giveaways too.  Speaking of giveaways, one of the things that I do to prepare for Christmas is to squirrel away unexpected freebies and yard sale goodies when I am blessed with them.

This month one such goodie was the Pop on Pals Amusement Park set. This toy looks like fun for the 2-4 year old age group.   The various rides: ferris wheel, roller coaster, etc–  have different sound effects which little kids will love. I was surprised it came with only one character.  Yes, the single character comes with different costumes,  and you can buy more characters separately.  But when my kids are playing, they like to have multiple characters so that they can interact with each other.   If I was paying $34 for a toy set, I personally would expect more than one character.

All in all, this looks like a decent toy.  However, I’m not convinced it would have the staying power of our Lego Duplos.  This zoo set was a gift from grandma years ago,  has been a favorite with many of our kids over the years, and is still going strong.  A true classic.  Want classic toys for less than new prices?  Check yard sales.  And keep an eye on Craigslist.  A quick search for ‘lego duplo’ in my area produced 2 listings.  I might not offer used toys to other people’s kids for Christmas.   But I’d have no qualms about cleaning them up and adding them to my own kids’ collection.


  1. It keeps amazing me how much (some) Americans seem to rely on their credit cards. Sure enough, some people around here have debts too, but reading these American blogs makes me think that 90% of Americans are in debt. Over here we pay a lot by debit card, but most bank accounts are set up in a way that you can’t overcharge. And if you can, it’s usually only €500 or so (roughly $600). Of course we have mortgages as well, but I believe our tax system is set differently because you usually don’t pay more than 50% of your house costs off. When you don’t have a mortgage, you are taxed more because you have more property. The whole situation that you have 12 different credit cards isn’t even possible over here, because credit cards are so seldomly used. Most stores don’t even accept them.
    Anyway, with myself working only three days a week and having a newly renovated home and a young baby, I still am looking for ways to be making money, so thanks for this link!

    • Yes, it’s a pretty sad situation we Americans have put ourselves in. I had no idea it was not universal. That is fascinating — and sad for the US.

      We were one of those multitudes in debt and are so glad and blessed to be free from it.

  2. Legos (in any size) are probably the greatest toy ever invented. My kids kept playing with them as they got older and older, they just became more complicated in their play. The only think I don’t like about legos…if I happen to step on one in bare feet…ouch!

  3. I clicked on the link for the Zoo set. There seems to be plenty of pieces there! so I’m wondering how yours is still going strong.

    When I had little kids at home, the toys seemed to multiply. Plastic pieces all over. I’m sure almost every parent has done the LEGO dance in the darkness.
    When it was clean-up time, I tried, I really tried, to keep same type parts together. Nesting cups are not able to “nest” if they are in different places.

    Maybe it was my ADD, or my kids and their inherited ADD, but we just gave up trying to maintain “sets”. There is no way our toys would still be going strong enough to store away for grandchildren.
    It made for some memorable play sessions. An elephant as a stand-in for a camel in the Nativity Scene comes to mind.

    I do have a few toys in the closet now, purchased after my sons are grown. I carry them in, as a set, for Sunday School lessons, or the occasional babysitting when something different is needed to keep boredom away.

    Even with that, taped to the box, I have an itemized list and number of what should be returned to the box, such as 12 dinosaurs, 9 little people, 3 storybooks. I want to be able to have it ready for next time.
    As an adult, I think I should be able to do this. Yet it takes me so much effort to keep track of “my” toys even without little kids in the house. More stuff means more concerns for me.

    • Oh, our Duplos are all mixed together in a big 18 gallon Rubbermaid– we don’t bother trying to keep sets separate from each other. That would make me too nutty! 😉

  4. I love garage sales and consignment sales and love when I find the perfect things for my son at a fraction of the price. My husband is warming up to giving my son second hand things at Christmas and birthdays. Most of the time he doesn’t even know.

    Legos are a favorite at our house, as are building blocks and anything with wheels.

  5. My kids have been raised on thrift store shopping so they think nothing of getting good used gifts! I always check the clearance aisles in Target and Walmart.

  6. Kathleen says:

    This is a great post! My kid has never noticed or cared yet about toys not being “new” or in boxes at Christime or birthdays…we get him a couple of new things too mind you, but when I see something amazing…I think nothing of giving him a gently used item on holiday ocassions! Now this may change in time as he gets older as the “cool/new/gotta have it” peer pressure kicks in but I hope I raise him to value the item itself and not the price tag of it or where it came from. 🙂

  7. “I might not offer used toys to other people’s kids for Christmas. But I’d have no qualms about cleaning them up and adding them to my own kids’ collection.”

    Yep- DEFINITELY do that here. Even the oldest kid is happy with used items (DVDs, Wii games, etc. He understands that if he’s happy with used he gets more :-). And the littles don’t know the difference. Just bought a used train table for the little boys for Christmas. Plan to keep my eye out for used trains and track before Christmas.

    I buy clearance toys for my nephews and clearance/sale clothes and tolietries (lotion, lip gloss, etc.) for the nieces, so I give them “new”, although my sibs and I went in together to get a nephew a DS that he had been wanting for awhile, but with the understanding that he’d be ok with a used one.

  8. I think several of us have been thinking about Christmas in July as I did a post on it July 25th. I hope you get a chance to pop over and read my post on it, particularly the part about gift cards and using them as a way to ease your holiday budget.