strategist round table

7 Strategist Editors Discuss the Gifts They’re Getting Their Kids

Illustration: Simone Massoni

The parents on staff at the Strategist have their own chat room — a place where these shopping obsessives share among themselves the not-so-attractive-but-attention-holding toy racetrack that was a huge hit and kids’ magazines that actually get read. We decided to infiltrate this brain trust and ask them to talk children’s gifts: the ones theirs have asked for directly this year, the toys that actually get the most use around the house, and what they’ll be buying over the holidays. For even more holiday-gift ideas, check out the rest of our holiday-gift guides.

Buying for children age 2 and under is difficult. What have you guys done well with?

Winnie Yang: Babies will play with garbage. They would rather have the wrapping paper than the thing in the package, but something that makes them feel like a grown-up is good. So that’s a good age to get a kid a scooter or a balance bike.

Liza Corsillo: Yes — my parents are getting Arlo, my 1-year-old, the Scuttlebug, and we’re very excited about that.

Alexis Swerdloff: Does anyone have that Rody? That is one of the things I have been contemplating getting Eve, who is 2.

W.Y.: We have Rody! Two is a great age for Rody. There’s something about its round, bulbous shape and its rubberiness, as well as its wall-eyed stare, that is really appealing. And it helps kids develop their balance, gross motor skills, and coordination.

Ailbhe Malone: I think the best gift is one that can be put away with ease. I don’t have tons of space! For her first birthday, Aoife got from one of my friends a set of three sleep suits for ages 18 to 24 months that I fell upon like manna a few months later when I realized she had grown out of her pj’s literally overnight.

Simone Kitchens: Meanwhile, I just took Ramona, who is 15 months, to the bookstore, and I kind of let her just poke around to see what she picked up and then I just bought those things and hid them. She’s getting three books.

What about “the chair”? That’s a classic gift.

S.K.: We’re in that place where Ramona just wants to sit everywhere. I found this chair that I think is really ridiculous, but I feel like I kind of would prefer it in my house, maybe. The chair is from the Magic Home and looks like a mini-Togo — they’re basically the same price as those little rolled-arm ones. I like that this one is different.

Lauren Ro: We were going to get Solly, who is 19 months old, a Damhorst Puzzle Stool because Augie, who is now 5, had one.

A.S.: We have these two little Missy Monogram Director Chairs that I feel were very prevalent in the ’80s.

What are the older kids asking for this year?

W.Y.: The things Andie, who is 8, has been asking for most are a Magic 8 Ball and an Apple Watch. I got her the former; not getting the latter. We also directed my in-laws to get her roller skates.

Jen Trolio: I’m letting my oldest with all-the-way-to-her-butt-long hair get bangs. This will cost no money, but it is still a big gift in my opinion. I’m going to have my sister cut them on Christmas Day at my parents’ so it will be an experience gift that happens with everyone in attendance.

L.R.: Our 5-year-old is getting this Air Hogs remote-control car that can drive on the walls that Liza told us about and a new Micro Maxi LED scooter.

J.T.: I’ve been hearing about Squishmallows the most. All kids seem to love them and want them, and they are my favorite thing to lie on in my kids’ beds, so I get it. Tamagotchis are also really big right now.

W.Y.: For families with multiple kids, I often like to give board or card games that are good across a wide range of ages (so no reading required) and something more logic-oriented, like Set, as opposed to Candy Land or Monopoly.

J.T.: Actually, never give Candy Land. That game sucks.

What are the toys that you hate but your kids absolutely love?

W.Y.: This LeapFrog learning house toy was discontinued, and we gave our last one away, but it is such a good toy I’m looking for it again on eBay. It is so annoying to listen to, but it is so good and educational.

A.S.: This Mickey Clubhouse guitar is also annoying, but through both kids, it’s still going strong.

J.T.: My child was gifted a giant Power Wheels monster-truck kind of thing. It’s like a Ford F-150 Raptor. It’s hard to get our actual car around it, but they do love it and they’ve gotten really good at driving it. Honestly, it’s an absolute hit.

S.K.: We have two VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walkers. They’re massive, but we’ve actually gotten many miles out of that. It’s so annoying, but if you just need five minutes …

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Strategist Editors on the Gifts They’re Getting Their Kids