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Think outside the toy box this Christmas

25 NOV 20 | 4 minute read

Predictions on the top Christmas toys are released every year and more often than not, they fly off the shelves and are sold out weeks before the big day.

The days of flicking through the catalogue to write our Christmas list for Santa might be over (did anyone else love doing this?) but with online shopping more popular than ever this year, the kids are no doubt scrolling through toys on the tablet off the back of an advert that’s just popped up on YouTube.

They will probably change their minds a million times before the big day too. So, write that letter with plenty of notice and post it to Santa – it gives him more time to plan the best way to source the toys and elves to make them!

The gift of fun

In our recent survey, more than half of parents said that their house was overflowing with toys but it’s easy to forget that spending quality time together making memories is just as important as ‘stuff’.

If you find that other family members are complicit in the ever-growing mountain of toys piled in drawers and cupboards or encroaching on your living room floor then ask grandparents, aunts and uncles to think about gifting them a day together instead.

This could be as simple as a trip to the cinema or fun in the park on a dry day followed by a hot choc with all the marshmallows. For family that you’re not able to see in person, there are lots of games that can easily be played over Zoom calls – Pictionary, charades and 20 questions to name a few.

More than half of parents said that their house was overflowing with toys but it’s easy to forget that spending quality time together making memories is just as important as ‘stuff’. #ChristmasTrimmings

Toy subscriptions

As much as we’d love to think that the toys we buy our kids will be treasured forever, they do tend to have an expiration date. Whether they’ve been outgrown or they’re just not the ‘in thing’ anymore there’s always the question of what to do with them when they’re no longer played with? 

To combat this, toy subscription services like Whirli have been popping up across the internet. Choose your subscription plan then browse the library of toys and pick the ones you’d like delivered to your door. They’re yours to keep for as long as they’re still being played with and, when they’re out of favour, you can return them to the company to be swapped for something new. 

Buying pre-loved Christmas toys online

Online sales sites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are awash with preloved toys. Look out for bundles of toys like action figures or Lego for an instant full set that would normally take a long time to amass a collection.  

Not only are they often cheaper than buying new but you’ll also extend the toy’s useful life and reduce what’s going to landfill. Narrowing your search location to items nearby will lower your carbon footprint and save you the hassle of delivery or travelling too far to collect. 

Just remember to do your research before putting in an offer – checking the retail price and the age of the toy will help you know if you’re getting a good deal.  

Second-hand stores

By shopping second-hand this Christmas, you’re reducing the demand for new products to be made and cutting down on the number of toys ending up in landfill. Your kids will love their new (to them) toy and you can relax knowing you’ve bagged a bargain. 

Look out for the Revolve stamp of approval in second-hand stores. It means that you can buy in confidence knowing that all items on sale have been checked for quality and safety. Some stores may have had to close temporarily but may offer a click and collect service as an alternative. Search for your nearest Revolve certified store.

By shopping second-hand this Christmas, you’re reducing the demand for new products to be made and cutting down on the number of toys ending up in landfill. #ChristmasTrimmings

Second-hand safety

When thinking about buying any second-hand toy there are a few things to look out for... 

  • Make sure the toy is in good condition with no rips, broken bits or other signs of damage and check for sharp edges or finger traps. 
  • If it is made from material, then check that it’s fire-resistant. 
  • Make sure it’s not missing any parts and if there is a battery compartment, look for signs of leakage. 

Most products in the UK will carry a European or British Standard mark indicated by one or more of the following:  CE (CE stands for "Conformité Européene" which literally means "European Conformity"), EN, BS certification mark and Lion Mark. 

These certification markings are likely to appear on or in the most hidden part of any children’s toy - you can often spot them on the bottom or in the battery compartments and on packaging.