Lisa Fielding and Stefanie Katz-Rothman were friends and neighbors with busy schedules that often included shopping for the many birthday parties their kids were attending. Given their marketing backgrounds, they decided to start a service for other parents in their shoes. The result, Gift Hero, is a shopping site that allows you to search for toys according to the recipient’s gender (or not—there are plenty of gender neutral options!) and age, as well as categories such as building toys, games, etc. The more you know about your audience, they say, the better they can help. If you’re still unsure after viewing the online results, Gift Hero will do a one-on-one concierge session. “I have a nephew who lives in California and likes to run around,” you could begin, and they’d likely lead you to glory, i.e. the perfect present. The company steers clear of the latest fads, the maddeningly difficult to put together, and anything that’s likely to break after a few turns around the playroom, instead sticking to high-quality options that will be passed down, many of which are eco-friendly and educational. The best part may be that you can order on a Wednesday and get the gift delivered—wrapped and ready, of course—in time for the weekend.
Obviously, this birthday party magic can also apply to holiday shopping, for which Fielding and Katz-Rothman suggest not relying on their fast turnaround time because many of the hottest products are selling fast! Here are some of their picks for this December. Visit Gift Hero for many more, and save $20 on orders of $100 or more with promo code ELIZABETH. (This offer expires on 12/9/12 at 11:59 EST.)
Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks, $60 (and worth every penny!). These beautiful blocks have embedded magnets so what kids build stays together. It’s perfect for budding architects of most ages (three and up).
Chubbies Bucket of Vehicles, $43. Guaranteed to delight little boys (and girls) and keep them busy for hours! Chubbies are great for indoor or outdoor play—even in the bath, pool, or sandbox. The durable bucket contains 30 three-inch dishwasher-safe vehicles, including airplanes, trucks, cars, trains, and boats.
Pinky Cosmetic Set, $36. Little girls can be just like mommy with the ultimate pretend play cosmetics. This wood set includes a mirror, face powder, eye shadow, lipstick, and makeup brushes in a cute fabric bag. Made from environmentally friendly rubber wood, non-toxic water-based paints, and biodegradable fabrics.
City Skyline Glow-in-the-Dark Blocks, $52. Everything a little kid needs to build a city of lights Wonderful for even the littlest builders. Includes versions of iconic New York buildings, trees, and cars (even a taxi)!