December 2014 Preview

Holiday Survival Guide and a "Worst Toy of 2014"

On the holiday-prep happiness scale of Grinch–to–Buddy the Elf, I tend to fall squarely in the “Bah, humbug” range. I don’t mean to, and once the day’s finally here — with all the attendant kid-dominant merrymaking — I’ll be firmly on board. But, wow, is that lead-up ever draining!

Knowing that I’m not the only mom out there who feels this way, we’ve packaged our holiday survival guide to help you get through December, whether you’re pregnant and due, dealing with special needs or just feeling harried and hassled instead of merry and bright.

As always, we had your busy calendar in mind when we rounded up the area’s greatest family holiday happenings, from light shows and Santa sightings to train rides and New Year’s parties.

Finally, one of my favorite parts of our holiday issue is our annual Toy Test. Real readers and their kids play with the season’s must-haves, then report back with their unvarnished opinions.

At 15 and 12, my kids have sadly outgrown most toys, but they were happy to try out the Air Storm Firetek Bow* (ages 8+; $24.97), just one example of the many archery-related playthings on today’s market. (Thanks, Katniss!) What sets the Firetek apart is its illuminated aspect. Both the bungee-sling bow and foam-tipped arrows light up, letting kids take aim in the dark. Needless to say, this feature scored big with my boys, as you can see from the pics on this page. And watching the blazing arrows light up the house is strangely cheering, a sight that brightens even the Scroogiest of tendencies.

Wishing you and your family warmth and light this season, 

Cheryl

*After we went to press on our December issue, the toy safety organization W.A.T.C.H. named the Air Storm Firetek Bow as one of its Worst Toys of 2014 nominees, due to the risk of eye injuries and the warning that a child should not pull back the bow to more than "half strength." Again, my kids are 15 and 12 and operated the toy under supervision; they understood the limitations (they posed with the bungee pulled back all the way for these pics without releasing the arrow), have had actual archery training and handled the bow responsibly. Please take your own child's play tendencies into account before purchasing this product.

Categories: MK Memo