Happy Holidays!

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Hi everyone!

I planned to write this earlier this week but got so busy with a neighborhood party. And yesterday I was on recovery mode thanks to that party!

So I’ll keep this quick, as I’m sure you are all busy!

Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating, and Happy Holidays to all other who celebrate different holidays! Hope you all are enjoying a festive celebration, being surrounded by the ones who matter the most!

Thank you for following the blog, the facebook page, the Instagram… for all comments, thumbs-up, and emojis shared… for all PMs and info your sent. Thank you for always being so kind, tolerant, yet strong. I cannot wish for a better readership, really.

Take care and see you again next year.

Love,

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My Favorite Online Toy Shops in Switzerland

These below are toy shops that I like and have personally shopped or would like to shop on. They are all based in Switzerland. Except the second-hand options, many offers gift wrapping service, so that you may want to tell the family abroad that they can shop for presents in these shops and ship them to you. This way you don’t have to worry about high shipping cost and Swiss import duties and VAT.

Disclaimer: Some of the below mentioned shops are or had been Lausanne Mom sponsors. All opinions are my own.


mylittleroom-screenshot

I chanced upon MyLittleRoom while googling for stockists of Kidsonroof’s Casa Cabana. As the name implies, MyLittleRoom specialized in furniture for little ones. But they have a good range of toys too, and this was their promise:

“We take playing seriously… Plush toys, creative games, ecological cardboard toys or wooden cars. We have selected only the best for you: design toys that are fun but also good for the planet.”

Love.


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Petit Toi is a personal favourite as the physical shop is based in Lausanne! I adore their collection. Most brands come from local and European producers, and they emphasise on ethical production. (Read my blog post about the physical shop here.)


littlemoosho-screenshot

I couldn’t be happier when Little Moosho added toys to their business (they started with clothes as you can read on my blog post here). Their toys, most geared towards younger children, are beyond adorable. Many are vintage-inspired and heirloom-worthy.

Little Mooshoo recently opened a physical boutique in Morges, on Rue Louis-de-Savoie 15.


dilookids-screenshot

Dilookids has a bit of everything – clothing, decor and party items, stationery, and toys. They are ALL adorable, and the toys include some of my favorite brands (Kidsonroof, Djeco, and now Nobodinoz).


jubilane-siteshot

I learned about Jubilane since I was a new mom and ordered a few things from them. Since then the shop has been increasing in size, including the toy range. They have really great selection, also toys from US brands that I believe are not easily found in CH such as Melissa & Doug and Green Toys. FYI, Jubilane also has a physical shop, located in Châtel-St-Denis.


allforkids-screenshot

Allforkids was suggested to me by a follower of this blog. I haven’t bought anything there but I like what I found in the shop so that it made to this list. They are especially good for the English-speaking families, as many of their toys and books are in English.


manor-screenshot

While Manor has physical stores, I have several times ordered their toys online, especially if they were meant to be a surprise for the kids. I usually had the orders delivered to their store in Lausanne and hubby picked them up on his way home from work. It has also been one of my favorite stores to check for sales after Christmas.


postshop-screenshot

Yes, the Swiss Postshop also sells toys. In fact, they have many kinds of toys – from wooden, plush to electronic ones. They also have craft items and science kits. Shipping is fast and free – just as it should be 🙂


bea-toys

Slightly different to the others, BEA is an online shop you should also know. You can buy items there, often cheaper than normal price, in addition to your BEA or Mondo points. These points can be collected through your shopping elsewhere (For example, I’ve been collecting lots of points from my regular grocery shopping at LeShop.ch). But don’t worry if you haven’t had any points, as the first time you register, you’ll immediately get 500 points to start shopping with.

I have bought several items from here, and have been happy with them. Last year I also got my son a wooden Swiss Panorama Train from this shop (see this post, number 10). He was ecstatic! They have a large array of items, from dolls to craft items to wooden toys to trampolines.


In additon, I had shopped on Toys’R’Us, Walzzkidz and Kidoh. I believe they are among the largest online toy shops in Switzerland.  They only have German as the language on their website though. They have international brands as well as many German ones.


“ONLINE” SECOND-HAND TOYS

As a default, when I have a specific toy in mind, I go to these sources first to buy as second-hands.

Anibis and Ricardo are always my first go-to sites. Anibis has more sellers from French-speaking areas and Ricardo from German-speaking areas. The offers could either be posted or you may have to pick up, it depends on the seller (or the description of the bid on Ricardo). In some cases, you can even ask the seller to deliver the larger items with extra fee, if you can’t pick up personally. I did that many times – I paid between CHF0-15 extra for the delivery.

The Yahoo! and facebook Groups have lots of parents selling and looking for items. It’s very important to act fast – you need to PM the seller quickly if you are interested with anything. It’s also possible to ask the groups to see if anyone would like to sell or giveaway things you are looking for. For example, last year I asked for Peppa Pig DVDs and I had very good response. So good in fact that one of them was kindly gifted and sent to us 😉

 

P.S.: Don’t forget to see my selection of toy shops in Lausanne!

*Images were screenshot and thus copyright of the mentioned sites.

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“2x Christmas” Campaign

2x Christmas is a campaign asking people who has an excess of material goods to share their good fortune with people in need, in Switzerland and abroad. Last year’s campaign inspired donors to send in around 73,000 gift parcels by post.

2xchristmas

In general idea is that if you received something that you already had or didn’t like, you should pass it to other people who may need it more than you do. In particular, the organizer of this campaign welcomes:

  • Non-perishable foodstuffs such as pasta, rice, oil and tinned goods with a shelf life of at least six months
  • Toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste
  • School equipment such as stationery, crayons and exercise books for children
  • New children’s shoes

Please DO NOT donate clothes nor plush toys.

If you are interested to donate, you can:

  • drop your own parcel at any Post Office near you
  • buy a parcel online
  • have the post man come collect your parcel at home with pick@home
  • celebrate 2xChristams for the first time with coop@home*
  • send an SMS donation of chf25 (send text CHRISTMAS 25 to the number 464)

All parcels will be transported for free to SRC logistics centre in Wabern (Berne), where they are sorted and forwarded to those in need. Half of these donations will be distributed inside Switzerland as well as abroad (this year’s destination is Eastern Europe, mainly Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia Herzogovina and Modova.).

As for the ones distributed inside Switzerland, I read that these donations to safe houses in Switzerland help the staff to reduce grocery spending and allow them to use the money to treat the children in their care a rare visit to a circus or such. Bless them!

The «2 x Christmas» campaign starts on Saturday 24 December 2016 and will run until Saturday 7 January 2017.

*I couldn’t find more information regarding donation through coop@home, though it is stated on the official website. Perhaps it’s just too early and the information will be there when the donation time starts on 24th.

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St-Nicolas and Santa Claus/Father Christmas are Coming to Town – 2016 (Updated)

Here is the schedule that I could find so far. The second one has been a real favourite – especially for steam train lovers – so reserve the tickets early!

Santa Claus at “Bô Noël” Christmas Market in Lausanne

Under the arcs of the Grand Pont in the afternoon (13-18:00) of Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 24 November – 24 December 2016. There will be a kind of treasure hunting! (info). Update: I passed by the chalet on Saturday 26th and saw the Santa. I found he was just too young to play the part! But he was really friendly and spoke English too 🙂

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Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Cards (2016)

There are always a number of people that are difficult to give presents to. Gift vouchers work well in this case, but perhaps you want to give more meaningful ones than the regular store gift cards? Thankfully, there are gift cards that offers more than just a possibility to buy things. These listed below are my favorites for this year as I believe they offer much more than their face value.

Lausanne Marathon

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Have a runner to give to? The gift card for Lausanne Marathon 2017 may be the perfect choice. There are several  options between chf 15 – 77, depending on the race category, including kids’ races! You have to send an email to order the card. It will be posted to you in a sealed red envelope, with a payment slip in a larger envelope.

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Where to Buy Christmas Trees – in Lausanne and around

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LIVING TREES IN POTS

Ecosapin

For those who prefer not to chop a living tree, Ecosapin is here for you. The concept is simple, you get the tree delivered right to your door before the holiday and taken away after. The trees are kept alive in pots and they will be re-planted, and be re-used for the year after. Very convenient, but it’s pricey. Prices of trees include delivery but not pick up. For pick-up you will have to pay extra. Or, you can keep the tree and plant it in your garden.

Note that even in pots most Christmas trees do not do well indoor, so if your plan is to send them back to be replanted or to plant them in your garden, give them the best of care. 24heures ran this article 2 years ago stating that 20% of the returned trees couldn’t be replanted as they were in too bad condition (mostly left too dry)

Landi

The farmer shop Landi also offer trees in pots! This year the size is smaller though. You have to come and pick it up yourself. Here are what they have in their promotion for 2016:

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Migros Do-It

This is their offer for 2016:

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Don’t drink and drive! Call Nez Rouge!

The holiday season may mean that you’ll be drinking more alcohol than usual. If you do, don’t take the risk to drive home. Take a taxi, or if you have to go home in your car, call Nez Rouge!

Nez Rouge is an association that offers to drive home persons who are not in the good condition to drive (due to excessive tiredness, alcohol, drugs, etc.). This FREE service is offered during the end-of-the-year holiday season. They will come to the place that you specify and drive you home – in your own car. Sometimes they even do better… I have read that they had also helped drive a man home in his boat! Apparently they made the best effort to find someone with a license to drive a boat and succeeded. I was (and still am) impressed by that story.

In case you need to use this service, here is the schedule:

  • Friday 2nd Dec and Saturday 3rd Dec 2016
  • Friday 9th Dec and Saturday 10th Dec 2016
  • From 16th Dec until 31st Dec 2016

And the centralized phone number: 0800 802 208

For more information and if you are interested to volunteer to be a driver, please refer to their website.

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Where to Send Letters to Santa Claus / Father Christmas

An updated and re-posted from previous years, as I think I have many new readers who don’t know about this yet.


©SwissPost

Santa Claus actually got help from Swiss Post! So, just address it to “Santa Claus, North Pole” or “Father Christmas, North Pole” (or “Père Noël, Pôle Nord” if your kids write better in French) and mail it. Don’t forget to put your address there, of course. Last year 20,546 letters to Santa from kids in Switzerland got their replies and they came with small presents!

The reply from Santa even comes with a little gift and a special stamp from Bern-Bethlehem!

The 2014 edition:

pere-noel-lettre-2014

and the little gift included inside – hand warmer! (Thanks Megan for the photos)

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And the 2015 edition:

A card from Père Noël with a special stamp on the envelope…

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Included inside: a 3D Christmas-home puzzle!

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Thank you Swiss Post for making our holiday merrier and brighter with this wonderful service!

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The 2016 Christmas Stamps Coming Soon!

I know we’re still in the first week of November. But November and December are usually very busy in our household, so that I prefer to start early with Christmas preparation. Don’t worry, it’s not about cookies or decorations yet, but about stamps.

As the last 7 years, this year we will again be sending our end-of-year holiday cards to close family and friends. I make it a habit to send them with holiday-themed stamps, as Swiss Post always issue special Christmas stamps in the beginning of November.

So yes, the Christmas 2016 stamps are already available to pre-order from the Swiss Post. However, I have to say I’m not excited with the designs this year. I found them way too simple (photo below), and cold… definitely not as festive as the previous years.

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How I Managed to Send Holiday Cards

A friend asked me:

Can you fill me in on your timeline and method for your Christmas cards? Do have an excel sheet with stickers or print to envelopes? I feel like being a grown-up this year. Perhaps you can do a post?

She is right. I have been sending our family holiday cards for the last 7 years, and it does take a high level of organization, especially on the first year.

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Prepare the family photo (if the card would have one or more photos)

If you haven’t had the photos from earlier during the year, you may want to book a photographer. Even if you shoot yourself using a timer, schedule a session. Autumn in my opinion is best for outdoor photos. In any case I wouldn’t go later than mid October to have these photos ready, especially by personal experience I know that some countries deliver the cards at a snail pace.

Note that doing a photo session needs careful planning too. You have to choose a time and location, but also think about what clothes to wear and, if it’s important to you, a color palette. Perhaps even props such as balloons, garland, or blackboard to write on. Don’t forget about nap time when you have very young children or babies. And obviously some snack and drink – we don’t want meltdowns, do we?!

Two years ago I used a selfie we already had. It was a selfie that we made on a lazy Sunday morning while we were half watching TV on the sofa. It turned out to be a lovely photo even when the image resolution was low. I turned it black and white, threw in snowflakes vectors and holiday wishes, and it worked. So if you didn’t have the time, energy or money to do a professional session, check the photos you already have! A bit of cropping and filter adjustment could do wonder!noel2015-lm

Last year we did our card differently. As 2015 was a special year for us, we ordered a custom illustration of our family to frame and hang on the wall. But before hanging, I scanned it, added a wreath and wishes, and used it on our holiday card (photo above).

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