Pullbacks, wind-ups, push-alongs or good old-fashioned role playing – these traditional festive toys have one thing in common: no batteries required…
All Seasons House
Corrrr! What more can you say about these two beautifully formed machines? The curvy vintage styling, the super-shiny retro paintwork, the leather (well, plastic, but let’s not get picky) upholstery, all put together to form the Retro Ride On Plane and Racing Car. You may be tempted to put them in a locked glass cabinet where they’ll always retain their beauty, but these toys are tough, so give your budding Earharts and Schumachers free reign to burn rubber (well, again, plastic). These classic toys are made to be passed down – and played with – for generations to come.
Retro Ride On Plane / Retro Ride On Racing Car (ages 1+, though anyone over 40lbs should probably give it a miss – d’oh!): £90 / £89. Notonthehighstreet
Vilac 5 In 1 Board Games
Just picture it – snow’s falling outside, you and your gang are huddled around the table, deep in competition, while a fire roars nicely in the background… Yep, what better way to top off a traditional Christmas than with some old-school games where all the family can join in – and this set includes the classics: draughts, ludo, backgammon and snakes and ladders. Each of its four sides has a different board and all the pieces fit satisfyingly inside the wooden box. What’s more, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill paper and plastic set – it’s from French toy company Vilac, which has been making wooden toys in finely lacquered (aka smooth ‘n’ shiny) styles since 1911 – so this is a board game of old-time beauty, and made to last.
Vilac 5 In 1 Board Games (ages 3+): £39. littlecitizensboutique.com
Studio Roof Christmas Tree
Finally, a way to please both artificial-tree snobs and ethical tree huggers. Made from recycled cardboard, this 3D ‘jigsaw’ tree is more environmentally friendly than culling one at the tree farm. And with an angel, deer, peace doves, candles, baubles, a stag (well, it is made in the Netherlands) and topped with a star, it’s bursting with traditional favourites. Providing loads of fun for you and the kids to set up together, this tree has all the festive features of a real tree, but without leaving those blinking needles everywhere. Then come New Year, put all the pieces back in the box to rebuild for next Xmas – or if you can’t wait that long, create a completely new tree using different things from the building pieces that have nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever …
Studio Roof Christmas Tree (ages 6+): £29. thekidwho.eu
Wooden Kitchenette Diner
Unleash your kids’ inner Delia or Ramsey (without the potty mouth, hopefully) with this pillar-box-red, retro-styled kitchenette diner. It includes everything you need to cook up a festive feast, including utensils, a cooking pan, salt and pepper pots and oven glove. The cooker features a double hob with moving and clicking knobs, alongside a stainless-steel sink and an opening oven door. The diner even comes with a teaching clock with moving hands, so there’ll be no excuses for overcooking that make-believe turkey. Loads of rip-roaring role-playing fun for little chefs everywhere.
Wooden Kitchenette Diner (ages 3+): £95. Notonthehighstreet
Rubber-band powered Spitfire
Show this off to your granddad or great granddad, and he’ll rightly point out that this isn’t any ol’ toy plane – it’s a replica of the Spitfire Supermarine, the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. And paying homage to that proud history, the Spitfire has been reincarnated as this rubber-band plane kit. The Spitfire takes less than 10 minutes to assemble, then just wind up the propeller using the rubber band and watch it go! And there are many ways to fly it – horizontally in a straight line, hovering or with a steep climb and slow descent. Practice makes perfect – just try to be understanding when little Charlie comes crying that Gramps has done a runner with his Christmas prezzie!
Rubber-band Powered Spitfire (ages 6-90+!): £8. Iwmshop.org.uk