It's a mad, mad world with 7 circuses in town

moscowkitties.jpgNew York City can get pretty crazy during the Holidays, but, in fact, with seven circuses in town, New York has never been more of a circus than it is now. Hailing from Moscow, Harlem, French Canada, China and good old fashioned New York, in typical New York style even the circuses can teach children about different cultures. Perhaps this holiday break you'll take your children on a trip around the world NYC circus style.

The Apollo Big Show Circus Only through December 23rd, this Harlem circus stars hip-hop acrobats, African dancers and drummers, double-Dutch jump-ropers, trapeze artists and Rappin’ Granny.

New Shanghai Circus at the New Victory Theater through Jan. 6. Chinese acrobats, aerialists and athletes perform astounding acts in the tradition dating back to the harvest festivals of 2,000 years ago performed in with gloriously modern choreography, music and lights.

Track Santa with Norad on Christmas Eve

Well, thanks to my lovely server, I just lost the long post I had spent the last two hours writing. So here's a quickie fun link: At NoradSanta.org you can track Santa as he makes his way around the world bringing toys and goodies in his sleigh. Norad is the North American Rapid Air Defense (or something like that) and finally it's being put to good use - protecting American children from the threat of not believing in Santa. Here is the properly super geeky military explanation of Santa's trip around the world from the site:

Mommy Poppins Readers Gift Guide

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At Mommy Poppins we always try to provide real information by real parents that you will really use. So what could be better than a gift guide created by your fellow NYC parents. This guide will be just as useful for birthday gifts as it is for Holiday presents. And at the end of the post, we'll announce our lucky winner of the $100 gift certificate to the Scholastic Store.

Everyone's a Winner at Mommy Poppins

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Owen found the perfect toy.

I'd like to thank everyone who came out in today's rotten weather for the Toy Swap.

It was a success! All the kids had a great time playing with the toys, enjoyed some hot cocoa and the delicious and healthy goodies made by BisKids catering. I loved that everyone found a couple of things to take home as well as getting rid of some toy chest clutter.

We had some really nice stuff to swap: wooden toys and puzzles, great baby toys, books. Thanks for bringing all the great stuff, everyone. What a great way to find Holiday gifts, plus we donated a bunch of toys to the toy drive and six bags of the left-over used toys went to Housing Works.

So we had lots of winners today, but our A Kid’s Life and The Gazillion Bubble Show winners are Anona de Juana for The Gazillion Bubble Show and for A Kid’s Life, Kaila Braus. Congrats. If that's you please email me your mailing address and you'll get.

This Weekend: Toy Swap, two giveaways, more trains, and other fun

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Courtesy of CTC

The Mommy Poppins Holiday Toy Swap & Drive is this Sunday from 10AM to 1PM at 146 Duane Street and it looks like it's shaping up to be a lot of fun. New children's party catering company, BisKids will be giving out delicious, free homemade goodies.

Also, everyone who comes on Sunday can enter to win a pair of tickets to The Gazillion Bubble Show or a pair of tickets to A Kid's Life. I saw The Gazillion Bubble Show and it was a lot of fun. I think kids of all ages, and adults too, would enjoy this show.

So I hope you will all come. We may get a little weather, but it should be a great time. If you are reading this in your email and care to just hit reply and let me know if you are planning on coming or not that would be great. I want to make sure BisKids brings enough treats for everyone!

What to do after the swap: Make a day of it, the Washington Market Park Christmas Party, just a couple of blocks away, starts at 2PM. Or head over to Church Street School for Music and Art for their fabulous gingerbread house decorating workshops at 2:15.

And more fun stuff going on:

Scholastic Store Extreme Makeover

Sadly the Scholastic Store closed in January 2015. In my opinion the Scholastic Store in SoHo is one of the better kid stores in New York City. Whether I am looking for books, toys or a last minute birthday party present, I know I can always find something of quality at the Scholastic Store. Most of the toys and books are educational as well as being fun. They've just done a complete overhaul of the store making this great shopping experience even better.

Read more to find out some of the changes at the Scholastic Store in SoHo, some last minute gift ideas.

Giving Back (and Getting): The One Laptop Per Child Program

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If this is not the hot giving opportunity of the year, then it certainly should be. The One Laptop Per Child project is the coolest thing on so many levels. If you haven't heard of it, here's the gist: some smart people have created a laptop that is cheap enough, rugged enough, energy efficient enough, and wired enough to be perfectly designed to give to children in developing nations to help them connect with the world and get the education they need to grow into modern world citizens.

Why is this the best giving opportunity this Holiday Season? Until December 31, 2007 you can buy a laptop for a child in a developing nation and get a laptop for a child in your life. The give one, get one promotion costs only $399 and is 50% deductable. Not only does it include a great laptop, perfect for a child, but it comes with a free year of TMobile wireless. That in and of itself is almost worth the price of the program because it gives you free wireless, just about anywhere.

Snowflake Celebration: Holiday Shopping in Brooklyn (and Queens)

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Blue Ribbon General Store

[THIS POST WAS UPDATED NOV 2008]
By now, we all know the benefits to shopping from small, local retailers rather than big box stores, but the main reason should always be because you find more unique, wonderful things to buy in a more enjoyable shopping experience.

To that end, Dani has brought you some recommendations of great new stores in Brooklyn and Queens to do your Holiday gift shopping this year. And to make sure that buying from Mom and Pop is a great shopping experience Buy in Brooklyn is hosting a Snowflake Celebration the first two Thursdays in December (Thursday, December 4th and 11th) where local Park Slope retailers will offer special discounts, promotions, and in-store refreshments to shoppers. Last year the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music performed concerts, carolers wandered the streets, and snow machines dusted the sidewalks to set the mood. More about that after Dani's recommendations:

Two stores in Brooklyn & one in Queens with great gifts for the holidays will remind you that NY shopping exists outside of Manhattan. While you're there explore a little & enjoys some food & fun.

Go to Brooklyn.... Take the A or C train to the Hoyt/Schermerhorn stop in Brooklyn. Just around the block on the corner of Bond St. & State St. is Blue Ribbon General Store which opened in September. They have tons of great gifts for kids (and adults). Make sure to check out their "grab bag" bins that are filled with all kinds of treats perfect for stuffing those stockings and would be a great resource for kids birthday goody bags as well. Along with clever toys from Eeboo, Crocodile Creek, Toysmith and Melissa and Doug, they carry tons of puzzles, art supplies and books. They also have lots of kids cooking kits that will come in handy on those inside days that we're always talking about.

Grab your bags & head down Atlantic Avenue and make a note to tell Santa about all the fabulous clothing shops that have opened there. You can take a break and grab some delicious falafel on homemade pita bread at Bedouin Tent. They also make fabulous pizzas that are really kid friendly on that same pita. You'll also pass Downtown Atlantic which carries some of the most delicious cupcakes around. Grab a couple to take home!

After you're finished, make your way to Exit 9, 127 Smith Street. This store has a great selection of really original offerings from old fashioned gag gifts to housewares to really stylish fashion accessories. One of my favorites is the old fashioned phone receiver that plugs into your cell allowing you to talk the old fashioned way. This store is perfect for everyone on your list with stuff for older kids, teenagers & adults as well. It's packed with really inventive gift ideas and lots off stuff from a variety of designers & artists. They also have a really cool selection of baby gifts & shower gifts so this place could be a valuable resource year round.

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ToyQube

Queens.... Get in some for some shopping & then grab a bite at one of the great Chinese, Korean, or other southeast Asian restaurants that abound in Flushing. ToyQube & Gallery (Flushing Mall 133-31 39th ave. #F36) is located in Flushing a few blocks from the 7 train. This store carries the best & brightest toys that you'll never see in toys r us. Kid Robot might be a recognizable name to some with older kids, but if you’ve never heard of them they are one of many colorful inventive figurines from Japan, Hong Kong & other faraway places. For those with younger kids they also have Yo Gabba Gabba Dolls.

It’s a store but also a gallery so you can be inspired by the creativeness of these toys that are worlds away from the average toy store counterparts. The store also carries skate accessories, sneakers and lifestyle accessories. Your cool? quotient will definitely grow after visiting this store with the tweens & teens in your life. You might even take home something for yourself.

To get a preview of all the wonderful things you can expect to find for sale at the Snowflake Celebration, check out the Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn Holiday Shopping Guide which shows some of the highlights and diverse finds you'll find while strolling down both Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Park Slope.

For a full listing of all the special deals, discounts and offerings of the Snowflake Celebration visit Buy in Brooklyn.

Holiday Boy Clothes Sample Sale

If you’re looking for perfect clothes for a little boy for the Holidays, check out the Burwell sample sale. All Burwell New York pieces are design, cut, and sewn in the heart of the garment district using the finest traditional fabrics, such as herringbone, cotton velveteen, cashmere and super soft corduroy from mill in England, Italy, Spain and Japan. Vintage-inspired details are added, like the antique brass and pewter buttons, or the faux-fur collar on the peacoat.

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