It’s the most wonderful time of the year (at Nickelodeon)

As if it isn’t enough that this is the season when all of the old favorite holiday specials are on television, the regular programming schedule is getting a little jolt of the holiday spirit, as well. I am especially loving this on account of my family’s recent relocation to warmer climes.

(Those of you who’ve always lived where it’s still arcing into the 70s in December may be used to this, but we aren’t. A few holiday television shows featuring plenty of yuletide glee along with some snow are just what the doctor ordered.)

Anyway, Nickelodeon is running all sorts of great stuff this month. Tomorrow (that’s Friday, December 14th, 2007) your preschooler can get into the spirit all afternoon long:

December 14 (12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

12:00 p.m. The Wonder Pets! “Save the Reindeer”
12:30 p.m. Blue’s Clues “Blue’s First Holiday”
1:00 p.m. Go, Diego, Go! “Diego Saves Christmas”
1:30 p.m. Wow Wow Wubbzy! “O Figgity-Fig Tree/Snow Day” (PREMIERE)

The winter holidays are here, and the kids are building a winter festival, Madame Zabinga is rehearsing the Nutty-Nutcracker, and Walden is waiting for the arrival of blue snow. Best of all is the lighting of the Figgity-Fig Tree, and this year Wubbzy wants to make it the best tree ever! But as usual, he overdoes it by adding too many lights and blows out the generator. Without any lights, the Wuzzleburg townspeople must come up with novel ways of decorating the tree. In “Snow Day,” Wubbzy goes sledding and Widget brings out his snow-shoveling machine. Walden begins building a snow sculpture of a Woly-Polar Bear, but soon Wubbzy sleds right into it, knocks it down and buries Widget’s machine in the snow. Now Wubbzy and Widget scramble frantically to fix the sculpture before Walden finds out.

Later on in the day, Christmas comes to the Wayside School:

Friday, December 14 – Wayside “Sideways Christmas” (PREMIERE)

“Extra-Curricular Ridicular”
All the kids are forming bizarre after-school clubs, except for Todd, who creates a plain old “Science Club.” Myron laughs at him, believing his club will be better, until he sees Todd’s club has managed to build a functioning rocket. Jealous Myron tries to form a “Science Club” and build a rocket of his own.

“Sideways Christmas”
A series of haphazard events confuse Myron into thinking he’s actually stuck in his own version of “The Christmas Carol.” The other kids are baffled as he mistakes them for Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and in the end, Myron learns his lesson.

On Sunday you’ll find a holiday-themed marathon taking place on Nick in the afternoon (featuring Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Danny Phantom, and others), and of course there’s plenty more holiday cartoon goodness as we move closer in towards Christmas. See the entire schedule here if you need to plan around your favorite shows.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Get ready for Shocktober on Nickelodeon

Oh, I know how you’re feeling. I do. “School just started again!” you’re lamenting. “It can’t possibly be time for Halloween mania already!” But alas, I am here to tell you that no matter how busy your days nor how perplexed you are over how this happened, October is almost here. And that means Halloween is coming.

(Do I even need to tell you that you need to be getting on the stick about buying costumes? Here, go have a look at this year’s stock at Ty’s before all the other slacker parents remember they need costumes. I’m partial to the Miss Spider costumes but my rotten children want something scary. Hmph.)

Anyway, the Halloween programming over at Nickelodeon has been announced, and there’s something for everyone, starting in just a couple of weeks. There’s iCarly and Naked Brothers Band and other TEENick offerings, and plenty of Nick Jr. options for the little ones (Wonder Pets, Backyardigans, Blues Clues, Max and Ruby, to name just a few) and everything in-between. Of particular interest (aside from the programming schedule):

Nickelodeon’s kids’ websites, and Nicktropolis, will also dress up in costume to complement “Shocktober.” Throughout the month of October, Nick’s virtual world, Nicktropolis (, will transform its Downtown into a haunted destination featuring a Haunted House, Dracula’s Lair and The Mummy’s Tomb. Kids can visit a pumpkin patch and pick one to put in their personalized rooms, or play a brand new online multiplayer game as team werewolf or vampire, with a goal of persuading the other species to join their team.

Beginning Saturday, October 13, will introduce a scream-themed mini-site — — featuring scary games and videos for Halloween. Kids can log on and participate in the “Scare-acter Transformer” online kids’ game where they can transform their favorite Nicktoon character into a “Scare-acter” with scary parts or swapping body parts with other Nicktoon characters. The “scare-acters” can then be submitted online into the “Shocktober Halloween Parade,” and Nickelodeon will randomly pick some to display on the bottom of the screen during the on-air Halloween Day marathon on Wednesday, October 31.

So there’ll be plenty to do, next month, and only some of it will involve pumpkin guts. I know you’re relieved.

Never underestimate the power of the backpack

Your kids have been nattering on about backpacks for the new school year for weeks, most likely. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that The New York Daily News shares their concerns about which pack is the hippest.

Naturally, the Daily News turned to the experts; and that included one of Ty’s Toy Box‘s very own:

“Kids care about who or what is on their backpacks,” says George Stolpe, vice president of marketing for Ty’s Toy Box. “It’s a statement of who they are, what they’re interested in. It’s very personal.”

Hey, I can dig it. I certainly don’t want to carry a purse that someone else picked out for me; I can understand that my kids want to pick their own bags. They’re going to be toting them around for a minimum of 180 days, so it just stands to reason that they’re going to want something they love.

The Daily News goes on to quote for some tips on how to choose the right bag, and I was okay with their suggestions right up until the last bullet:

Make sure there’s a place for everything: The backpack should have ample pockets and compartments to store everything your kid might need to carry (crayons, pencils, Game Boy, cell phone, etc.). The more places to store things, the better organized your child will be.

I’m sorry… if your kid is small enough to be carrying crayons, why in the world would he be carrying a Gameboy and a cell phone? Why, when I was a child, I had to walk uphill both ways four miles through snow— Oh. Sorry. Bit of a curmudgeon moment, there. I apologize. Ahem.

Back to the bags: The Daily News highlights the demand for character gear, deeming that Hi-5, Lazytown, and Doodlebops backpacks all warrant the “Totally Tubular” moniker. (My favorite bag at Ty’s right now is this adorable Miss Spider “Best Bug Buddies” one, but as the article points out, I don’t really get to pick anymore. I suppose my kids are a bit too old for it, but darnitall, it’s cute.)

Whichever bags your tots end up toting, make sure they can manage them comfortably. And if the kids are being particularly mouthy, might I just suggest removing the Gameboy and the cell phone and replacing them with a few rocks?

[image courtesy of Kids Care Clubs]