Ideas for Christmas Floats for a Toyland Parade

Written by carrie keathley
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Ideas for Christmas Floats for a Toyland Parade
Toyland floats are a fun way to bring in the Christmas season. (Christmas sign image by Dmitri MIkitenko from

Ideas for Christmas floats for a Toyland parade must consider the float's construction. According to Valley Decorating, veteran Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade float builders, floats on trailers that are 8 feet or less manoeuvre turns more easily than larger vehicles. A sturdy, flat float platform covered in Christmas festooning, mats, sheeting and fringe can transform a level surface into a Christmas Toyland float.

A successful Christmas Toyland parade float focuses upon kids playing with toys at Christmas, whether they are storybook children or real children of yesterday or today. Toyland is about all kids, past and present.

Major Float Props

Large props in a Christmas Toyland theme should relate to toys, Mother Goose nursery rhymes and Christmas. The musical "Babes in Toyland" features Mother Goose characters. Draw inspiration from Mother Goose Village. Larger props might include a Hickory Dickory Dock clock, a Victorian tree with imitation candles and a heavy tinsel garland for Little Boy Blue to lie under, and a large shoe decked out as the old woman's house.

Float posts made of wood or fabricated materials enable people to stand on a moving float without falling. They must be sturdy. Other characters will sit on the bed of the float.

To create fake snow, use flame-resistant white cotton-like materials such as upholstery stuffing. Cover Christmas trees with flame-retardant flocking, available at float supply companies.

Silver metallic floral sheeting creates a winter effect and reflects surrounding colours. Use large letters around the sides of the float to spell out the float's title, such as "Toyland Past and Present."

Toyland of Yesteryear

Ideas reminiscent of Toyland of yesteryear include all the nursery rhyme characters. People dressed as Bo Peep, Little Jack Horner, Little Miss Muffet and Humpty Dumpty can hold favourite antique toys. Toy drums, toy soldiers, a hoop and stick, balls, Jack-in-the-boxes, German bisque dolls, stick horses and old-fashioned wagons can be under the tree on the float. Characters can engage in games of jacks, marbles and hopscotch. They can swing from a tree and lick large lollipops and peppermints. Boys wear knickers and Little Lord Fauntleroy curls. Girls wear petticoats and bonnets.

Additional characters include nutcrackers, ballerinas and little mice wearing large windup keys on their backs.

Retro Toyland

Toys from the 1950s and 1960s include toy trains, hula hoops, roller skates, Beatles drum sets, Cabbage Patch kids dolls, record players and Barbie dolls. Float designers might incorporate jukeboxes, walking dolls and metal refrigerators, sinks, ironing boards and stoves. Boys wear 1950s blue jeans and plaid shirts or 1960s bell-bottoms. Girls wear 1950s poodle skirts, black-and-white saddle oxford shoes with ankle socks. Go-go dancers from the 1960s sport miniskirts and white vinyl boots. Retro trees can be evergreen ones decorated with 45-r.p.m. records, bubble lights, fake glass or satin balls and yo-yos. Retro silver metallic trees also can add a retro flair.

Toyland Today

Modern Toyland props include trees that do everything from light up to dance and sing. Kids on the float listen to MP3 players with wires coming from both ears. They also chat on cell phones. Toy drums and Beatles drums have given way to drum sets attached to a video screen. Kids play with hand-held games and laptops.

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