I'm on baby number 4 so have seen many Christmases and birthdays already. This toy has been on my lists in the past, but somehow always got overlooked until this year. I guess it was on the recommendation of a few friends that the toys was fantastic for babies that made me finally buy it (or, err, was that Santa who bought it???).
Anyway, the bottom line is that my 9-month-old truly loves this toy. He even started crawling (finally) so he could reach it. He picks up the pegs, he mouths them, gums them, bangs them together, makes a little hammering action against the pegs that are still in their holes. He picks up the main block and turns it over and over, looking at the holes and the coloured swatches on the side.
I presume, as he gets older, he'll start tucking the pegs into the holes and then, even later, learn to launch them from their spring-loaded bases.
The toy feels good to hold because it's wooden, and the pegs are such a good size and weight. The little happy faces drawn on them are something that my baby is already responding to, turning the pegs around until he sees them.
Best of all, it's made in Cheshire, England. And it's cheaper in England than in the US. (I can tell you that *that's* a surprise!).
Bottom line: buy the toy for your first baby. Buy it for your friends' babies. I'm just about to buy one for my nephew who's 6 months old, and wish I'd bought it for my own, older kids before now, so we could have had that much more enjoyment from it.
Oh, and the other thing I really like about it? No batteries required.
UPDATE: The 9-month old is now almost 4, and he still *loves* this toy! Now the little men talk to each other, and he is very specific about putting the right coloured man in the right coloured hole. He sometimes uses a toy hammer on it, though is quite careful not to hit his men too hard. I just can't believe how CLASSIC this toy really is.