Here it is, my annual holiday gift round-up. As usual, no pictures — don’t want the kids peeking anything from across the room. This list isn’t quite complete. I’m a little bit using it to figure out what else I need. Though we are being real hammers this year about not getting too much. Our kids just don’t need anything else, truly. They circled a bunch of stuff in catalogs that they already own. Which I took as affirming that they like their own stuff already, but I’m not buying Zuzu a second broom. That’s just silly.
Henry, age 10:
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’s read and re-read The Hobbit and is ready for this, I think. I got him this nice edition (from my local indie bookstore).
- The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. I’ll admit I haven’t read this (yet) but it has gotten great reviews from people I trust, and Henry loved Nielsen’s Goblin Wars trilogy.
- Wildwood by Carson Meloy (another one I want to read, and that I think Henry will like)
- Odin’s Ravens. This is a game. It’s out of print, so I got it on eBay.
- King of Tokyo. Another game. Haven’t decided yet if I’m giving this to him, or to everyone.
Eli, age 7:
- Journey by Aaron Becker. A beautiful, beautiful picture book. We got it out of the library, and Eli declared it “the best book I’ve ever seen.” And every time he looked at it, he’d talk about how amazing he thinks it is. So not only did I get this for him, I bought all the copies they had at the bookstore. Teachers are getting this one too. (I am also seriously tempted to get Eli one of the prints, too. Thinking.)
- Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. Haven’t decided yet whether this is for Eli or for everyone.
- The kid wants a wooden toy boat. A lot. This is the one he wants, I might make a half-hearted attempt to find one that’s slightly larger.
- Ok, so Eli wants a tank that shoots at things (like, really shoots) and also a sword (like he doesn’t already have enough swords). I’m definitely not getting the tank, because I’d like everyone in the house to keep both of their eyeballs. My compromise to all this might be to get him a punching bag. I still have to look into this more, but he is a kid who likes big movement, and I think a big thing to punch at would be helpful.
- Both boys are getting (together, I mean) this Lego Ewok village thing. They super duper asked for it. And I like getting Legos because they occupy the kids for so long, and also (mostly?) we have a dedicated place for them to go, already, in the house (a Lego bin).
- Both boys are getting Fantasy: An Artist’s Realm by Ben Boos. Because it’s a little ridiculous how many times we’ve gotten it out of the library.
On that last point, I’ll pause here to say that, at this point, having four kids, I see toys they might want — fairy treehouses or doll houses, or play kitchens, or dolly strollers, and I know they would love them, but we just don’t have room. I feel conflicted about this. Like, is this it, forever? “Here are our established toy systems. We do not deviate from these systems. You can have Legos, toy food, blocks, or those little hard plastic Schleich animals. You may not choose any toy that is its own piece of furniture. Do you want a game? A book? You can have those. You want a cradle for your doll? Sorry, honey. We’ll have to get rid of your dresser to make that happen.”
Zuzu, age 5:
- So last year we got her this Learning Resources School Set, and she has played with it every day since. If you have a kid who likes to play school, you need to get this. I wish I could give it to her all over again. Or something. At any rate, I got some teacher-y things at the dollar store. Some flash cards and a counting thing that I think is stickers you can put on the window?
- The girl loves her shoes. And clothes. I don’t want to pigeon-hole her too much, but oh boy she loves shoes. She has a pair of cowboy boots she wears every day, but they’re getting small, and one day I was trying to get stuff done and showed her how to pin stuff onto Pinterest, and she made a whole board of shoes she wants. She’s going to get these shimmery blue cowboy boots for Christmas. And also some clothes from the Gap that have sparkles on them. (And sunglasses for the rest of us, so we can look at her, with all this glitter.)
- She’s had a bunch of dress-up tiaras in her five years, and they’ve all broken. I don’t really get too much into the princess stuff, but she does love a tiara every now and again, and is always heartbroken when they break. So Z and Ramona are both getting sturdier tiaras.
- Zuzu really wants a window-washing kit. I don’t know whether to be horrified (like she’s so repulsed by my housekeeping that she’s going to take over the job) or thrilled (she’s going to take over the job!). Anyway. She’s cute.
- She showed some interest in a potholder loom, and, honestly, when the boys started making some of those rainbow loom bracelet things, Zuzu turned out to be kind of an instant genius at it. She completely understood the whole weaving concept, while the rest of us were getting frustrated and inadvertently shooting rubber bands across the room.
- Did you know that there’s a Hello Kitty graphic novel? A few of them! My pal Colby Sharp says they’re pretty good. Zuzu’s going to love them.
Ramona, age 3
Oh, poor fourth child, who is so happy to go along with everything. What will I get you?
- Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean. This is such a sweet story. Ramona loves this book, but we didn’t own it.
- A dress with POCKETS. The girl loves pockets.
- One of those study tiaras that Zuzu is getting.
- Ramona’s favorite gift from last Christmas was a black lab doggie I got at Goodwill. He looks like this. Last weekend we were at a birthday party, and one of the birthday presents was a tiny version of that doggie, in a little bag. Ramona got uncharacteristically anxious; she started chewing on her thumb and looked extremely agitated. Basically — she was trying to hold it in and not run over and take that dog-in-a-bag because she wanted it so much.
- Something else? She loves her doll stuff. Maybe a doll thing. Or more play food. She likes that a lot too. Or something else that one of you suggests?
Santa might be bringing everyone a Lego minifigure in their stockings. He’s also bringing them candy canes. And bookmarks. And the usual round-up of oranges and apples.
The kids all have also requested Lego sets to give from each other (not sure about that sentence syntax — they want to buy each other Lego sets).
That’s the round-up right now. I’ll post more in the comments if things change.