Christmas presents 2013

by | Dec 10, 2013 | etsy, Henry, holidays, Ramona, Zuzu | 16 comments

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.


  1. cara

    I always love reading through this post! Very curious about ‘Journey’!

    wanna see ours?

    red comforter cover – his gray comforter doesn’t look good in his new yellow room, but this is gonna look awesome

    and matching star nightlight

    We’re signing him up for martial arts classes at Riverview Foundation and hoping to wrap up his gi for Christmas. He will be so, so excited for this 🙂

    We bought the Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley set last Christmas because we knew that it being retired, but we haven’t decided if we’re going to give it to him or just hold on to it and sell it for a million dollars in a few years when they’re impossible to find. I do enjoy the few days of peace and quiet that come from a large lego set.

    Billy wants to get him a guitar. I’m unsure if the timing is right.

    Family gift from Santa –

  2. Diandra Mae

    Great list! Mine are 6 and 3. The six year old is getting a bike, four new GNs, a how-to cartoon book, and some clothes. (That kid grows like a weed) The three year old is getting a Calico Critters starter cottage, some new cards for her hand-me-down Alphie, a couple of books, and possibly some new accessories for her play doh set, and clothes. I may also be buying a new white stuffed kitty for her as she lost her at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and is super sad about it. We’re also getting a WiiU for the family because the oldest is crazy good at physics-style (angry birds) & puzzle games. I introduced him to Myst style games when I was playing them on my tablet a few weeks ago, and he is hooked. We figure a little Zelda, and Dance-Dance will be fun for everyone. And it will work as a rewards system. (He earns time on the tablet on the weekends with school and home chores/behavior)Thanks for sharing, Julie! I’m off to explore the Small Hands website. 🙂

  3. Christina

    This is great- gives me ideas for down the road. We loved Journey as well. Those prints are beautiful! I am getting Lia the window washer kit thing too (well the squeegy and then the rest at the dollar store). I also just ordered the Japanese water brush painting thing from that catalog- she likes to paint and that makes it easy to paint with water and I dont have to set up the whole paint set every time. My girls basically do art/crafts stuff and ignore the rest of their toys- some dress up, but I’m going to try to purge the playroom at some point and just make it an arts and crafts center. Nora does like that school playset too…But we also have way too many things they dont touch. If Ramona likes pockets- she might like a Stuffie stuffed animal. I swore I would never buy another one- but Lia LOVES hiding things in little places and each animal has 7 pockets. So I caved and so she’s getting one for her birthday in January.

  4. Julie

    Oh, good idea on the Stuffie, Christina! I’ll have to make a note of that, if not for now, then for birthday. Diandra, which how-to cartoon book are you getting? My boys have one they like called THE SUPER BOOK FOR SUPERHEROES, but they love stuff like that.

  5. Julie

    Update: Eli has wanted the wooden knight figures from the Nova Natural catalog for YEARS. Every year he circles them. But they’re like $50 minimum EACH. Which is six times more than I want to spend. Just discovered this Etsy shop Zooble, and ordered a huge bunch of stuff for stockings. This stuff is so cute I can hardly stand it!

  6. Sarah

    My coworker just asked me for the big soft ginger cookie recipe, so I came back to WoJo to get it, and good timing as I did not know that Kate DiCamillo has a NEW BOOK! Yippee! Added to Christmas list!

  7. Anne

    Sam is getting Flora & Ulysses too, although I had my MIL get it for him. Suddenly I can’t remember what else I got him! Yikes. I was thinking of King of Tokyo too…have you played it?

  8. Diandra Mae

    It’s the Adventures in Cartooning, Characters inAction. Can’t wait to see what he does with it.

  9. Julie Hedlund

    I’ll have to look at the specifics of what I got Molly, but her favorite gift from last year, which she still uses, is a fashion design sketchbook. So I got her another one along with more art books geared toward developing a personal style. One is some kind of “Zen Art” showing how to make pretty patterns, which supposedly turns out to be a form of meditation. I live in Boulder, remember? 🙂

  10. Kelly H-Y

    Hmmm … I might just have to get ‘Journey’ for my daughter … she would LOVE it! (And, so would the rest of us, from the sound of it!). And, thank you for the reminder about cowboy boots … I’d forgotten about that gift list request! :-)Have a wonderful Christmas!

  11. Stacy Couch

    Love Tolkien–though who doesn’t, right? Can’t wait to give Bubs “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” (Read: Gift for me!) He still loves the PB’s, thank goodness; Bubs nearly drooled over “Carnivores.” But I’m looking forward to that PB/Chapter book overlap, when we can read both.

    And Zuzu’s window-washing kit! Super cute.

  12. Julie

    Anne, I haven’t played King of Tokyo yet, but it has been recommended, AND it says it takes 30 minutes to play AND 6 people can play it. Or 2 people. These are all huge selling points for me.

  13. Julie

    Julie H, I’d love to know more details on the fashion design sketchbook at some point. Zuzu would love that, I bet.

  14. Julie

    Cathy, I know my kids would love that little clothesline, too, but we don’t have room for it!

  15. Lauri Meyers

    Happy to know my true age is 7, because I’ve loved those books this year too!


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