Stuff I’m Getting my Kids for Christmas

by | Nov 29, 2012 | holidays | 6 comments

Ok, here it is! After juggling 6 catalogs, 12 browser pages, and a super-secret piece of paper with notes and circles and arrows on the back, here is the World of Julie rundown for this holiday. (Forgive me for the lack of pictures, but I’m compiling this post with kids in the house, and I don’t want them to see anything.)

Henry (age 9, likes reading, fantasy, science, geography, science, animals…)

  • The Wrinkle in Time graphic novel. Honestly, this is the one gift I’m most excited about. Henry read the original book in September, right around the time the graphic novel came out. I knew I had to get it when I read 100 Scope Notes’s review, and I somehow restrained myself and didn’t give it to Henry when the package arrived. He loves graphic novels, and loved Wrinkle in Time, but he doesn’t know the graphic novel exists. He’s going to FREAK.
  • The Chaos Tower. I am semi-hesitant on this one, just because I don’t think we need anything called the chaos tower in our house. But he’ll love it, and I kind of want it because I love watching the similar thing at the Boston Science Museum. (But also, really, Henry will love it.)
  • Green dragon (stocking stuffer). Henry still loves dragons.
  • Q-Bitz. Henry is big into games.
  • Settlers of Catan. Because I think 500 people have told me about what a great game it is.
  • Lego Hobbit An Unexpected Gathering. Henry was Bilbo for Halloween, and I love that he could use this set to recreate the dwarves’ “Chip the glasses and crack the plates!” scene, which, when we read it, was the only time I’ve ever seen anybody literally roll on the floor, laughing.
  • Some wooden pan flute and recorder things from stores in Portland; I’ll divide them between the boys.

Eli (age 6, loves weapons, Legos, Star Wars, fighting, throwing stuff, basketball)

  • This pretend rifle. I am getting this with a heavy sigh, but the fact is it’ll be his most favorite thing ever. Edited on 12/18/2012: I am not giving this to him. After what happened in Newtown, I cannot. He would point it at people, I know he would, and I don’t think I could see that without feeling ill. I sent this back and have gotten him a book about swords (Swords by Ben Boos) instead.
  • Apache helicopter (stocking stuffer).
  • Lego Star Wars Battle for Geonosis. Lucky for me, Eli comes to the computer every three days and makes me search for Lego sets, and then makes me save them to a wishlist. Because there is no way I’d remember which specific ones  he wants otherwise.
  • Z-Curve Bow. The kid, he’s really good at this kind of thing. He’s going to be psyched.
  • Knight’s Leather Tunic and Chain Link Hood from Nova Naturals. These things are pretty expensive, but the fact is that dress-ups get a lot of use in this house, and Eli wanted these, and I want to keep encouraging the imaginative, less modern, side of his warfare desires. (Plus everything we’ve ever gotten from Nova Naturals has been incredible, quality-wise.)

Zuzu (age 4, loves stickers, fairies, princess frou frou sparkle stuff). She’s the only one who has made a formal list. Can you read it? It says: bubble gum, Lego girls*, lots of sticker books please, skis**, roses***, more clothes for Pippa and Liss****.

* By “Lego girls” she means Lego Friends, which, I’ll admit, I find kind of horrid, but she loves it because, just like Lego marketers planned, it’s pink and about shopping. She’ll play with regular Legos too, though, and I’m not buying the Friends stuff. Though the boys want me to so they can make the other Lego pieces stage a war against it.

** “Because don’t I need some skis?”

*** I can thank Penny and her Doll by Kevin Henkes for making Zuzu want roses. If you have a 4-year-old girl and you don’t have this book, you should get it for her. She’ll love it.

**** Pippa and Liss are her dolls. Pippa is “Sasha” from Nova Naturals, and Liss is a Penelope Peapod. I recommend both these dolls if you’re looking for one; they get lots and lots of love.

  • Melissa and Doug Fairy Princess Dress-Up stickers. It’s like they were looking inside Zuzu’s head when they designed this product.
  • Learning Resources Pretend and Play School Set. All she does lately is play school and write down stuff in little notebooks. She’s going to love this. I hope Ramona is fine with it, since she’s clearly going to be the student.
  • A doll sling from Loveyduds on Etsy. Poor girl’s been making her own slings out of random laundry and food clips; time for something a little sturdier.
  • A wooden sword. She keeps wanting to use Eli’s, and he’s not feeling too ok with that anymore (which keeps making me think of the scene in Betty Bunny Wants Everything where the sister decides she had better get a bow and arrow if that’s what the brother’s getting, so she can defend herself).
  • This outfit for Pippa from Twirly Girl Design on Etsy, because it has butterfly leggings, a tutu, and a bracelet, which are exactly the sort of thing Zuzu wears herself.
  • A necklace and bracelet from My Beading Art on Etsy (Ramona is getting one of each from here too).
  • I got both girls some headbands and rings from stores in Portland, including little rings that look like roses.

Ramona (age 2, loves dogs, and also dogs, and even puppies too)

That’s what I’ve got right now. I haven’t ordered the Chaos Tower yet; honestly I’m worried it’s too many small parts and too much, well, chaos for our house. This doesn’t look like nearly enough books. I’ve got some books and sticker books that I ordered a long time ago and don’t even really remember what’s in that squirreled-away box. Since I’ve been doing book reviews, we’ve been getting lots of fun book presents in the mail, so I’m not as hyped up about needing books under the tree.

Edited to add: I don’t think I’m getting the Chaos Tower. I just worry that it’ll be a billion pieces we’ll trip over. I did, however, just order the book Unbored by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen. It’s one of those semi-subversive kids-only type of books (stuff like how to jump out and scare your parents as part of your ninja training, or various games involving farts, and some interesting stuff like how to get your parents to stop telling you everything you do is “awesome,” and how to get your parents to stop cursing). I had the book Kids America when I was little, and gave Henry a copy last year. That book kept me occupied for years, really, and Unbored is like the modern, slightly-older-kid equivalent.

Two other things I’ve just seen that are pricey but definitely look cool are this wooden rocker board and Imagiplanks. Vaguely considering one of those now, too. I’m all about stuff that they’ll use fifty different ways for five years.


  1. Anne

    Not for the first time, I’m wishing Sam and Eli lived next door to one another, because I think they’d have hours of fun with their Legos and Star Wars and bows and whatnot. Does Eli like climbing around on rocky terrain with stick weapons? If so, he needs to come spend a week at our house.

  2. Julie

    “Does Eli like climbing around on rocky terrain with stick weapons?” ARE YOU KIDDING? That’s how he spends most of his time.

  3. Susannah

    Do you have / have you played Qwirkle? Us, no, but I’m wondering. It keeps popping up on my radar.

    Still plotting to get the school set thing for Iris, too, but am stalling until I think of a rough equivalent gift for Miranda. Knowing me I will stall so long that it’ll wind up a birthday present in Feb. instead.

  4. Julie

    I haven’t played Qwirkle. And now not sure if I’ll get it or not. It looks good, but I got Settlers of Catan, and also recently got Eli black socks, because he said he wanted black socks for Christmas (???), and ended up getting him a shirt also, so now I’m giving Eli presents like I’m clueless Great Aunt Mildred, and so it seems maybe unfair to get Henry another game.

    I really need to do some wrapping. Kids are all up in the secret spaces, and I have to lay stuff out and see what we’ve got. Not sure if we’re all matchy. I’ll keep my eyes open for an equivalent Miranda gift. I will say that, when i opened the teacher thing, I felt all warm and fuzzy knowing that Zuzu will freak when she gets it. It’s awesome. Can’t you just google “draw + horse + present” and find something for M?

  5. Susannah

    I’m keeping a bag in the basement, and last night when I went down with laundry, there it was, off the shelf and tipped over. Quite sure it wasn’t the cat.

    This begs the question, though: are the gifts I have so far so dull that neither kid has mentioned anything? And that the bag was left tipped and spilling, like, these things aren’t even exciting enough to pretend I haven’t seen them yet?

  6. Julie

    That’s hilarious. I am now on a mission to help you find something amazing for Miranda. This age is HARD. I did just get a vintage Spirograph off of eBay — I think she’d like that? (I mean, one like it. You can’t have the one I just got.)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.