I have two kids home sick from school, but they only had one barfing session each (one kid last night, the other kid this morning), and since then they have been absolutely well enough to play video games, so I am hoping hoping hoping that they just had too much dinner last night or something.
Every year at Christmas I re-read This Year It Will Be Different. This time I’m deliberately reading one story each night, after it’s dark enough outside for the Christmas lights to look peak beautiful. This has been a very pleasant way to do it, as it turns out.
Certain Christmas carols bug me; I won’t list them all, because one person’s teeth-clenching irritant is another’s sentimental favorite, but I did want to mention a little issue with Do You Hear What I Hear. That’s the one where the night wind tells the lamb about a special star, and then the lamb tells the shepherd boy about a special song, and then the shepherd boy tells the king about a special baby, and then the king tells his people about the special baby too. But in the actual Bible story, what the king actually does upon hearing the news of a special baby is order the execution of all boys two years and younger. I can see how that wasn’t as nice a verse for the song, but what if the shepherd boy had instead continued the game of Telephone with a grown-up shepherd or a magi or something? Then we could have had another good verse without the story veering.
We are right at that point where “There is PLENTY of time to prepare for Christmas” has the potential to turn into wild panic about how little time there is left. Rather than trying to make idea lists around a certain type of person, I am going to just show you what I’ve been buying and trust you to figure out which person on your list it might work for, if any.
Pokémon wallet for my six-year-old nephew who just started getting an allowance. I had Paul and the three youngest kids all weigh on the decision, because there were several pretty good ones; this one was the winner, but not by a lot. The runner up was this one. Arguments for the one we got: it’s cuter; it’s a more attractive design overall; you can act like you’re putting your money into a Pokéball. Argument for the runner-up: more Pokémons is better.
Pokémon Throw ‘N’ Pop Charmander and Great Ball, also for the six-year-old nephew. I thought this looked really cute and fun. The hardest part was picking which Pokémon/ball combination.
Pusheen 12″ plush for my eight-year-old niece. I hope I made the right call on this. Elizabeth thinks the ones eating things (cookie, cupcake, sushi, doughnut, pizza, ice cream, chips) are cuter, but I thought a more basic edition would have more long-term cuteness/appeal. (By the way, there is a 41″ version too if you are of the go-big-or-go-home temperament.)
I also bought the Pusheen stamp set, which by the way is TINY—tinier than I was imagining, because I failed to read the perfectly clear description. It’s a nice stocking item, though. And if you’re thinking of buying some Pusheen stuff, I definitely recommend the Pusheen book. All my kids love it.
Nerf Dart refill, for ten-year-old Henry. When we are old and moving into a nursing home, they will clean out our house and, one assumes, find thousands of Nerf darts, because where do they all go?
OPI in Madame President. For me. I had a bottle already, but Elizabeth uses up a lot of nail polish and so when the price dipped I bought another bottle to set aside and not let her use. I’ll have Paul put it in my stocking.
Pizzacraft dough docker, for Paul. He likes trying new kitchen toys, even if they don’t end up being useful.
LEGO Space Shuttle Explorer / Moon Station / Space Rover. For Paul, who recently said he was in the mood to build with LEGOs again. I like that you can make three different projects with the same set.
Portal the board game, for either Edward or Henry, depending on who has fewer presents. The video games Portal and Portal 2 have been extremely and persistently popular at our house, so even if the board game ends up being terrible it’ll be fun to open. I’m also buying this little LEGO Portal set; probably I’ll give it to Paul because he can be relied on to share graciously.
Dixit, for 16-year-old William. I am picky about games, and I do like this one. I like that it’s low-pressure, and everyone plays for themselves so you don’t have to worry about letting teammates down, and it’s relaxed and creative, and it allows time to pause and chat for awhile mid-game-play. I was explaining the game to William (I played it at someone else’s house) and he really liked the sound of it so I’m getting it for him.
Chicago Cutlery Fusion II 5-inch utility knife and 7-3/4-inch chef knife. We have the 3-inch paring knife and Paul commented recently that it’s one of his top favorites and he wishes he had a second one so he didn’t have to keep washing it. So I’m buying him a second one, and also these two different knives from the same line so he can see if he likes those too. I see they say hand-wash only, but we have been putting the paring knife through the dishwasher daily.
Melissa and Doug Giant Deer. For me, and as a friend for my giraffe. I can’t fully explain myself, except that I saw him in a store and his nose was perfectly off-center and he was looking at me like this:
You should have seen all the adoring looks he got as I wheeled him around in the cart. Everyone who saw him wished they’d seen him first! Everyone! I have him standing next to the Christmas tree with Christmas lights draped over his antlers, and I have no regrets.