Things I Want to Buy My Children

We’re doing something different this year.  We’re buying our children presents for Christmas.  Hoo-rah.  The downside?  We’re not getting anything for you.  Sorry.

Everyone has different Christmas buying procedures.  This year I took care of my side of the family by buying them all $50 birthday presents.  Then for Christmas we just give each other small things we found at yard sales and kept in our closets all summer.  Previously, I tried to buy for everyone and just ended taking up the slack on the kids.  Boy and I don’t even chart.  I don’t think we’ve bought each other so much as a chocolate bar in the last five years.  So I’m going to flip it around.  I’m going to make it a priority to buy things for my family, and not only that, I’m going to buy them the things I’ve wanted to buy them all year.  Not the things that commercials and culturally induced guilt dictate.  If the holidays require that I go for broke, then at least I’m going in a semi-reasonable direction.  Not because I don’t want to party, but because I can party more if I can even partially justify my purchases.  We’re doing double duty this year.  And if that’s not shiny, plastic, and licensed enough, too bad.  They’re all more than welcome to go live with Laura Ingalls and get a peppermint stick and a penny.


Meet our comprehensive list.  My husband and I have been working on it for a week now.  I don’t know how much of it we will be able to buy, and I’m pretty sure if I totaled it out I would be shocked.  But even if I bought it all, I wouldn’t feel like I threw money away.  I was planning on buying it anyways.  You know, eventually.  😉

Up top, a quality set of colored pencils for Gideon, his tool of choice.  Followed by a few “Color Me Your Way” coloring books from Costco.  The kids love them.  (Mommy only wishes she had time to love them.)


This is also a good time to invest in Jael and Rahab’s dollhouse.  They want a bathroom set, a kids’ bed, and interior lighting.  Did you know Hobby Lobby sells dollhouse chandeliers?  I’m on it.


I have also been dying for some Senhor do Bonfim ribbons.  Our whole family wore them for years until we ran out, and I never got up the nerve to order a new batch from Brasil.  On account of them costing money.  Well, watch me.


Today someone mentioned Mexican jumping beans in passing, and it made my stocking stuffer list.  “Look ma, no batteries!”

Mexican Jumping Beans 011

These are for Jael.  Her heroes?  Esther Williams and Carmen Miranda.  We got rid of Netflix on account of the vile filth so I’m thinking it’s time to start our own DVD library.

81VXwSuyKKL._SL1500_Esther-Williams-DVDAnd apparently there is no surer way to a girl’s heart than under water choreography and over-accessorizing.


I’ve also been itching for a chance to work on the kids’ Puffin Classics collection.  We have all the ones pictured here, but there are quite a few more.  I love having the good stuff on hand.  When Gideon hasn’t made it to the library in three days, and life gets desperate, he isn’t above reading something for the fifth time.


And even though books are an all around justifiable purchase, I don’t buy them.  I pick them up in heaps, here and there, at yard sales.  But I can’t seem to countenance dropping $15 on just one.  But if the season requires reckless spending, then watch me, I’ll get reckless.  K.Y. Craft is the bomb.  I know some girls who need all of her princess books.


The latest craze around here is duct tape.  We bought them the “Warfare by Duct Tape” book and they’re insatiable.


Here is another cheater present.  (Buying school stuff for Christmas should be illegal.)  I thought the kids would enjoy laser pointers for geography races on the world map.  Again, it’s one of the things I never got up the nerve to run out and spend money on, because they have perfectly good pointy fingers.  laser

I can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed this TV show.  We’ve seen it a bazillion times but we’re not so much about watching it now, as memorizing it.  Yes, it’s gotten that bad.  However, I’ve given the computer numerous diseases illegally streaming it so many times.


We also seem to be in need of a new dollhouse family.  Rahab summarily scalped the previous residents.


We just bought the kids a mile of scotch tape and a lifetime supply of staples to party hardy with.  But they still need a decadent box of crisp, clean paper.  Ah, nothing says Happy Christmas like your own box of copy paper. treefrogThe Action Bible is a hot item at our house.  I don’t allow comic books as a rule, mostly because I like real books to stand half a chance.  But we do have the entire collection of Calvin and Hobbes and The Action Bible.  Both of which they read every day.  And I am continually surprised by how well they know all their Bible stories as a result.  The other day I asked Gideon who accompanied Paul to some place and he blurted out immediately, “Barnabas, Timothy, Silas!”  It had to be one of the three.  Personally, I never kept track of who was hanging with the apostle Paul, but Gideon has a fair idea.  This year we’re going to add the New Testament to the arsenal.


While I’m at it I want to get the Picture Bible.  We used to have it in black and white but the kids literally read it to pieces.eve

I think this will be our big spend for the boys.  Provided we can find one used.  Because by “big,” I don’t mean $700.  And yes, we’re going to put Legos in.  I put the Legos up indefinitely until I could find a way to manage them.  I think something that involves a lock would be more or less ideal.  Who has the “key” will no doubt be a negotiable subject.


Another big ticket item is a GPS unit for the boys.  If you check online the world is practically carpeted with geocaches.  I thought it would make their Saturday hikes more interesting.  We’ll see.  Knowing which direction is north couldn’t hurt them either.


The boys are also due for a new chess set.  This one is in the running but I think I’m leaning more towards a magnetic set.  Most chess games in our house seem to end via Rahab so it’s best to hedge your bets.


And yes, I’m the kind of person who would put a dictionary on a Christmas list.  Simply because I’m not aware of when else I would buy it.  But considering how the boys are always looking for a dictionary during school, I’m sure they would at least mildly appreciate it.  Besides, “He who defines the terms wins the argument.”  Noah Webster is on my team.  Oxford isn’t.  Totally worth 50 bucks.


Miniature doll dishes for the girls.  I find they seem to be drawn to tiny things.  Besides, a girl can never have too much china.teaset

Rahab seems to love these Crocodile Creek princess puzzles.  And look, they’re not Disney.  Let’s get them all.

snow white

This is what I have slotted for Jael’s big spend.  Not sure if I want to go vintage or buy new.  But the plan is to get her her own mixer and recipe box.  Then I want to cut down some recipes so she can make cookies at her leisure.  Jael is the kind of girl who isn’t afraid of taking matters into her own hands.


As far as stockings go, I’m pretty sure I can’t buy enough gel pens or markers.


Some more books I wouldn’t mind spending real money on.  I would like these for family reading.  Friends don’t let friends read alone. pg_wodhouse1

For the boys.


For the girls.


For mommy.


Because, just like everyone else, I wouldn’t mind if we watched Horatio Hornblower alllll day.  Although maybe for a slightly different reason.  Ahhem.


4 thoughts on “Things I Want to Buy My Children

  1. Love your list! I’m wondering…how do you get relatives on board with your concept of gift giving? I absolutely dread bringing home all the blinking, plastic nonsense after our big extended family celebrations. I’ve tried to drop hints by saying things like “Books are always great!” but we still end up with junk that gets thrown out a month after the birthday or holiday celebration. I don’t want to step on toes or seem ungrateful, but the reality is my kids enjoy the wooden swords grandpa made a few years back – and still have them! – far more than the remote controlled car that broke a week after it was given. How do you graciously work through this with your extended family?

  2. I think I’m pretty lucky to no longer have that problem. (Yay!) Part of the reason is that I don’t have presents coming at me from every angle anymore. When the boys were little they were the first grand-kids on both sides. And there was *no* way to staunch the Wal-Mart flow. But this too will pass. Now the only people who buy presents are the grandmas and one aunt. It’s not so bad. In the past the gift surplus really bothered me because I didn’t have the money to buy for my kids myself. And since everyone else and their dog was doing it already, I divided my money between aunts and uncles instead. But I realized that while I like buying presents for people, my heart is really for my children. I don’t think what other people got them bothered me so much as the fact that I couldn’t/didn’t. I was expecting them to do what I wanted to do. Which is a little insane.

    Christmas is supposed to be over the top. It’s supposed to be excessive. As parents our desire is to bless and delight our children. I would even go so far as to say it’s an obligation. Ideally I would like to be lavish on everyone, but if I can’t afford it, I would rather be lavish with my children than skimpy on everyone. I think if I grant myself that, then the stuff that comes in on top won’t matter so much. I’ve already finished the job. The other thing that helps is having an easy come, easy go attitude. I don’t hold onto stuff and I suffer no obligation to it. It’s stuff. Say thank you, let it live it’s little happy life expectancy, and pass it on when they’re not looking. Most things seem to end up in the trash soon enough, others find nice homes in the church nursery. Sometimes the kids get nicer items that they really were wanting, but mommy wasn’t. In which case, I let them enjoy them for a season and when I can tell their interest has waned I put them on Craigslist. Usually they are more than happy to let go of it in exchange for money. Win, win. 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughts. While we’re at it, I was wondering what the particulars are of the duct tape book you got for your boys…”Warfare by Duct Tape” I think you called it. I looked it up on Amazon and couldn’t find it. Who’s the author? I have a 7-year-old boy who loves making stuff and thinks duct tape is pretty cool, so it’s something I’d like to look into for him.

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