2016 Good Gifts List


(This post contains affiliate links.)

For the past few years, per request, I have done my best to create some gift idea lists. This list includes both new ideas, and some I have shared in the past.  (Some of this year’s Christmas gifts are included too!) Many of the links are Amazon affiliate links, and it is a real gift to us when you shop Amazon through those links, as we earn a small percentage when you do.  Thank you so much!


For the baby: For Christmas Mabel will receive a rubber teething goat! Also, a llama shaker, this lovely rainbow toy, and this hat for winter walks in the woods. Not so much a Christmas gift, as just plain practical, but I just ordered these pants for her on the recommendation of a friend. These are for the gap between baby’s socks and pants when they are being toted around. I have a couple of friends who are members of the cold baby police and I get busted if I don’t keep Mabel covered. Several of you wondered where I got the floral printed infant gowns that she wore as a newborn. They are just basic Carter’s. This set and this one.


For the kids:

Under the tree this year: Fish Parquet and maybe new baskets (my girls use the mini sized two-handled shoppers as knitting baskets, and the small round bolgas as all purpose baskets.) Coloring books! This one, this one, this one, and this one. This bee hive set for Job.

Prairie Bonnets and Little House paper dolls!

Story cubes are so much fun, and would make a great stocking stuffer!

Pop guns–slightly obnoxious, but fun for the little ones.

This year Job received this Hape Quadrilla marble set for his birthday. We like it a lot, but thought the Haba set we had when Keats was little was simpler. These little monster trucks (that don’t have ugly paintings on them!) are still going strong. Last year, Job received this bucket swing for his birthday, and we have been very pleased with it!

Job’s godparents gave him this pop up peg people toy when he turned one, and it was a big hit. There is a fire truck version that is super cute! This Sun Sorter puzzle is very pretty, and popular with my little ones. And I also really like this Hape First Shapes Puzzle.

Silas received this Schwinn Kid’s Balance Bike for his third birthday, and absolutely loved it. We took it to every baseball game, and he also rode around the yard on it. Last year, we bought him a small regular bike without training wheels and he was able to ride it almost immediately, having learned to balance on the balance bike. Job has since received his first balance bike, and he loves his as well. I highly recommend them!

I think that Keva planks are the single most played with toys that we own, and I say this having had them for many years. I can’t say enough good things about these very simple blocks that appeal to a very wide range of ages. This year we added Magna-Tiles to our home, and they have been very popular as well.

Into the Forest was new to us this year, and our girls really love it! Orchard is probably my favorite game to play with kids 9(ish) and under. My older boys more recently have been loving Ticket To Ride. Favorite card games include Rat-A-Tat-Cat, and Mille Bornes. Shut the Box has seen lots of play time over the years as well. Bird Bingo has been a favorite for years, now! I would like to have Bug Bingo as well!

Silas spent his long saved birthday money on this little crossbow after playing with it at a friend’s house. It is very well made, and he is having a lot of fun with it.

The sturdiest beeswax crayons for younger kids (in my experience) are the Stockmar blocks.

I bought Jonny this Bocce Set for his birthday last year and he and the boys love playing together.

When the weather is cold, my older boys typically get interested in coin roll hunting. Seth likes to search through nickels the most, the other two like pennies. Boxes of coins along with Seth’s coin roll hunting guide would make great gifts, especially if you were already planning on giving money to the recipient.

My older boys all enjoy metal detecting and we highly recommend the Garrett – ACE 250. (Seth just mentioned that Garrett has come out with a new entry metal detector, the Ace 300 and he thinks it has some really great features.) A well-made, sharp, little shovel is a must. Seth did a lot of research before settling on this one.


Gifts for adults (and big kids):

My gift to myself after Mabel was born was a large purse (pictured above) that could double as a diaper bag. I hadn’t bought a bag with diapers and baby things in mind since Keats was a baby! I considered a leather bag and kind of wished for a fancy Lily Jade, but I have been very pleased with this waxed canvas bag! And I LOVE the little Our Lady of Guadalupe that I bought to hang on the zipper! (The key chain saints aren’t available right now, but I think they will be again after Christmas, so bookmark the shop for future gifts!)

I know there are lots of nice diffusers out there, but I have been really happy with this inexpensive one.

I love these pens, and like to give them with moleskine journals.

The 2017 Taproot calendar looks so beautiful!!

The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection on DVD is great. These are comforting movies that I will watch more than once. Good for winter evenings!

I know I have mentioned it before, but if you know any gardeners this Nejiri Gama Hoe is the best little garden hoe! Prices really fluctuate on Amazon, but I just ordered myself a new one for 8 dollars!  I have been using (and losing) these for many years.

Seth received this USB Digital Microscope Magnifier Video Camera for his birthday, and uses it all the time to magnify and photograph small fossils. He really likes it.

Jonny bought a Korg Kaossilator for himself last year (birthday, I think?), and he absolutely loves it. I don’t quite understand what it is, but he uses it to make music. The older kids use it as well, and they all have a lot of fun with it.

I love these tea cups that come with infusers!  I was given one as a gift a few months ago, and I love it so much, it has become a go to gift for me as well.  They pair well with Winterwoods tea. You can receive 10% off your Winterwoods order with coupon code: smallthings2016

I have the midsize wooden drying rack from Homestead Drying Racks and absolutely love it. Ours is in daily use, mainly for drying wool items, yarn, and other things that don’t go in the dryer. It is really well made and sturdy.  (Stay tuned for a giveaway from them this weekend!)

A dehydrator! Here’s a little excerpt from an older blog post: I sometimes get a little fixated on a specific food, usually something that someone else has cooked and shared with me. That happened recently when my friend Sarah brought me a jar of cranberry granola. And of course it wasn’t ordinary granola. It was made with lacto fermented cranberry relish and then dehydrated. So it’s not like I could just throw some together myself. There was special equipment and time involved. I thought about it for a few days, and then I decided that I had to order the “special equipment” myself. I ordered a Pickl-It jar to make the cranberry relish in, and a dehydrator.

I love this white noise machine.

This is the perfect time of year to give the One Line a Day Journal.

Other nice little organizational books that I really like are this Moleskine blank recipe journal, and this very simple address book.

Jonny says that the best gift I’ve ever bought for him is this Leatherman.

And another cute gift idea is one of these blue heritage ball jars along with a Cuppow and a knitted jar cozy.

For kids (and adults!) who like to collect things, and would like an inexpensive way to display them, I recommend riker mounts. This is what we store our nicest shark’s teeth in along with some of our other fossils. We order ours here.


For the knitter or crafter:

This hobby lamp is great! I need it to be able to see when I am cross-stitching. I use Q-snaps now to hold my cross-stitching while I work (at the recommendation of one of you!) And they are the BEST. And if you need a new cross-stitch kit, Alicia’s are the best.

I am often asked what I use to block my knits. I use these blocking mats along with blocking pins and these knit blockers.


Updated book list coming later this week!



  1. Thank you! I needed one more gift for my daughter, and I ordered one of those baskets. 85: perfect! Thank you for your thoughtful list! ‘

  2. About the gap between socks and pants, somebody showed me these when my youngest was a baby: http://www.babylegs.com/legwarmers/

    While they’re cute, they’re also expensive, so I ended up just buying patterned women’s knee length knit socks (Target frequently has them on sale for $2.50 a pair), and cutting the feet off. They work like a charm.

  3. Thank you for this great list, Ginny! I think I might finally get some Keva planks this year. BTW, the magna tiles make great stocking stuffers. Each kid at our house usually finds a few in their stocking every year.

  4. Beth Fagundes says:

    I got the Little House on the Prairie paper dolls for my granddaughter last year and she didn’t know what paper dolls were! Her uncle told her they were “old school toys” and to ask Grandma how they worked!! HA!

  5. Thanks Ginny! Our son got his 2 sets of Kevas last Christmas from 2 of his aunts, based on your suggestions in last year’s list. He has spent so many hours with them, and adults are amazed at the things he has built! Almost all of his friends love them as well, and at least 2 children are getting Kevas for Christmas after their parents saw them playing with them here. Looking forward to the book list!

  6. I bought our first set of keva planks at your suggestion and agreed, great gift! At first sight they look kind of boring, but there are hours of fun, from baby to teen, locked away in them.

  7. What a great list! So much fun checking out all of your recommendations!!

I love to hear from you!