It’s only December 6th (St. Nicholas Day!) but it already feels like December is flying by. I still have so much to do to prepare for Christmas! I do have our Advent things out, and started reading Advent books to my kids, so I’m not totally behind. We don’t put up a Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, but oftentimes our kids get a little frustrated with waiting and take matters into their own hands. Silas went out in the woods yesterday, and came home with a little cedar tree for his room, which is pretty sweet.
I have started planning gifts, but need to hurry it up if I want things to arrive on time. I am thinking that gifts for my older boys will be pretty straightforward this year. They are all at a place where they have very specific needs and wants. My challenge with them is to find a few things for their stockings that are worthwhile without being too expensive.
We do our best to focus on our faith, love, and traditions during Advent and Christmas, rather than loads of stuff. That being said, I truly love giving gifts and put a lot of thought into what I purchase for my friends and family. I hope my good gifts list can be of some assistance to you as you try to find intentional, thoughtful gifts for those you love. As always, this year’s list includes new ideas along with those that I share every year. I’ve added a new art supplies section. I really, really love art supplies. 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!
Favorites for children:
Everyone will get a stainless steel straw in their stocking this year.
Pop guns–slightly obnoxious, but fun for the little ones.
We have been pleased with the quality of this bucket swing.
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. The following 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 (followed closely by playsilks), 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.
A few years ago, 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 had a lot of fun with it. This year he and Job have requested this bow and arrows set. We also love these interlocking wooden blocks.
Favorite games include:
Beatrix receieved Kingdomino for her birthday last year and it is a good one!
Into the Forest was new to us last year, and our girls really love it! Orchard is probably my favorite game to play with kids 9(ish) and under. 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!
These are our longtime favorite colored pencils. These are fun too. We like beeswax blend crayons and have recently been using some that are made in the U.S. by Filana We love both the blocks and the stick crayons. We also like these, and these 100% beeswax chunky crayons have held up very well-a great choice for younger children.
My girls love these tiny watercolor sets. Here is another pocket sized option. They pair perfectly with a tiny watercolor journal. This is another small option, and these are also nice small sketchbooks. These are great for nature walks and would make nice stocking stuffers. My younger kids really like scratch off paper, and we like the small size of the sheets in this set.
Gifts for adults (and big kids):
Leathermans are very popular in our house, and we have a couple of new ones this year. Beatrix received this cute little one for her birthday, and Jonny bought the Wingman for his own birthday. It’s a bit smaller than his other one, and he is very attached to it. It is small enough that he can carry it in his pocket and he claims that he uses it almost every day for something. Seth also bought one recently, this model.
Generally, we avoid tons of electronics, but I am really considering an Echo (or two) for the whole family to stream music and audiobooks, but I am not sure I even understand it enough yet to know exactly what I need to order! Please feel free to advise me in the comments, or suggest alternatives. I want to be able to stream Amazon music and Audible, but don’t want a screen because then the kids are distracted by the device and want to do other things than listen (this is the problem I am having with letting them use my phone to listen.)
I wear this apron all the time, when Lark doesn’t have it (It has pockets!) Gray was the only color available when I bought it, but I see that now it comes in quite a few color options!
I love my 8 quart Instant Pot. It took me awhile to warm up to it, but we use it several times a week now and it’s a lifesaver.
Warm overalls! These are my winter farm chores necessity for staying warm.
Seth (my 17 year old) recently bought himself a couple of nice tools. This machete, and this knife. One of my boys will be receiving this fire starter set in his stocking this year. (There are quite a few “survival” gear ideas at the end of this post.)
Larkspur (age 11) is an avid letter writer, and bought this sealing wax set earlier this year.
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 entry level Garrett detectors such as the Ace 300. A well-made, sharp, little shovel is a must. Seth did a lot of research before settling on this one.
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. Other nice little organizational books that I really like are this Moleskine blank recipe journal, and this very simple address book. I am pretty committed now to my Moleskine planner. This will be my 2019 planner. LOVE IT. I save my planners and these will fit nicely on shelf one day; I only wish I had started using them sooner.
This will be my 2019 wall calendar. So pretty!!!
I mention it every year, but if you know any gardeners this Nejiri Gama Hoe is the best little garden hoe! Prices really fluctuate on Amazon, but it’s usually well under ten dollars! I have been using (and losing) these for many years.
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.
This is the perfect time of year to give the One Line a Day Journal. We still use ours to record special moments we want to remember.
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.
Updated book list coming tomorrow (I hope!!!)