It’s fina-lully here! My Christmas gift suggestion list for 2018. These are all (with a few exceptions, which are noted) gifts our own kids received and enjoyed. They are in no particular order, and they are almost all from Amazon. Hoping to get an Etsy/handmade list up soon.
I’ll add links to lists from previous years as soon as I can. I have to remove a bunch of defunct links, boo.
Okay, here we go!
Cosmic shock phaser light spinner
It has pulsing, multicolored lights and makes space laser noises. Everybody loves this gun, not just the three-year-old. Sometimes we sit around at night and talk about why it’s not more annoying than it is. It’s a space laser mystery!
Satisfyin’. Paint markers draw on just about any surface, including shell, rock, glass, ceramic, and metal. These are bright and shiny and would be great for making ornaments or personalizing gifts.
Tales from Grimm book
Every household should have a copy. Wanda Ga’g’s storytelling and illustrations together are the fairy tales everyone should know. Includes a few head scratchers and all the classics.
Lightweight Brother sewing machine
A real sewing machine, not a toy, but lightweight and compact. Nice and simple for beginners. I’m a complete moron and I can use this machine.
The instructions are kind of baffling, so we couldn’t figure out how to make them three-dimensional like in the picture, but they’re pretty neat as plain silhouettes. They stick well.
If you are thirteen, this hoodie will give your life meaning. It’s a lightweight nylon, so not thick or warm, but look at that fricken lion!
A good board for the price. Lots more patterns available.
We’ve bought many CowCow dresses in the past, and this one may be the coolest. It flares wonderfully, and the colors hold up after years of washing. CowCow dresses come in a bewildering number of patterns, some of them truly bizarre. The material is a thick, stretchy synthetic fabric, almost like swim suit material.
Totoro crossbody coin/phone purse
Just plain cute, and pretty sturdy. My kid uses it as a change purse. It has a good long strap.
Turntable with software for recording, editing and converting your vinyl Audio in MP3 format
Decent turntable for the price. Doesn’t need constant rekajiggering like some.
More of a party favor than a present, but if you have a lot of daughters, won’t you please buy a set of these headbands and have them wear them to Christmas Mass? Do it for the little old ladies.
An excellent ring for a fidgeter. The gold part spins noiselessly around the silver part. Sturdy!
Look, I dunno. Sometimes we just buy what’s on the wish list. It is life-sized, hooray!
I think this was on previous lists. We’ve bought more than one. Take your Legos with you!
I bought a bag of these on a whim over the summer, but my kids did not actually end up using them, to my surprise. They are plastic screws designed for attaching cardboard together, so you can build all kinds of awesome things, with moving parts if you like. If you have a kid who’s always building stuff and getting frustrated with the limitations of tape, this could be awesome.
Note “Wonderful Homelife” book in the background, so you know it’s good! Just a pretty thing to play with. Tilt the frame to change the landscape. It’s soothing and pleasant. Choice of several colors.
I guess we’re going to just keep buying these on request. The art is fab and the story is good and weird. Hellboy seems to be Catholic, by the way.
Again, we haven’t gotten around to playing this yet, but I bought it because it was recommended by so many friends. It’s supposed to be easy to learn, suitable for people who aren’t super into gaming and fun for all ages, even little guys. We’ll crack it open over vacation and report back!
Good and heavy. This makes a nice First Communion present, too.
Cute, kinda weird. Easy enough for my six-year-old to play. You don’t absolutely have to know how to read, but it helps. Not terribly noisy, but the creatures make strange twittering noises instead of talking.
As advertised! Girls just wanna have pink lightening earrings.
Okay, we have bought a lot of walkie talkie sets in our day. A lot. These have held up the best. They are on the small side, but they are not toys. They’re easy to use, stand up to a lot of abuse, and don’t gobble batteries. We haven’t tested the limits of the range, but the reviews say 16 miles.
*sigh* This is not a good toy. It’s a bad toy. But oh, do they love it. It has dozens, maybe hundreds of terrible, pointless little games with squalid little graphics and meandering, senseless tunes. THEY LOVE IT.
The Art of Over the Garden Wall
I feel REALLY OKAY about my kids being into Over the Garden Wall. One of the better additions to our family culture. And it is the prettiest damn thing I have ever seen on a TV screen.
This is not razzle dazzle, but for the price, it’s a fine little digital sketch pad. Press the button and the lines disappear in a wink, which is satisfying. Good for car trips, waiting rooms, etc. It feels very flimsy but is surprisingly long-lived.
One of our kids got in an anteater groove, or whatever you’d call it, for a while. So we know our plush anteaters. This one is a fine specimen. Very plushy and huggable.
Crocheted mermaid tail blanket
Cozy and super soft. Comes in several colors, and it has a little mermaid charm on a chain as a bonus gift. For that one kid, it’s perfect.
Sacred Heart painted tin wall ornament
This is actually mine. I got it with my birfday money. It’s way bigger than I was expecting. It always makes me think of the Flannery O’Connor line: “she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away.”
A solid and handsome watch. Lights up.
Cute and durable. Note: This is not a full-sized tea set. The cloth it’s sitting on is the size of a kerchief. The kid we got this for saw that as a bonus, luckily, because smaller is cuter; just know what you’re getting!
YAAAASSSSS! YES YES YES! These are just as awesome as I remember from my childhood. Little trampolines for your feet.
Silky and pretty. They have little leather pads on the sole, and you can wind the ribbons around your ankles and tie bows, just like a real ballerina.
Stranger Things Eleven plushie
Wish list is wish list.
So, this one is an actual full-sized tea set. It’s plastic, but not flimsy. Melissa and Doug really hits that sweet spot of bright and appealing without shading into, you know, Lisa Frank fever dream.
Just an attractive pair of earrings. This is from one of Amazon’s handmade shops, which I don’t fully understand, but there it is.
Take if from parents who looked at an awful lot of plush koalas: this is a nice one. It’s not huge, but it’s soft and reasonably hefty.
Always a favorite. Every so often, all through the year, I find another little batch of tiny little octopuses, lollipops, and bowls of miniscule fruit and whatnot baking in the oven.
Pair it with:
To make all kinds of details and textures in your clay. Real tools, not toys.
OH THE BABY. Ahem. This is a neat toy. Fill it up and it empties itself in a dome of water. Fascinating for the little guys. We’ve found that TOMY toys hold up very, very well to hard use, and don’t get moldy easily, either.
The time was finally right. The time for that kid to get a giant tiger to lounge on.
Betrayal at House on the Hill game
A cooperative strategy game, unpredictable and spooky. Kind of like Scooby Doo with better graphics. You gradually build the map of the house as you explore it, but can you really trust everyone? (NO.) Doesn’t drag on too, too long. Good party game.
This is the best game for little kids I’ve ever seen. Suitable for pre-readers. You spin the spinner to collect different elements of a story (a scene, a hero, a magical helper, a rival, a magical object, transportation, and a treasure), and the first one who collects them all gets to tell a story using them all. It’s adorable. The pieces are very stout and durable cardboard, and they are just lovely. Just lovely. Of all the games they want me to play, I’m least unwilling to play this one. 2-4 players
Not illustrated or luxurious, but a great price for the set. Nothing like a boxed set.
Wedding Traditions from Around the World coloring book
I hope you know about Dover coloring books. There is one for every conceivable interest, and they’re all done in that same blandly reassuring style, with tons of carefully-researched detail. Dover is awesome.
Hearts and Butterflies wooden beading set (two pack)
Can I just pause a moment and express my delight at the nice little wooden boxes that Melissa and Doug sets come in? They really hold up. You can’t depend on anyone, but you can depend on Melissa and Doug wooden boxes. *sniff* Anyway, these are pleasant wooden beads painted carefully with a good gloss for that kid who loves to string beads.
Avatar: The Last Airbender DVD set
Most popular backpack in the whole school.
We actually have the Samus one. These are soft and strong and comfortable, and I enjoyed communicating with the knitter.
Be Not Afraid temporary tattoo in JPII’s handwriting
In JP II’s own handwriting. So much better than “mung bean” or whatever it is you planned to tattoo on your unsuspecting dermis, isn’t it?
Pretty good. I don’t know how this would stand up to someone serious about boxing, but for a kid who just needs to hit stuff from time to time, it’s been doing the job.
And that’s it for this year! Hope you find something good.
8 thoughts on “50+ Gifts our ten kids loved: The 2018 list”
Probably you’re already in the know on this, but just in case: the animator from Avatar, Gene Luella Yang, is Catholic and wrote a Rosary comic book (https://www.amazon.com/Rosary-Comic-Book-Luminous-Mysteries/dp/081986479X). It’s pretty great. His series Boxers and Saints is also wonderful, but not for little kids.
Autocorrect fail: it’s Gene *Luen Yang
You got me with the Avatar DVD set – my kids still mourn the day it was removed from Amazon prime. Someone will be happy to receive it! (I’ll figure out which kid gets it later. At this point I’m still optimistically buying things hoping to be done shopping early- and usually I wind up out on Christmas eve because someone only has a toothbrush and underwear in their pile.)
I can second the reccomendation for Betrayal at House on the Hill. Lots and lots of fun to play.
Ooh, that fairy tale game looks good!
You will not be disappointed by King of Tokyo. Fun as a game, just as fun for an eight-year-old to set up all the monsters and narrate the story of their battle with sound effects for over an hour so you can get peace and quiet fron at least one kid. Not that I’m speaking from experience…
I’m always glad when your list comes out; we got that air hockey table last year and it’s been great. Surprisingly sturdy, just like you said, and popular both with our kids and all visitors.