What the Children are Getting for Christmas (shhhhh)

2015 December 18
by Jennifer

It’s Christmastime in America. That means it’s time to gather around family and friends, share traditions new and old, retell the incredible story of the Christ Child born in a lowly manger, count our many blessings…


I am caught somewhere between wanting to de-emphasize the materialistic overtones of the holiday—-and wanting to absolutely blow my little one’s mind on Christmas morning. After all, she has been an angel this year.

my angel

‘Tis the season for giving, and I try to be thoughtful in selecting the gifts I give my children and the other children in my life. I want to get toys that will actually be played with and hopefully enjoyed for years to come. Here is a snapshot of what the kids in my life are getting for Christmas. These are the things we are giving our daughters, nieces, nephews, and godchildren, and the things we have requested when Santa and generous grandparents have asked.


((And please let me spare you from losing precious time to the AmazonReviewVortex. I did the research so you don’t have to. These gifts all get stellar ratings and reviews from the dear souls who actually take the time to write them.))

Games. I love games and my oldest is juuust getting to the age to start playing. Gifting games to families with multiple kids is great because by nature, they have to be shared to be enjoyed. Give a game and boom! You have facilitated family fun. I have done some serious research, and these are some of the most highly recommended per age group. Thinkfun Roll & Play Game (age 2+) | The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game (age 3-7) | Zingo (age 4-8) | Camelot Jr (age 4-9) | Qwirkle (age 5+)


Easel and Art Supplies. We bought an easel from Ikea, but if you or your marriage can’t withstand a trip to Ikea during the holidays, I hear great things about this Melissa & Doug easel. We purchased some paints and other supplies to go with it. (Kid’s scissors will also be in the stocking because Harper got a P on her 3’s report card in the scissor department. P=needs practice. No more 90210 until she gets that grade up.)

melissa and doug easel and art supplies

Magna-tiles. Yes. They are crazy expensive but any family who has them will tell you they are worth the investment. Looking to save a quick buck, I offered to buy used magna-tiles from my sister-in-law but she said her older kids still play with them. I hear the similar (and slightly more affordable) Magformers are and Stick N Stack Shape Mags are also great.


Lego Chain Reactions Kit. This is what I am giving the little LEGO lovers in my life. It helps turns ordinary LEGOS into a rube goldberg project (AKA mousetrap). According to the manufactures: “LEGO Chain Reactions is packed full of ideas, instructions, and inspiration for 10 LEGO machines that spin, swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. Each machine alone is awesome, but put them together and you get incredible chain reactions.” Sold.

lego chainreactions

Magnetic Pattern Board. Because this seems like the sort of toy future Harvard alumnae would play with. This one and this one get good reviews.

magnetic pattern board

Princess First Aid Kit. This is what Harper asked Santa for when she sat in his lap. Lucky for us him it costs $8 at our local drugstore. Basically it is a box of princess Band-Aids and Neosporin. A perfect gift for our household hypochondriac.

princess first aid kit

Story Cards. Harper is really into being told made-up stories right now. Awesome! But that is a lot of pressure on the adults in our family to be endlessly imaginative at a moments notice. These cute and inexpensive cards will help her start telling stories of her own and help us as we are forced to be creative in the wee hours of the morning.


Ariel Doll Water Toy Thing. Harper saw a commercial for this water-loving doll and can’t stop talking about it. I am usually not a fan of the one-note plastic toys, but it’s Christmas and I’m pretty sure Harper will freak the H out when she unwraps this on the big day.  (And three cheers for long baths!).

ariel water doll

PJs. Because new pajamas are a time-honored Christmas tradition. Hannah Anderson PJs on little people make my heart sing and these Christmas pjs are precious too. I am also loving these, and these too. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. I cannot tell you how cute my kids are going to look in these pajamas when they open them on the big day

striped pajamas

Oh. There was one more thing.

A Magnifying Glass. Let me transcribe a recent exchange I had with the 3.5-year-old.

Me: “Harper, what do you want for Christmas?”

Harper: “A magnifying glass.”

Me: “Oh? What are you going to do with a magnifying glass?”

Harper: “Look for clues.”

Me: “Like what?”

Harper: “Clues like footprints.”

Mimi, Nana, Santa, SOMEONE get this child a magnifying glass.

She is going to find El Chapo and we’re all going to be rich.

It is going to be a very Merry Christmas.

2 Responses
  1. December 21, 2015

    Hanna Anderson PJs are my fav! Gotta love the constant sales too!

  2. December 30, 2015

    Jennifer- I love your writing, and gifting skillz!

    You’ve given me some stellar birthday gift ideas for our little people, especially “Tell Me a Story,” and magna-tiles.

    Love you!

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