What to Get Kids for Christmas (Part 1)

Hello long lost blog. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I have a good excuse though – 25 of them, actually. Houseguests. They came for Thanksgiving and despite the absolute craziness of preparing a 2000 square foot house to accommodate 28 people for a gigantic meal, it was fantastic. We had a huge snowstorm, lost power for 10 hours (luckily it was overnight) and turned our average size dining room into a banquet hall for 28.

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Mia was so excited about all the guests that she didn’t sleep – pretty much at all. At least not at night. But it was worth all of the craziness to have our house filled to the brim with family and food. There’s no better way to “break in” your new digs.

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Anyway, I don’t have very much time to write today…as I type this I’m using my free hand to pull noodles out of Mia’s hair, and pry an empty beer can out of her tiny death grip. (Here comes another parent-of-the-year nomination!) So I’ll get right to it.

With the holidays quickly approaching, everyone is scrambling to buy cheap shit that will hopefully look expensive covered in fancy wrapping paper – everyone except me, that is, since I already finished my holiday shopping in November. Yep, you read that right. You can all go weep with jealousy now.

Shopping for kids, though, can be especially tricky since when they’re young you’re really buying for their parents. If you were actually buying for the kid you would wrap up a box of packing peanuts. [Relatives, if you’re reading this, do not, I repeat, DO NOT give Mia packing peanuts for Christmas. I will find you and I will gift your child an oversized package of glitter confetti.] 

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Since most parents DO NOT want packing peanuts ground into their rug, or another plastic toy, or another wooden toy, or another anything that has to be picked up 758 times off the living room floor – it can be tricky to decide what to buy. I have three suggestions.

1. Money

Kids are so f^&*ing expensive, there is no end to the useful places a parent could put a little bit of cash on their kid’s behalf. Music class, babysitters, swim lessons, craft supplies, college fund – you get the idea.

2. Ask the Parent 

Since the gift is technically for the kid, it’s not tacky to ask a parent what the child actually needs (or what the parent actually needs wants for the child). There may be one or two bigger or more tactical items (tricycle, winter coat, highchair, etc.) that would actually be very useful for both the baby and the mommy and daddy.

Hint Hint, Hint:

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3. Books

You can never really go wrong with books. Not only are they fun for kids, but as a parent you can never have too many (except at bedtime). As a parent who has now read “Go Dog Go” 1746 times, I can attest that variety is indeed, the spice of life. However, many of the very fortunate kids I know already have a TON of books so it can be hard to find something unique to add to the mix. That’s where I can help you out. Below are my top 3 unique children’s books that every kid doesn’t already have.

Off We Go by Jane Yolen

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I’m a sucker for books that rhyme, especially since Mia’s favorite way to read books is to turn all the pages as quickly as possible and then say “All Done! Again?” When the words rhyme, it’s easier to read quickly – or just memorize and recite as she turns random pages. Also, I once was in a movie with Jane Yolen. True story!

Click Clack Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

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Some clever author figured out how to write a seething commentary on the oppression of the masses by the 1% and the power of unions and education to protect the middle class – and then she turned everyone into farm animals and pretended it was a children’s book. Animal Farm, anyone? If you’re trying to take an underhanded swipe at your conservative relatives – give their kids this book. LOL.

Nighttide on a Vineyard Farm by Patty Schaal

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The writing in this book is nice, but it’s the illustrations that stand out – and it’s the perfect bedtime book for anyone who has nostalgic memories of summertime on the vineyard, or any other quintessential seaside New England town.

So hopefully that was at least a little bit helpful for some of you. And for those of you who are like, screw that I’m not buying another book, I want to buy them all the cute clothes I could never pull off myself – I hear you, I am you, and stay tuned for Part 2: a gift giving guide made up exclusively of baby clothes. SWOON.