Christmas Present Ideas Help

OK. I have a bunch of kids to buy Christmas presents for. And the sad fact is, I don’t see these guys at all any more, so I am not quite as in tune with their present wants. I hate to ask the parents, because, cuz I like surprising the kid as well as the parent. I usually get off the wall stuff, so its not a worry of double buying.

Last year for the little kids. I bought them books and read them books and then read the books into a tape so they could listen to it. The older two, I just bought books I knew weere good. I need good book ideas for these ages, and maybe other stuff I could get.

This year I plan on the book thing, reading it into a tape. I also would like to make up a story for them, and put their name in the story. (Thanks Byzantine, I stole that idea from you.)
The kids are:
5 year old girl
2 year old girl
1 year old boy
3 year old boy
13 year old girl
11 year old boy
7 year old girl

Really, I don’t consider this cheating, because I just want some good present ideas, I will come up with my own final gift. So, if anyone could help me, I would appreciate it. Thanks so much.


You know that those Hairy Pothead books are rather popular nowadays. They’re supposedly either the greatest books ever, or they will send you straight to hell. I’m not sure which. Anyway though, Books? That’s right up there with clothes. What you NEED to get is a toy with at least ten words in the title, extra points if the word “death” is used twice. Example,

“Super Deadly Flame Throwing Spider Killing Nazi Bashing Hyper Ultra Death Car with Darth Death action figure included”

See now there’s a gift that a kid can respect! Books are for amish people.

You’re Humble,

I’ve found that movie tickets usually work pretty well for early teenage years, if you aren’t really close with the kid, and don’t want to spend a bunch of money - or concert tickets if you want to spend a little more. How about a family gift, like tickets to a matinee of a play, or ice show, or circus?

Did you check out the “Favorite Books of Childhood” and “Favorite Books of Teenage Years” threads in this forum?

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

“I get along well with everybody.” --I.M.F.

Yup. I have been reading them, Kat. I was just looking for some specific ideas for kids that age, and see what people thought of the ideas I already had.
I bought two books. Aesop’s Fairy Tales, and The Iron Giant. While, I was at the book store the other day. I loved the Iron Giant. Hughes, wrote in this wonderful language that begs to be spoken out loud. So, I can’t wait to figure out who to give it to. And then to read it.

I am staying away from the Harry Potter books, because I am afraid they will already have one.

That movie ticket is a great idea, though. Thanks for a good tip.,


I love the book idea, Pat. A gift that actually encourages active imagination and intellectual development – beats a mega-death exploding arachnobile with matching action figurehead any day. And the added touch or providing a tae for the younger kids gives it a nice personal feel. A couple years ago my wife and I collaborated on a book for our friends and family. She did the illustrations and I wrote the letter-thingies. Then we bound it and wrote individual notes/introductions for each recipient. It was a smashing succes. The only problem is that we keep getting questions about when we’ll do the next one!

As far as alternative ideas – I have found that tickets/transportation to an event a teenager REALLY wants to go to are received like gold-plated pokemon cards. Although, so are shiny objects that reinforce status in the jeuvenile pecking order. Sometimes kids are depressingly like adults.

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.

Gift certificates work pretty well. Let 'em buy what they want.

It’s a long way to heaven, but only three short steps to hell.

If these kids are readers, magazine subscriptions work well. That is, if they are old enough to understand the idea that the gift will come all year. “Your Big Backyard” and “Ranger Rick” are good ones, the National Gographic “World” mag. for kids is also a possibility. Of course, the whole “Cricket” set of magazines is great, but kind of pricey. And though I’m not crazy about gift cerificates usually, one of the best gifts my daughter ever got was a certificate to the local discount book store.
We spent about an hour while she chose books, and you should have seen her eyes light up when I told her that, yes, she could spend the whole thing if she wanted to. She got fifty cents change back and went home to spend hours enjoying the fruits of her original gift. Not to mention the fun she had choosing in the first place.

Last time I was in your fair city I noticed that The Earthling Bookstore had the largest selection of Asterix books I’ve ever seen. Those books are sophisticated enough to amuse the older kids and the younger ones will appreciate the pictures.

Glad to help! The other thing I do is make small stained glass “sun catchers” for them. I’ve also made up a “fun” basket with some crayons, a book, a few snack like things, small thing of tissues… something that they can take with them on a car ride.


Thanks for the additonal tips, Byz. Those are good ones. Also, the magazine idea is great, third. I will look into magazines the kids might like.

Ursa, You haven’t been up to Santa Barbara in a while. The Earthling has closed up. Too much competion with Borders and Barnes and Noble right down the road. But, I will look for the Asterix books at the other stores.


re books: No, books are not right up there with clothes - if you are dealing with a nerd. I adored (and still do) to receive books - preferred them over all the killer death toys in existence. Of course, now I want a computer, but it’s because I’m moving out.

I acree with Matt, i loved getting books, or certificates to book stores so i could pick my own. But also there are many great authors i discovered because i received their books as gifts and learned i loved them once reading it.

Magnificent to behold - Greatly to be praised.

I’m going to agree with Matt and Burn about books being the best gift ever. I’d suggest that you get the 11-year old a gift certificate to a bookstore, though, because by the time I was that age I sure didn’t want someone else picking out what I was going to read. I wouldn’t think it would be a problem to just buy books for the younger kids, though.

I always thought a pair of walkie-talkies was a really cool gift.

Or a fancy swiss army knife.

It’s too bad they don’t sell that do-it-yourself appendectomy kit anymore. I had so much fun with that.

I know I’m going to be accused of being sexist, but most 13 year old girls love getting neat cosmetics and bath stuff. Bath & Body works has some nice products that don’t smell to high heaven. There are all kinds of little gift pacs of fun nail polishes and eye shadows at drug stores now, too. Both small girls and small boys like to paint up and dress up. An old wedding gown or formal from the local thrift shop will thrill most little girls. Old hats are fun for both and fun shoes. It’s easy to make a ballerina skirt from a yard or two of shiny sheer fabric by just gathering it to an appropriate length of elastic and hemming it with a sewing machine or serger.

Ahh! This is all old people talking about crappy old people gifts. I should know, I get a shitload of 'em all year. Get them movie tickets, something electronic, but not cheap and crappy, a new type CD (reciept included, in case they don’t like the band), a gift certificate to a music/game/electronics store, or MAYBE a good book. But it better be damn good, not some crappy old people yarn knitting book. For the REALLY little kids, crayons and stuff will do fine. Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard are relics, found only in dentist’s offices. Be sure NOT to send them. Do they got a playstation? You can get a used playstation, N64, whatever game for like, 15-20 bucks at FunCoLand or somewhere similar. But don’t get 'em crappy old people gifts. The cosmetics/stuff from B&Bworks is a good idea for the girls.


I apologize if I offended any old people.

We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

How about classes? (If you can find some they’re interested in.) My nephew’s Christmas list (both the one he makes himself and the one his mother makes for him) always has drawing/art classes on it. (He’s 9) I just got my park district’s Winter catalog and was looking through it while reading the board (and I should be getting the community college and other park district’s winter catalogs in the next few days, also).

Here’s a good one: Messy Artists: Whipping cream, shaving cream, play dough and glue are just a few of the sticky things waiting for you. Each week enjoy creating a masterpiece with non-traditional art materials.

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

“I get along well with everybody.” --I.M.F.