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Want a Christmas present thread?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I know there's a handmade Christmas present thread over in Arts and Crafts, but I thought we could share ideas for presents in general.

 

More specifically, I want to boast that I just knocked several presents off my list in one fell swoop. :) My family has three December birthdays on top of Christmas, which really doesn't help. I had some PayPal money that was just sitting there, so I went to the Book Depository (free shipping worldwide, which when you live in NZ is no small thing!) and got:

 

-a book about cadavers (Mum, Christmas - she's an ex-nurse/midwife and likes the medically macabre)

-two books about midwives (Mum, birthday - probably just one of 'em, I'll read both and decide which is better)

-a book about a WW2 POW (Dad, birthday)

-Liberty playing cards (my sister in London, Christmas - easy to send)

-Alice in Wonderland playing cards (another sister, birthday)

-a book of anecdotes about musicians (my very-into-music sister, Christmas)

 

And the personalised playing cards gave me the idea of getting superhero-themed decks for all my geeky male friends (and probably DH). Our "gang" is having a Christmas shindig this year, which will mean proper presents for all of them... I've run out of money now, but pretty soon some new writing funds will come in, and then woot. :)

 

Now, help. Does anyone know of:

 

-a really good, interesting, not-dry book about the history of gardening, or botany, or something similar? My little sister (14) is really into gardening at the moment, and likes history, but she wouldn't want to wade through some dreary academic tome. I've googled, but nothing strikes me as hugely compelling (except for one book the Book Depository didn't have). I like The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, but it's probably a bit old for her; and she'd prefer something about garden design, maybe, talking about Tudor gardens and Italian renaissance gardens and all that.

 

-a cheap, fun present for someone unnaturally obsessed with zumba?

 

-a really good baby book with photographs of everyday objects? Mum has a great Dorling-Kindersley one, "Baby and Toddler's Big Book of Everything", and I'd like something similar. You know, just nice photos of forks and cows and policemen and bulldozers and rubber ducks, for babies to point at.

 

-anything, anything at all I can get for my autistic minimalist sister who loves horses? Mum will beat me to the punch on a wall calendar, which is about the only accessory she allows in her bedroom. I've already done movie vouchers, Starbucks vouchers and bottles of shampoo (all of which she likes, but they seem kinda lame). She's a perennial nightmare for gifts!

 

I have a long list of handmade items I have to do too. Tonight DH and DD are going out to the in-laws' for dinner, so I should start work on something for DD - clothes for her Waldorf doll or a summer dress for her, I guess. Need to make a Christmas tree skirt too.

 

OK! Inspire me. :)

post #2 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post


-anything, anything at all I can get for my autistic minimalist sister who loves horses? Mum will beat me to the punch on a wall calendar, which is about the only accessory she allows in her bedroom. I've already done movie vouchers, Starbucks vouchers and bottles of shampoo (all of which she likes, but they seem kinda lame). She's a perennial nightmare for gifts!

 

 

Would she go for a pillowcase with a horse motif, or anything like that? Coffee cups with a horse motif? Coffee table book about horses?

 

Thanks for posting this. I've been starting to think, too. My kids are mostly easy to get stuff for, but can be a little difficult to get good stuff for, yk? DD1 is easy, and ds1 used to be (harder now that he's older), but ds2 is...he likes anything, but I want to get something he'll love!

post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

Hmm, the horse mug might work. She wouldn't have to keep it in her room. Thanks!

 

What sorts of things does your DS like? Maybe someone here will have a cool idea.

 

We seem to have spent a ton on DD this year. It's nice stuff, though. I got a fair bit for free thanks to mystery shopping. So far the goods are:

 

-a Waldorf doll - a really beautiful one with red hair, who looks a bit like Merida from Brave (which DD loves). I think I'll pop the doll at the top of her stocking, and the rest of the stocking can be doll clothes (made by me, if I get my act together). The doll was expensive, but hopefully she'll love it forever (and it was "online money", which I vaguely feel doesn't count!)

-a lovely set of wooden alphabet stamps in a cute little box. Got 'em from a craft fair because I couldn't resist. Anyway, they'll be handy for schoolwork. Sort of.

-a fancy notepad with scrapbooking-type paper (free from mystery shopping)

-a packet of panties (also from mystery shopping - I know, dull as ditchwater, but hey)

 

And she's also getting:

 

-a summer dress made by me with fabric I already have

-a Disney princess costume of some kind, also made by me. Not sure which, yet. Belle's library dress, Merida's green dress... possibly Aurora's pink dress? We'll see. I like Aurora's dancing-in-the-woods outfit, but I suspect DD would find it drab.

-a matching Disney princess costume for the Waldorf doll (DD would LOVE that!)

-maybe some more dressups - a superhero cape? A gold lace crown? She lives in dressups anyway, they may as well be nice

-clothes for the doll

 

Also a sailor dress, which she'll be getting early; I'm making sailor outfits for DD, DS and my two little nephews. They'll all get them as early Christmas presents, and then SIL and I will take them to the beach and take cute photos of them for presents for FIL, MIL and various other relatives (mostly on their side).

 

DS, on the other hand, has nothing yet. Like your DS2, he likes everything, but I want to get him something special. Maybe a wagon/trolley-type thing? A red metal one or a nice wooden one, not a nasty plastic one? And the "book of everything" idea is for him; he's very into books at the moment. I love the little boy Waldorf dolls too, but I'll wait until he's a bit older and less destructive.

 

ETA: Ooh, I want to make the kids one of those fabric-and-dowelling teepees, too, as a joint present. I have a sneaking suspicion it won't happen, though...

post #4 of 45

DS2 is into super-heroes (esp. Marvel - The Avengers, Spider-Man, etc.). He loves videogames of all kinds. He's getting into chess, and seems to like some other board games. umm...yeah...can't think of anything else at the moment. DS2 is an odd duck...I love him to bits, but he's hard to get a handle on.

 

The gifts you have for your daughter sound amazing!  We do three gifts per kid (occasionally, an extra or two slips in - usually in the form of a gift to more than one of them - last year, it was two bins of Lego for dd1 and ds2, plus a games chest, with chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, etc. for all of them). We can't really do any more than that, with four of them. Of course, they also get stockings, and I seem to channel all the consumerist, materialist, "oh, look - shiny" tendencies that don't manifest elsewhere in my life into stockings. :o

post #5 of 45

Gardening-wise: The You Grow Girl and Grow Great Grub books by Gayla Trail are quite fun (but not particularly historical).  I also have The Herbal Tea Garden by Marietta Marcin and a Better Homes & Garden Kitchen Gardens (can't find a link - but it's a cute vintage book, part of the reason I picked it up) which are pretty casual-gardener books and slightly historical (in that they talk about the history of various veggies & herbs and kitchen/herb garden design).  So. . . shrug.gif

 

 

Baby picture-book wise, we used to have a lot for dd1 but have way less of that style now since dd2 isn't so interested.  My First Look at Home by Random House is pretty good, and has interesting odd features (like cotton swabs and soap on a rope or oil cans as well as your traditional teddy bear, blanket, cookie cutters, etc.).  

I can't find a link to this same one and it's not worth the $399.51 someone is asking on amazon that I noticed - but that's likely the same book.

 

 

 

 

I've been doing a lot of holiday planning already - dd1 is getting a sewing book, few small sewing-type kits, and supplies of her own that I've been stashing aside the past few years until she'd be old enough for them (need to make a cute pincushion, but can't decide which yet).  Plus whatever barbie clothes I end up making between now & December, and some various books I already picked up.  Dd2 is getting a baby doll (plus clothes/diapers I've been trying to make).  And the big thing I keep forgetting about for her is the vintage fisher price records I need to find & order to go with the toy record player I found thumb.gif.  And then I think I'll make her felt bread & butter (at least the stick of butter, she'll be thrilled since it's her favorite).

 

 

I'm pretty completely out of ideas for dh this year, though.  I might *just* get him a gift certificate for a massage (I'm sure he won't be disappointed by that, anyway).  

 

Also have few ideas for my youngest sister and her dh (although I came across a Lego build-able calendar recently, which would be a great fit for him).  I'd been saving clothespins for her anyway and might make a clothespin apron, but that doesn't seem so holiday-ishy exciting (plus she won't really get so much use of it in December in Iowa, anyway).

 

Then there's my mother too, but that's always a bit of a fun challenge (she's been know to unwittingly give us back things we've gotten her before, having completely forgotten they were gifts, or leave stuff at my house, try to give her gifts to myself or one of my sisters in front of the rest of us. . . luckily we're pretty good natured about it and treat it like a game instead of getting offended, but man, it's a challenge).  

post #6 of 45
Ooh, excellent. I'm trying to get all my Christmas shopping done before I have a newborn to distract me so I'm thinking about this a lot.

For DD 2.5 we have a water table already which I got on special a few months ago.
I'm also planning:
- dolls clothes for her rag doll. Would love to make them but will probably run out of time

- a patchwork throw made from this gorgeous "Gumboot Garden" fabric http://catalogues.spotlight.co.nz/CutPrice_Sale/4077/GUMBOOT_GARDEN_QUILTING_FABRIC/370107 which I couldn't resist. I also bought some red polka dot minky fabric for the back.

- probably some books

DD2 ( who will be about a month old)

- a beach towel (already bought) as it is summer here so she will be being introduced to the pool around Christmas

- a "Gumboot Garden" throw

- probably some books. I bought a complete set of Dr Seuss at the same sale as the water table so I'm wondering about giving each girl half the set. If not I'll probably get a couple of board books for her.

DH - no idea. Probably some River Cottage DVDs. Oh and he always gets a Terry's chocolate orange. Maybe a novel if I can find something he'd like before December.

My parents and brother and SIL are getting baskets of homemade preserved-type food things. I'm also going to make some pot holders to go in as well. I have a great red fabric with vegetables on it earmarked for those.

My step-daughter is getting a red cake tin ( her kitchen has red accessories) filled with little bits and pieces. I have a couple of teatowels already. Will also do pot holders for her and probably some food things. Not sure what else.

I'm leaving DHs brother and SIL, who will be visiting us, to him. It'll have to be small tho as they are visiting from the UK.

Think that's it. I really need to start sewing!
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Now, help. Does anyone know of:

 

-a really good, interesting, not-dry book about the history of gardening, or botany, or something similar? My little sister (14) is really into gardening at the moment, and likes history, but she wouldn't want to wade through some dreary academic tome. I've googled, but nothing strikes me as hugely compelling (except for one book the Book Depository didn't have). I like The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, but it's probably a bit old for her; and she'd prefer something about garden design, maybe, talking about Tudor gardens and Italian renaissance gardens and all that.

 


OK! Inspire me. :)

 

Would this be too old for her?  It's a thick book and I read it awhile back, so I don't remember if content-wise it is inappropriate for a 14 year old.   It is historical fiction and I really liked it, so did my gardener mom.  I prefer to learn about history in fiction because otherwise my mind wanders way too much while reading.   http://www.amazon.com/Earthly-Joys-Novel-Philippa-Gregory/dp/0743272528/ref=sr_1_30?ie=UTF8&qid=1349657763&sr=8-30&keywords=philippa+gregory

post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
DS2 is into super-heroes (esp. Marvel - The Avengers, Spider-Man, etc.). He loves videogames of all kinds. He's getting into chess, and seems to like some other board games. umm...yeah...can't think of anything else at the moment. DS2 is an odd duck...I love him to bits, but he's hard to get a handle on.

Sounds like a neat kid! Would he like a Marvel superheroes chess set? Google 'em - I saw some cheap ones on eBay as well as some gorgeous $300 ones. There were Marvel vs DC superheroes, Marvel superheroes vs Marvel supervillains, etc. I've been looking at chess sets myself, for DH; he wants a classic set, not themed, but not generic either. And they're all incredibly expensive. I've been looking for several years and still haven't found the perfect set...

 

Quote:
Then there's my mother too, but that's always a bit of a fun challenge (she's been know to unwittingly give us back things we've gotten her before, having completely forgotten they were gifts, or leave stuff at my house, try to give her gifts to myself or one of my sisters in front of the rest of us. . . luckily we're pretty good natured about it and treat it like a game instead of getting offended, but man, it's a challenge).

Oh, my. Sounds like a whole 'nother thread! Good luck with that! She sounds like an excellent candidate for vouchers...

 

Nicole730: I actually suspect she'd prefer non-fiction... she's considering doing something garden-related as a career, so she's pretty interested in the subject in its own right. Sounds like an interesting book, though! I've been meaning to read some Philippa Gregory - did she do The Other Boleyn Girl?

post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Sounds like a neat kid! Would he like a Marvel superheroes chess set? Google 'em - I saw some cheap ones on eBay as well as some gorgeous $300 ones. There were Marvel vs DC superheroes, Marvel superheroes vs Marvel supervillains, etc. I've been looking at chess sets myself, for DH; he wants a classic set, not themed, but not generic either. And they're all incredibly expensive. I've been looking for several years and still haven't found the perfect set...

 

Oh - I like that idea. I'll see what I can find. He might even be able to convince his big brother to play with a set like that!

 

Oh, my. Sounds like a whole 'nother thread! Good luck with that! She sounds like an excellent candidate for vouchers...

 

Before we made an agreement to stop exchanging among the adults, I'd switched to restaurant gift certificates. I looked at them as "I'm buying you dinner out for Christmas, but you choose when". They were always a hit.

post #10 of 45
This is the best gardening book I own: http://www.amazon.com/Gardening-When-Counts-Growing-Mother/dp/086571553X
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 

I like The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, but it's probably a bit old for her; and she'd prefer something about garden design, maybe, talking about Tudor gardens and Italian renaissance gardens and all that.

does it have to be a book? if you think she'd really enjoy botany of desire then the DVD is delightful. dd has enjoyed it immensely and watches it over and over sometimes. 

 

i cant remember if this is the book i read a while ago but it was fascinating with great pictures http://www.amazon.com/Earthly-Paradises-Ancient-Gardens-Archaeology/dp/0892367210

 

though this one does not really have much history its full of wonderful little information for the avid gardener. does she live in an urban area? http://www.amazon.com/Urban-Homestead-Expanded-Revised-Self-Sufficient/dp/1934170100

post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 

More specifically, I want to boast that I just knocked several presents off my list in one fell swoop. :)

 

 

You need to know that you just got the hairy eyeball from me.  irked.gif

 

I jest.  I'm subbing.  I need ideas.

post #13 of 45

I'm thinking I might track down an old Spirograph set for my kids. We were talking about it the other day, and I found them some pics of the patterns, and they both loved the idea...

post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

I know there's a handmade Christmas present thread over in Arts and Crafts, but I thought we could share ideas for presents in general.

 

More specifically, I want to boast that I just knocked several presents off my list in one fell swoop. :) My family has three December birthdays on top of Christmas, which really doesn't help. I had some PayPal money that was just sitting there, so I went to the Book Depository (free shipping worldwide, which when you live in NZ is no small thing!) and got:

 

-a book about cadavers (Mum, Christmas - she's an ex-nurse/midwife and likes the medically macabre)

-two books about midwives (Mum, birthday - probably just one of 'em, I'll read both and decide which is better)

-a book about a WW2 POW (Dad, birthday)

-Liberty playing cards (my sister in London, Christmas - easy to send)

-Alice in Wonderland playing cards (another sister, birthday)

-a book of anecdotes about musicians (my very-into-music sister, Christmas)

 

And the personalised playing cards gave me the idea of getting superhero-themed decks for all my geeky male friends (and probably DH). Our "gang" is having a Christmas shindig this year, which will mean proper presents for all of them... I've run out of money now, but pretty soon some new writing funds will come in, and then woot. :)

 

Now, help. Does anyone know of:

 

-a really good, interesting, not-dry book about the history of gardening, or botany, or something similar? My little sister (14) is really into gardening at the moment, and likes history, but she wouldn't want to wade through some dreary academic tome. I've googled, but nothing strikes me as hugely compelling (except for one book the Book Depository didn't have). I like The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, but it's probably a bit old for her; and she'd prefer something about garden design, maybe, talking about Tudor gardens and Italian renaissance gardens and all that.

 

-a cheap, fun present for someone unnaturally obsessed with zumba?

 

-a really good baby book with photographs of everyday objects? Mum has a great Dorling-Kindersley one, "Baby and Toddler's Big Book of Everything", and I'd like something similar. You know, just nice photos of forks and cows and policemen and bulldozers and rubber ducks, for babies to point at.

 

-anything, anything at all I can get for my autistic minimalist sister who loves horses? Mum will beat me to the punch on a wall calendar, which is about the only accessory she allows in her bedroom. I've already done movie vouchers, Starbucks vouchers and bottles of shampoo (all of which she likes, but they seem kinda lame). She's a perennial nightmare for gifts!

 

I have a long list of handmade items I have to do too. Tonight DH and DD are going out to the in-laws' for dinner, so I should start work on something for DD - clothes for her Waldorf doll or a summer dress for her, I guess. Need to make a Christmas tree skirt too.

 

OK! Inspire me. :)


For the book about gardening- I got my mom this one. We toured gardens together in England back in 2004. I got this for Mother's Day this year.

The Making of the English Gardener: Plants, Books and Inspiration, 1560-1660 http://amzn.com/0300163827
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post


 

Nicole730: I actually suspect she'd prefer non-fiction... she's considering doing something garden-related as a career, so she's pretty interested in the subject in its own right. Sounds like an interesting book, though! I've been meaning to read some Philippa Gregory - did she do The Other Boleyn Girl?

 

She did do The Other Boleyn Girl.  I read like 6 of her books about 5 years ago and haven't read any since then.  I enjoyed them all, but I got all "Phillippa'd out".

post #16 of 45
Re: Gardening books 

I've only skimmed the thread. It's late and I need to be up early to take DH to the airport. I'll come back to respond further but I wanted to mention a lovely collection of writings by Vita Sackville-West about gardens and gardening. She's famous for her gardens at Sissinghurst Castle in England. She was a contemporary (and lover) of Virginia Woolf and an author and poet. She wrote a weekly gardening column for The Observer for years. The book collects columns and I think essays. It isn't an organized "how to" DYI book but instead is a collection of musings, thoughts, observations and experiences. I searched for it on Amazon and I think this is the book I own. Mine has a different cover so I'm not entirely sure and it's currently packed away in a box so I can't check to be sure. I bought my copy back in the 1980's and it inspired me when I created my first couple of gardens. It looks like it may be out-of-print but perhaps you can locate a well-kept used copy. There are other collections of her columns in print but I like the illustrations in this book. 
post #17 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I'm looking up all the gardening books everyone's mentioned; I really like "Earthly Paradises". Might see if our library has it so I can "preview" it. Vita Sackville-West sounds interesting too (and reminds me, I should really have another stab at reading Virginia Woolf.)

 

Quote:
I'm thinking I might track down an old Spirograph set for my kids. We were talking about it the other day, and I found them some pics of the patterns, and they both loved the idea...

Oh, darn. DD would love that too. She's at an age where I can think of a TON of things she'd like, but I don't want to buy them all! Well, I do, but we can't afford to and I don't want her to get used to the "Christmas = a ton of presents" thing. Plus, it's her birthday in March. But still! I want to buy her all the Frances books... and she's into Dr Seuss in a big way right now... and she loves simple board/card games... and I could get tons of pre-homeschooling stuff... and it'd be nice to give her a Laura Ingalls set to grow into... and she'd love marbling... and a pet guinea pig or rabbit... and she'd LOVE a play kitchen... and she's asked for a scooter... and she'd like a piggy bank... and I've been meaning to make her a little coin purse... and she'd enjoy a hoop...

 

Well, Gran did ask for suggestions. Maybe I can mention the Spirograph to her. Do they still make 'em?

post #18 of 45

Zumba friend - I haven't tried zumba, but it looks like a great workout. You could make a CD of great music for zumba (cost depends on how you source the music, but you might find low cost downloads) for workouts at home. Maybe a personalized towel or bag for the gym - depending on how much crafting you want to take on.  

post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I'm thinking I might track down an old Spirograph set for my kids. We were talking about it the other day, and I found them some pics of the patterns, and they both loved the idea...

 

I want a Spirograph set!  My grandparents had one (which may have been my moms or my aunts) and we loved playing with it.

 

I am not too worrid about the grandparents, they are pretty easy and also don't like "stuff" so they get something like tickets or treats.

 

I have ZERO ideas for our 7yo DS.  He loves pirates but we have enough pirate dress up gear and several Playmobil pirate ships.  If another toy that contains little bits and pieces comes into our house, I may burst into tears.

post #20 of 45

PIRATES - We happen to have one of these chalk-pirate maps.  It has been a really fun toy (and doesn't have lots of parts).

 

 

 

I remembered I was thinking of doing a homemade instant-oatmeal mix for my mom (and let the dd's make it, which always seems to help things end up more liked) plus get some new kitchen storage containers (to replace the older-than-I ones my mom has, or at least a few.).  I need to write this down somewhere, I think I've remembered and forgotten about it 3-4 times now.  

 

 

 

Any interesting ballerina-ish types of toys/books/etc?  For a 2-3 year old?

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