Hey Storm Bride--I have a good friend in Portland, Oregon who is a professional blacksmith. If K ever finds himself down that way and wants to learn more my friend loves teaching. His wife is the one who ran the marathon with me. I them.
I'll definitely keep that in mind, if he's ever heading down that way. I suspect he's going to really enjoy this.
My kids! My kids are quite spoiled in my opinion. Mostly they will get GINORMOUS boxes of stuff from their grandparents and I will have to figure out what to do with ALL THE STUFF. This would be easier if they gave crappy presents. My in-laws are rich and have no relationship with my kids and feel great guilt. As a result my kids get excellent presents. They live in Texas and we are in California and my mother-in-law decided that she needed to go on a three hour tirade about how terrible I was the first time we met. I don't intend to spend more time with the woman. I don't need that shit.
But I send extremely friendly letters by post about the kids updating them on all the developmental news (Great-Grandmother is still a preschool teacher and she sends beautiful little hand-made lesson cards) and send lots of pictures. I solicit family stories and pictures in letters and tell my kids about their family often. I want my kids to have a place in the world and in their family. I just don't have a place. So yeah. That was off-topic.
From MDC I learned to give four things: something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read.
Thus I feel a lot of internal pressure to give few things and to make the holiday about doing stuff together. They will each get pajamas. I asked my four year old what kind of pajamas and she said "a princess nightgown" and I decided to *not* follow my first instinct of "Disney princess with tacky picture or stylized design" and we looked around etsy together. They settled on http://www.etsy.com/listing/57688010/girls-nightgowns-little-lady-lingerie?ref=usr_faveitems in blue. It seems kind of tart-y to me but sure what the heck. These will be opened on Christmas Eve because that's when you open your pajamas. :P
My kids are getting plain old microfleece PJs. They really love them, and they keep them warm, and they fit my budget. I'll bet dd1 would love a nice nightgown, though...probably not to sleep in, but to wear in the mornings.
In the morning everyone gets a book package--often with more than one book inside depending on how cheap they were. But no more than four.
For my older daughter her "something you want" is going to be kind of elaborate and I'm ok with that. She wants to do more crafting. I have been slowly acquiring all kinds of odds and ends of crafting stuff. She actually put "ask Santa for tape" on her Christmas list because I won't let her use all of mine. I have pipe cleaners in various sizes and colors, beads, string of various sizes and color, buttons, glue, craft paper, tape (some cool design stuff I found at Target really cheap), glitter (god save me), and stickers. I think I have spent ~$40 over the whole year slowly amassing the pile when I find things on sale.
My younger daughter is uhm kind of being groomed as our engineer. She's getting Lego's. Right now our Lego collection (the Duplo size) is almost entirely the little square ones with four dots on the top. They suck to build with. I got a huge bag of them used for $4 at a resale event.
Then each of them get stockings and a "Santa Present". My older daughter is getting a cash register (she is very interested in money) and younger daughter is getting a doll of her own. So far all of the dolls in the house are ones that were given to our first kid and she's kind of a snot about that sometimes. I won't do one-to-one on each toy, but she can have a special baby.
Their stockings are epic. Cool bandaids, chocolate coins, maple candy, socks, (older kid is getting tights), a small Christmas ornament that is "theirs" (for when they grow up), and any craft stuff that doesn't get shoved in with Big Sister stuff. Like maybe bath crayons and chalk in their stocking because we are pretty much out of both.
Those all sound like great gifts. I still haven't figured out all my stocking stuffers...ds1 is getting guitar strings and razor blades (probably some deodorant and whatever his current hair product is, as well). DD1 is getting some hair stuff...headbands, barrettes, and ponytail elastics. DS2...not sure. DD1 is getting some ponytail elastics. They're each getting glowstick bracelets, Bic 4-colour pens, a couple mini packs of modeling clay, and assorted candy (a few slight changes in candy from one kid to another). The three youngest are each getting a mini deck of cards, a small pack of white chalk, a little notepad, and a small solar powered calculator. DH...he's getting some hot sauces, a moose figurine, razor blades, Grandpa's pine tar soap (if I remember to order it in the next couple days)...not sure what else. And, everyone gets an orange, of course. :)
And, for gifts, I'm now I'm at:
DS1: Blacksmithing lessons with steel-toed boots, book on human anatomy for the artist, a Hobbit video game he traded a few years ago, and really misses.
DD1: Ice skates (and a helmet, if we can find one), two books on technique for drawing animals, and...not sure yet
DS2: A pack of Heroica Lego, a Pokemon handbook/encyclopedia...and probably a Go board
DD2: Craft stuff (paper, markers and crayons), a board book, and some Melissa and Doug wood food.
Everything in green is in my house right now. I've ordered the Pokemon book. So, we're almost done, except...well, that's another thread... http://www.mothering.com/community/f/16/talk-amongst-ourselves