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If you listened to my podcast with Emily at Mom Struggling Well, you know I’m kinda burned out on Pinterest-worthy, clickable titles. So, I hope you love this one. *snicker*
I do love a good gift guide. I like to know what people actually use and love. Annnd, I love me a good deal. Especially if that good deal includes free shipping. Did you know Free Shipping Day is December 18th? All kinds of websites are joining in. You need to reap the benefits of their good deals!
So, here’s some of my fave things from this year. Imagine I’m Oprah and you’re in the audience hanging on everything I say. Only, not getting one of each. Sorry.
TOP 3 FRIEND GIFTS
I am in love with this idea of the perfect present trifecta from MamaHall. So, here’s what I’d buy with her soft/meaningful/practical formula:
Comfy T-shirt. I’m partial to this I Like to Party and By Party I Mean READ BOOKS. There’s also a “Take Naps” version I’d kinda love.
100 Illustrated Verses book. I love this pretty gift book. It’s full of gorgeous Scripture art and…well, Scripture. Plain and simple. Only not plain and totally not simple!
Dessert Plates OK. Maybe dessert plates aren’t technically practical, but you can eat off them. I just love fun dishes!
TOP 3 FAMILY LIFE-SAVER THINGIES
1. Circle with Disney
So, I don’t actually have Circle but I’ve got a friend on the board of this company and have been following them since they launched a couple of weeks ago. AND I WANT ONE. Basically, it’s a system that helps you control all computers in your home. But it’s not just basic blocking and time limits. We’re talking detailed management: filtering content, setting bedtimes on individual devices, pausing the internet (!), time limits and even reports on where each person is spending their time online. I’m really impressed with the functionality of this thing!
If you are a high-tech family and have kids on tablets, laptops, desktops, phones and more, I think Circle is a great choice for a family gift.
2. Boogie Board
This is by far one of the best, most-used gifts we’ve ever bought the kids. It’s really just the 2015 version of a Magnadoodle. Only this one is LCD. We use it for homeschool, for games in the car, waiting rooms and anything in between. It has the appeal of a tablet, but is very low-tech and always fun.
I have written about this amazing club many times. It is truly one of the best things we’ve invested in as a family. Not only do we have access to all 800+ episodes of the radio drama, Adventures in Odyssey, we also get exclusive content, documentaries about awesome ministries and family devotions. If your kids are in the 8-12 age bracket, you must get this for them!!
TOP 3 FAMILY GAMES
1. Sleeping Queens Hands down, my favorite game ever.
2. Sushi Go! My new favorite game.
3. Catan Jr I bought this for Asa’s birthday this year and it was a big hit. We played it non-stop on our last mini-vacation and the kids regularly play it by themselves. It’s a long game and requires a bit of strategy.
TOP 3 CRAFTS FOR KIDS
1. Perler Beads This is what my kids do 9 times out of 10 when they have free time. I’ve even got a Pinterest board set up and when the kids want a new pattern, we print it off and add it to their collection.
2. Sew Cool Sewing Design Studio Lydia got this last year for Christmas and it is aptly named because it is the coolest!! It’s a real sewing machine but it doesn’t use thread. Well, I’m not really sure if that’s how it works, but somehow it sews but you don’t have to touch the needle. Lydia used it for Operation Christmas Child this year!
3. Paper & Pencil I finally had to tell Asa, “You have to draw on the back of the paper, too!” because he will go through 50 sheets of paper in one sitting! I seriously want to get him a box of paper. He especially loves drawing with books like Step by Step Drawing book from Usborne and this You Can Draw Bible Stories for Kids.
4 BIBLE-BASED DVDs and CDs
1. Owlegories: The Sun, The Seed, The Water is the first installment of this new DVD series. It’s the story of five little owls who go on adventures to discover who God is and what things are like him. That’s what I like about it–using everyday items–sun, seed, water to relate to God. It’s how Jesus taught and I believe the best way to lead kids to Him! At the end of each chapter, a “famous” person does a mini devotion. Matt Chandler’s was worth the whole movie!
2. Come Alive by Bethel Music Kids I have to admit, I wasn’t head over heels about this album. All the songs are good, the kids can sing and it’s high-quality, it every song sounds the same to me. But the kids? They danced and sang to this for days! And there is nothing I like better than hearing my Asa belt out, “As you move, I’m right beside you Lord, I’m running after you, I wanna be where you are”. Grab this one!
3. Rain for Roots Rain for Roots is a collaboration between some great talent–Sandra McCracken, Flo Paris and Katy Bowser. It’s folk but gospel and for kids and grown-ups at the same time. I love it because it’s based on God’s Word. We have The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This and the Advent CD. Both are fab.
OK. I think that’s it! I wanted to do another gift guide something like, PRESENTS AMANDA REALLY WANTS TO GET AND WISHES HER FAMILY KNEW ABOUT. But I didn’t think that would go over well (with my family). Anywhoo, I’d love to hear about the presents you’re excited to give this year!
Ooh, and I wrote a BEST BOOKS FOR UNDER YOUR TREE gift guide, too! (It’s a good’un!)