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And suddenly the holidays are upon us and every place is worked up into a frenzy of red and green and fairy lights, especially retail establishments. Without fail, I wait until the last possible second most years to do all of my holiday shopping, which has been a new development since kids came along. I do, however, have ideas before then and today I’ll share a few with you! First, though, I’ll point you in the direction of some of my older posts with the same theme because recycling content is the way to go!
In particular, this is a popular post that has a whole list of beautiful and useful items to place under the tree in any Charlotte Mason, or nature-loving home. It includes ideas for art supplies to keep on hand, handicraft kits, books, and more. And, if you’re looking for a wonderful place to shop that has high-quality, nature-focused items for kids (as well as supporting a small business!), visit Imagine Childhood. I wrote about them in the post linked above as well, but they’re worth mentioning again and again. They even have an entire section on their website dedicated to nature study.
With our kids, we stick to a 4-gift template: something they want, something they need, something they can wear, and something they can read (or look at, in C’s case 🙂 ). This has worked well for us for a number of years and not only helps in the narrowing-down process, but keeps us from going overboard in the spending department.
So, without further ado, here are a few ideas!
Of course we have to start with the most important thing: books. I definitely did not get through as many books this year as I wanted to, but there were a few that stuck out to me.
Harry Potter: The Illustrated Collection – I read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time this year and am so glad I finally dove into them. An illustrated set of the first three books was recently released and is currently available at some Costcos where I was able to take a peek and it is gorgeous. If you have a Harry Potter fan in your house, these would be a wonderful addition to any personal library.
Understood Betsy – We read this during school time and I had no idea I would love the book as much as I did. The story is about an orphan girl who is suddenly transported from the life she has known all her nine years (living with spinster relatives), and shipped to Vermont where she begins life with the “hated” Putney cousins. Adventures abound and Elizabeth Ann (who eventually evolves into Betsy) grows to love life on the farm as well as the Putney family. It’s full of subtle humor and good lessons and would make a wonderful bedtime read for younger kids (both B, age 8, and C, age 4, loved it).
The Boys in the Boat – If you have a World War II buff, or like stories of the triumph of the little guys, this book is for you. If you like historical fiction and don’t think you like non-fiction, this book is for you. If you like reading at all, this book is for you. If you breath oxygen, this book is for you. In short, this book is for everyone. The story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team is not one that I ever thought I’d be interested in, but this book is so well-written that you can’t help but stay up far later than you should just trying to get more of it in.
Peace Like a River – Even if you’re not a particularly religious person, I think this is a good book. Taking place in northern Minnesota and then on into the endless prairies of North Dakota, it follows the story of a motherless family in search of a runaway brother accused of murder. This is another extremely well-written book with an ending that broke my heart but could not have been written in any other way.
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady – I’ve had my eye out for copies of this book for a while now and almost snatched one up at an estate sale, but didn’t have the required cash. When I saw they were re-releasing it in a beautiful cloth-bound version, I immediately put it on my wishlist. This is a gorgeous copy that works well as a display piece. 🙂
Book of the Month – If you need a gift for a reader but aren’t sure what they like or what they’ve read already, you can’t go wrong with Book of the Month Club. Let them choose from 5 curated books every month and your gift will keep on giving!
Common Place Quarterly – Okay, so this is not technically a book, but is of book-like quality! A quarterly magazine just for Charlotte Mason families? Yes please! 🙂 Full disclosure: I’m a contributor to this magazine and will be providing articles in the picture study department. I am SO excited for it to come out in January!
Miscellaneous Gifts for Grown-ups
Sweater Socks – My feet are cold probably nine months out of the year, so I go through a lot of socks. I’m also very picky about socks. I love these socks. These are fantastic socks.
Hydration Backpack – This was a birthday present and is a very perfect gift for nature-hike-going mamas. It has a hydration bladder as well as two pockets on the sides where you can carry extra bottles of water for the kids. Pocket space is ample and it also features a little whistle on the chest clip so if the kids get too far away, which mine are prone to do, you can bring them back with a quick trill. My only caveat about this is that the bladder had a slightly too plastic-y taste to it for me and I didn’t have the patience to run it through multiple cycles of vinegar/baking soda/etc. so I put my old CamelBak bladder in it with success. Given the price point of the bag, I think it’s so worth it even if you do decide to replace the bladder.
Jane Austen Mug – This is a no-brainer gift. If you have a bibliophile who also likes warm drinks, get this for them. They will love you. Alternatively, if you have an art history nerd to present a gift to, this is also one of my favorite mugs!
Cookbooks – No one can have too many of these! Especially the kind that not only fill your belly, but also give you new insight into how to eat well. A few of my favorites are Nourishing Traditions, Nourishing Meals, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, and Irish Traditional Cooking. If you have someone who is particularly excited about cooking, check out Plan to Eat! I’ve written before about how I use it religiously to do all of my meal planning, recipe keeping, and grocery-list making and they’re offering memberships at 50% off for this week only!
Lavender Salt Scrub – I have used this stuff religiously for the last year or so and my normally dry and scaly skin (thanks to Colorado’s desert-like climate) has never looked better. It’s also inexpensive… I actually experimented with a scrub that was nearly double the price because it had a nice scent and I wanted to splurge but ended up not liking it nearly as much as this stuff. It’s a nice little spa experience every time I take a shower.
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If you’re looking for something a little more fancy, Brilliant Earth offers pieces with diamonds and other gemstones not harvested from mines that use slave labor and other horrific practices.
Gifts for Kids
Snap Circuits – I recommended these last year too but I can’t sing their praises enough. B (and to a lesser extent, C) LOVES his snap circuits. We have six sets now and his imagination knows no bounds when building new things. He has started combining them with his LEGO to make all kinds of crazy things and I love how his creativity is really able to shine….har. 🙂
Little House Paper Dolls – These go along with the beautiful Little House books written for younger readers by Renee Graef. The illustrations, inspired by those of Garth Williams from the original series, are wonderful and the dolls and clothes are sturdy (even in the hands of a four-year-old girl!).
Potholder Looms – These are even something you could get before Christmas as an opportunity for the kids to make gifts for relatives. We have two of these now and while C hasn’t quite reached the age where she can make one on her own, she has the basic idea down and likes to string the loops on the loom. B flies through them and only needs help with the edges after he’s done with the weaving.
Today is also Giving Tuesday which is a great time to give to your favorite charity. I’ve written a few times about Love146, but I also support Compassion International, International Justice Mission, and Heifer International. The last three also offer holiday gift catalogues where you can buy a specific gift (like a flock of chickens or hive of bees or school books, etc.) in someone’s name. I think those are the best kinds of gifts.
And if you’re looking for something last-minute, or semi-DIY, I do offer printable quote and verse downloads in my shop! If you’re not-so-last minute, there are printed versions delivered to your door as well. I also added a few fun items this year: t-shirts, bags, and mugs. If you’d like a specific design on one of these items but don’t see it listed, drop me a line!
Also, as a thank you for list subscribers, I have free Christmas-themed prints available for download! If you’re already subscribed, I sent out an email yesterday with the download information. If you’re not yet on the list, you can sign up below!
I guess I need to start doing my real shopping now….. 😳