Gift ideas for ages 2-13 years

I wasn't going to write a post about Christmas gifts this year because I feel like no one got anything unexpected. I mean, don't misunderstand: it was a great Christmas. But sometimes I feel like I've found things that are kind of strange and tailored to my children's strange interests, and a post on them is helpful because one might not run across those things elsewhere. This year, the things I thought each child would like were basically the types of things any child their age would like, and in fact were the types of thing to appear on "hot gifts for 2015" lists and so forth.

However! Sebastian has been asking and asking me when I'm going to post about the Christmas presents, so I suppose if only for memory's sake, here we go. (Previous years' gift ideas are here, here, and here.)
We basically give one present per child, plus a few small necessities like socks or hair bands. Abe got the little robot BB-8 from Star Wars. He (BB-8) is really cute and fun and easy to control, and everyone likes him, including Nutmeg. Abe uses Sam's old phone as a controller. 
Sebastian got this quadcopter drone. There were so many choices and I know so little about drones that I thought I'd never figure out which one to get! But we've been really happy with this one. I looked for one that could be flown easily by beginners, and that could be flown indoors! We don't have tons of huge open spaces in our house, and I didn't want something that was always running into walls and breaking something, or breaking itself! But I also knew Seb would have to practice with it in the house before venturing out into a park or something where he might fly it onto a roof and lose it. This drone seems great on both counts. It's very sturdy and it has the propeller guards around it, so it won't hurt things when it crashes. It has a "headless mode" for flying, which I don't totally understand—something about it flying the way you are facing, rather than toward its usual "front"—but which is nice to have, Sebby assures me. And it's not so powerful that it's going to hurt anyone (and the propellers are plastic). Sebastian has gotten really good at flying it, faster than I thought he would. He can maneuver into all sorts of places! Sometimes we go over to the church and Seb flies it around the cultural hall while I practice the organ. Fun for all. :) I know this is going to be even more fun when the weather gets nice again and he can do more with it outside!
The other thing that's fun about this drone is that it has a video camera on it. It's pretty basic, I think, which is what I wanted (no use having some expensive camera that will just get lost or broken!) but it's really fun for Seb to get video of things from above. Again, I imagine this will be even more fun when he can do it outside.

The batteries run out really fast (as they do on most drones, apparently) so we got some extra so he can have more flying time at once, and so there can always be some charging. Extra batteries and propellers for this drone are here and here.
And here is a short video of Seb flying the drone.
[While we're on the subject of Christmas presents, Sam got me this arc lamp for our room and I love it.]
It's strange how much deliberation Daisy's present caused me. I think it's because I never really played with dolls as a little girl, so I had some sort of residual feeling that they were "dumb" (or at least not as good as stuffed animals). As I say, strange, because we do have other little baby dolls and we've liked them, and I have always loved looking at the American Girl Doll catalogs and exclaiming over all the darling clothes and tiny little accessories. But somehow it had never translated into me thinking one of my girls would actually like to have a doll. Anyway, this year I was thinking about how much Daisy loves matching things and tiny things, and it occurred to me that she would LOVE to have a little doll that she could dress up to match herself. So I started looking at dolls.

And of course, like anything, once you start getting into it, you realize that there are TONS of options, and TONS of opinions, and people who know way more about this than you ever even knew existed, and it gets a bit overwhelming. The number of blogs and websites devoted to American Girl stuff alone is kind of boggling. And I didn't want to start a huge collection or spend a ton of money, so I just wanted to pick any old thing and call it good, but I found (to my chagrin) that I DID start to have opinions about which dolls were cuter. And the cheapest kind (the Target ones)—I just didn't like! Unfortunately. I felt like I would be alarmed to see their faces staring at me from out of the darkness.

Without getting into all the boring details about rooted hair vs. wigged hair and so forth, suffice it to say that I finally, after way more research than I ever intended to do, decided that one of these Gotz dolls would be best for Daisy (and I think they have the sweetest, cutest faces too!). They are 18" tall, the same size as the American Girl dolls, and in fact use the same exact body AG used in the early years, I think. So they can wear all the same clothes and use the same accessories as AG. The trouble is, they're European-made, so you have to order them from a site like this one. (Pottery Barn Kids also has a line of Gotz dolls—but they're expensive!) OR—you can watch eBay. And used ones show up there quite often! And for really good prices! Like this and this and this. It was fun to wait and watch for a good one, like a treasure hunt! I learned that you can make a Gotz doll's hair nice and silky again by washing it with a little baby shampoo—or, if it seems really dry and damaged, by soaking it in fabric softener like this. Magic Eraser can get little marks off of the doll's limbs, and then she can look just as good as new! I was so happy about that.
Daisy LOVES her doll. She named her Rosie. She LOVES dressing her up and matching her, just as I knew she would. So even though getting a little girl a doll for Christmas is just about the most obvious present ever, I felt so pleased with myself for thinking of it and finding such a cute doll! :) It was super fun to shop for some doll clothes, too. Ebay and Etsy have SO MANY cute things. It's this whole world I never knew about!
Junie likes everything Daisy likes, but I wasn't sure she'd be ready to take care of a doll with hair yet, so I found her this Gotz baby doll, also on eBay for $10. (Like this one.) I think these baby dolls are so cute! They are 15", the same size as the American Girl Bitty Baby dolls, so you can find lots of clothes for them on eBay too.

Junie named her doll Violet, and she loves her.
AND! I didn't know I would love crocheting for dolls so much. Little tiny dresses and hats go so fast, and are so fun to make! You can see the hats I made for the girls and their dolls here.
And then little Goldie couldn't be left out, of course! I got her a tiny 12" baby doll, this kind. She is adorable. Her name is Fern. (Yes, all of these dolls have names I would happily give daughters. Rosie and Violet were natural choices for the older girls' dolls because whenever they used to play that they were babies, I would call them Baby Rosie and Baby Violet. And when I asked Goldie what her doll's name was, she said something that sounded like "FUN", which I interpreted as Fern whether it was or not because that name is adorable!)

What did little baby Teddy get, you ask? Nothing, that's what. Well, a couple little stuffed toys. He did play with the wrapping paper quite a bit, though! :)

And that was our Christmas this year!


  1. I NEVER played with dolls when I was little so I am quite surprised every single one of my girls loves to play with dolls. My mom bought the older two Gotz dolls for Christmas gifts when they were about 5 and 6.Their names were Hephzibah and Hagar. (They loved watching 7 Brides for 7 Brothers at that time). Once you have the nice dolls you can never go back to any old doll so now we have a nice big collection of AG dolls too! I just try not to think about how much they have collectively cost money wise.

    One thing that has been a wonderful blessing is my mother sewed outfits that represented various female ancestors. A missionary skirt and blazer for my grandmother, overalls with a bucket to collect blueberries for my other grandmother, pioneer outfits, Mexican outfits, etc. All came with a story of a particular incident they experienced. I taught all the stories to my older daughters and as the younger girls were old enough to play the stories got passed on. All through playing with their dolls!

    1. Yes, the American Girl dolls are SO cute and SO sweet. We may end up with some someday too. :) And I love your girls using the names Hephzibah and Hagar!! So awesome. But I REALLY love the idea of making doll clothes to represent your ancestors. That is the COOLEST! I want to see pictures!


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