Presents for people

All Amazon links are affiliate

Sister:  She wanted a cutting board so I got her this one.  I also got her one of Nadiya Hussein’s cookbooks that we’ve been enjoying.  I feel like I should add something else because I usually spend more on her, but she hasn’t suggested anything yet and I haven’t been to her place since pre-pandemic so I have no idea what she needs.  DC2 wants to make her some kind of fresh marzipan art project, so zie has been experimenting with marizpan and ganache in preparation.  Recent discovery:  adding peppermint abstract to marzipan is *confusing* but if you pour melted chocolate over it it sort of kind of works?

Mother:  Amazon giftcard (all of the local bookstores have gone out of business again :/ )

DC1:  A boxed set of the Odyssey/Illiad/Aeneid (because zie really enjoyed Herodotus and suggested more Greek stuff, though I fear zie will be disappointed since Herodotus is hilarious), A hand-me-down Iphone 8 from DH because hir iphone 6 will soon not be working on our network and a new case with a hobby-related design to go with it, a Jacob’s ladder.  There’s also a birthday and DC1 will be getting drivers ed stuff and the awesome socks subscription that zie will probably not appreciate and will end up giving to DC2.

DC2:  Another chibi lights kit, a book on how to draw animals, metal straws for boba tea, whatever fiction books are still on hir wishlist after extended family has had a go at it.

DH:  As always zie gets 10x his weekly allowance added to his allowance.

Yes, DH’s family is doing gifts “only for children” but that mainly means we’re not exchanging adult gifts with SIL or her husband and sadly, BIL’s wife and I aren’t exchanging excellent novels off our respective wishlists (she has good taste so I used to do the shopping for her instead of DH).  But I can buy my own books!

MIL:  She filled out one those Grandmother tell me about your life books (we don’t actually like the linked one as much as this version that DH’s grandma did, but MIL chose the former) and we’re taking it to the local bindery and getting 3 copies made, one for each child.  Update:  because MIL chose the copy she chose rather than the version DH’s grandma did, the bindery said it would cost over $2K to do what we wanted.  So the new plan is that we scan in the pages ourselves, clean them up, and send the pdf to lulu.com (not sponsored).  Three copies that way will come in under $200, ignoring labor costs, possibly under $100.  (DH has already done the scanning via Adobe Scan on the phone, but now we need to clean things up– this would have been so much cheaper if she’d chosen a book with rings instead of perfect binding.  If you have a relative doing one of these books who wants copies made, spend the extra money to get one where it’s easy to get the pages out for scanning!)

FIL:  Gift certificate to Cabellas as per usual.

BIL:  A three pack of heatonist hot sauces (link not sponsored!)  Probably Los Calientes, Classic, and Keith’s Chicken Sauce, but DH may surprise me.  Update:  Los Calientes, The Last Dab, and Keith’s Chicken Sauce.

SIL DS1:  Apples to Apples (from wishlist), Origami Yoda books

SIL DD1:  Two Llama Llama and two “If you give a ” books from wishlist (one of these was expensive!), Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet

SIL DS2:  An Octopus bath toy and a stacking cup/hammer station thing from wishlist, some sandra boynton books SIL said they don’t have,  Baby Danced the Polka

SIL DD2:  An electronic vocabulary thing from wishlist, some sandra boynton books SIL said they didn’t have, a Pigeon book they didn’t have (SIL was pretty excited about this one)

BIL DS1:  This kid is as impossible as ours to shop for.  By the time we hit November 6th, his other grandma had bought everything that was on his wishlist except a $30 set of sketchy looking back-ordered (and arriving after Christmas) what looked like off-brand lego minifigs that claimed to be action figures from a sketchy looking seller.  So… maybe just an amazon gift card?  Or cash?  Update:  Confirmed cash is the better option with BIL.

BIL DD1:  Sailor Moon board game expansion, a book on how to draw animals, and sailor moon reusable water bottle (all from wishlist).

Other relative:  DH was like, maybe I should get him hot sauces like BIL, but he probably doesn’t like hot sauce and would rather have the money.  So maybe just a check (Update:  A check).  My guess is that Steam is going to have some kind of fun sale and DH will buy whatever games for both BIL and his other relative.  But maybe not, since other relative’s arthritis means he’s not been playing the same kinds of games that DH likes.

Do you have any fun ideas for people on your gifting list?  Anything good on your wishlist?

Books I’m getting people

This post is a follow-up to our earlier post about what we were getting people… I wasn’t done shopping yet!

Books I’m getting people include but are not limited to:

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

Treat Your Own Neck

Hogfather; Soul Music

Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent: Abridged Edition (Penguin Classics) by Alexander von Humboldt.  N.B.: You really want the Penguin abridged edition on this one.  The unabridged is like 2000 pages of him talking about measurements.

(I’m not getting anyone this book but maybe I should!)

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler, by Ryan North

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight

Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams

The Spanish version of Petunia: the Girl who was not a princess

Lies my teacher told me

Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

BONUS!  A podcast recommendation: Our Opinions Are Correct, in which two speculative fiction writers talk about SciFi.

So what books are you getting people?

Ask the grumpies: good building toys

OMDG asks:

What are good toys for kids who like to build things in addition to blocks and legos?

You mentioned in addition to blocks, but our kids have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of less-mainstream blocks, so we are mentioning those as well.

We like pixel blocks for small stuff– these are like single unit legos that can be attached via the sides as well as the top and bottom.  (The somewhat lower than expected reviews are because, unlike lego, their quality control is not perfect and some of the blocks don’t fit perfectly.)

A very simple version of blocks are Kapla blocks.  I don’t know why these are so fun given that they come in just one size/shape, but they have provided hours of entertainment for all ages.

Tegu blocks, which are slightly magnetic, continue to be really awesome.

For little kids, HABA makes a lot of fun versions of blocks that are a bit different from ordinary blocks in different ways.

Train sets are also many hours of building fun.  Brio makes a good one that is interchangeable with some other sets.

Ozobot was great for like a week and then the kids completely lost interest.  Probably not worth the expense.  (Note:  this starter kit is 2x the cost of the one we got!)

Snap circuits had longer staying power but they ended up getting scattered all over the house and stopped being used.

Our favorite science kit so far has been the Magic School Bus chemistry version.  It’s fun!

A pack of playing cards and access to youtube videos on how to do card tricks has kept DC1 entertained for days on end.

The fun and healthy kids’ cookbook is a good one.

DH and DC2 are both hooked on pixelhobby.  (This is not a cheap hobby, but the output is nice enough to become Christmas presents for other people.)

These fascinations metal earth kits also result in really nice output (DC1 made the lighthouse one for MIL last year), but you do need needle nose pliers.

Binoculars are cool.

What are we getting people for Christmas this year?

DC1:  A set of trick decks for the stocking (DC1 is really into card and coin tricks),

DC2:  Spanish coloring book,  a set of 5 field notebooks and a wellspring flip note (DC2 is really into drawing and list making and notes)

BIL1:  Anti-hero, for the king, and into the breach.  I am told these are steam games.

SIL1:  Usually we get SIL books off her amazon list but this year we only got her Binti:  Home and instead got her the first Timestories game off her wish list because DH really enjoys Timestories.

nephew 1:  A meccano microid and a minecraft plush pig from his amazon wishlist.

niece 1:  We renewed her subscription to the Braille of the Month book club.  Apparently they’ve really been enjoying it.  (The nonprofit provides the books at less than cost, so we also gave them a donation– what a great program.)

BIL2:  We never know what to get for him, so we generally just give an amazon gift card.  This year is no exception.

SIL2:  She had a bunch of stuff for work, mostly craft paper, on her amazon wishlist, so we got that.

nephew 2:  He’s easy to shop for because he’s a similar age to our DC2 and has similar interests, so we got more Magic Treehouse books (our DC2 is not a fan, but our DC1 was, and they were a big hit last year), bad kitty books, and a book of facts that DC2 really enjoyed.

niece 2:  She’s a bit harder because we have to remember what we gave nephew 2 at that age (not to be confused what we gave the other niece and nephew).  Generally we make a list and then ask SIL2 if there are duplicates.  This year we got Go Dog Go, Put me in the Zoo, Big Dog Little Dog,  Sneeches, Green Eggs and Ham, and one fish two fish.

MIL:  Life has gotten easier since she got a wish list!  We got her the Michelle Obama memoir and a non-crisping ninja foodi (so.. basically an instapot?) that is backordered on amazon and may not get there until after January.

FIL:  An instant food thermometer and a gift certificate to Cabela’s.

Sister:  She’s been doing a lot more cooking lately and asked for a bread book, so we got her DH’s current go-do– Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno.  I would call this a recipe book for the advanced beginner.  It has a lot of really good information (with pictures) about different types of bread, ingredients, and multiple techniques before it gets into the recipes.  It’s not a coffee table book with rich histories like Home Baking, nor is it a trendy artisan bread in 5 min a day, but we learned a lot of techniques from it and it’s got a lot of variety and almost all the recipes we’ve tried have been excellent.  (Exception:  DH notes on the soft pretzel recipe:  THESE ARE NOT PRETZELS, need baking soda.)  We don’t know what else to get her– she has said she will think about what she wants.

Mother:  The local bookstore in her town went out of business, so I guess it is back to Amazon gift cards.

Father:  I’ve given up here.

For #2 I got her a bunch of excellent books off her wish list including three for kindle that I sent her right away because Amazon sucks for gift giving via kindle (stuff stays on the wish list so you might end up with two people buying you the same thing).  I got her Deception by Amanda Quick, KJ Charles’ retelling of the Prisoner of Zenda, and Band Sinister.  The other stuff is still a secret.

 

#2 says:  This year, as with most years, it’s an Icelandic-style bookflood for me.  Though I still have to figure out what to get for DH.