For the family member ones, pick the person or people you would consider to fill that role (ignoring DNA unless you don’t want to ignore DNA).
Each one of these is a separate poll, so you’ll have to click the vote button for each one. Sorry!
My sister said she wanted a chef’s knife and a paring knife, so after some conversation, we got her a santoku (Shun), a paring knife, and an electric knife sharpener. This post of ours really helped me! I don’t know what DC1 is going to give her this year, but DC2 has been working really hard on a 4 plate pixel hobby with 8 ballet dancers on it (DC1 gave my sister a pixel hobby with a pair of ballet slippers on it at about the same age).
Sadly, the bookstore in my mom’s town just went out of business (as did the Barnes and Noble a few years back), so either I get her a giftcard to someplace half an hour or more away, or she gets an Amazon giftcard. Aha! I realized that she’ll be staying at my sister’s around Christmas, so I can get her a card she can use at the half price books near my sister’s place.
For everyone else it has been harder!
MIL: She started an amazon list this year! Woooo! When DH found that out (on the phone on Thanksgiving while trying to pump her for any hint of what she could possibly want) his stress level visibly dropped 75%. We popped through and got a bunch of “Nana” related merch (I guess replacing her previous Green Bay Packers theme?) as well as a number of hard-boiled mystery novels. (My mom runs more towards cozy mysteries, DH’s prefers the tougher stuff.)
FIL: Now that FIL is retired, he’s spending more time hunting. Plus he’s making sure there’s plenty of game on the plot of land he inherited from his parents. So in addition to the Cabela’s giftcard we usually send him, we’re also sending a highly rated game cookbook.
BIL1: DH is waiting for a game to go on sale so he can get a copy for his brother and his cousin both. (I assume we’ll also be sending a check to the cousin, but I don’t know for how much yet.)
SIL1: It is always a pleasure to shop for SIL1 because she has an up-to-date amazon wish list! And she puts cool things on it! And she has great taste in books! This year I’m adding the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal and KJ Charles’ regency series.
Cousins 1 and 2: The younger has been learning braille, so we got her a subscription to the children’s braille book of the month club. (It is pretty heavily subsidized, so we added on a donation. What a great program.) This is the first time we’ve known what to get hir! For the older we’re getting the dragonbox complete math pack and big numbers which is too new to be in their complete math pack. (Usually we also buy books for their oldest, but he’s already got most of what our DC1 likes.)
BIL2 and SIL2: This one was hard this year. The past few years there’s been a good excuse to just write a check (a new house purchase, saving for a house, babies, paying off wedding debt, etc.) but this year none of that has been recent or immediate. When DH tried to pump SIL2 for information on the phone, she was non-committal and said she’d update her amazon wishlist, which she always says and rarely does. DH suggested not exchanging gifts among the adults with her nuclear family, but apparently she demurred. I wish he’d just asked her straight up about checks vs. giftcards, but he didn’t. We do have a bunch of $5 off amazon luxury beauty products and she does have a $20 foundation from 2014 on her list– we could get her that and the pair of $14 earrings from 2014 but that’s literally all that is on her list right now, other than a bunch of size 0-3 month onesies and diapers that will probably not fit either her rising 3 year old or her 5 year old. [Update: We got her the foundation and the earrings, and then a little over a week later she actually did update her list so we got her one of the books on teaching she wanted and now we are 100% done with holiday shopping other than that one game that DH is taking care of and stocking stuffers. Yay.]
Cousins 3 and 4: SIL did ok us buying books again for her kids (given how many toys everyone gets from the grandparents). For the older one (about the same age as our DC2), we got Magic Treehouse and Magic School Bus books and the Magic School Bus chemistry kit. For the younger one, ladybug girl, the Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, Elephant and Piggie books, and Beautiful Oops.
What are you getting for peeps this year?
Time to get those charitable ducks in order, especially if you’re not going to be able to itemize under the new tax laws next year.
This year is probably a good one to do the Donor Advised Fund. We’ve opted not to just because we want more flexibility right now with so much uncertainty, but your situation may be different!
Planned Parenthood : They need us more than ever before
RAINN : help people impacted by sexual violence
CAIR : Help Muslim victims of prejudice
Donors Choose (though, to be honest, I think the wobble chairs everyone in my [not poor] town wants are expensive and a waste of money– but there are a lot of teachers in lower income districts that want books and pencils and math supplies) Note: I am incapable of clicking on this without donating something. I am such a soft touch for learning. Ugh, #2 just sent me another link I had to fund. Stahp!
WNDB: We need diverse books!
ACLU : One of the things standing in between us and fascism
EveryLibrary.org : Helps political actions to fund public, school, and college libraries
EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) seems pretty relevant right now
Emily’s List: Help pro-choice women Democrats get elected to office!
Grumpy Nation: Link us up to your favorite charities!
(besides books, though KJ Charles rocks!)
I love this teapot I got for my Birthday last year. It is so easy to use and to clean, and it makes the right amount of tea for when you want, you know, a pot instead of just a mug.
Although you should probably not gift this to anyone, this home laser hair removal thing has been fantastic. I barely need to pluck my chin anymore at all (with the exception of a few white hairs that laser won’t get) and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done even a touch-up with the laser.
I still really like my moleskin weekly planner, even though everyone else has switched to Google Calendar.
This Solo travel bag I got myself has been perfect for overnight travel without having to take a roller-bag. For those who cannot part with the roller-bag, one of my colleagues swears by these packing cubes and will be getting them for almost everyone on her list this year.
This amazing lamp was everything I wanted and more!
DH loves this little pocket pen. It is pretty clever.
Our in-laws love this ice cream scoop we got them, although it is not dishwasher safe.
#2 enjoys watching her DH play the latest Assassin’s Creed game.
What stuff has been “sparking joy” for you over the past year?
When I was a kid, after much negotiation with our parents, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and the rest of our presents on Christmas day.
As an adult, I don’t have to wait. I open them as they come. In fact, I used this amazing three tier rack which was this year’s Christmas present to me from my MIL to hold rolls, cornbread, and zucchini bread at Thanksgiving this year because she does her Christmas shopping early. Similarly, I told DH I wanted a better reading lamp situation and he got me this amazing floor lamp that does everything I wanted and doesn’t even require a hole in the wall or a headboard for the bed (my favorite part: the way the light switch lights up when I fumble for it in the dark). I have been appreciating it for weeks now. I have also been enjoying downloading my shiny new kindle book presents as they come– I will read them through our holiday travel.
#2 is different– she likes surprises and opens everything on Christmas morning. I know this because she always thanks me via IM on Christmas. (See also: her birthday.)
Of course, what one does as an adult doesn’t necessarily translate into what one forces on one’s children. Part of the magic of being an adult is that you no longer have to do what your parents tell you to do, but before then you mostly have to. So that means since the kids have gotten old enough to understand Christmas, we’ve generally been saving their Christmas presents for them to open on Christmas morning. Given our in-laws’ generosity, this can get overwhelming.
This year we’ve got complicated travel plans. On the 23rd, we’re taking the kids to the city where they will stay at my sister’s with my parents. Then we will join them on the 24th. Then on the 25th, we’re getting on a plane to visit DH’s family. I asked my mom if she wanted to see the kids open their presents from her (she’s already sent them via the magic of Amazon) or if we should open them before heading into the city. She said whatever was easiest, noting that we shouldn’t have to drive presents all over the place or leave them at my sister’s. So we’ll be doing some of the unwrapping on the 23rd. DC1 will be able to pick out which new books to take with hir while traveling, something that will make life easier for everyone. Then there will be more presents on the 25th since my in-laws have decided to ship the kids’ presents to their place rather than ours (which itself brings the logistical hassle of getting stuff back home).
This past Saturday I let DC1 open the present from my mom that I knew was a Rubix Cube because zie had gotten so good at the computer version that I thought maybe it was time for a real one. Zie has been spending every non-chore moment this weekend messing up and solving and messing up and solving again. (In fact, it’s likely that the ~$10 Rubix cube would crowd out time spent on the ~$250 handheld Nintendo thing that my MIL is getting hir if zie opened them the same day!)
On the one hand, I feel like spreading things out allows each gift to be appreciated and to give me maximal pleasure. On the other hand, it does take away a little bit of the magic of Christmas. But we do always do the stockings (full of candy!) on Christmas even if some of the other presents get pushed earlier. And maybe the magic of Christmas should be less about gifts and more about family, I dunno.
And of course, poor DC1 gets showered with even more presents just a few days later given hir holiday birthday. This year we’re traveling on hir birthday so we’ll probably celebrate with cake the day before with the in-laws and maybe with my sister on the day. We’ll see. We will leave hir birthday presents from us* and from my parents to be unwrapped when we conclude our travels.
*My sister claims this violin tuner is really a gift to ourselves…she’s not wrong.
When do you open gifts– as soon as you get them, or do you wait until the celebrated event (be it a religious holiday or your birthday)? Has it changed as you’ve gotten older? If applicable, do you enforce the same rules on your children?