lpsrocks's Blog


Rockville, Maryland,
web developer, NOLA native, mom of two, concerned citizen living apparently waaaayyy too close to the Beltway, as I have become part of the "chattering classes"... just a political junkie, I guess...concerned about the environment, the wetlands, and keeping the world safe for democracy... no wonder we can't sleep at night...


Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 9, 2008 5:28PM

Lisa’s Handy Holiday Giving Guide

Rate: 14 Flag

I know, I know. We’re all supposed to be “above the fray” and renounce consumerism and all that. And, as much as I’d like to just avoid the subject and recommend that everyone send a “please don’t buy us anything and we are giving to charity” letter, I realize it isn’t that simple. I completely respect those of you who have made that choice (and sometimes wish I’d gone that route awhile ago). Alas, didn’t happen. So, for the rest of us – read, those with kids, lots of relatives (esp., relatives with kids), or just swimming along with the tide – this is a season of gift-buying & giving.

With that in mind, I present a hopefully helpful guide to the season’s hottest, most-asked for, and/or most practical gifts. (& if you’re reading, thinking this is going to be over-the-top snarky, funny – sorry – this one’s pretty straight up!) I’ve gleaned the list from various wish lists of actual, real people – not just those related to me – and experience with what kids actually play with and use. For those of you new grand-parents, step-parents, DINKS shopping for random teenagers or first time mothers-in-law, I hope you’ll find it helpful.

p.s. - I had it in a nifty table, but OS' code editor didn't like it, so it is what it is!  I've spent far too much time formatting it today. And for those who were here before, thanks for coming back - sorry about the whoops, it went away!


Kids: Infant – 3

Popular & Recommended



Stacking toys & blocks

Push Around Buggy



Ride on Zebra


Swing, Bouncy Seat

Any big thing they didn’t get for the shower -

MacLaren Stroller

Peg Parego High Chair


Money for College Fund

The Safe Sippy Cup
Baby Earth

Baby Pjs Organic Cotton PJs


Kids: 3 – 5
Popular & Recommended

Stainless Steel Kitchen Set toy


toy Dress-up Monkey

Wood Blocks toy

kitchen Wood Puzzles


Ride-on Backhoe or Excavator


Wood Kitchen toy kitchen


Brio &/or Thomas train sets


Money for College Fund


Organic Veggie Basket

Sprig Discover Rig


Kids: 6 - 10

Popular & Recommended

Polly Pockets

Groovy Girls Dolls & Stuff




Avon Countdown to Christmas Earrings

Electronic Games for the Wii, Playstation or XBox:
Lego StarWars


American Girl Dolls


 Lego Sets

Electronic Drum Pad

Nintendo DS or Sony PSP



Money for College Fund

Recycled Rubber Drum Set

Wind Power Kit

Kids: Age 11 - 15

Popular & Recommended

Girls: Anything Twilight

Hot Topic Stores


Popular Electronic Games:

Shaun White Snowboarding
Madden NFL
Super Mario games

Board Games:
Apples to Apples

RockBand or Guitar Hero for the Wii, PlayStation or Xbox


American Girl Dolls (still for some!)


Favorite Team Jerseys


Lego Mindstorms

Nintendo DS or Sony PSP

Foosball Table


MORE Money for College

Gift Certificates for:
Ice Cream
Video Game Rental
A Day with You!

Organic Cotton Hoodies or Sweats

Love This Planet Gift Set

Adult Women

Popular & Recommended

Hoody or Light Jacket

Lingerie (for wives & girlfriends only)

Silicone Potholders, Hot Mitts & Utensils (for the cook)

Nick & Nora Pajamas

Local artisan, hand-made earrings or other jewelry

Leather Gloves

Pashminas/Woolly Scarves

Party Games:
Catch Phrase

Scene It

Jersey or other team items for the sports fan



(iPod Touch or iPhone for big bonus)


Coach Purse

Tag Heuer Watch


Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Lightweight digital camera (for purse)

leCreuset cookware


Gift Certificates for:
Spa Treatments (try SpaFinder.com)
Her Favorite Store
(clues: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor
Lucy, J. Jill)
Great Sunglasses

Weekend Away and/or

Organic cotton sheets


Adult Men

Popular & Recommended

Fleece Pullover, jacket or Vest

Wireless Headphones for TV listening

Team Jersey or Sweatshirt

Portable Cooler/Ice Chest

Board Games

Video Games

Bluetooth Earbud



(iPod Touch or iPhone for big bonus)

Koss Wireless TV Headphones

Foosball Table

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Kindle or Sony Reader



Patagonia Synchilla Vest

Gift Certificates
Tickets to Sporting Events, Shows, or Concerts

Weekend Away

Reusable Water Bottles

Programmable Thermostat

Replica/Collectible Jersey or Print

Emergency Hand-crank Portable Radio

Classic Rock or favorite music downloads

Beer/Wine of the Month Club

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Type your comment below:
This was awesome! I've d every single kids thing, especially that drum set!! But apparently, I am also an 11-15 year old girl ;).
Totally cool, Lisa! Thanks for the tips. They're much appreciated by this childless uncle of four preschoolers.
oh, I meant to add: the categories are loose & highly interchangeable
You have covered it all and remembered to be politically correct, an essential thing to remember in these times. And you've definitely given me some ideas. Thank you!
My kids are lucky not to get Mr. Mainway's "Bag 'O Glass" from most of their relatives. I did take the high road this year, but it was really a cop out. The Man has 7 brothers and sisters (!) so we have a rotating gift exchange. This year we got his sister and brother in law who are both doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Yeah... uh...?

Her only hint on her husband for us was "He collects antique ceramic salt and pepper shakers in the shape of fish. But not the cartoonish fish."

I seriously couldn't have made that up if I tried. I got their two teenage girls books about their interests. Then, we bought them a "farmer's flock" (a cow and two sheep) donation through OxFam America.

Kudos for a really good list.

(thumbified with a bow on top!)
OMG this is my FAVORITE blog o' the day! I love the first toy you have, the stacking toys! I remember those from my earliest memories. Great for developing spatial cognition.

Just a FUN, FUN, FUN blog Lisa! I love it and would rate it 110% :-D

thanks guys for stopping by. mary - I knowww (said in the best Craig Ferguson voice I could muster)...I didn't want to be too PC, but:
I really do have an affinity for the old-fashioned wooden toys & HATE HATE HATE all those toddler toys that beep, honk, screech & make noises at the bottom of the toy chest
(I was so happy to toss them out finally!!)
& also
I do think consumables are a huge way to go, especially for those hard to buy for folks

jodi - good luck with that. I'm concerned about the fish

greg - you are too nice! thanks
ok, bookmarking this for a last minute feeding frenzy of gift giving that will happen sometime after the 16th- Thank you!
You've officially unblocked my gift-buying block....thanks!
Wow. It’s all here. AND BY AGE GROUP! Love the creativity in the Green-o-topian sections. Thank you.

For the age 3 and up category, there’s a pretty cool toy that I became enamored of, Magna-Tiles. (My wife has to remind me that they’re for our kids). The unique magnets on the free-standing pieces let kids design a huge variety of impressive 3-dimensional structures. It’s pretty cool, and most shopping websites have them.
Thanks for some great ideas and a push.
Helpful and cool list! Living in a household of all males, I really appreciate the girl ideas for my nieces. You just might save me a panic attack this year.
hi friends - glad to be of help! all that time on Amazon should somehow be channeled into a positive direction.

david - I love those MagnaTiles. I wish they'd had them when my kids were younger.

& karin - I like the way you think :-)

A couple of other old-reliable Items to Add to the List:
Books are generally appreciated, by both parents & young people. I figure there are enough book lists out there I didn't want to repeat.
Pajamas for all. Who doesn't love (& need) pajamas? For kids, Sara's Prints and Hanna Andersson are splurge-worthy, while Limited, Too, Gap, Old Navy, The Children's Place, Target and Nordstrom usually have a good selection and some great Christmas ones.
Particularly, in light of the downturn - staple items - diapers, formula, socks, underwear, wine?!, fruit/share in a CSA - or gift cards for same/to stores with selection (Target, Babies R' Us) will be appreciated.

happy shopping, everyone!