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Gift Ideas for Clueless Aunts
Old 11-09-2007, 08:29 AM   #1
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Sarah in SC's Avatar
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Gift Ideas for Clueless Aunts

As a clueless aunt, I stumbled upon the niftiest books for the kiddies for Christmas. There are several in the series, some are called the "ologies" but these are a good start: Fairyopolis andPirateology. They are presented as someone's actual diary, in handsome large book format, with all kinds of neat little folders, treasures and photos attached to the pages. The Fairy one has a sparkly jewel embedded in the cover!

They say for ages 9-12, but I'm getting them for younger children that are careful with their books. Truly unusual and the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid. I think most are available on Amazon--for under $14 each.

I know there must be other childfree folks here that struggle like I do with getting cool gifts for kids--and I'm glad to report that all my holiday shopping is now complete!
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:45 AM   #2
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Yes, books are great presents for kids. I refuse to contribute to their piles of mall-ware.

I'm doing some of my Christmas shopping through PaperBackSwap : Your source for swapping books online! this year (I had 9 credits before I started shopping). I generally ask nephew or niece's Mom what he/she is into recently. So far I've gotten:

16-year-old niece: 7 Habits of Effective Teens
13-year-old nephew: Saga of a Wayward Sailor
Twenty something nephew: NY Times Natural Foods Cookbook
Twenty something niece: Creative Writing for People Who Can't Not Write

If the books are not in good shape, I'll order something else. Some of the books I get through PBS are in like new condition. But if the kids can't handle getting used stuff for Christmas, tough.
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:43 AM   #3
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I gave used Cat in the Hat books one year--they were not too well received, so I've returned to the new ones. To the kids' credit, they were a bit more "used" than I would have liked.
That Tristan Jones book is great, but once your nephew has read Jones' work, he may be disappointed at the hero's clay feet in "Wayward Sailor". Tristan was a great storyteller, but as it turns out, they were stories, not real life, for the most part.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:24 PM   #4
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Not sure yet if I'm a "clueless" or "clueful" aunt; the kids are still a bit young yet: 5 y.o. boy and 4 y.o. girl. Last time I got 'em Ikea frogs with zip-open mouth (cool storage plus fly inside) and coil-spring mesh toy 'chests' (flower and lady bug). These latter were a big hit, but not to put toys in.. they got inside and jumped all over the place inside 'em.. even down the stairs! Whee! Head injury time!

For 5 y.o. last Xmas I got him a personal voice recorder (a simple, cheap adult one). BIg hit and he learned how to use it within minutes but after a month he'd destroyed it by picking apart the mic (idly, he has a kind of autism/Asperger's and is occasionally into mindless pointless destruction). I got this idea since he loved playing with the Thomas station digital announcement (which only lasted a few seconds). Funnily, all the other kids' recording toys lasted no time at all (30 sec. -1 min.?) so for $20 I got a real one. Seems like kids' stuff often short-changes them in this way.

I have already bought Christmas gifts since we'll only be there for Thanksgiving and I will wrap them up now and leave them for next month. This year I'm going with 2 "Moon in my Room" lights and a toy to be shared that captures shadows. Plus her first Groovy Girl for the 4 y.o. (yes, an endless collection, but they are cute rather than tarty, and it makes subsequent gifts easier for a while). Really not sure about a second gift for the 5 y.o. Thomas used to be a safe bet, but I think he's over that. Maybe an atlas since he is into maps.

Sarah those books sound neat, I'll bookmark them for the future! Thanks!
Yeh.. kids have a LOT more of an eagle eye than we give them credit for.. by the time they are three or four they already know how to hone in.. they want the NEW, GOOD stuff!

If the kids were mine, I wouldn't mind getting them used things at all, but I think I would draw the line at Xmas and b-days: I'd get 'em something new within reason and save somewhere else. I think it's not so much a matter of 'spoiling' but something deeper connected to their self-worth, or at least the way I see it. Better a new pair of socks than a used videogame, if you get my drift. Used gifts kinda smack of 're-gifting' (unless you really, really can't tell it's used) and signal perhaps that the recipient is held in lower esteem. I think kids have a hard enough time figuring out what's "theirs" in the world, so an indulgence just a few times a year isn't so bad, if you're not truly poor. [This is just my personal feeling..]
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