Stocking Stuffer Suggestions
This is the most fun post I get to do all year. That's probably because I love shopping (true confession time), and I love showing the good stuff I find when I shop. And I really love shopping for others and bringing them joy by curating gifts to fit their personalities and likes. Hopefully you will love some of these and reap the joy of sharing them with your families.
This year's list begins with books, of course. Louie Giglio has written two children's books, Indescribable and How Great is Our God, each with 100 devotions about God and science. Seeds Family Worship describes this great resource and offers a bundle price for the two together.
"It’s impossible to out-imagine God. He orchestrates time, creates light, and speaks things into existence—from the largest stars to the smallest starfish. God is a powerful, purposeful, personal, unparalleled Creator. Psalm 19:1 says, 'The heavens tell the glory of God. And the skies announce what his hands have made.' [Giglio's books] display the majesty of creation with scientific findings, photography, and original illustrations. These 100 devotions encourage awe at God’s creativity."
For preschool age, the Good Book Company has a delightful series of Bible story books, that combine fun illustrations and faithful texts with concepts; for example, Jonah's story introduces synonyms, and the telling of the Exodus uses a countdown format. You can even find--maybe a first in preschool books--the story of Deborah. I can't recommend these highly enough.
If you're looking for some wonderful music, the Getty's have a new album, Evensong: A Collection of Hymns and Lullabies at Close of Day, that is absolutely beautiful. Don't let the word "lullabies" deter you. This collection will soothe your adult soul. I could fall asleep to this every night. I streamed it through Apple music, but you can find other sources in the link above. The arrangement of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" with Kristen Getty and Heather Headley will have your heart soaring.
If your children liked the folksy style of Ellie Holcomb in Sing a couple of years ago, you will enjoy her new Sing: Remembering Songs. Ellie's style is very singable (not to mention great for dancing to) and therefore her songs are easy for children to remember. The message of the album is summed up by the artist: "My hope is that these songs would help kids and the adults in their lives remember how deeply they are loved by the God who made them." Disclaimer: not every song mentions God by name.
This year I want to suggest a couple of items that aren't necessarily "spiritual" but that will bring beauty to your children's lives and encourage their minds and creativity, which is a spiritual exercise as we image our Creator.
As reviewed by Timberdoodle, one of my favorite Christian websites for kids' stuff, Zentangles offers an "easy to learn, fun way" for the artistic and the not-so-artistic child to create striking images by drawing structured patterns. Timberdoodle's take on the "Zen" part: "If you can get over the name, your child is not only going to love this book, he will actually walk away with transferable skills. There are many Zentangle books available, but this one for children has the clearest instructions, the most motivating assignments, and is fully dogma-free. Enjoy.
If the thought of Zen in the title scares you, bear this in mind. Anyone who has ever cross-stitched a design, knitted an elaborate pattern, or calligraphed a verse has experienced that same deep-thinking, fully-focused condition with no scare of embracing Buddhism. Or to put it another way, if you are comfortable serving your child Devil’s Food cake, you should have no reservations on using this book."
If your family is into puzzles (and surely someone is!), you will love the quality BEAUTIFUL and unique animal-shaped jigsaws from Madd Capp Games. We have the 100 piece red panda puzzle, and all of the grandchildren from 4 years old and up enjoy working on it. These are challenging, blowing away my typical method of finding all the straight-edged outside pieces and building the puzzle frame first. And did I mention beautiful? You can't go wrong here.
Finally, here is something the whole family can enjoy together from Fat Brain Toys, my go-to site for quality age-appropriate toys for my grandkids. Box and Balls is so simple yet brilliant--a set of nesting open ended boxes and 8 bouncy balls. Arrange the boxes anyway you like with the last one open side up. Start the ball bouncing along the boxes trying to land it in the open box. It's safe Dude Perfect for your kids.
Well, I hope that something on this list strikes your fancy and makes your shopping for kids or grandkids that much easier. May the joy of giving bless your life this Holyday season.