Friday, December 26, 2008

What were your favorite holiday gifts?

It's the day after Christmas...boy we had a good time yesterday, and it was about family as much as it was about gifts. My Mom and Dad both came for Christmas dinner, the first time since they split up in 1984. They've been to other events together, but now that they both live in the Triangle it's more logical to share the holidays. It was like the opposite of the movie Four Christmases, thank goodness. With all the health challenges everyone has faced lately, I have a new true appreciation for the opportunity to be together.

That being said, I am curious to hear what holiday gifts were a hit this season. Not just the obvious ones, like the Wii (which I wish we could get, though I know we would have no self-restraint around it, so we should not).

What were your family's three favorite gifts to unwrap this week? Ours were:

Jishaku. This is an unpredictable, tactile game that you really have to hold in your own hands to appreciate. The pieces are shiny hematite magnets, and you try to place your piece in a foam cushion so that it doesn't attract others. You have to keep any magnets that stick together. If everyone in your household is old enough to play safely with these magnets (i. e. won't eat them), this is a fun age-leveling game that kids and adults can play together.

Microfly Hovering UFO.

Shoot, it's out of stock at my favorite fun gadget website,, but this little radio-controlled toy really does fly. At $19.95, you won't cry your eyes out if it gets lost on the roof. It flies longer and better than last year's ubiquitous RC Dragonfly worked for us.

Kung Fu Panda on DVD. I really felt like I'd gotten out of something earlier this year when my husband offered to take my daughter to see this in the theater. Even after they said it was good, I still didn't believe them. (I've sat through enough cyncial/crummy Dreamworks movies--for example, Over the Hedge, Bee Movie, Magadascar--to turn me off to the brand.) But Santa brought Kung Fu Panda on DVD and we watched it yesterday. It was actually quite good--stunning animation, and a good story with a valuable message. In fact, one of the main themes of the film echoed something Nancy Pelsoi said in her recent book Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters. How's that for an unexpected connection?

Now that I am spending lots of time with nine- and ten-year-olds, I really appreciate things that are truly aimed at them. Not too babyish, but not just wholesale appropriation of teen culture, either (as in, "Mom, when can I have a cell phone?" Answer: not yet!). Kung Fu Panda hit that sweet spot for me. It would be too intense for little ones but I thought it was great for older elementary on up.

How about you? What are you still having fun playing with today? Any lumps of coal we should all stay away from in the future?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our favorite gifts were a Dungeons and Dragons game and some handmade items.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter's favorite was her pink iPod nano, which was also my favorite because I used Amex points to get it.
Seriously, this was the first time I can remember that, 12 hours after receiving a gift, she was still mesmerized by it. I know, it's the beginning of the end, but at least it's the beginning of something.

12:36 AM  

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