Monday, October 30

Christmas Shopping Guide for Boys - 2017

Check out our gift guide for the ladies here, and for the guys here.

Christmas is less than two months away! I don't know about you, I've been running our Christmas shopping plans through my head for a few weeks, and I'm ready to start checking off those mental lists.We have a few years of experience under our belts when it comes to shopping for boys, so we thought we'd share a rundown of some of our favorite gifts for these little fellas to help give you a jump start on your shopping, too!

These are all things we're thinking about for our boys this year, or items we've actually bought in the past. We follow the "four gift" plan for the most part - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read - but we typically get two items in the want category (unless it's one more expensive gift) or add a larger family gift, plus we also do a few small gifts in stockings and a Christmas Eve box. But we try to mix in a big dose of giving along with all the getting. Here's how we do it:

Something They Want
We'll show several items in each category, but the goal would be to pick just one item per category (though we typically pick two "wants"). For this category, you can really just pick whatever your child wants the most! Here are a few of our household favorites:

  1. Legos - A big starter set, or a smaller model set in their favorite theme (superheroes for us!). Plus Duplo legos for the smaller fellas (we love the construction sets, zoo, and house!)
  2. Play Food - always a big hit at our house, and they've had their eyes on this pasta set.
  3. Wooden Blocks - this set includes a storage box!
  4. Animals - we like the the larger animals by Safari Ltd (like the mama and baby bear), but the Toob sets would also be great for a stocking!
  5. Peg Doll Playsets - you can find these on etsy or make your own! We made a little camping set that our boys love, but you could do whatever interests them - superheroes, knights with a felt castle, even animals (I'm working on a raccoon family with a felt log for boy #3's birthday)!
  6. Small Slide - this slide has been going strong for several years with our boys. We even bring it inside for the winter so they can slide off some energy. They use it daily!
  7. Indoor Swings -  this is another of those "burn off energy in the winter" items. Boys gotta move. I would love to get this doorway swing and climbing set, and my boys would get a kick out of a pod swing
  8. Climbing Things - our boys love the climbing dome in our backyard. And the mama would love to add some indoor climbing options for winter (it's my theme this year). My wishlist includes putting in monkey bars over the bed, some rockwall holds up the wall in their room (I like the ones that look like real rocks), or a ninja slackline
  9. Camera - not pictured, but this is one of the best gifts we've ever given Boy #1! You can read all about which one we got and why we love it here. (see the camera here)
Something They Need
This is a really broad category, because what your kids need may be very different than what mine need! We've also put things they want that will be really useful into this category. Sometimes we end up a more boring item like shoes, and sometimes it's something fun like a sleeping bag or backpack. But remember, only one! That's the hard part.

  1. BootsMy Mayu Boots are my favorite because they are so flexible and good for little feet! But they are a little pricey, so I've only splurged for them as a Christmas "need." It helps that we have three boys and can will be able to pass them down the line, so for now we only need to buy for the biggest boy. I also buy the liners so they will be warmer for winter.
  2. Shoes - let's just start with all the shoes, because this tends to be our biggest need for all these boys. I haven't tried these yet, but Minnetonka Moccasins are supposed to be really flexible and foot-friendly, too. I'd love to get a pair for the big boy (he's the hardest to find good shoes for). 
  3. More Shoes - We bought IFME Scout Shoes last year and I  L.O.V.E. them. I planned to buy them again, but they're proving hard to find in the U.S. They're only available at brick & mortar stores, and the one I bought them at closed. Boo. But I definitely recommend them if they are sold in your area. 
  4. Backpacks - we don't need them for school, but a backpack has sure been handy for long drives and weekend trips! (spiderman backpack here)
  5. A Suitcase - our boys are dreaming of a suitcase for all the weekend trips to visit family, and they would love this shark print suitcase (and I would love all those pockets to organize their things). (find it here)
  6. Sleeping Bag - great for camping and weekends at Gramma's house. (firefly sleeping bag here)
  7. Clothing - any clothing they need can fall into this category, too. We've even counted a bigger baseball cap as a "need". We are excellent rule benders. (redwings cap here)
  8. Bedding - last but not least, anything they need for their room can go into this category! Think new bedding to fit the big-boy bed, a set of bunk beds, shelves for toy storage, whatever! (constellation bedding here)

Something to Wear
 This category often overlaps our "need" items, since we tend to need shoes, but they can also go into the wear category if there is something else you need! We usually end up with t-shirts or hoodies featuring their current favorite theme (this is the year of Star Wars).

  1. Themed T-Shirts - our go-to "wear" gift. We've already picked up a couple Star Wars sweatshirts for the big boys. (lightsaber tee here). 
  2. Hoodie/Jacket - our other go-to, because they feel amazing when they wear hoodies. (BB8 hoodie here)
  3. Cardigan  - a cardigan is a little fancier and super practical for layering over button-up shirts in the winter. I love them in navy or gray because they go with everything. (find it here)
  4. A Coat - this is a great chance to splurge on a super cozy coat (and maybe some snow pants?) to keep those little guys toasty in the snow. They probably need to spend more time in the snow anyway. (blue/yellow columbia coat here).
  5. Cozy Pajamas - footie PJ's are one of my favorite gifts for a toddler. They look so cute and they stay warm! (dino pj's here)
  6. A Hat - this is where we start seeing some overlap with the "need" section. This is another good place to work in a hat for your favorite team! (find it here)
  7. A Watch - our boys like wearing watches just like their daddy. We actually put them in their stockings a couple years ago, but they also fit into the wear category! (find this watch in tons of colors here)
  8. Shoes - check out our favorites up in the "need" section. (IMFE shoes here)
  9. Boots - like I said, this is another way to get some good boots if you already have something for their "need." (MyMayu boots here)
This is always a fun category for me because I love looking for books my boys will love! Wrapping tip: if you wrap multiple books together in to one package it still counts as one. I know from experience. I've tried to go through them in age order below:

  1. Brown Bear Brown Bear - this is on repeat with our toddler right now. He has it memorized and can quote the whole thing as he flips through! (find it here
  2. Duck & Goose - our other toddler favorite. I already ordered the Christmas one for Christmas, and the colors one for his birthday. And I'm hoping to make a plus duck & goose to go with it. (find it here)
  3. Tacky the Penguin - there's a whole series of these at the library, and there's a good chance a couple will make it under the tree for our middle boy. (find it here)
  4. The Curious Garden - we have this one on our bookshelf and read it often. The boys seem to like it, and I do too! (find it here)
  5. If I Built a House - another favorite we already own. We also have "If I Built a Car" and they love to pull both out to read back-to-back.  (find it here)
  6. The Mouse and the Motorcycle - this was a great beginner chapter book to read aloud with our first-grader. There are a couple more in the series we'd like to try, too. (find it here)
  7. My Father's Dragon - I've read a few rave reviews about this trilogy, so we're actually pre-reading it right now to see if it is a good fit for our boys (I've also ordered Bill & Blaze from the library to read through as a backup). (find it here)
  8. How to Train Your Dragon - this is still a bit scary for our boys, but it had to make the list because we loved it. If you have slightly older boys, it's definitely worth checking out... or if you're looking for a fun read for yourself. We especially enjoyed the audio book read by David Tennant! (find the hardback here, and paperback here)
  9. Boy's Doodle Book - not technically a "read," but it's a book so roll with me here. Our boys looooove these doodle books. It's a great option for any artsy fellas (and makes them even arstier!), plus works with a wide variety of ages. Last year we gave them the Learn to Draw books from Usborne and they might love those even more! (find it here)
  10. Magazines - magazine subscriptions are the gifts that keep on giving! Our boys love finding the new issue each month. We especially like Clubhouse Jr. because it's faith-based and full of stories with a positive message, and Highlights (or High Five for littler kids) that's packed with short stories, puzzles, craft projects, and even easy recipes.
Anything small enough can be a stocking gift! We try to stick to a small handful of nicer items rather than packing it with cheaper gifts we'll have to clean up later. Here are a few favorites (and several can be included every year!):

  1. Small Games - Spot It is a favorite with all our boys. It's easy to learn, quick to play, and doesn't require any reading. Any card game can work, but this is especially good for little guys. They even have Jr. versions to start with! (find it here)
  2. Altoid Tin Toys - these are just the right size, and great to have on hand for long drives or long waits. You can find them on etsy or make you're own! (I'll be sharing the tutorial for this Ewok/Bear set next week, you'll be able to find it here). 
  3. Small Books - board books are often small enough for a stocking (more duck and goose, please), and small chapter books can squeeze in for bigger kids. (find it here)
  4. Check Notepads - our boys love to combine their play food and play cash register to make a restaurant, so we thought they would love these little notepads this year. (find them here)
  5. Toothbrush - every year. Because tradition. (find it here)
  6. Hat/Gloves - easy to squeeze in a stocking, and the boys would go crazy for the star wars print. (get it here)
  7. Small Lego Set - there are several small sets for $5-10 that can fit into a stocking. Our boys are especially interested in the mighty micro superhero sets! (find them here)
  8. Socks - but get the superhero ones so he still gets excited. (find it here)
  9. Slingshot - my #1 favorite must-have for stockings this year. Wooden sling shots with little felt balls to shoot. Yes, this will come back to bite me somehow. I don't even care. They are going to go bananas for these. (find them here on etsy)
Christmas Eve Box
We started this fun tradition when Boy #2 was just a baby. It's so fun to open a special family package on Christmas Eve with new pajamas, a movie to watch, and movie snacks! We love to snuggle up and enjoy it all together before bed. (you can read more about our past boxes here)

  1. A Small Toy - this is totally optional, and the box is still amazing without it. Last year we put a small lego set in for each of the boys to put together while we watched the movie. They had fun, but I don't know if we'll do it again this year since it's not really necessary... and another expense. (lego mighty micros here)
  2. Pajamas - we've always gone with Carter's 4-piece pajama sets, but this year they didn't have any that tickled my fancy so we ordered these red long johns from Burt's Bees to try. I love that they are so simple but still feel so Christmassy! (find them here)
  3. Hot Cocoa - I make this super simple homemade cocoa mix and bottle it up in a cute jar to tuck in the box. (recipe here)
  4. Marshmallows - part of our tradition every year has been homemade marshmallows for their hot chocolate. I pack in a big jar and let them eat as many as they want (I feel good about the ingredients in these homemade ones!). But don't sweat it if this isn't your thing, just buy a bag and enjoy the night! (recipe here)
  5. A Movie - our box will have Cars 3 this year. We took the boys to see it in the theater and they loved it. And so did I. It's a win for everyone. :)
  6. Popcorn - we have a popcorn popper (this one) for homemade popcorn. We top it with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. (popcorn here)
Give Back
The last big part of our gift giving is teaching our boys to give back. They help with small gifts for family members (last year they made penguin cup cozies for everyone, and are already working on this year's surprise!), and we also have a family meeting to pick out donation items from the Gospel for Asia catalog. We set a budget before we start and give as much as we can. The boys love flipping through to find the items they think will make the best gifts. Spoiler: it always involves bunnies.

Check out the rest of our Christmas posts and projects here

What are your favorite gifts for boys?

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