Some favorite Christmas gifts

I know it’s January, and we’re all ready to move on from Christmas, but I just wanted to highlight a few of the favorite gifts from this year. And then I promise I’ll stop talking about Christmas, because I’m ready to move on too! I got all of my Christmas stuff packed up yesterday and I couldn’t be happier to be back to a less cluttery home.

(It’s interesting how my brain labels Christmas decorations as cozy on December 1st, but downgrades them to clutter by January 1st.)

Ok! First up, my mother-in-law bought a tea set for my girls off of ebay (Wasn’t it a great idea to look there?), and they just love it. It came with six cups and saucers, which means they can have quite a tea party.

She included boxes of tea and some fancy cookies, which made for a lovely gift.

We bought Sonia and Zoe small Klean Kanteens years ago, and the size was quite appropriate then. But as they’ve grown, so has their capacity for drinking water, and they were having to fill their canteens awfully frequently.

So, we got them some brand spankin’ new canteens in the size the rest of us use (Here’s more info on the Klean Kanteens we own.)

They’re very pleased to have the grown-up size now. ;)

We seem to be having kind of a beverage theme here, aren’t we?? I think this next gift is the last drink-related one, though. ;) Last year, I got a single glass straw to review on my blog, and ever since then, it’s been The Coveted Straw around here. So, I bought a smoothie size straw for each of the kids from Strawsome (unaffiliated) and put it in their stockings.

These straws are made of super strong glass, so as long as we’re fairly careful, I think they’ll have a nice long life with us.

I kinda wish that I’d thought to order the regular length smoothie straws and not the long ones, since we tend to drink our smoothies in not-so-tall glasses.


I do like that I got the slightly bent straws, though, because the bend keeps them from rolling off the table or the counter.

I also ordered two small straws for Sonia and Zoe from Strawsome’s irregular section. They’re not as wide as the smoothie straws, but honestly, unless your smoothie has chunks in it (in which case it wouldn’t exactly be a smoothie, would it?), these could work. And they were only about $4 apiece, so that was a really great deal.

We bought this wooden yo-yo for Lisey on a whim, but it’s one of her very favorite presents. She’s had cheap party favor yo-yos before, and this is a huge improvement. It’s made in Pennsylvania of solid wood, and I love how simple but fun it is.

These wind-up flashlights from L.L. Bean turned out to be a very popular gift as well. They’ve got LED bulbs and you provide power by winding a handle that pops out from the back of the light.

Like most kids, mine love to just play with flashlights. The problem is, they often forget to turn the flashlights off, and then the batteries die. The lovely thing about these is that it won’t be a problem if they forget to turn them off…the light will just go off and it can be refreshed with a few cranks once they’re ready to play with them again.

Also, Sonia and Zoe hate being without a light when the power goes out at night, so they’re really pleased to have a light source that won’t ever be without power.

Incidentally, I always like buying stuff from L.L. Bean because of the satisfaction guarantee that they offer. It’s nice to know that if something breaks at an unreasonably early time, I can send it back. To me, that’s worth paying a little more upfront (I do always visit ebates first so that I get cash back when shopping at L.L. Bean, and that helps a bit.)

Of course, because of the guarantee, L.L. Bean generally carries higher quality items, so I haven’t had to take advantage of this guarantee very often.

(By the way, L.L. Bean has no idea who I am, so this is just my honest, unsponsored opinion.)

Joshua’s main present this year was a waterproof case for his camera. My cousin has one and it’s so much fun to use at the pool. Unfortunately, Joshua will have to wait a bit before he can use this, since it’s decidedly not pool weather right now. He did try it out in the fish tank, though. ;)

Lastly, the girls’ main present was the Flying Turtle.

Mr. FG used to have one of these as a kid, though it was called a Wiggle Wagon back then. You sit on it, put your feet on the handlebars, and wiggle them back and forth to make it go.

Of course, the directions say to only use it on flat surfaces, but I’m pretty sure this thing will be going on some slight inclines during its tenure here. ;)

We were able to buy it from a locally owned toy store, but you can also buy The Original Flying Turtle on Amazon .

All of these gifts are fairly simple, but they’ve been very well-loved so far. And unlike fad gifts, I think they’ll be well-loved for years to come.

That makes me happy.


Joshua’s 365 post: Ice Skating, again!


  1. says

    I would love to know how you clean those glass straws? I always throw away the plastic ones in the BPA free glasses with lids just because I feel like I cannot get them clean enough, but I hate buying plastic straws all the time.

  2. Ellen S says

    Love the glass straws, but like another reader said, “how do you clean these?”
    would be great for my kids….

    • Rebecca says

      Dr Brown’s baby bottles come with a teeny bottle brush just right for cleaning straws, glass or plastic. You can buy extra brushes where they stock baby bottles for just a few bucks for a 3 or 4 pack I think. We stopped using bottles over 3 yrs ago now and our little brushes are still going strong.

  3. Amanda says

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. We have daily smoothies and have found ourselves going through a lot of straws. So glad to be reminded of the glass straws. I think I will be placing an order today! We’ve also had a wind up flashlight and our oldest loved playing with it. I don’t know what it is with kids and flashlights.

  4. says

    Great gifts! Although sad to see you did buy the straws from hip mountain mama. I have bought straws several times from her since your original review. Plus she’s a female small business owner and local to me.

    I put our straws in the dishwasher. If they’ve been used with a smoothie I rinse with hot water first. I did get the skinny straw brush but never use it.

    • Kristen says

      I did want to buy some from her, but sadly, she doesn’t carry the ones that I wanted (at least, she didn’t when I was looking back in November). I’m so glad she’s had what you needed, though.

  5. Carol says

    Classic gifts! My 15 yr old received the same flashlight and loves it. His brother received a wind up/solar radio. And I have fond memories of my kids enjoying the Turtle.

    Having just packed away all the Christmas trimmings, I could not agree more about how spacious and airy the house seems without them!

  6. Shy Girl says

    I have for many years wanted a glass drinking straw, but wondered how difficult it would be to keep clean – esp. if it were a bent one. As you love yours so much, I assume it’s not that much of a problem? I would appreciate more info on this.

    Happy New Year!

  7. says

    I have that same problem with Christmas decorations! The clutter is just about to get the best of me right now! A couple of weeks ago it was all so beautiful.

  8. says

    I’m intrigued by the idea of glass straws, I would never have thought of a reusable alternative being available, but it’s great that it is! I’m not a big straw user, but if I was I would be buying one.

    Funnily enough a wind-up flashlight was on Mr Omnivore’s wishlist as well, and I managed to find a really tiny one for his keyring. It’s great when you don’t have to worry about batteries.

  9. says

    My grandparents had a flying turtle and it was always the most coveted riding item! I can’t wait to get my kids one.

    Unfortunately, my Christmas decorations are still up, but today is finally the day that they are coming down! I’m so excited for a clean slate and life to get back to normal.

  10. says

    It looks like you and your family received/gave some very nice gifts, sure to be enjoyed for a long time.

    Our family must be the oddballs with Christmas decor. Our tree is still up and so are the decorations. We keep it all up until the 12th day of Christmas, the Epiphany. So not till this weekend will Christmas end in our home.

  11. Paula in the UP says

    I feel the same about the Christmas decorations, mine came down early this year, the Friday after Christmas Day!

    Nice gifts, I’d never heard of a Flying Turtle or a Wiggle Wagon. They sure look fun, will keep in mind when grand kids start making an appearance and of course are old enough. I love the simpler gifts made of better quality and aren’t so trendy.

  12. Susanna says

    wow love that tea set and an awesome idea to look there! and add in the treats – perfect gift! of course I have a weakness for tea and all the accessories LOL! and yoyo’s – I was never very good with them but give me a yoyo or one of the metal slinkies and I was a happy camper!

  13. Sandy says

    I’m wondering where you found the waterproof camera case? I live in Florida, so its pretty much necessary! Thank you!

    • Kristen says

      I got mine from Amazon. You’ll want to do some searching to make sure you buy the model that’s compatible with your camera, as they’re not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.

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