Tomorrow is December. December is tomorrow!
Currently, my notes to self sound something like this:
Finding gifts for the children in your life doesn’t need to feel like one more obligation. Tune in to the child, and where they are right now, at this moment in their life. Pay attention to what they need, or don’t need. Have you already won the global lottery? Acknowledge it. Apply the buyerarchy of needs (see below). Give from a place of peace, generosity, and unattachment. Receive in the same way.
We usually give one main gift, one book, and one stocking for each of our children. It winds up being more than enough (especially with generous extended family members), but helps to avoid gift-unwrapping overwhelm. You’ll find this list is longer than that, in part because I wanted to recommend books and products that our family has experienced and enjoyed. I’m also planning to offer myself the gift of a social media break during the holidays, something that I think the whole family might enjoy.
May your December be one of peace, joy, and gratitude.
Gifts for birth to age 3:
Reflecting mobile, for the newborn in the family
Cozy, family-focused art by Katie Flindall, for the nursery or playroom (pictured)
A smart, seasonal subscription to Babybug magazine
Lola at the Library book
In the Town, All Year Round book — If you have a child in your life who likes to point at pictures in books, you owe it to them to give them this book. Jasper is 6, and he loves to pour over each page, but a beloved friend of ours (who was 18 months old when we gave it to him last Christmas) has literally worn the binding off the book with frequent page-turning.
My Heart Fills with Happiness — a book that’s a pleasure to read aloud
Ikea’s classic indoor play tunnel never gets old with the wee ones
A jar of homemade playdough
Gifts for 3-6 year olds:
The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs
Julián Is a Mermaid book
The best quality crayons — pricier than other crayons, but the last ones you’ll ever need to buy.
Big movement toys like an indoor swing, triangle ladder or a tumbling mat
Amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs — hear me out: those boxed bulbs you find in any box store are fast-growing, with dramatic results. Kids of all ages will love to plant, tend, and observe their very own indoor bulbs, and they add such beauty to a January day. These also make great gifts for children to give to someone who will send regular updates on how the bulbs are growing, a connection Jasper and his great-grandmother have shared in winters past.
A straw broom
Micro Mini Scooter — my kids each have one of these sturdy scooters, and Sage has been riding hers since before she was 2! With their three-wheel design, they are safe, speedy, and stand upright on their own. A must-have for getting to the beach and the library.
Gifts for 6+:
Morakniv Rookie — a great first knife for use outdoors, with extra safety features. Perfect for sharpening sticks.
Rock tumbler — Jasper has been very interested on rocks, gems and minerals for some time now, and a rock tumbler is a tool that could help continue his hands-on explorations
binGO WILD animal riddle game
The beautiful and riveting adventure novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Hand vacuum — something Jasper specifically asked for!
The Illustrated Harry Potter books
The Water Walker book — inspiration and encouragement for the keen and passionate second plane of development, from a modern day hero
Gifts for the adult who loved looking at this list (feel free to forward this to your Secret Santa):
“Montessori as an act of liberation” t-shirt raises funds to get Amelia to the Montessori for Social Justice conference
A donation to the Montessori school at South Bend’s Centre for the Homeless
All of the beeswax candles from Wild Luminescence
Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage book — a deep dive into practical and developmentally appropriate ways to connect with your toddler, even when times get tough, by Aubrey Hargis of Child of the Redwoods (and founder of the vibrant Montessori 101 Facebook community)
An unlined Moleskin notebook for notes & sketches
A supportive subscription to the in-depth anti-bias, anti-racist work Tiffany Jewell and Britt Hawthorne are doing
“Raise Them Curious” t-shirt for Mamas and Papas trying to do just that
Gift guides from years past:
A gift guide for the Montessori home (2017)
How to avoid rapidly changing holiday priorities: a gift guide (2015)
A Merry Montessori Toddler Gift List (2014)
Read more about our advent of adventure — an experience-focused holiday tradition. And a bit of evergreen holiday wisdom, from December of 2015.
Disclaimer: this list includes affiliate links in which I earn a tiny percentage of any purchases made via these links. If you do decide to gift any of these items, consider doing so through the links on this page.