Tuesday, December 1, 2009

x is for xmas

CRW_9502
Despite (or, more likely, because of) the fact that we don't celebrate Christmas at our house, I absolutely love pretty much every one of the holiday trappings: the Christmas lights, the Christmas trees, the Christmas cookies, the Christmas stockings.

If I were Christian and even the tiniest bit religious, I'd probably go all out, but, as it is, I don't feel obligated to do anything in particular. In fact, I feel kind of obligated to not do anything in particular (and, no, following the time-honored Jewish tradition of going out for Chinese food on Xmas Day doesn't really count). I know that some non-Christians feel alienated by the pervasive Christmasy-ness of December, but I think of it as kind of like being a guest at someone else's party or a spectator at a play -- all the fun, none of the work.

I do, however, buy presents for my many, many non-Jewish relatives and sign up for the program run by the office to buy Christmas gifts for needy kids. This year I've been matched with Javon*. All I know about him is that he's six years old and that he's asking for jeans, sweaters, a winter coat, books and arts and crafts. It's been an awfully long time since I've had to shop for a six-year-old boy and I'm kind of at a loss. So, if you have any suggestions of specific books or arts and crafts things he might like, please leave them in the comments.

eta: Thanks so, so much for all the great suggestions! You guys are absolutely brilliant!


*Not his real name, of course.

30 comments:

moplans said...

the six year old boy I was just on vacation with loved Bendaroos. They are basically wax pipecleaners.
The fact that he is asking for a winter coat just breaks my heart.

myskytimes said...

I love the way you put it: "...being a guest at someone else's party or a spectator at a play -- all the fun, none of the work". Even though I was raised by atheists and church-haters, I LOVE the vibe around christmas. Makes me feel warm and cozy... It goes so far that I even got myself a little christmas-tree last weekend. So whatever works is fine. Can't we all just celebrate christnukkahgiving...? :))

And for Javon: How about a construction-kit for a miniature airplane / car / dinosaur? We have lovely wooden ones over here which are suited for 6-year-olds (no engineering diploma needed).

niobe said...

@moplans: Yeah, I know. I'm going to get the coat and clothes, but I also wanted him to have something that he wanted, not that he needed.

mayberry said...

Check out the arts/crafts/activity books from Klutz (local toy shops & big bookstores will have). They are pretty well made and all the supplies and tools are included.

areyoukiddingme said...

Transformers are pretty popular this year...

Also, I believe little boys pretty universally love Captain Underpants books.

Anonymous said...

My six year old boy likes I Spy books and the Henry Huggins and Ralph S. Mouse series from Beverly Cleary. And the Fudge Series from Judy Blume. Calvin & Hobbes. Crafts that involve sciency-stuff are a hit at my house. Things that explode and/or ooze. Also paper airplanes & puzzles with images of dragons or cars with flames. Legos legos legos...close enough to a craft to count in my book.

Virginia said...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a popular book right now. Otherwise, I'd suggest Legos - Star Wars are pretty hot right now for little guys. Transformers and Bakugans (sp?) seem to be big as well.

Beruriah said...

Virginia got my suggestions. My nephew's seven and he's so into Star Wars, but also Captain Underpants books.

Wabi said...

Someone gave my daughter Crayola no-drip, washable paint pens for her sixth birthday. (Not the "magic pen" ones that only write on special paper -- these write on anything.) They are basically magic markers with a brush tip that create paint-like effects. Big A loves art and these are by far her favorite tool of the moment. Parents love them because it's like painting, but with no mess.

If you get art supplies I would also suggest giving him a 500-sheet pack of plain white printer paper. Growing up poor and art-loving myself, I remember how scarce nice drawing paper was in my house.

Magpie said...

Bakugan is neither craft nor book, but lots of fun. A couple of nice plain drawing pads and a big set of magic markers would be swell.

And, I'm an atheist, but I love Christmas and all of the trappings. It's the Winter Solstice celebration!

Life in Eden said...

My six-year-old boy loves star wars, bakugan, and wants Benderoos. His friends like Captain Underpants and the Wimpy Kid books and I will be adding them to the library. Glad to know I'm on track with my Hanukkah shopping since these are what everyone else recommended!

leanne said...

I'll second the Calvin and Hobbes. My 5 year old son is pretty obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes. I'm a big fan myself.

He's also a fan of Transformers and Star Wars. And legos.

Oh, and Kid K'nex are fun, too. We have a couple of the tubs -- Zooming Buddies and I think the other one is called Underwater Pals (?).

Anonymous said...

When I do the "winter coat" requests, I always stuff the sleeves and pockets with treats and extras like calling cards (in case there are relatives they might want to call) or disposable cameras or gloves or chapstick or hot wheels.

It's like a mini stocking.

Frustratedfairy said...

Horrid Henry books were a hit with my son when he was around that age :)

Betty M said...

Ditto to Horrid Henry and Captain Underpants. Meccano is a fave here too.

Furrow said...

I know nothing about 6-year-old boys, but I love that he wants books and crafts.

I'll echo Magpie and say that I'm not religious, but I love Christmas. So, you know, hang some lights and holly around your mantle or something. We won't tell.

Heather said...

I have an almost-six-year old who very much enjoys Roald Dahl (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame, which you probably already knew. Sorry.). The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the BFG, James and the Giant Peach, The Magic Finger are all favorites around his. Also, for less reading and even more boy humor, check out John Scieszka for picture books on trucks and retold fairy tales like The Stinky Cheese Man.

For toys, check out ZOOBS. Or K'Nex that have already been suggested.

Anonymous said...

My 6yo loves the crayola no drip paint brush marker things. They make some pretty nice art too.

Kathy McC said...

Aaron is 7 and he is obsessed with Lego's. Any kind, but particularly the Star Wars and the Power Miners.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are popular, as well as the Bone series.

Art supplies are always good, and I like the pp's idea of getting a pack of printer paper.

As far as clothing, I love Crazy 8. Great clothes, nicely made, and GREAT sales.

Merry Kwanzichrismika.

Jodi said...

I have an artsy-craftsy six year old boy. I'd suggest any or all of the following, contained in a recloseable Sterilite box: Lots of paper, of all different kinds and colors; safety scissors; lots of Scotch tape; craft glue; pipecleaners; markers; bags of pompoms and google eyes and foam adhesive shapes; the kind of craft clay that hardens overnight without baking.

Chag Sameach.

Christine said...

how about some magic tree house books? they are big favs of my 5 year old and my girl loved them when she was younger.

Kristin said...

The Magic Tree House books are great and Star Wars is always a big hit with my boys.

three minute palaver said...

Love the stuffing the coat pockets idea that anonymous said. that is pure magic. wow. I can just imagine how wonderful that would feel for a poor 6 year old to find hidden extras and little lovely to wonder.

and by the way, I'm not Christian (we practice Zen ~ admittedly DH is way better at it than I) and we celebrate xmas as a way of participating in our community's social and active culture. It matters not one hoot that we are non believers. Culture doesn't only apply to the faithful.

missing_one said...

My almost 5 year old loves arts and crafts. I stock up on colored paper, markers, stickers, stencils, masking tape.
I'm also getting him a Zoob set, Legos are always a hit for all boys, and my 6 year old nephew is into K'nex. My son it not quite at that level yet. Basically anything that moves or things they can build boys tend to like.

As for books, my son likes the Frog and Toad books, but I don't know if they are too young for a 6 year old.

Aunt Becky said...

Magic Tree House books and Legos. Always a huge hit in my house.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone mentioned the Alexander books? As in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Cause those are hits at our house -- and I don't think we have anymore six yr old children around -- we're all teens and up.

Maureen said...

So when I was pregnant and people would ask me what I was hoping for I would reply "A Catholic child". So said Catholic child is now 3 (the other one is 1, but he doesn't get any of it really yet). And guess what child says when asked "What do you want for Christmas?". 'A Menorah for Hanukkah.' And then he proceeds to explain you light candles for 8 nights. This weekend we were at a birthday party and the kids got tops, my kid shouts "Look I got a dreidel!" I'm glad I have a sense of humor that appreciates the fates sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

OK, having a 6 year old boy myself, I can give you great recommendations! The coat--LL Bean has some great ones on a sale, as does Lands' End. LE has one on a super sale today (Squall Parka or some such name) only. I would get one a little big and a dark color so it can survive a couple of years of wear and infrequent washings. I used to tutor the children on this sort of a list through a No Child Left Behind grant and know what their living conditions are like. They have one coat and their parents have to go to the laundromat to do the wash so the coat is not a priority. I might also recommend a coat that has the zip-out fleece so they can get double the deal since if they don't have a winter coat they probably don't have a spring one either. Jeans, try Old Navy because they have good deals and they hold up just fine. (I never have luck with their shirts, though, so I usually go with Gap or LLBean or Lands End)

Books: Magic Treehouse plus the I Can Read type ones of popular kid's toys--Star Wars, Transformers, Spiderman and all of the other superheroes.

Crafts: Tons of markers and crayons plus paper. The K'Nex are also popular with my 6 as are the Bendaroos. A pencil box with school supplies and a pencil sharpener is also great since they have homework and frequently lack the proper supplies to do it.

Toys: Bakugan and any other Japanese anime type thing. Pokemon is still popular along with all of the superheroes.

Oh--and winter boots are always great. That age---probably safe with a size 1 or 2. My boy is tiny so he's not the best basis of size.

A good backpack is also great. I had some kids use grocery bags for their school supplies and it's kind of embarrassing for them.

-e

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I have no gift suggestions, except to say that I bake for area shelters for Christmas just so I can get in on the holiday action. Love the music, love the sparkle lights, but glad I can shut off the holiday too without guilt.

Nearlydawn said...

Just a tidbit about the Christmas Holiday... I am from a "somewhat Protestant" family - aka my parents stopped going to church once their family stopped being able to make them.

I was in my teens before it was fully clear in my mind how the birth of baby Jesus had anything at all to do with a fat caucasian man in a red suit, especially the whole delivering presents bit.

I went to church as a child, sometimes, but all of the necessary holiday connections were never formed in my mind. So for me, and my own family, Christmas isn't at all a religious event - it is just fun. Then again, so is Easter.

btw - sometimes I'm still confused by the religious connections - like when I see a plastic nativity on someone's lawn...