Here are some gifts that our family loves. My hope is that these gifts might help fill in the gaps for your Christmas list.


  1.  Fuji Instax camera… This seems to be the gift all the cool kids want. I can’t even wrap my head around wanting to print out pictures. I remember when we were so amazed that we could keep ALL OUR PICTURES on our phone. “Wow!” we marveled. “Never again would we have to print pictures. We could carry our entire life stories in our pockets.” But our kids—who have only ever known digital photography—are totally captivated by the idea of pictures you can touch and hold.


  1. Monogrammed Blankets. I bought the girls some snuggly blankets from Sam’s Club (a package of two was like $12). Then I dropped them by a local shop to get their monogram on them. They turned out super cute and the girls will be thrilled to have blankets that’s all their own for family movie night, for sleepovers, or when they’re headed to camp.


  1. Osmo Masterpiece—You might have already heard of Osmo.  It’s a clever learning device you attach to your iPad for tactile learning. My folks got the kids one last year and it’s been a hit. All the pieces are excellent, but our kids really love the drawing one.


  1. Subscription to Highlights magazine—Mike’s parents get our kids a Highlights subscription every year and they love it. Every month our issue seems to come on just the right day, when everyone needs something new to read and do. There’s always an interesting drawing or puzzle or weird fact to inject a little educational-ish entertainment into our home.


  1. Adventures in Odyssey App—The original radio program is now available in the hugely convenient app form. For $15 a month, your family can enjoy the witticisms of Whit and Connie and the whole gang from Odyssey. Our kids listen to them when they clean their room, fall asleep, or we’re on car trips. The episodes are the perfect length for a little introverted time for each of them.


  1. North Face fleece— Oh, the comfort and joy of a good fleece! Mike and I both have this exact fleece in several colors and I feel like it’s a parents’ uniform. We wear it to—well, to do anything that a forty-something does in a day. Because it’s just that soft. And it looks great after thousands of washings.


  1. Apple Watch—This is a wonderful husband/wife gift. Three years ago, when I originally got my Apple Watch, I wrote about it. Since then, it’s become an indispensible part of my life. This is one bit of handy technology that helps you break up with your phone. Instead of checking your phone constantly for a text, email, or call, your watch taps you.And the tapping it does when I’m driving is unbelievably helpful.


  1. Land of Stories—As I’m typing this, our ten-year-old daughter can’t put this book down. The Land of Stories weaves the tales from the nursery rhymes and fairy tales into an epic series. Elisabeth loves the twists and characters in the story. It’s a whole series and these have become her “favorite books ever.”


  1. Manchester Tall Boot— These boots are for the mama/wife who is on the Very Nice List. They’re expensive (but cheaper than the version at Free People of the same boot). Anyway, these are once-in-a-lifetime boots. I’ve wanted them for years because they have an adjustable calf. They are the unicorn of boots for your favorite skinny-calved woman who hates to look like she’s wearing galoshes.


  1. Framed Print and Family Trees & Olive Branches—My publisher, Concordia Publishing House, is offering the most gorgeous print when you order my new book. And it makes a great gift. Buy this frame, pop in the watercolor, and give it to your favorite family member…or anyone who mind need the reminder that our families are rooted and grounded in Christ.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

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