It’s cold outside and if you live in Houston it’s crazy wet too. No problem. This weekend is the perfect time to knock out the hardest kids on your Christmas list. In our family, that’s the boys. We have a little (8 years old) and a tween (11) and I’ve searched for gifts that will keep them off electronics (the battle raging in our house all the time).

Here are my best ideas for the boys on your list…


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In 1987 I was in the Seventh Grade at Weis Middle School. The only two gifts on my Christmas list were a pink Outback Red 10-button Henley and a pair of pink Vans. The shoes were at Galvez Mall and when my dad saw the ones I wanted he said, “They want forty dollars for cheap canvas shoes?”

Thirty years later and Vans look and cost the same. The fact my kids want Vans for Christmas feels sweetly nostalgic and just right.

Pick up a pair for the teen/tween boy or girl on your list and be as cool as a middle schooler from 1987.


Photo Printer


Our kids love to look at old pictures on my phone. I have over 70,000 images on there so it keeps the very busy.

When I print a picture for them (which is a pain to do) they’re always so grateful. Like embarrassingly grateful.

Instead of admitting that there are easier ways to print pictures than our temperamental printer,  I’m giving them this printer so they can print their own.

This HP Photo Printer has really good reviews. Also, it’s tiny and looks good sitting on your desk. And, yes, I know there are whole companies that will print books and magnets and stick-tiles of the images on your phone. But it’s just another thing that requires passwords and emails and shipping and I AM OVER IT by this point in December.

Bonus: there’s about 70,000 ways to display your printed pictures. Five Below has these photo-hanging lights for $5 each. Urban Outfitters has adorable frames, clips, and books to display ALL THE PICTURES. And don’t forget about scrapbooks. As another ‘90s throwback, I have enough scrapbooking supplies to make books out of all those pictures on my phone.



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For a gift that’s not a throwback to 30 years ago, check out the world of drones. In the past couple years, these have become much more powerful and much less expensive.

Now you can give your favorite teen boy (or teen boy at heart) a cool machine that flies around and takes aerial footage. With several different models, in a wide range of price points, you can definitely find one for any boys on your list.

And I’m calling a non-electronic time because it takes some serious skills to learn how to maneuver these and not run them into the neighbor’s tree.


Basketball Hoop


I’m getting our boys these indoor basketball hoops for Christmas. My in-laws have them in their basement and our kids spent hours playing H-O-R-S-E and even more hours in rough-ish games of Keep-Away.

Over the years we’ve had all kinds of various basketball hoops with literal bells & whistles. And while nothing beats an old-fashioned game in the driveway, these little indoor hoops are a close second. They are just so easy for pick-up games in our pjs on rainy, cold Saturday mornings.

Plus, they might just master the three-pointers they’re trying to hit in their real basketball games.


Hey! Before you go…. I have a gift for you too. If you share this post, I’ll send you a copy of my book, Family Trees & Olive Branches. It’s about creating a culture of grace in your family–if you’re finding yourselves arguing about an acceptable amount of time to play Boom Beach.

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