Holiday Gift Ideas for 2018

Hello friends-who-hopefully-haven’t-already-done-ALL-their-shopping-and-still-need-a-few-ideas! : )

Last year we had a really great response to the two blog posts (here, and here) with gift ideas for children and adults. This year I’m taking the easy route and combining kid and adult into one post. Since Amazon is pretty much the only way we get anything in the Snyder household, all the links connected to the pictures are for that shopping site.  Hopefully you’re a prime member! (If so, are the cardboard boxes piling up in your home too?? : )

Anyway, perhaps something in this list will catch your eye or at least give you some ideas for those outlying gifts that you have left to purchase. Happy shopping! Happy holidaying! Merry Christmas!

 For Adults

Well, we led with Keller’s book on Psalms last year, so it seems only appropriate to led with his newest book on Proverbs this year : ) I’ve enjoyed the husband/wife team writing of Tim and Kathy as I’ve been encouraged by their straightforward and exceptionally applicable biblical insights for each day of the year. I think you’d love this book!

This is a gratitude journal. And since repetition aids recall (kudos, Aristotle : ), it’s never a bad idea to create ways to remind yourself of God’s daily blessings. The nice thing about this book is that you have a forward looking morning section and a backward looking evening section. Speaking for Paul (who believes that optimism is suspicious and highly overrated : ), he has found this journal to be helpful. It made it into my Christmas gifts for my family already! (There is a paperback copy that is a little less expensive, just FYI.)

Looking for an activity that you and your spouse can do together and will generally point out how poorly you love your spouse currently (I thought you would!)? And want to strengthen your marriage while your at it? Look no farther! Paul and I are in the middle of completing the love dare challenge ourselves and it have been an excellent way to grow and learn about each other. Convicting? At times. Interesting? Very. Helpful? Absolutely. Hang in there for those uncomfortable moments when the Holy Spirit whispers, “Uh, yeah, you really need to work on THAT” and look for the improved closeness between you and your spouse.

Paul and I have both turned to this book when looking for concrete ways to tie God’s love to our everyday lives. We forget that being loved by the Father changes everything about life. Our actions stop being motivated by fear or shame when God loves us! Our attitude towards each other changes in light of God’s love for his child. When we realize that God loves our spouse (friend, neighbor) with the same intensity that he loves us! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that infinite love.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have not yet read this book (hangs head in shame.) Paul has been after me to read it for a while but other books lined up in front of it and sadly, my stack is moving slowly this year. But I will say that Paul raves about this book (which is to say, he has said something like, “that is a really really great book” two or three times : ) He says that it’s one of the clearest, most encouraging reviews of the gospel that he has read in a while. He wants me to read it (right after I finish my book about anger!) and so by next year, I should know if it lived up to the hype. Or maybe you can read it and just tell me : )


Perhaps only a husband should get parenting books for his wife, or vice versa. Or maybe you shouldn’t buy parenting books at all for someone else. I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind if someone like my sister gave me these, but maybe that’s weird.  Hmmmmm….Ok, well, maybe buy this for yourself for Christmas!! How’s that. : ) But seriously, these are three books that I’ve read this year that were all different, but all helpful and encouraging. Murray’s book on discipline is like, “YES!! This is what the grace-based parenting movement has needed!!!” I loved it. (Can you tell.) It’s very practical, very spiritually motivated and just…user friendly. Clarkson’s book on raising an outside-of-the-box boy was encouraging to me because I am parenting a little boy (though not staying little : (   ) who is basically my exact opposite. I just don’t understand Jack. But I love him. This book spoke to that part of my mother’s heart. I don’t agree with everything Sally says but I liked most of it…enough to recommend it. And lastly, Paul Tripp. It’s like the man can’t write anything un-insightful! Sheesh! If you have kids, buy this book. If you have grandkids, buy this book. If you work with kids in any context at all…buy this book : )

Because there is always someone on your list that you’re left scratching your head over while you stand in front of an end cap at Barnes and Noble thinking, “Um…maybe a calendar??” Can’t go wrong with Tim Botts. That’s all : )

This is a slightly unusual gift idea, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway. I use our Spotify account every single day. It’s practically the only way that I listen to music. I love it. I find new artists, reconnect with old artists (why hello, Sound Forth!) and put together playlists of things that I love to listen to. But for our readers, one of the shameless plugs that I’m going to make is for the over fifty (FIFTY!) christian music playlists that Paul has made over the last few years. Because we believe in the power of music to strengthen and sanctify, we’ve made all of his playlists public so anyone with a Spotify account can listen to them too. Feeling anxious? Hello twelve songs in “Songs for the Fearful.” Feeling joyful? Hello six playlists entitled, “Songs for Praising God.” Basically, there is a playlist for the way that you are feeling right now. And he’s still making more!  Anyway, the service does cost a few dollars a month (although right now there is a deal of three months for 99 cents,) but I think that a Spotify account would make an awesome and very practical Christmas gift. If you don’t want to follow us on Spotify itself, you could use this blog as your hub for finding playlists. My hope is to finish linking all the playlists on this page in the very near future. I’m almost done….I tell myself that this makes one good new years resolution, right? : )

 For Children

This could be considered a present for a parent OR a child, really. If you want a good, practical method for both connecting emotionally with your child as well as gently guiding them as they grow and change, then this book might be very helpful for you. If you do indeed decide to tie that parent-child time with donut consumption, well, it’s a win for sure. I bet that your child will approve : )

If you liked the “Jesus Storybook Bible” then you’ll enjoy this devotional book from the same duo that created the bible. Lloyd-Jones has a beautiful way with words and helps parents call their children to see bible truth with clarity and simplicity. The devotionals are short and can be the impetus for some great conversations with children.

I’m always on the look-out for bible books for Meg. I love the artwork in this book full of women from the bible. More portraits than stories, these short readings are easy for Meg to appreciate. Women shaped biblical history, and sometimes we need a break from the Davids and Josephs and need to be reminded about the Deborahs and Miriams of the scriptures…

 The Complete Brick Bible for Kids

…But I’m not cruel or ignorant. Lots of kids won’t go for the tapestry-esque when there is anything Lego related to be had : ) Now, there is a brick bible out there, but it’s a little graphic (even with Legos…imagine headless mini figures, lego blood etc…) This box set of six books is a nice alternative. Nothing graphic and lots of cute. I actually found a new set at a local half-priced book store….so made keep your eyes out for a bargain deal yourself!

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Paul has successfully worked on this journal with the kids for about a year. It’s an almost nightly ritual that gives him a chance to hear opinions and ideas from the kids. Sometimes the answers are a little…ridiculous, but the idea is that over three years you’ll see the answers change and show the maturity of your growing children (one can hope, right? : ) Anyway, it’s a nice way to start helping your children be mindful about themselves and their own ideas and feelings. Meta-cognition anyone? : )

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So, this is a throwback to my own childhood. I have great memories of my mother reading this out loud to my sister and me. When Paul mentioned that his dad had done the same, well, that just decided it. Our children were going to hear this series and hopefully it will become one of their favorites. Again, it’s appropriate for all ages to hear (I mean, I’m not really sure how much Meg understands…but there’s no killing, monsters etc.) and funny as all get out. Good lessons about living with siblings and making hard choices. There are six books in the series and Paul has read his way through five of them so far (bless him : )

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For those of you looking for a fiction series that bridges the intensity gap between Narnia and Lord of the Rings (a cold-hearted queen vs. blood thirsty Orcs,)  Lloyd Alexander is one of my favorite fantasy writers for children. This series, the Prydain Chronicles, follows a teen protagonist and his band of misfit friends as they work to rescue their homeland from a ruthless evil invader. Excellent writing, approachable characters and thought provoking conflict (both internal and external) make this a great intro to slightly more adult-like fantasy. Plus, if you read it out loud, you can have some pretty interesting conversations about choices, consequences, doing what’s right vs what’s easy and other character building situations.

So there you are friends. Some of my favorite finds from this year. You might think of  it as a little glimpse into what the Snyder family has been reading/writing/listening to! Enjoy!

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