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Useful Gift Ideas

Updated on December 15, 2008

If you're wracking your brain to come up with ideas for gifts that can give for a lifetime, I hope that the following suggestions come in handy.

Gifts for Children

1. The Little House 9 Book Box Set. Laura Ingalls Wilder's series on her experiences growing up in the 1800's fed my sisters' and my imaginations through many long, cold winters when we grew up. Even today, we get goofy grins talking about our favorite scenes - most of them revolve around Laura's Ma's home cooked meals or the love and purity that went into making and exchanging Christmas gifts in the Ingalls' home.

2. Any of the following books from The Great Brain Series:

The Great Brain

More Adventures of the Great Brain

Me and My Little Brain

Not only are these books filled with loads of fun, humor, warmth, and important life lessons, kids get to learn all about growing up in a traditional American family in the late 1800's in Utah.

The Great Brain Series is what triggered my love of reading at an early age. I still read these books on occasion, and am licking my chops, waiting for the day when I can see our sons reading these books.

3. Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl. This is another book that fueled my love for reading as a youngster. Although he's most famous for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in my book, Mr. Dahl's best story is about the Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Gifts for Teenagers and Adults

1. A one-year subscription to National Geographic. This is the only magazine that my wife and I subscribe to. So much of what I know about and imagine of this world comes from this outstanding publication.

2. The Artist's Way - I credit this book for giving me the courage to step out of the life template that I was expected to follow. One of the most important, against-the-grain and life-altering-in-a-huge-way decisions that I have ever made was made as a result of reading this book. Highly recommended for anyone who is looking to discover or clarify his or her life vision.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - I read this book from cover to cover when I was in my mid-20s and living in Barrow, Alaska. Since then, I have read it at least ten times. This book constantly inspires me to be the best person that I can be. It also serves as a powerful reminder to seek and strive to be all that is genuine in life.

I hope that one or more of the items mentioned on my "useful gift ideas" list serves you and a loved one well.


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What a great idea - I absolutely loved these childrens series when I was in elementary school years ago!

I second the recommendation of books by Roald Dahl. He was possibly my all-time favorite author when I was a child!

There is also a "7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey, excellent for middle/high school ages. Plus my "2-cents" regarding Roald Dahl. Altho read and loved by many, I always stood ready to discuss with my children his prevailing theme of "revenge". I felt it important to balance their impressions with my own view that revenge is an inappropriate use of personal power. I encourage parents and caregivers to always read what their children are reading and get into conversations with them about their perceptions.