Checking it Twice… {Christmas Gifts 2013 Edition}

by | Dec 19, 2013 | Advent and Christmas, Christmas 2013, Giveaway | 25 comments

So, how is your Advent going? Ours has been very difficult and challenging…  First it was colds and poison oak (the poison oak on our oldest daughter’s face is finally healing), followed by a snowstorm that kept us home for days, heartbreaking news from one of our favorite priests who is being treated unjustly and will no longer be offering the Friday masses our boys have been blessed to serve since they were 5 and 6 years old, and then frozen pipes due to abnormally low temperatures for here which resulted in our well pump burning up and no water in the house for a total of 6 days (originally just 1 day and then again for 5 days).  I think God might be trying to teach me something this Advent… and my husband says it is time to move!

During these last days before Christmas I am going to try and let go of any unnecessary activities or plans of mine, simplify in all areas, and just focus on prayer (both personal and family), re-creating a peaceful (and clean) home, and catching up the laundry now that we have water again!  Deo Gratias!

My computer time has been extremely limited (everything seemed to take 10x’s as long to complete when the water had to be hauled from the neighbors and heated on the stove for washing dishes and counters!) and I’m falling further and further behind with emails. (In fact, at this point I have only been able to respond to a handful of urgent emails.) As much as I wish it was possible, I just won’t be able to respond to the rest anytime soon, if at all… I will try to address some of the questions I’ve been recieving here on the blog when time allows.  One of the most frequent requests I’ve been getting this past month has been for a peek at my children’s Christmas gift list for this year. I’m spending a little time this evening checking over my list and thought this would be a good time to share it with you all! (Now to make sure I keep the kids off of my blog until after Christmas!  It’s getting harder and harder to share these sorts of things online as our kids get older!) 

Anyways, In last year’s “Checking it Twice” post I explained that our children usually receive “three” gifts each on Christmas morning from their Dad and I, recalling the three gifts Christ was given, plus they wake up to discover their stockings filled as well. Depending on the gifts (and our budget), some years I have combined multiple items into “one” gift package (i.e. clothing, shoes, etc, or various toys). You can see some examples in a past Christmas Morning post. You can also find my 2009 list here: Shh! Don’t tell them….

This year, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, we are doing something a little different and breaking our children’s gifts into three categories: something fun, something faith based, and something to read.  (Most of these gifts will be multiple items wrapped together into one themed gift.) 

Christmas gifts for seven children (plus Christmas Eve pajamas, plus stockings, plus St. Nicholas Day, plus gifts for relatives and godchildren, etc…) adds up quickly! I have found that I have to be really creative in order to purchase quality gifts. I purchase gifts throughout the year, usually on sale or clearance, and also take advantage of the sales following Thanksgiving.  I also will sometimes save samples and review items I have been given to give to the children as well, and my Amazon affiliate commissions help purchase the rest! Once again, thank you to each and every one of you who use my affiliate links!  It is truly a blessing!

Here is a peek at my list for this year.  
I hope it helps some of you who are still searching for ideas!   

Something Fun 
(These gifts are either something they have been wishing for or something I know they will love.)

Right now “Fun” equals “Legos” for my oldest three boys!  This gift will consist of a few lego sets for each of the older boys and a castle for Bud. The girls will all be receiving American Girl doll accessories.  (Note: A number of the items have gone up in price due to high demand or limited stock, and a few items have been discontinued and are no longer available.)

Something Faith Based
(This gift is something that we’d like them to have to help enhance our beautiful Catholic Faith.) 

Something to Read
(This will be a stack of books wrapped for each child – I collect books year round, some I purchase either used or on sale/clearance, some I’ve been given to review, and some have even been wonderful finds through Paperback Swap. Note: I’m saving most of the Catholic titles I have from Neumann Press and Tan Books for next year’s Easter Baskets.) 

(Note: I do want to remind you all that I haven’t read most of these books yet. I made my decision to purchase most of them based on recommendations, reviews, publishers, and the past work of some of the authors/illustrators.)

Stocking Stuffers



I’m also really excited about a few of Bud’s (2nd) birthday gifts, particularly this Tree Finger Puppet Play House!   It is SO cute.. So much cuter than the pictures online!  I can’t wait to give it to him tomorrow, with the cute little deer peeking out.  He is going to love it! He will also receive My Wonderful Christmas Tree, Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek, a Woodland Wooden Puzzle, a Forest Friends Block Puzzle, and (just to through you all off from figuring out the theme!) a Melissa & Doug Car Carrier!  I’ll be sure to post pictures after his birthday!


I know I have been hosting a lot of giveaways this fall and winter, but I do have just one more for you all this year… and one more over at Catholic Cuisine! 🙂

Catholic Embroidery has graciously offered to giveaway a set of their beautiful new St. Therese Notecards to one of my visitors here at Shower of Roses!  I have ordered many items from Catholic Embroidery in the past, for myself, my family, and to give as gifts, and everything is so lovely!   Be sure to remember them for any last minute Christmas shopping you still have to complete.  If you’d like to be entered in the giveaway please use the Rafflecopter box below by December 25th.  God bless!


  1. Anonymous

    What beautiful Cards! Jessica, Thanks you so much. Shower of Roses is so much fun to look at. It is just about the only blog I read. God bless you and your family always.

  2. 9peasMom

    I did most of my Christmas shopping intentionally clicking through your links. I truly value what you share here!
    I'm praying for your dear Priest, and that even though Advent has been difficult your Christmas season will bring peace & joy to you and your family!

  3. Sarah

    Gorgeous cards! Thanks for the chance to win!

    And thanks for including that prayer for priest. Our priests need our prayers and support so much!

  4. Anonymous

    You are just incredible! Here is an extra prayer from my heart to your family.

  5. Anonymous

    You know we are praying for our favorite priest.

    We are also praying for you guys and so grateful that you have water again!

  6. Kimberlee

    I'm so sorry to hear about your priest and the subsequent loss of your Friday Masses! Such devastating news. You have indeed be given many trials this Advent. May God reward you for your faithfulness.
    Your gift lists look wonderful! Hope your family enjoys Saint Felix. Blessings to all of you in these final days of Advent.
    PS Thank you again for recommending Come, Lord Jesus! We have been enjoying it so very much and it has been a great blessing to us all – I read it aloud to the family after our evening Jesse Tree readings and singing. Thank you!!

  7. Erin

    Praying for your Fr Carmelo! Sometimes life is so very, very hard. Praying if it's God's will your husband will find work closer to Latin Masses. Do go easy on yourself, enjoy Bud's birthday tomorrow{{}}

  8. Christine

    I will keep your priest in my prayers.

    My husband has been telling me about Metal Earth models for the last couple of years. He sees them at a toy store near his office. One night, he came home and I said, "Oh, you need to see this neat metal model that Jessica shared on her blog." He replied, "Dear, that's what I have been telling you about and wanting to buy for Brendan for the last two years." What can I say visuals help.

    I hope your house problems are resolved soon.

  9. Mimi G.

    Love that you added a prayer for priests! How difficult that you'll be moving. Is he looking out of state?

  10. Jennifer Elia

    Beautiful prayer, where did you find it? If you really are moving, your NJ welcome wagon is ready and waiting…hehehe! But really, that would be amazing!

  11. Teri

    Do you get credit if we purchase something else after clicking your links or only if we purchase that exact item?
    And I would love to see how you store all these toys! I have trouble staying organized with only 3 kids' worth!

  12. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, I receive affiliate commissions on any purchases that are made after someone clicks over to Amazon after visiting my blog, unless the items were already in your cart. It does not have to be the exact item I link to. 🙂

    I have posted pictures of how the boys store all their legos here. (Though I've been meaning to post what we came up with for their mini figures… hopefully in the next couple months I can get to that.) After Christmas I will try and post a little more about how the girls store their dolls/accessories. They also have a few closet maid bins in their room for small toys, calico critters, etc. The Playmobil toys, blocks, basket of puppets, and Lincoln Logs, are in the little boys room. And Rose has all the kitchen toys, the bin of paly silks, and the castle the girls passed down to her in her room. I have a game closet that stores our games and puzzles. When it gets too full I pull some out to give away. I do have under bed boxes in a couple of the rooms for dress up clothes and additional toys. I think that is it… I've been wrapping their gifts today and it all seems like so much more when it is listed out in the blog post. When I look at the stacks for each child, it doesn't seem like nearly as much.

    In fact, in our home, storing books is so much harder than storing toys… 🙂

  13. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! The prayers are greatly appreciated!

  14. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so glad you have been enjoying Come, Lord Jesus! I haven't been able to read much of it, but what I have read has been excellent! Next year I might have to try reading it aloud, what an excellent idea!

    I'm also so excited about the Saint Felix book! I've ordered a few copies for godchildren as well. The illustrations are beautiful!

  15. Jessica Gordon

    Hahaha! That is so funny! They really are neat models! 🙂

  16. Jessica Gordon

    I couldn't resist adding the prayer for priests, when I was "adding my own options" to the giveaway! As much as I love getting comments here, I thought the "Pray for Priests" was a much better use of my visitors time, and so very needed in the Church today.

    I appreciate that some of you left comments, even though it wasn't required for the giveaway. Thank you! 🙂 And, yes, my husband has been looking out of state. He has been looking for a good transfer (preferably near an FSSP parish) since we were first married though, and God seems to want to keep us here. We will just keep praying!

  17. Jessica Gordon

    You're welcome! 🙂 It's a beautiful prayer. I need to print it out and put it somewhere I can see/pray it often.

  18. Jessica Gordon

    The cards are lovely! And thank you for the kind comment!

  19. Unknown

    Did I win?? Lol I'm Monica R.!! Is it me??

  20. Jessica Gordon

    Yes! 🙂 I sent you an email this morning – maybe check your spam folder if it didn't come through – and please email me back with your mailing address! Merry Christmas!

  21. Unknown

    It was in the spam folder! I'm sooooo excited and grateful thank you thank you!!! Merry Christmas!!!!


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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