Now, this is how we do things around here [and please understand that this is what works for us and altho I enjoy your suggestions, please don't "dis" my way of doing things]:
On St. Nick's Eve (that would be last night) the family each put out a shoe (the bigger the better the younger you are) and a note to St. Nick. The note details what the wishes are for Christmas ... and the older ones do a bit of an examination of conscience since only the good Saint will see the letter. This is a good chance for all of us to think about how we can empty ourselves of the bad and re-fill with the good before the coming of the Christ Child.
The next morning (that would be today) the letters are gone and the shoes are filled with some gold-covered chocolate coins (in rememberance of St. Nick's helping of the dowerless girls), a candy cane (to represent the Bishop Nicholas' crook), and a book -- either a push-the-limits reading book, an activity book, or a religious book. This year the good Saint included:
- Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione (for Lego Maniac) -- I am anxiously waiting for him to finish Sir Quinlan (which is the 5th book and that's how we stumbled on this wonderful Christian lit for boys) so I can read it!
- a wonderful paper doll "primer" for String Bean -- The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer:Activities and Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist is a brand new book that includes lots of activities, great ideas, and absolutely gorgeous paper dolls! String Bean loves crafting with paper and still has a great affinity for dolls -- so this is perfect. The text is also a reading stretch for my struggling reader so this is all good.