I think my personal favorite little giftie that I slipped into everyone's stocking on Christmas Eve is one of these nifty little Moleskine sketchbooks. Add to that about a million colored pencils, and everyone in the family has been quite inspired:The girls draw pictures and stick on stickers, and ask me to do "color work" with them (I have to write the name of each color (usually in that color) in list format, then draw a box next to each name so that the girl can color the box in its appropriate color--for some reason the kids freakin' love this, and as I've suspected for some time that Will's going to be a whole language reader, it's cool by me.
Our two sketch book rules: (1) You may not tear pages out of the sketch book; (2) You must fill in every page of your sketch book before I will give you another. Yes, I am in charge of sketch book supply and demand.
Matt's the only one who actually "sketches" in his sketch book, of course--you've seen other evidence of his great artistic merit. I, however, am the only one who creates pretty much no artwork of any kind in my sketch book. As far as I'm concerned, my sketch book is instead the Great and All-Powerful Book of Lists:I adore it. Ample and bountiful pages for lists of every kind and dimension, bound in a book small enough to keep in my back pocket, permanent enough for me to keep and refer to and not lose, communal enough that I can write in it while the girls work in theirs, special enough that I can take the care to fancy it up.
And yes, I get stickers, too.