Santa - sorry for the delay! The present arrived safe and sound this weekend, but was promptly stolen by my partner and hidden from me - she's being a stickler about saving the presents until Christmas this year. I'll update the geek list soon, and I'll make sure to post pictures of playing with the kids... once I know what it is!
I hope your summer has been nice. I understand that you're losing some polar ice up there, so I hope the conversion to a floating workshop has been going well.
So you know, we'll be traveling this Christmas. We're going to be visiting Michigan for the last full week of December and first week of January. If you want, I can pack your gift with us to open on Christmas, or I can
rip into it with glee open it as soon as I get it. I'll leave that up to you.
I'll also say that I'm not a game perfectionist. I have kids, and we use games. If it is more affordable to provide a used copy of a game, I'm fine with that. Heck, we support recycling and re-gifting, so I'd think of it as a good deed! Don't worry about cost - it's the joy of just the gift from Santa that I love.
As I'm sure you know, my kids (7 and 5) are avid gamers. The youngest loves Galaxy Trucker so much he plays it solo, and the oldest loves trying out new games (though he hasn't picked a favorite.) Many of my wish list items are thinking about what they would like.
My partner enjoys cooperative games, and we often play a game after the kids go to sleep. She also will play low-to-no conflict games with me (things like crayon rails) but she prefers games that have enough luck in them so that she doesn't feel like when she loses it is just due to bad planning/strategy on her part.
And I do have a group I play games with irregularly - they let me scratch that higher-conflict game itch - but we try for games with lower learning curves, since we tend not to play the same game over and over again.
So you know, I live down the street from The Monster Den here in Minneapolis - they don't always have a wide variety, but I know they can order most things. If you're worried that your delivery elves might have a hard time getting something shipped, I can walk over there for you. (And there are many other game stores here in easy driving distance.)
And regardless, I hope that you are having a great Christmas season. I really love this exchange, and I find that this is becoming a cherished tradition for me, and I hope to involve my family in it this year.