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VICTOR JOECKS: Gift ideas for Black Friday

I used to be one of those crazy people who stood in line in the wee morning hours of Black Friday. Since having kids, I’m grateful that some stores do Black Friday sales throughout the week or online.

But you still have to know what to buy. Here are some of my recommendations, and I hope you’ll send me some of yours too.

I still love board games. Last year, some readers wrote in and recommended a game called Splendor. I’m so glad they did. I received it for Christmas, and it soon became the go-to game for my wife and me. You can have up to four players, but it plays really well with two. There’s strategy but not complexity. It’s easy to set up. Once you’ve played a few times, two players can complete a game in between 15- 30 minutes. These are all the ingredients of a perfect game for the scarce amount of time between when the kids are finally asleep and you collapse into bed.

If you prefer a little more strategy, Power Grid is another great one. I’m hoping my older kids will be able to play it this year. They tend to get the uncontrollable giggles during games, so we generally stick with simpler classics like Sequence or Phase 10.

If you have a favorite game, please send it my way. My wife sends her thanks for helping her find me a Christmas gift.

If you love a good story, you should check out “The Wingfeather Saga” by Andrew Peterson. The writing in the four-book series is absolutely beautiful with well-developed characters and a incredible plot.

I read those books to my older kids before bed. My wife would frequently come out from putting our younger kids down and give me a look that said, “It’s late. Why are you still reading?” Guilty as charged. They were hard books to put down.

For my younger boys, we’re getting them a set of Brilliant Bob books. They focus on how masculinity is a strength to develop, not a flaw to stamp out.

If you want to introduce free-market concepts to your kids, check out the Tuttle Twins books series. In accessible stories, they introduce concepts such as basic economics, individual rights and the role of government. There’s usually a Black Friday sale, too.

There are lots of great hiking apps, but I’ve long referenced Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest. The author is Deborah Wall, who penned a hiking column in the Review-Journal. Let me know if you have a favorite hike, especially if it’s outside of Zion or Bryce.

If you have some favorite books for kids or adults, send them my way. I’m especially looking for biographies. They don’t need to be political either.

The best gift we gave our older kids last year was probably a subscription to Kiwi Crates. They send kids a project or craft each month. It’s nice to give something that lasts beyond Christmas.

Enjoy shopping, but don’t forget the greatest gift of all — Jesus, God in the flesh, sent to save sinners.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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