LEGO gift ideas for the holidays

This year 3Po and Jammy are all about LEGO. Their interest in LEGO waxes and wanes, but 2011 is full-on LEGO. Their favorite video game is LEGO Batman, they love to schedule playdates with one of their friends who owns a lot of LEGO, and all they can talk about is LEGO Ninjago. LEGO will definitely be on their wish list, and I'm sure it will be on many other kids' wish lists this season.

I'm not about to reinvent the wheel and tell you the oh-so-novel news that LEGO would make a great gift idea; in fact, any of the products on LEGO's online store would make a great gift idea. But if you want to be truly original -- or if you're looking for a present for the LEGO fan who already has all the sets -- here are some cool LEGO products that definitely belong on someone's wish list:

The Cult of LEGO (No Starch Press, $39.95).

I've always considered myself a big LEGO fan -- but my devotion is nothing compared to the people featured in this book. The Cult of LEGO features the creations and collections of LEGO's most ardent adult fans in a beautiful, full-color coffee table book. You'll learn about the history behind the brick and see some of the most intricate creations of expert buildrs, from scale replicas of Yankee Stadium to robotic chess sets to life-sized dinosaurs. My favorite section is the chapter on minifigures (oops, that's minifigs according to LEGO fans), where you can see dozens of minifigs representing famous people like Elton John and Nelson Mandela. This book is definitely a must for LEGO geeks, but even kids will love it. My kids love leafing through the pages, and this book has already inspired quite a few building sessions in our home.

LEGO Drinking Bottle ($11.99, The Container Store)

Encourage your kids to drink more water with this 400 ml minifig water bottle! The minifig head acts as the bottle top, and the body comes in red, blue, pink and black. The base unscrews for easy cleaning, which sounds like a great feature since the bottleneck is quite narrow. The bottle is BPA-free and top rack dishwasher safe.

LEGO Lunch Box ($24.99, Langton Info)

I've seen many vinyl LEGO lunch boxes with LEGO characters on them, but I've never seen one that's actually shaped like the classic LEGO eight-stud building brick! The LEGO Lunchbox is the perfect complement to the LEGO water bottle; you can store your lunch in it, or use it for crayons, small tools, or -- brain wave! -- LEGO bricks. Unfortunately this item seems pretty rare; I could only find it for sale on a British website, so unless you're from across the pond, you might have to be content with those LEGO Star Wars lunchboxes after all.

LEGO Brick ice cube tray ($9.99, Amazon)

These brick-shaped ice cube trays are so cool (pun intended). Just fill with water, freeze, and pop out 8 perfect replicas of the classic LEGO brick! The mold is made of silicone, so people use it to mold chocolate bricks (although I'm not sure if you can use them as mini-cake pans). The LEGO store also sells a minifigure ice cube tray for $6.99.

LEGO Digital Camera ($59.99, Digital Blue)

Two years ago I was given a pink version of this LEGO digital camera at the Time To Play Holiday Showcase. It is the cutest thing ever. It looks like it is made completely out of LEGO bricks (our version had pink and white bricks), but you can't take it apart -- it's a real working 3 Megapixel camera, with a built-in flash and a color 1.5" LCD screen. The top and bottom of the camera interlock with regular LEGO bricks so kids can integrate it into their LEGO creations. It even comes with 3 LEGO bricks!

LEGO MP3 Player ($49.99, Digital Blue)

Like the Digital Camera, Digital Blue's LEGO® MP3 Player looks like a stack of LEGO bricks, but it's a working MP3 player with 2GB internal memory and up to 8 hours of play time. It supports MP3 and WMA files, and holds up to 1,000 songs.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Cult of LEGO from No Starch Press and a review sample of the LEGO Digital Camera from Digital Blue. I did not receive samples of any of the other products featured in this gift guide. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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