My friend Kathryn is a smart girl. She finds a type of toy each of her kids likes and starts a collection. Then, whenever Grandma calls and asks what grandson would like, she knows just what to say. In her case, her son receives Brio train stuff and her daughter receives American Girl Bitty Baby stuff.

I have tried this with my own kids with some success. Ralph likes any lego set. Olive likes any dress-up. I’ve attempted Clickits and Ellos and My Little Ponies with Maude, but have still not come up with the perfect default gift for her.

What I would really like is to know the default gift my friends would love. A certain brand of candle? A certain brand of hand lotion? It’s nice to know you can buy a gift that will guarantee a smile and be put to good use.

P.S. I like Caldecott winners and Jelly Belly Pear flavored beans.