Let’s say you have a kid. Or maybe you have a few kids on your Holiday list. These children like animals—or maybe you just want to pass along a little some of you with that present (and you’re obviously a pet-person). And let’s imagine that giving an animal to a child as a Holiday gift happens to be anathema to your personal ethic. What is a responsible child-gifter to do??

To this end (and by popular demand), I’ll include a list of vet-approved, animal-themed presents this nine year-old’s mom would happily receive on her child’s behalf.

In no particular order with suggestions for ideal ages…

1-Breyer’s horses (6+) usually $10 to $30: I still have a dozen or so of these (circa 1978) but I can’t bring myself to sell them on eBay. My son doesn’t even look at them but my four year-old niece looks like she’ hankering for them already.

2-Zoobie Pets (3+) $25 Winda the Wildebeest is my favorite. She’s purple. But I also adore Hada the Hippo (pink, of course) and Rhaxma the Rhino (gray). Lay on them, cuddle them or use them as a blanket!—these creatures, stuffed or unstuffed, are cute overkill.

3-NintenDogs video game (7+) $30: Last year my son couldn’t put his Nintendo down after getting this game in his stocking (to this day, he won’t play with his handheld GameBoy without hitting this game first). It’s good clean fun, even if it’s just a simple strategy game that relies a bit too heavily on the concept of purebred purchasing. 

4-iDog (8+) $35: Plug in your iPod and watch it go. This year-old novelty item is like a mini desktop sound system for your iPod. It irresistibly shakes its head and lights up in time with your music. If your kid-giftee has an iPod (mine wouldn’t know what to do with one yet) it’s a definite winner.

5-BlaBla stuffed animals (all ages) $30: These gorgeous, Peruvian-knit French animal dolls are to die for. I want them all!

6-Rescue Pets Wake-Me-Up Mutt (3+) $25: It’s nice to see at least one pet toy that doesn’t sidle up to the purebred thing as if mutt’s aren’t the US’s number one breed. This one makes a great barking alarm clock for your sleepy little ones.

7-AntWorks Space Age Ant Habitat (8+) $20: This is so cool. Based on a NASA study looking at ant movement in zero gravity, watch transfixed as the ants power through this space age blue gel to build trails and tunnels.

8-Bone shaped muffin and cake pans (8+) $18-$20: For the budding chef in your life. These kitchen tools are available at Target and come with “gourmet recipes” for pet treats your giftee can make in his or her own kitchen.

9-Meerkat slippers (all sizes except men’s) $25: For the Meerkat Manor-lover in your family. Add in a box set of the 1st season on DVD ($30) and you’ve got one super-cute family-friendly gift.

10-Riding lessons (6-12) $250-$500: Really want to splurge? If you’re like my sister, you spoil your nieces and nephews senseless. She purchased a ten-spot of riding lessons for my son’s Christmas present last year. It requires parental willingness to actually take the child but otherwise it’s a spoiler’s ideal horse-obsessed kid’s gift.

Those are mine. Feel free to suggest your own…