OK, gang, I have a few Christmas questions, but inasmuch as we’re moving in 10 days, not enough time to research them. If you can help with advice, please give it.

1. On bikes for kids. We’re pretty sure we’re going to buy all three children bicycles. They will have lots of open space in which to ride at my mom and dad’s, and the streets in town where we’ll ride are also quiet and safe. We’re going to get a cheapy Wal-mart bike for Nora, who’s five. But I’m not sure whether or not we should go cheap or not with Matthew and Lucas.

Matt knows how to ride a bike, but doesn’t much care for it. I think he’ll get more into it once he sees how much fun it is down there. But I’m really not sure. If I buy him a flimsy bike, I might end up regretting it. But I would say there’s an equal chance of spending several hundred dollars on a bike for him that ends up sitting in the garage. And that would be a huge regret on my part (spending all that money, I mean).

Lucas doesn’t know how to ride a bike, but we’ll teach him, and I’m sure he’ll love it, and love it hard. He’s the athletic, energetic one in the family. He and I were out riding around today, and stopped by REI to look at the bikes in case Santa brings him one. He’s almost eight, so a 24″ bike fits him fine. The model they had that he liked — and it was one of the less expensive models — was $250. This is significantly more than we want to spend, but of all the kids, Lucas is the one who will get the most use out of the bike. The reason I hesitate, though, is not knowing how long he’ll be able to ride it, given how kids grow.

I’m not a cyclist by any means, and haven’t ridden bikes since I was a kid. I asked the guy at REI how come they didn’t have kids bikes with just one gear. He smiled and said those are rare these days. Really? I told him that when I was a kid, Schwinn was the best bike on the street, at least in my town. He said that Schwinn was bought out by someone, and now their bikes aren’t nearly as well made. Is that true? I know he was trying to sell me a more expensive bike, but he also could have been telling me the truth. I have no way of knowing.

So, cyclists, please give me some advice here. We’re not going to buy from REI simply because there are no REI stores in Louisiana. Still, I need to know if we’re okay getting Wal-mart bikes for the boys, or if we should aim for something higher. Is it worth investing in quality? For both of them?

2. On games for the Wii, would you recommend Guitar Hero or Rock Band? And if so, which version of either, and why? We’ve played Guitar Hero at a friend’s house before, as a family, and had a blast. That was three years ago. I don’t know how much has changed since then.