Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Favorite Gift Ideas

Hi, it’s been a while. We moved into our new home in November and this site is undergoing a lot of changes behind the scenes as well. But for now, I’ve learned sometimes it’s best to just jump back in with a list.

I usually struggle when I get a call or email asking for gift ideas for my boys. It’s so nice for anyone to think of them, and to ask, but it still ain’t easy. Do I give away the few ideas I have? And how do you know if someone actually uses that idea? Can I still give it out when someone else asks or use it myself? Gift recommendations should have a “ping back” feature so you know if it’s been used.

So here is my No Ping Necessary list of gift ideas because they are all things we already have and appreciate. Random goodies from my list of favorite things.

1. Stadium Chairs

Mine is orange, but you can get one in your team’s colors. If you have boys who play baseball, these chairs will save your back in those stands! A gift from Brian a few years ago that I still love.

 

PhotoBox Frames | PBteen

2. Photobox Frames 

Here’s my favorite thing about online wish lists on Pinterest or Amazon: you can see if you consistently keep pinning the same thing, year after year. I’d been wanting one of these for years, and splurged on one this summer. I honestly haven’t hung it up yet in our house. But I know exactly where it is going (hallway to our kitchen), and I plan to fill it with the boys’ artwork. I LOVE that it is easy to open and update. If you are anything like me, if a frame requires you to take it off the wall to update, whatever goes in there stays in there forever!

3. An inspirational book.

I think Christmas is the perfect time to give a book that has meant a lot to you and that you think others might enjoy. I’ll be sharing my favorites from 2014 next week. Spoiler: Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden was my favorite and would be a great gift, as would Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes and The Nester’s The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful. Basically an inspirational book with a long title!

The best gifts are those that show reflection, and I love when a book makes you think of a specific person and how much he or she would enjoy this book.

Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints is written by a Jesuit priest and would be a great gift for your devout Catholic cousin as well as your atheist friend who likes to discuss the essential things.

4. An Amazon Gift Card

I love receiving a special book with a personal inscription inside. But I also have fond memories of receiving gift cards for Bloomsbury Books and Back of Beyond. Talk about a kid in a candy store! I received a big Amazon gift card one year and spent months debating how I would use it (I ended up buying a lot of gifts with it, but not until I also got this book for myself). Pretty much my go-to teacher gift every year.

5. Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

Yes, this is another pricey one. They are usually just under $100. And you really have to consider which will be the best for you. Above is the one I got, because I wanted to see numbers on demand (and didn’t have a smart phone at the time). Now I kinda wish I had gotten the bracelet kind, because I’ve had some close calls on losing this or tossing it in the wash. So far, so good. And I like the privacy of wearing this without announcing it. So it is a toss up.

I’m leaving this on the list, but it really is more of a wish list recommendation---because you should only buy this for yourself or someone who specifically has it on her or his wish list. You don’t wanna be that gifter.

6. Norpro Triple Blade Herb Scissors

A gift from my mother-in-law last year that I have used all year in my kitchen. Mince or chop herbs right over the pot. And under $10 as well!

7. Washi Tape

Gift-giving can be tricky. Home d├ęcor is a such a personal thing---unless you know the recipient loves that artist or has that item on her wish list, you are taking a big risk.

I love gifts that can be used up, rather than another thing to dust. Washi Tape has 100 uses and doesn’t require any dusting. A fun little gift that can also make a nice hostess gift. My favorite is pictured above, but is sold out, though the same site has this one. Really you can find it at any craft store or Target, though if you want something really specific that reflects your friend, go to Etsy!

 

Boys' Snowman Build Long Sleeve Tee|Life is good

8. LIFE IS GOOD t-shirt

Aidan’s godmother gave him the above shirt last year, and I have one Brian gave me years ago that remains a favorite. Super soft, cozy shirts, and they’re such a good company, you feel good buying any of their products.

9.Camelbak Eddy Insulated Water Bottle w/ Bite Valve & Straw - BPA FREE

These usually run around $15. I haven’t lost one yet this year (knock on wood), which is a very good thing because I get very grumpy when I can’t find my water bottle. I try to keep one in my car and one on my desk, but those things move on their own.

An easy way to fill your teen’s stocking—ha!

10. Canon PowerShot ELPH135 Digital Camera

This one is currently $79, but don’t you have one sitting in a cabinet somewhere? Seems like most of us use our phones, and if we really care, a big honking DSLR. So dust off your point and shoot and wrap it up in a box and give it to your 10 year old. Seeing the world through their eyes will be an even greater gift.

and one more…

11. TRAPP No. 4 ORANGE/VANILLA

Years ago my friend Mary Alice gave me a Trapp candle. I still have it, even though I rarely light it. I keep it in my closet and the whole room smells pretty. I have a heightened sense of smell, which is a blessing and a curse (especially as my sons get older). I haven’t been able to find Summer Flowers, which is the scent I have, but Bob's Flower Shoppe sounds like it. I think Orange/Vanilla sounds like a good holiday scent and these would also make a nice gift to a host this Christmas. No wrapping necessary as their box is delightful.

You can find an equally random list of my favorite things, as well as favorite baby gifts and books, in the side bar on my blog.  Happy Gifting!

*All Amazon links are affiliate links.




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