I love Christmas gift giving. I love it even more now that I have children and nieces and nephews to buy for. Searching for the perfect gift can be stressful but also I find it opens up my eyes to all the really cool items out there.
Each month I’ll be hand selecting a few really cool items that I either have, bought for others, or are on my wish list. Here’s my guide for December 2015.
Gifts for little ones (1 and under)
The best thing about kids under the age of one is that they don’t really know any better. We all have a story of a one year old who ends up playing with either the cardboard box or wrapping paper over the expensive gift that it came in. That’s why sometimes a gift for someone under one is more for the parents than for the infant themselves. Here are some great ideas for the wee ones.
Pinhole Press Books
I came across this while I was still pregnant with my first daughter. I knew that on her first Christmas I was going to make her a book. They make really modern, simple photo items that I adore. So last year we made her a Mini Book of Names & Faces however this year I think I’m going to make her a photo memory game.
Child’s Sized Rocking Chair
Recently my mother gave me a child’s size rocking chair that was mine when I was younger. It showed a little bit of wear so I made a foam cushion to cover the chipping (read as “toddler pulling off”) veneer. Regardless, my daughter loves the chair, whether she’s sitting in it or just rocking it back and forth.
This I’m stealing right from my mother’s tome of good baby gifts. Her go to is a personalized bench. My grandmother got them for us and she’s continuing the trend. When she wanted to buy one for my daughter I went to Etsy and found a simple, modern bench that I knew would look nice in any room, with any decor. And hopefully it’s timeless that she won’t mind having it in her home someday. Etsy has tons of options but I found one from Smiling Tree Toys that I fell in love with. What I especially liked about this little stool (and all of the products at Smiling Tree Toys) was that they were unstained and unoiled so I knew it was safe for the kids.
Gifts for Toddlers
Toddlers are fun to buy for. I may be biased because that’s what I’ve been focusing on the past few weeks but I really do love toddler gifts. Pretend is big with my daughter right now. She’s often very active and doesn’t sit still so when I find activities that keep her less mobile (read jumping off the walls) I go for it.
Fisher Price Little People House
Now to be honest, the one my daughter likes most is the vintage Fisher Price Play Family House from the 80s that my mother has kept all these years. My daughter absolutely loves this house. Opening the garage, ringing the doorbell, opening the staircase. Little People is now the way to go and the Fisher-Price Little People Surprise & Sounds Home (affiliate link) is the closest thing I think there is to the vintage 80s Family House. Plus, the number of Little People items available means that there are endless mixing and matching possibilities. A co-worker of mine admitted that he feels like he’s turning into a Little People collector with all the different sets he’s been buying his 3 year old.
Green Toys Tea Set
This is on our “to buy” list for our daughter. It’s difficult to restrain ourselves during Christmas time but since her birthday is in February we try to space out the presents between the two and not go overboard. Recently at a friend’s birthday party I found my daughter obsessed with their Green Toys Tea Set. I love the durability of Green Toys items and the fact that they’re made from recycled milk jugs. An extra bonus is that they’re made in the USA.
I find the middle school aged children the hardest to buy for. These kids straddle childhood and burgeoning adulthood/independence. All the less, here are some ideas to get you on your way with this tricky group.
It’s crazy to believe that drones are a thing and that people actually buy them. A few years ago I bought my husband a remote control helicopter that could only be flown indoors and it’s as if that trend has gone farther. Now you can get drones with HD cameras included that can fly inside and outside like the Syma X5C Explorers 2.4G 4CH 6-Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter With HD Camera.
Cell Phone Accessories
Nowadays, kids are getting smartphones earlier and earlier. I found out one of my nieces was asking Santa for an iPhone for Christmas and I have a strong feeling Santa will be bringing her one. Because of this, cell phone accessories are a hit with this age group (and almost all age groups).
Gifts for Teenagers
Cards Against Humanity
If you want to be the “cool” aunt or uncle, expose the teens in your life to Cards Against Humanity. WARNING this product does have some adult language and concepts. However, I know many the teenage boy who has cracked up over this game. Consider yourself warned.
There can never be enough said about gift cards. I love them, old people love them, young people love them. Some may say they’re not thoughtful enough and the gift of a lazy person (sometimes true) but they really are great. I find them great for teenagers because trends come and go a lot quicker in high school than in the normal world. Rules of thumb are make sure you find a store or genre that the teen is interested in and then get a gift card in that area. For early teen girls, I like places like Ultra or Sephora since they probably are going to start experimenting with makeup and hair products. For boys, try sports stores, gaming stores, movie theater tickets, etc. The opportunities are endless.
Gifts for the men in your life
Badrick’s Skin Care
Beards are all the rage. Every summer I personally make my husband grow one. For me it’s like instant gratification and I liken it to a woman changing her hair from long to short and vice versa. I know my husband gets annoyed at the itchy, uncontrollable nature of a beard so I bought him some Badrick’s Skin Care items for his birthday.
For some reason, and I’m not sure why, guys love loud things. From cars and motorcycles to sports games and video games, the launder the better. The old trend of having 10 speakers placed strategically around your living room isn’t necessary. Now everyone has sound bars. These bad boys have a small footprint but still pack a good punch. They’re a bit expensive but if you’re buying for an avid at home movie watcher looking for superior sound, then a sound bar like the SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar/Wireless Streaming Music Speaker is a home run gift.
Gifts for the women in your life
Morse Code Jewelry
One of the gifts I’ve received recently that I’m in LOVE with is my morse code necklace that my sister gave me. Disclaimer: I gave her one first. Anyway, the necklace spells out “MAMA” which is a sweet reminder every day of why we work hard and sacrifice. I gave my sister one that said “SISTER” (original, I know). You can imagine the endless possibilities, from nicknames to inside jokes.
I first stumbled upon this concept on a site called COATT Jewelry, however with Etsy you can find a lot of variations in price and style.
UGG Slippers may be the best things ever invented. I have these listed as a great gift for “her” but really this is a great gift for anyone if you have the budget. I recently bought myself a pair and immediately my husband insisted on his own. He ends up wearing his more than I wear mine. They’re perfect for inside the house, especially as the weather starts to cool. Don’t have the budget for the real thing? There are tons of alternatives from some name and no-name brands that do the trick.
I hope these give you some ideas and inspiration as you hit the stores this shopping season. What are some of your “go to” items?