08 December 2014

Holiday gift ideas, 2014

The other day I posted on Instagram about how flipping insane it was that, three weeks out from Christmas, I already had all of our gifts wrapped and under the tree.

Trust me, this is not the norm around Casa P. Every year I hear someone mention around mid-October that they “just finished their Christmas shopping!!!” and I just want to put them on mute. So if you are looking at that photo up there and feeling like a holiday failure, stop that right now. You’re golden. You have so much more time to get presents... unless, like me, you are thisclose to pushing another person out of your body, in which case everyone’s going to give you a pass anyway.

So no worries! And anyway, today I’m here to help you with some gift ideas. If you were done shopping, this post would be useless! See, you’re doing me a favor here, by not being done shopping. No, thank you.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I am no great gift-giver, but I’ve been surrounded by them for years and have reaped the benefits. So, a lot of what I’m suggesting are things I’ve received and loved, or things that I’d appreciate if they ended up under my tree! No affiliate links or sponsors here... just straight-up holiday help. Let’s go!

First up is my favorite sort of gift, which is anything I can enjoy without ever needing to wash or dust. (And might I add, these make excellent last-minute gifts on your part?)

1 – Skip the gift cards to the bookstore or Best Buy and, instead, give a subscription to Netflix, Audible, or another media service you know the recipient would appreciate (I use all of those plus Amazon Prime!). The best part is, it doesn’t matter if they’re an existing user or not – if they already subscribe, they’ll get account credit, and if they don’t, it’ll be a new and special treat.

2 – I’ve sung the praises of subscription boxes before, specifically Batch Nashville. But there is surely something out there for everyone – Birchbox is a good bet for many women, and there are others for foodies, pet lovers, kiddos, and more. Buzzfeed has a decent roundup to get you started.

3 – Every year, Amazon puts out a bunch of magazine subscriptions for a ridiculously low rate – $3, $5, $10. Like the subscription boxes, it’s a treat that many people don’t get for themselves, and they’ll remember your gift all year long. Plus, they are inexpensive enough to be a stocking stuffer for close family and friends!

4 – Restaurant gift cards are often not my favorite present – Mr. P in particular doesn’t care for Starbucks or Panera, which seem to be the two most common gift cards he receives as a teacher. Occasionally, though, he receives one for the pizza place or the ice cream shop in our neighborhood, and those get used post-haste! So, you can make a coffeeshop or restaurant gift card 10000x more awesome by instead purchasing a card to a non-chain establishment. We absolutely loved trying the restaurants available through a St. Louis Originals gift card, and if you’re looking for a local coffeehouse in Nashville, Fido and Bongo Java are good bets, for example. A few minutes’ searching will clue you in to the hot places in your recipient’s city.

5 – Keeping with the local theme, one of my very favorite gifts to give and receive are tickets to a show or venue in my city. You guys, this is a winner no matter who you are buying for. Pick an attraction (like the aquarium), a show (like the symphony), or a sporting event (like the hockey team) in the recipient’s city and DONE. You can even google their home address, find the nearest chain movie theatre, and purchase movie tickets for them.

But if, for some reason, you prefer to give your recipient some tangible gift, here are a few things that you could DIY:

6 – You guys know I adore me some regional art. There’s a ton of beautiful artwork to be had on Etsy, but if you need something RIGHT NOW as Christmas approaches, download the Waterlogue app and make your own. I used it to make the photo of the neighborhood landmark above, framed it, and gave it to a newlywed couple who had just bought their first house in that neighborhood. Super economical, too, as it only needs the cost of the app and a frame!

7 – Although I have plenty of DIYs here on my blog, the one I’d most appreciate receiving as a gift is the DIY marble tray first created on Hi Sugarplum! (that’s hers shown above). Added bonus: it’s quite unlikely that either the tile or hardware sections of Home Depot will be filled with last-minute Christmas shoppers.

8 – If you’re handy in a shop and happen to have a wood-burning tool (they’re not expensive), you can easily monogram a cutting board by following this tutorial. We have a beautiful handmade, monogrammed cutting board that we received as a wedding gift, and I adore it. Not only is it functional (honestly, it’s just as pretty worn as brand-new) but I love using it to serve bread at the table. Or if you’re able to find a speedy Etsy seller, there are some gorgeous ones for sale there, too.

If you’re just not feeling creative or handy these days, your recipients might enjoy:

9 – Gloves are, of course, always a nice gift – but as someone who routinely checks my phone while walking to work, I might prefer these glittens from World Market. Nice and warm for walking, easy fingertip access when I want to check my calendar. Really, the only downside is having to say the word “glittens”.

10 – Another item I can’t do without on my walks to and from work: a good pair of headphones. These in particular have decent sound quality and won’t fall out of your ear while moving around (which makes them great if your recipient happens to be a runner). I can wear out a pair of headphones pretty quickly, considering how much I use them, so any other music or podcast lover might be needing a new pair soon.

11 – Here’s a random quirk you didn’t need to know about me: I am very picky about drinking water out of glass, not plastic or metal. Seriously, people: it tastes so much better. I have this reusable glass water bottle from Target, and this one looks nice too. Sold in store for your last-minute Christmas gift run! Bonus: transparent glass = a fun way to give someone tickets or gift cards, as suggested above.

12 – If you know anyone who bought a home this year – or even just moved to a new place – they might enjoy having a custom stamp with their new address, or even an embosser. I bit the bullet this year and bought one from Penny Paper Co (as shown above) and adore using it. But hurry, this is a custom gift that you probably can’t DIY, so get those orders in ASAP!

13 – A great standing gift for any ladies on your list is a piece of their china that they likely didn’t get for their wedding. I thought registering for things like a gravy boat or butter dish was silly when we were getting married – we needed plates and forks, after all. Now we’re way past the wedding gift stage, but you know... I would kind of like those things, especially as they are discontinued! If you know a lady’s china pattern, you can spend several Christmases filling in those missing pieces!

And finally, mustn’t forget... stocking stuffers!

14 – Sure, you could troll the Target Dollar Spot aisle for random cooking utensils and colorful pens and desk games – oh, I have been there. But the stocking stuffers I usually appreciate most? Food and bath goodies! In years past, I’ve hit up my church’s fair trade sale for chocolate and coffee, but there’s usually a great selection of similar stuff at World Market (as shown above – here, here, and here). The most solid bet, though, is a Trader Joe’s chocolate orange. Honestly, just get one for everyone in your family. No one wants to share their chocolate orange.

And with that, dear readers, I hope you can finish up your Christmas shopping soon! But if you’re still running to Target on Christmas Eve... no judgment from me, promise.


Tina said...

This is a great list! Too bad you already own or have easier access than I do to everything on it... =P
I will save this for future reference, though - Excellent even for when I want/need to treat myself, too!

Janice said...

These are all great ideas. Thanks for sharing.