It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least if you go by what the major retailers are telling us. I actually heard Christmas music in a store two weeks ago. Normally, it would make me roll my eyes.
It’s too soon! It’s too much! my brain would say. But this year, I stopped, groaned just a touch, and then went about my shopping. Truth be told, I love this time of year. Not just for the festive decorations and wonderful adult libations and sparkly Christmas dresses, but simply for the fact of giving. I love giving presents and it’s something my big brother always told me I was good at.
When I buy gifts, I don’t buy what YOU want. I buy what I think you would like and what I want you to have. I put a lot of thought into it. I agonize over it. But in the end, seeing the expression on someone’s face makes me happy (provided it’s a good expression).
So, for the second year, I’m bringing you some of my favorite things out there in the form of a highly unusual gift guide. Let’s get started…
Let me be clear. I’m not using affiliate links. This is not about making money. It’s about some really cool stuff that I thought you might like. Here are the categories for you to consider:
(If you don’t want to scroll down through them all, you can just click on a section header. But then you might miss some of the giveaways!)
Kids are the easiest and hardest to shop for at the holidays. Amiright or amiright? I mean, you can give them a toy catalog but they’ll just circle everything in it. And then at the end of the day, they’ll just want to play video games. So with that in mind, here we go. (Also, keep in mind that I have a 6 year old son so I may be skewed in that direction a bit).
Kids of All Ages
Although my son still doesn’t embrace the whole “get active” idea, he did finally learn to ride a bike after much peer pressure. Now he’s mentioned he might be ready for a scooter. This is the coolest I could find because the wheels light up. And that just might be enough to get him to try it. (affiliate link)
I actually love board games and my son loves them to. I actually taught him Monopoly so well that he can beat me. Still not sure how that happens. This is another cool game from Wonder Forge. Evan seems to love their games and when this one came out featuring superheroes (something he is finally into), I couldn’t wait. I was sent a review copy but I have it tucked away until Christmas. (affiliate link)
GIRL ALERT! This is something Evan would never look at. Mainly because it’s a dollhouse. But here’s the kicker. IT’S A DOLL HOUSE FOR 18″ DOLLS. They can’t say it on their website but I will. It houses American Girl dolls. That doesn’t mean much to me but I bet if you have daughters, this would make you the best parent/grandparent/aunt EVER. (affiliate link)
Last year’s big gift from Santa was the LEGO Millenium Falcon which we loved putting together. More like, I loved putting it together while Evan helped. Mostly. He really wanted the set where the Emperor kills Mace Windu but I couldn’t find it online this year. The Death Star, however, is a classic. (affiliate link)
This is one of those presents that I think I would end up playing with more than Evan. I first saw this in Chicago this year and I was wowed by it. It’s an LCD tablet that erases with the press of a button. Think of drawing in the car, in a restaurant, or ANYWHERE. Simple but awesome.
Remember tetherball from the good old recess days of the 70s? Weren’t alive in the 70s? Well, it was a lot of fun. We hit a volleyball on a string around a pole. I know, but it really was fun. Here’s an updated versions using a tennis ball and paddles and I’m always looking for a way to get Evan more active! (affiliate link)
File this under the same category metal detector and night vision goggles. Little boys love the cool spy stuff. The reality is that unless you spend hundreds of dollars, you’ll only get toy quality stuff. Still, I can see Evan sitting outside trying to listen to the kids down the street. (affiliate link)
Now, let’s talk video games because you knew video games had to come into this somewhere. Well, if you don’t already know, I’m a Nintendo fan and brand ambassador (the fanship came first, though, I swear). I’m going to repeat a few things from last year because you still need convincing. But there’s new stuff from Nintendo too.
|Last year, I was talking about how I had gotten to preview the Wii U system and was hoping to someday have my own. My wish came true in March when I hosted a Wii U party for the neighborhood. We all fell in love with it and the love keeps growing with every new game release. Disclosure: Nintendo sent me a Wii U system as part of my role as a Brand Ambassador.|
|12 Wii U games in one? Yes. Now THAT’S a bargain. Plus, one of my favorite games was included in this set… The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. Remember Link? He’s in it. I played it as a three player game and it rocked. And it comes with the Wii U so now it’s even MORE of a bargain.|
|You know you played Grand Theft Auto. And then you had kids and realized how grossly inappropriate that game was. Well, think of this game as the PG version of that one. There are so many copy show throwbacks to keep parents entertained and the kids will hog the controller (as usual) and never give you a chance to play. We loved this game. Disclosure: Nintendo sent me a copy of the game as part of my role as a Brand Ambassador.|
|I discovered this system totally by accident. When Evan went to art camp over the summer, I picked him up and saw a kid playing on his 3DS. I looked over and said “The screen is so BIG!!!” And then I found out about the XL version which has a screen size that’s more my speed.|
|I got to preview this a few weeks ago and when I did, people were asking me what it was all about. A new game system? Not exactly. Think of younger siblings that want to play on the DS but can’t for fear of breaking it. This is a version for the 5 and under set (in my opinion) where mom and dad are looking for something more durable without hinges that can break.|
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I tend to favor wine just a wee bit. Wine lovers and drinkers are easy to buy for. They like wine. But sometimes you want a gift that will last longer than a week. Or a night.
Wine Lovers and Drinkers
|I put this on my Christmas list last year on a whim. It’s really for people who can’t be bothered with twisting a wine opener around and around. It’s a cordless opener that opens any wine bottle with the push of a button. And it comes with a foil cutter too.|
|Now, I’m not encouraging you to drink wine by the mugful. But I wouldn’t judge you either. This is a Pinterest find and I had to track down the right link but you know just the right mom that would love to drink her “coffee” in here. I might be one of those moms.|
|But I don’t know anything about wines. That’s what I thought I heard some of you saying. That’s okay. I thought about you too. Dubbed “a stress-free wine education in short form,” it’s a book designed to make you feel in the know. From how to pronounce to how to select to how to just chill and enjoy what YOU like, this is an awesome book for any wine drinker.|
|I’ve talked about the awesomeness of using a Vinturi Wine Aerator (for both red and white wines). So this year, I put my foot down. I said, NO. I will not review your wine aerators again. But I will review your spirit aerator. Not being a big liquor drinker, I put some DiSaronni Amaretto to the test and sure enough, the aerator make the liqueur so much smoother.|
|White wine drinker like me? Tell me if this annoys you as much as it annoys me. Someone pours you a glass of white and then leaves the bottle out. Or worse, pours you a glass of warm white wine. The Corkcicle is a cork shaped like an icicle that you freeze and use to cork your bottle. The wine stays chilled but never watered down. You’re welcome.|
Here’s where I can really help you out. You always have to buy for someone that is impossible to buy for. Either they already have everything or they don’t want anything or they have no real interests to speak of. It’s every shopper’s worst nightmare. But I’m here to help.
For the Impossible to Buy For
|I fell in love with this concept the first time I had heard of it (which was at Epcot, coincidentally). It’s an entire ecosystem. Plants take up the nutrients that fish leave in the water and in return keep the aquarium. Have a pet and a garden all in one!|
Vintage Craftsman Ruler Bangle
|I have no words for this bangle other than it’s cool. It’s not only a stunning piece of jewelry but I’m sure the measuring could come in handy as well. And it’s handmade!|
|Why would you need a robot operated by your smart phone? I say, why wouldn’t you need a robot operated by your smart phone? The upside is that you can control him from anywhere in the world. The downside is that he uses your smart phone. Why would you ever part with your smart phone? A very cool gadget though.|
|I’ll admit that you have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate this one. I’ve checked up close. Han has the pained expression in the mold that he has in real life. I mean, the movie. And if ice isn’t your thing, you can use it as a chocolate mold. A gift for you AND a gift for others.|
|I’ve seen this mug floating around on the internet forever and I still think they’re cool. No worries if you’re hard-to-buy-for person is a photography snob. They have a Nikon version too.|
|I was walking through the mall the other day and happened to see this in display at Brookstone. Looks like sand in a sandbox, right? NOT SO, my friend. This is actually a polymer that looks and feels and acts like sand but leaves no residue or mess. I could not stop touching it. To be fair, SAND is sold separately from the SAND box but I think you need both. You can’t have SAND without a place to put it!|
|I should tell you the story sometime about how I came to know and love RAINRAPS. It involves a train to NYC, two women entrepreneurs, The Today Show, and a little social media magic. But the bottom line is this is a water repellant wrap that doesn’t junk up your style. And as far as gift-giving goes, it’s ONE SIZE FITS ALL!|
|Wait, what? A DNA Spit Kit? What kind of gift is that? For someone who is interested in genealogy and ancestry, a little DNA tests unlocks information about your genetic health risks, your lineage, and even the percentage of Neanderthal (insert hairy uncle jokes here). P.S. You can buy me one. I think it’s the coolest thing ever!|
|Let’s say you get into a last minute panic. You haven’t bought anything and now it’s too late to even overnight anything in time for Christmas. Vello has you covered. Think of it as a group video eCard where Vello stitches all your individual clips together and sends the recipient a video card filled with familiar faces, real laughter, and greetings that come from the heart.|
|Finally, I’ve got a great idea. You have no idea what to buy. You don’t want to give cash. But everybody’s gotta eat, right? Meal planning is one of my weak areas but eMeals lets you download a list of recipes for the week from your chosen category (gluten-free, pale, slow cooker, low carb, etc.). So nab a gift certificate and give someone the gift of a year of meal plans.|
I hope you love or love some of the things I’ve found. And if you do, be sure to visits the vendors and tell them I sent you.
And that should pretty much wrap things up. Have fun, play nicely, and share. And if your heart is in the same place as your head, you might want to put more meaning behind your gift-giving. Stay tuned. I’ve got you covered on the social good front as well!