You know why I do a highly unusual gift guide every year? Not because I got a bunch of free stuff and now I have to pay the piper. And not because I can add in a ton of affiliate links to help pay for my habits.
(Don’t get me wrong. I did get some of this stuff for free and I am using some affiliate links but I’ll let you know when I do. And that has no bearing on what actually makes it INTO my gift guide).
I do a highly unusual gift guide because I think, in the age of gift cards, gift giving is quickly becoming a lost art. With Amazon wishlists and gift registries and racks and racks of gift cards available at every grocery store, it’s easy to just pick something and be done.
I think gift giving is about figuring out what someone you know might want and they don’t even know that they want it! It’s why giving is often better than receiving for me. I love to see the surprise on someone’s face when they find something unexpected under the wrapping paper and then become immediately delighted.
The exception: Every year my book club has a White Elephant gift exchange. I try to get something I would like – something a bit out of the norm. And, well, it doesn’t always go over well. That’s okay. The beauty of a White Elephant gift exchange is that no one has to know you were the gift buyer!
Now, on to this year’s Highly Unusual Gift Guide. I’ve curated some of the most unusual and/or unique items I can find with no regards to pricetag (as you’ll soon find out). But something on this list is sure to pique your gift giving instincts even if you’re simply gifting it to yourself.
What Mama Wants – Gift for Women
As the name implies, these gifts are perfect for the woman in your life who may or may not have kids. Also, most of these items are on my personal wishlist so if there’s a BOGO sale, you know who to send the other one to.
- Under Armour Trail Shoes – Didn’t know I was a runner? Surprise! I’m not. But I got these shoes as a gift from Michelin when I went ice driving in Indiana. The shoes are equipped with Michelin® outsole with Wild Gripper rubber compound for excellent traction on a variety of terrains (yes, that includes ice!).
DJI OSMO (NA) Handheld Fully Stabilized 4K 12MP Camera – This is a camera you have to see to believe. With three motors to stabilize the camera, you can move it all around and the lens will move in relation to the handle. It’s like having a video camera with a gyroscope built-in. No more shaky camera. (affiliate link)
- Wicked Witch Bookmark – Remember when we used to read paper things called books? You’ll love all of the creations from My Bookmark but my favorite is this Wicked Witch. Legs only.
- Plemo Folding Umbrella – I love this umbrella simply because of the design on the canopy. There. I said it. Because umbrellas are fashion accessories too. (affiliate link)
- KNOMO London Mayfair Luxe Bond Charging Clutch – I fell in love with KNOMO when I was introduced to them over the summer. I love their entire line of high end purses with built-in chargers. While I love their crossbody bag, it’s the charging clutch that seems perfect for a high-tech evening out. (affiliate link)
- Twiga Trends Convertible Travel Airplane Pillow – I’m not a sleeper on planes. I wish I was. But I do like to be comfortable when I travel. My husband bought one similar to this. It’s a neck pillow; it’s a regular pillows. It’s what I need. (affiliate link)
- HButler Orbit Key Finder – I also discovered this one over the summer and it’s like it was custom made for me. Or people like me. Put the Orbit on your key chain. Click a button on your phone to find your keys. AND THEN… Click the button on the Orbit to help you find your phone. Amazing. (affiliate link)
- Skida Women’s Alpine Hat – Winter is only beginning but I’m in love with this hat. I received it courtesy of the Ski Vermont team as part of their package inviting me to enjoy all things Vermont. And I fully intend to take them up on it in January. (affiliate link)
- Shattered Glass Ceiling Necklace – Breaking barriers? I hope so. I love the simple reminder of wearing a bit of shattered glass around my neck to remind me me that there are no limits.
- Milk and Cookies Framed Art Print – I may be a little biased here but I love all the designs by artists Gel Jamlang. She’s not only an award-winning, cutting-edge illustrator and painter. She also my sister-in-law!
- The Everyday Ring – My collection of Lisa Lehmann jewelry increases every time I see her designs. My latest favorite is this beautiful ring that almost seems to defy physics.
For the Man Who Buys Himself Everything – Gifts for Men
Why would I create a list for the Man Who Buys Himself Everything? Because I’m married to him. My husband insists I don’t buy him anything since he typically lacks impulse control and buys whatever he wants (for the most part). But, as I mentioned, it’s not about the stuff. It’s about finding the one thing he hasn’t!
- Wazer Deskjet Water Cutter – This is the kind of thing that makes my husband drool and makes me scratch my head. It uses water to create precision cuts in metal, glass, tile, and more. What’s the big deal? Normally this technology is over $100,000. Now, it’s soon to be available to the general public for a mere $4000.
- The Tavern Collection by NILUSA – What’s the big deal with a metal bowl or plate? Oh, this is a very big deal. It’s made of an aluminum alloy that you can put IN THE MICROWAVE. And it looks super cool because it’s based on a pattern from a tavern in the 1800s.
- Vulcan Workwear Waxed Canvas Utility Apron – There’s nothing sexier than a man in an apron. As long as it’s a manly apron. The waxed canvas means he can wear it in the workshop and then into the kitchen, as long as he washes up in between. (affiliate link)
- Shaper Origin – Think of it as a router that integrates with design software. Now, you don’t have to rely on your hands and artistic skills for amazing designs. Can you tell we’re a big power tool family? Luckily this one will only set you back about $1500.
- Habor Instant Read Cooking Thermometer – What makes this different than the digital read thermometer you have in your kitchen? It tells the temperature in 5 seconds. And it includes all the temperatures you need to know for basic beef, pork, and chicken. (affiliate link)
- BURGER DASH Silicone Burger Press and Freezer Container – Yes, it makes grill marks and all that but the real value is for making and storing burgers. With a silicone press, everything pops out easily when you need it. (affiliate link)
- What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Does the man in your life like to read books? Congratulations. You’re one up on me. But this book offers bitesized pieces of information to questions like How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last? (affiliate link)
- Yeti Coolers Rambler Tumbler – This is another product that was gifted to me while I was enjoying my time on the ice with Michelin. What’s so great about it? It’s got double-wall vacuum insulation and a BPA-free lid that perfect for keeping the really cold stuff cold or the hot stuff hot. I love mine for ice water. (affiliate link)
- Roptape Tape Compass – Need to make a perfect arc or circle? This is the way to do it. Why would you need to make a perfect arc or circle? Well, that’s up to you. (affiliate link)
- spAIR Tray Travel Shelf – Are you a window-seat flyer? Unfortunately, I’m aisle, all the way. I get too claustrophobic otherwise. But if you’re a window person, this handy dandy little tray fits into your airplane window and lets you settle in with style and organization. (affiliate link)
For That Special Tween in Your Life – Gifts for Tweens
As we round the corner to double digits, it’s getting harder and harder to keep that Christmas magic alive. My son wants video games, money, or LEGO sets. I can still find a few things that I think will delight him.
- Honua Bracelets – I love the style of these bracelets. They’re not only collectible but the styles are meant to combine the strength and serenity of the four elements- Fire, Water, Land and Sky.
- Rotating Mars Globe – Every kid has a globe of Earth. That’s so last year. This year, it all about Mars. Especially after watching the movie The Martian, kids will be able to identify areas based on NASA’s Mars Rover missions. (affiliate link)
- Da Vinci’s Catapult – This find was inspired by my son’s recent science project called the Pumpkin Chunkin. He essentially tried to create a catapult to project candy pumpkins. I thought it might be time he learned about the real thing. (affiliate link)
- Melissa & Doug Suspend Game – I love family game night and I love it even more when the rules are terribly complicated. It’s a science lesson and fun for everyone. (affiliate link)
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf – We played this roleplaying card game over Thanksgiving and my son loved it. Not only is it engaging but it also teaches kids important skills like logic, deduction, and lying! (affiliate link)
- SKLZ PowerBase Tennis Trainer – My son loves tennis but I suck at it. When he wants to practice or just needs a little exercise during the winter months, he’s got something to hit around. (affiliate link)
- Precision RBS Rubber Band Launcher – Maybe you missed my video review of this rubber band launcher that comes in three different sizes. But I can tell you from the rubber band shrapnel all over my house that this toy is definitely a hit. (affiliate link)
- Timbrefone Acoustic Phone Amp – Talk about low tech but high style. This birch-made speaker uses nothing but good old fashioned acoustics.
- Klask: The Magnetic Game of Skill – It’s like air hockey only using a much smaller surface. And instead of air, it uses magnets. So it’s kinda like miniature magnetic hockey. But it’s definitely fun. (affiliate link)
Gifts That Give Back
Let’s say you don’t know someone that well. Or you have parents that just don’t want any more things. Or you just like to make sure your gifts have a special meaning. These gifts serve two purposes: they benefit someone in addition to the person receiving the gift and you feel good about giving it.
- Alex & Ani Charity by Design Bracelets – You know the bracelets. You love the bracelets. Now find one that matches a cause dear to your heart. I picked the ASPCA bracelet and all sales until December include a 20% donation to the indicated charity.
- Live Unlimited Warrior Training Bracelet – Designed for athletes who want to look stylish and be inspired while training, the Live Unlimited bracelet (here’s mine!) was designed especially to benefit MDA with a portion of the sale going to help diseases like muscular dystrophy and ALS.
- True Courage Scarf – Ford’s Warrior in Pink program continues with apparel to support the fight against breast cancer. Their original scarf is still my favorite.
- Dog Tag Beer – Yes, you read that right. You can drink for a good cause too. Plus you know there’s always a brother-in-law that would appreciate a good six-pack. Crafted by a former veteran who places the name of a fallen soldier on every can of beer, 100% of Dog Tag Brewing, LLC profits will benefit charities created or selected by Gold Star Families.
- Family Farm Care Package – Heifer International is known for empowering women, helping with sustainable farming, and improving the quality of life for many people in developing countries. And yes, you can even pay for a goat. A little can go a long way.
- Amazon Smile – This isn’t a thing so much as a way to do your online shopping all year long. Start every Amazon order at smile.amazon.com. Link your account to your favorite charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to that charitable organization.
- St Jude Childrens Research Hospital The Giving Hat™ – Kmart is offering The Giving Hat, an adorable beanie embroidered with #LOVE. At a cost of only $5, Kmart will donate $1 from the sale of these items to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
So? What did you think? Did you get any gift ideas? It’s okay if the gift is for you. I won’t tell. I love finding cool stuff and cool companies that sell cool stuff. I hope it makes your shopping a little easier and your holidays a little brighter.
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