It’s my first ever highly unusual gift guide!
I always wondered why people created gift guides.
Sometimes it’s for the cash. Yes, you can get paid to list items in your gift guide.
Sometimes it’s for the affiliate links. Yes, people can make commission off of things that you click on.
Sometimes, it’s purely for the fun of it. Like this one. I’ll admit that some of the products I’m going to suggest are products that have been sent to me for free over the years, typically for review. Others might be products that I’ve received at one of the many blogging conferences I’ve attended (I’m sometimes known as a swag hag). Some products are products that I either think are really cool or I simply covet.
However you want to look at it, I thought I’d share some of the neatest things I’ve found (and yes, I still use that word). Here are the categories for you to consider:
Kids of All Ages
Strictly for Geeks
Mama Wants That
For the Impossible Man
Let’s start with the kids, shall we? That’s really who the holidays are for, right? Okay. Not really. But they whine the loudest. They are some of the fun toys I’ve been keeping my eye on (keep in mind that I have a 5 year old son so clearly the toys I like are skewed in that direction).
Kids of All Ages
If I were smaller, more nimble, and just a wee bit athletic, I might be able to pull off a ride on this thing. My husband had a grown up version of this and I could never master that either. But I’m reading it’s a hot toy and I can kind of see why. It looks fun and cool, a classic combination. (affiliate link)
I recently attended a Mom Mixer Holiday Showcase in Philadelphia. I might have been the only one not familiar with K’NEX but I got soooo excited when I saw the coasters you could build. My son is only 5 so he’d definitely need some building help. But this definitely falls into the for “kids of all ages” category. (affiliate link)
I’m afraid these cool build-it-yourself wooden cars fall under the cool but expensive toys. But you know, they were designed by an Industrial Design student from Carnegie Mellon. I fell in love with them on a recent trip to the Antique Auto Museum in Hershey, PA and I vowed to put them on my son’s wishlist. (affiliate link)
I got to meet the neato folks from Neat-Oh and thought they were not only a fun, genuine small company but they also had really cool stuff. I told them I’d love to review this item that holds Star Wars LEGO figures and blocks and also unfolds to become a play space. But the reality is, I’d actually be happy just buying it. (affiliate link)
Leather bracelets for kids? Yes. So cool and here’s why. IT HAS THEIR NAME WRITTEN ON IT IN THEIR OWN HANDWRITING! I just think that’s cool and something kids would like to wear while creating a keepsake at the same time.
You may or may not know I have a thing for Nintendo. Sure, I’m a Nintendo Brand Ambassador but it’s only because I love Nintendo. Not the other way around. So I had to include what I think are some of the hottest things out there.
Of course I’m going to include the next generation Wii system, silly. I actually got to preview it a few months back and loved all the possibilities for interactive game play with the new GamePad controller. While I don’t have my own system yet, I am holding my breath. I can’t wait to try so many cool new games.
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. (affiliate link)
This one is really premature. It’s not yet rated and isn’t planned for release until May 2013. But if you’re looking for a good reason to pick up a Wii U this holiday season, it might be in anticipation of this game. I’m new to the whole Pikmin series but I’m fully prepared to pick it up in this third installment and GO. (affiliate link)
We’re big Epic Mickey fans in this house. In fact, it’s a game of such intensity and complexity that it blows my mind to even think of how it was developed. Unfortunately, my son quickly took over the game and dominated it, for the most part. I can’t imagine this second version would be anything less than stellar. (affiliate link)
Nintendo likes to tease me. When I had a chance to visit their HQ in Seattle last year, I was able to test out this game before it was even slated for release. And this game makes the Nintendo 3DS worth it, if you ask me. First person and movement sensitive. I felt like I was flying. (affiliate link)
Strictly for Geeks
This next round is labeled “strictly for geeks” but really it’s for anyone who likes cool techy kind of stuff. Especially if you’re an iPhone lover like me.
I got one of these babies at at BlogHer party and I think it’s something everyone who loves iPhone photography should have. It’s a 3-in-1 lens offering macro, fisheye, and wide angle lenses. It snaps on and turns your iPhone into a creative camera.
For true geeks, if you’ve never been introduced to the world of James Hance, you’ll thank me. His prints are clever, touching, funny, sweet and the sign of a talented artist in the field of geekery. Look for multiple references to Star Wars, Dr. Who, Muppets, and more. And he also dabbles in book writing.
While we’re talking fitness, I have to throw out these amazing little earbuds that I had a chance to review. Perfectly sized for women, nicely colored, AND WON’T FALL OUT OF YOUR EARS! I prefer purple, personally. Read more about them here but anyone I have told about these gets pretty crazy excited. (affiliate link)
It’s hard to show this one in a thumbnail but I love these cases for iPhones and iPads (and iPods!). Create your own design (hello branding!) or use one of their designer cases. All are lovely and the quality is top notch. In fact, I’ve had one for over a year.
Mama Wants That
The next section is titled “Mama Wants That” but it’s really a section about stuff ladies like me might want. In fact, some of it I already have. Some of it I’m still coveting. And then there’s part of me hoping that companies will just send it to me because they love me.
How do you fit a rectangle book into a square photo? Not very easily. But like most writers, I still love some good paper. And when it comes to an address book, I still need something that I can open and write in. I store lots of info in my iPhone but I still love a good old fashioned address book. (affiliate link)
MaidenNation Mono Cuff
What girl doesn’t love jewelry? While I’m a big fan of diamonds, I really like handmade, unusual stuff. Even better? I love supporting women artisans from all over the world. This particular piece is from Buenos Aires and I’m just in love with it.
Kendra Phillip Earrings & Necklaces
Sometimes I prefer simplicity in jewelry as well. Kendra Phillip has some gorgeous, yet simple designs that include button earrings and cute signature necklaces like the one shown on the left. Of course, they have been featured in some fashion magazines but I swear I like them all by myself.
I don’t really consider myself a cowboy boots kind of girl. At least I didn’t until every blogger in the Midwest seemed to have a part of Country Outfitter boots. I entered every single possible giveaway they hosted because I feel like I need to have these boots. Don’t you?
Ah yes, we can’t forget about wine. But buy me a bottle of wine and it will be gone in a week. Or a day (depending on how good it is). Instead, I prefer a gift that will stick around. I love my Vinturi aerators for both red and white wines. I bought one and I reviewed one so clearly I’m a fan. (affiliate link)
Rwanda Path to Peace Baskets
Many people have heart of the Heart of Haiti line of products carried by Macy’s that directly benefit the artisans of Haiti. From the same trading company comes some of the most beautiful baskets I’ve ever seen. They’re all handwoven by Rwanda artisans and the income they earn from our purchases can really be life changing.
Ford Warriors in Pink Scarf
What’s the term that gets tossed around a lot – pinkwashing? Sticking a pink ribbon on a bag of pretzels may not resonate with me but sharing the warrior spirit with women battling breast cancer does. I love what Ford does to support these women and their scarves are always some of my favorites.
For the Impossible Man
And finally, we can’t leave out the men. The men who are impossible to buy for. The men that insist they have everything yet still want something. Yes, it’s easier to just let them buy for themselves but maybe you can surprise one of two of them this year.
A belt? you say. How unoriginal. Ah, but that’s where you’d be wrong. This belt is the only belt a man will need. Brown, black, and a unique buckle that makes the belts adjust exactly to the waist size no matter how small or, er, big they get. My husband has two and LOVES them. No joke.
Got a wine lover in the house? Give the gift that keeps on giving. And luckily it’s not jelly. Bonus? When his shipment comes in every month, you can “help” him with his gift. So it’s really like gifting yourself. And I quite enjoy their selections as you can tell from one of the many posts I did last year on the CWC.
I almost literally just wrote a post about how Hickory Farms is the default gift for that one person who is so difficult to buy for. After this past Thanksgiving, I actually had the chance to savor every last bit of this particular package and it turns out, I’m mad about Turkey Summer Sausage. It really doesn’t disappoint.
And I think that’s about going to wrap up my very first ever Highly Unusual Gift Guide. I honestly don’t know if this is how it’s supposed to be done. I just thought I’d like to share some cool products as well as give a shout out to companies I’ve worked with over the years that I think really do have some good stuff.
I would love to know if you have any of these products (tell me if you like them) or if you end up buying any of these based on my recommendation (whoa, no pressure or anything). And also, unless I mentioned if I already had the product, you can consider this a Christmas list of sorts and I will accept any and all gifts.