I’m all about lists. I write them almost daily. And come holiday season, I can’t get enough of gift guide slideshows. I stalk every magazine, newspaper and website for them. Even if you think you’re a pretty decent gift-giver (like I do), some fresh ideas and new product finds are always helpful and inspiring.
Two years ago I did a 12 days of Christmas countdown. I suggested a gift idea and a charity idea for each day leading up to Christmas. By clicking on the highlighted links above you can check out some previous yet still awesome gift ideas.
This year I decided to keep it simpler. If you’re like me and still trying to figure out the perfect gift for someone special, maybe these broader suggestions will help you out.
In no particular order:
10. Anything personalized. Check out Zazzle, Things Remembered or Red Envelope. I’ve ordered stamps and mugs from Zazzle and beautiful silver engraved frames from TR. All are perfect for parents. As I’ve experienced, parents typically have everything they need, but a photo with a personalized frame or a cute mug with a message makes an excellent gift. Don’t forget about photo books and calendars, too. Check out CVS‘s reasonable options. Stationery is always a big hit in my family. You can also get personalized address stamps and/or thank you cards for someone on your list.
9. Something crafty from Etsy. I’ve found a lot of fun gifts on Etsy recently. Search anything your heart desires and you’re sure to discover loads of variety. For my mom’s 60th birthday I ordered some hand-painted stemware from an incredible artist in Bulgaria. Click here for her shop Nevena Art Glass. I custom-ordered a couple of wine glasses with pelicans on them and my mom cried when she saw how beautiful they were. She does the work quickly and they are hugely under-priced ($55 for a pair of handpainted wine glasses). So buy them quick before she’s discovered. If you have a yogi on your list you can find yoga mats and bags on Etsy as well.
8. Bags, bags, bags. Have a lady friend to buy for? You can never go wrong with a new handbag. Or a cute pouch for gadgets and/or toiletries. I love the ones at Iomoi. Have a gentleman to buy for? You can’t go wrong with a cool Dakine backpack, or if you’re thinking more high end try Saddleback or Filson. If you’re stuck on what brands to buy, Kate Spade is always a classic (and Jack Spade for the men), Sea Bags has lots of nautical options, Clare Vivier has beautiful clutches and iPad cases, and Foley + Corinna is a favorite of mine. A good friend and former neighbor runs this beautiful leather bag company “Girl on a Motorcycle.” I proudly wear one of her totes daily. Check out her selection and custom order a fine leather accessory today.
7. Gadgets. Everyone loves a new toy for the holidays. Pick up the latest Consumer Guide mag and zip through for ideas. My parents-in-law just bought us an iPad for Christmas and we are thrilled. If you don’t have the budget for this, consider a Kindle or Nook for someone on your list. My dad just got the iPad mini and he loves it. Smartphones and tablets not your thing? Perhaps a GoPro is more up your alley or new speakers. Try the Jambox by Jawbone. Headphones were a hit in our house for Christmas last year, though I wish we’d done a bit more research. The Sol Republics are not comfortable. Try ones with bigger pads that fit all the way around your ear. Check out Quirky for all kinds of new affordable inventions/home goods. A new favorite in my household is the telephone that plugs into your smartphone. Find them at Native Union.
6. Accessories. Who doesn’t like a new flashy watch? ToyWatch is a favorite brand in this house (I’ve had mine for four years and it’s made out of plastic!) And you can’t go wrong with Swiss-made Luminox. As far as sunglasses, try Tom’s (shades being their latest one-for-one item), Neff, Spy and Ilori (for a variety of choices). MainMan isn’t much of a scarf-wearer, but ladies love their scarves. You can find a pretty selection at Anthropologie. Blankets or throws are always nice, too. Shoes are a bit risky, but if you have a lady friend who loves flats, check out French Soles. They’re my favorite ballet flat and my mom buys me a new pair every year.
5. Artwork. Check out Fab. My brother’s frequently directed me there for products and design inspiration. I suppose you could find artwork on Etsy, as well. Here’s a list of some fun resources for online art purchasing from Apartment Therapy. If this is too daunting, how about creating a piece of art from your own photographs/Instagram feed? Check out Canvaspop. You can do all kinds of things with their help.
4. Books. I think we’re permanently banned from buying my dad another book. He’s a huge non-fiction snob and I think he likes picking out his own tomes. If you have someone on your list who doesn’t mind getting books, however, they can be a fun option. Seek out a first edition on Ebay. Check out the hottest cookbook section if you’re buying for a foodie. The New York Times just published their “100 books of the year” article and I’ve clipped it out to visit for inspiration. The Observer has an interesting list of coffee table books. If you’re planning a trip in 2014, guide books are a great way to get the excitement going.
3. Subscriptions. Who doesn’t love a gift that keeps on giving? Whether it’s to a magazine of the person’s choosing (Bon Appetit, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, etc.) or to a monthly food/wine club (though can sometimes be a hassle since they typically need a signature to leave wine at your door, and you don’t want a bottle of nice Cab left out in severe temps). They even have flower clubs like H. Bloom where you can get a bouquet delivered to your door once a month. If my parents stayed in one place I’d strongly consider this idea.
2. Experiences. Check out your local Groupon, Urban Daddy, Gilt and/or LivingSocial deals. If you’re over the gift-wrapping, buy your loved one an activity that’s sure to create memories that will outlast your newest gadget’s shelf life. You can buy anything from a hot air balloon ride and flight lessons to spa days and driving lessons at the racetrack. Check out concerts, plays and sporting events coming to your area, too.
1. Pet gear. Does someone on your “nice” list have a cat or dog, or betta fish? I’m sure they’d love anything pet-inspired. Check out linenworkshop‘s cute silhouette art/pillows. I love this idea for a gift. Mungo and Maud is one of my favorite shops, though they’re in the UK so keep in mind for shipping purposes.
And there you have it. See something I left out? Leave a comment and I’ll keep this list fluid. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!