Last week, our pastor shared this video during our sermon. I really loved it, and am sharing it with you. Even if you’re not remotely religious, it is still totally worth watching because it talks about how to give more meaningful gifts during the holidays. It’s not all “Jesusy” if you shy away from that kind of thing.
One of my favorite gifts I ever got was a purchase of some animals in my name through Heifer.org. It is a wonderful organization that supplies people in impoverished countries with animals. I believe ducks or chickens were purchased on my behalf. Families that sell the extra eggs from their fowl, eat some for a valuable protein source, use them for pest control, and have valuable compost to add to their gardens. It’s rad.
Homemade Christmas gifts are amazing, wonderful, and so thoughtful. They are always my preference to give and receive. But I acknowledge that not everyone is totally in to making their own gifts. For those of you who want to order online and be done with Christmas, this list is for you. Some of these items have been on my annual list for years because I truly love them. It has also been updated with new things I have fallen in love with over the last year. I also try hard to give a range of prices for anyone’s budget. I’ve also separated adult and kid stuff, with kid items on the bottom of the post.
There are plenty of affiliate links in this post, but all links are things I truly love myself and would gift to my own friends, or have purchased for myself or others. Also, if you don’t want any of this stuff, but still order on Amazon, if you click any of the links below and order what you were going to order anyway, I still get a little kick back. Pretty sweet!
Inexpensive – under $30
- Microplane grater. I use this thing weekly and love it!
- Bowl lids for your Kitchen Aid mixer. Love this product! And even better, it comes with two lids, so you can share one with a friend. Unless you have two mixers, in which case, I want to be your friend.
- I bought these gloves for myself (in beige cable) and holy smokes they are SO warm and cozy.
- Lamb. This book about the “real” story of Jesus Christ, as told by his best friend Biff, made me almost pee my pants.
- At Home. This book makes dorks so very happy. It sounds lame, but it is fascinating. It’s the history of how every room in a house came to be. I know, boring right? NOPE. So good.
- I got sick of the AUX cable in my car getting tangled and in the way. This retractable AUX cable is very inexpensive, and works great.
- The Homemade Pantry. Love this cookbook so hard.
- I love cast iron, but Troy cannot make eggs in my skillets to save his life. There is something about it that boggles his mind. I bought him this ceramic pan for his birthday (oh the romance) and it works great. Not 100% non-stick, but works perfectly.
- Apple peeler/corer thing-a-ma-jing. Makes processing 2 or 200 apples a cinch.
- Magnetic knife bar. Totally transformed the look of my countertop. Anyone who has read this blog for longer than 10 minutes, knows how much I hate clutter. This got one more thing off of my counter,
- Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I love his books and I am always so sad when I finish one of them.
- Mini cordless cell charger. My friend Elaina had two of these during our trip to Disneyland, and they’re amazing! So very useful, and I keep ours in Bennett’s diaper bag.
- Winter of the World, also by Ken Follett. It’s the sequel to the one above and is fabulous.
- And if you like the first two books of the trilogy, there is a third one called Edge of Eternity!
- Boys in the Boat made me stand up and cheer. A fascinating book that looks at the University of Washington’s male rowing team and their epic quest for the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. And it’s a local book, which makes it even better!
- Lodge cast iron skillet. If you don’t want to rescue one from a thrift store, buying new works too. Something I use almost daily in my house.
- This Jessie Spano mug makes my morning happy every single day. And that is saying a lot because I get up at 5 am at the latest.
- I love love love my cast iron bread pans. They make bread crust so chewy and perfect.
- Sweet Almond Oil. I use this to wash my face, make chapstick and lotion bars, and to deeply moisturize my hands at the end of the day. One bottle lasts me about two years.
- Japanese Madolin Vegetable Slicer. Sharp as hell (watch out), but is amazing for making pickles, homemade french fries, and other uses where you want a uniform slice.
- 9 in stainless steel skillet. No need for non-stick in our house! This skillet is a freaking workhorse in the kitchen, and I use it when I am not using my cast iron. Or when Troy doesn’t want to make eggs. 🙂
- Butter crock. We use this to safely keep butter at room temp on the counter. Spreadable butter year round? Yes please!
- If you have chickens, or other early morning outside chores, I love this headlamp for hands-free tasks. I use it from October-March for taking the chicken food out in the morning and changing their water.
- Lyle’s Golden Syrup. This stuff isn’t well-known in the states, but it’s heaven. I tried to describe it to my friends, and all I could come up with was “real quality maple syrup had sex with a stick of butter”. Right? I used it for homemade pecan pie at Thanksgiving, and you can use it in lieu of corn syrup in recipes. It’s delicious.
- Backyard Roots. This is a fun book showing how 35 urban farmers around the country make their small set up work for them.
- Metal widemouth funnel. I put so many things in mason jars for storage, and this helps keep me from spilling three pounds of dried beans all over my kitchen floor. Not that I’ve done that or anything…
- The Junior Bender series is some of the best stuff I have read in years. Crashed, Little Elvises, The Fame Thief, and Herbie’s Game are so SO good.
- Coconut coir brick. This is something garden nerds will LOVE. It’s a compressed brick made from the byproduct of coconut processing, and is an amazing substitution for peat moss in homemade potting soil. Peat moss is not a renewable resource, but coconut is! Yay, go earth.
- Want a stainless steel water bottle made in the US? It used to be “good freaking luck”, but Liberty Bottleworks (a Washington State company that hires discharged military veterans woot woot!) makes some gorgeous bottles in Central Washington for the same price as fancier bottles sold elsewhere. We got this one for Jack for Christmas.
- This wall calendar. I HATE that it is a called a Mom’s calendar, because it’s useful for so many things. Lots of slots for information, and it isn’t hideous, cartoonish, or tasteless. I’ve ordered one for the last four years running.
- Peppermint Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer. This 6 pack will last year two years. I love the smell, love that it isn’t drying and isn’t full of alcohol. Please read this post for a back story about why peppermint oil hand sanitizer is not good when sprayed near your Britney).
- Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. I love this stuff, and it leaves me skin super soft without being harsh.
- Maple Holistic Winter Blend Shampoo and Conditioner. Smells amazing, makes my hair look and feel amazing and the ingredients aren’t creepy or scary in any way.
Medium priced – $30 ish
- Pampered Chef garlic press. My mother-in-law bought this for me after using my crappy garlic press. Her garlic press is on her list of things she would grab if her house were on fire.
- Bona Hardwood Floor Mop. Tread lightly with this one. This should not be gifted to a spouse. Unless you were married to me, or my friend Emilio. We’d both love it.
- Ricer. This makes the best mashed potatoes ever, as well as being a critical part of homemade gnocchi.
- Water kefir starter kit. Kick your soda habit for good by making it yourself!
- Immersion blender. When mine broke, I immediately ordered another one for 2 day delivery.
- Levis mid-rise skinny jeans. These jeans are so crazy comfy, not creepy skinny, and don’t have that weird gap in the back where you show off muffin top and crack.
- Dutch oven. You NEED one. I can’t remember my life before Dutchie and Little Sprout came in to my kitchen.
- Good knives. We got a set similar to this for our wedding over 9 years ago, and I use them daily. Thanks Auntie Lulu and Uncle John!
- I purchased a retractable clothesline for myself last Mother’s Day, and it was the best gift I have ever received…from myself.
- My pressure canner! It expanded my canning potential so much. Which of course makes me both love and hate it.
- Kitchen comfort mat. This makes canning almost tolerable. Almost.
- Electrolux Stick Vac and dust buster. It rocks. ‘Nough said.
- FitBit Alta. A sleeker fitness tracker with a lower profile. It looks like a nice watch, and you can purchase additional bands to make it look like legit jewelry.
- Roku player. We also received this for Christmas three years ago and it rocks!! Streams all our favorite stuff directly to our TV, without having to hook up our laptops (first world problems, right???) using a HDMI cable.
Big ticket items:
- Grain mill. Expensive upfront costs that pays for itself fairly quickly.
- Shark Lift Away vacuum. Oh how I love this vacuum and wish it would just have one more perk – that it would operate itself. Sigh. It’s amazing for carpet and the best you will find for wood floors!
- Mixer. My life was incomplete without her in it.
- Brother sewing machine. It’s a nice basic machine that has always served me well for my little projects.
- Food processor. So many of my “make it yourself” recipes start with this bad boy.
- Vitamix. I never in my life thought I would spend money like this for a freaking blender. I saved for a year and got mine during a great sale at Costco, and I love it. But it is spendy as hell.
- Wusthof Classic knife. I received this as a gift four years ago, and holy smokes, I love it intensely.
- In my Tree – this book is part of a series of like nine books that are like kid crack.
- Goldie Blocks. This is my go-to gift for girls I don’t know really well. They’re engineering sets designed for girls, and come with a story and plans for building amazing feats of engineering.
- Doug and Melissa felt food set. I’ve gifted this for a few birthdays, and it has always been a hit with little and older kiddos alike.
- Yumbox lunchbox. Looks expensive on initial glance, but it has lasted us 2.5 school years, looks brand new, and nary a plastic baggie has been tossed in the garbage.
- Where’s the Dragon. A super fun kid’s book that has a great story, and raised pictures so kids can find hidden dragons in the illustrations.
- This rattle is made from safe materials, in the US, and keeps Bennett happy.
- Melissa and Doug Lace and Trace Farm. I love that this is a non-electronic kid classic gift.
- Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards. I’m not sure what it is about this gift, but it’s freaking kid catnip. We’ve taken them to church before, and kids from two to twelve flocked to these things. So low-tech, and yet they get played with for an hour.
- Press Here. This kids book is so fun!
- Cowboy and Octopus. Hands down, one of the weirdest kids books ever. Troy and I fight to read this one to Jack.
- DIY kid’s food pouches. We fill this with applesauce for church. Pouring applesquish in my kid’s food hole keeps him occupied and quiet.
- Darth Vader and Son. For all the nerds out there, this is the book to read with your kids. They have one for girls too!
- The Interrupting Chicken. Wonderful kids book!
- The Day the Crayons Quit. My friend Mary recommended this to me, and it’s been one of our go to birthday gifts ever since. And the sequel The Day the Crayons Came Home.
- This stroller organizer is 1/3 the cost of any other one out there and it’s solid and exactly what I needed.
More than $30
- We had a wonderful stroller with Jack. It was wonderful and we loved it. It eventually reached the end of its life, and I set off to replace it. After lots of research, I purchased one that was highly recommended. And I hated it. I eventually settled on the Thule Urban Glide, and it is like a CGI stroller. It doesn’t have a bunch of bells and whistles, but as my mother-in-law said “it pretty much pushes itself”. This thing is a beast that can fold with one hand, and doesn’t take up an entire trunk. It is likely the most expensive kid item I own, and I haven’t regretted a penny. It is currently $82 cheaper than the normal price.
- Snap Circuits is one of those toys that after all the dust has settled from birthdays and holidays, your kid will come back to time and time again. Jack loves playing with this.
- Ergo carrier. I don’t know how people shop with their kid without this.
- This wooden block set has lasted for over seven years and look brand new. They’re gorgeous, and made in the USA.
What is on your Christmas list this year?