Tuesday, November 16, 2021

This is not your typical gift guide. In fact, I may not even do any links, k? Let’s roll with my amateur blogging style.

We simplified gift giving several years ago. I only buy for Tom, Jack, Mason, grandparents and two nieces. It has made things so much easier. Most years Tom and I do stocking gifts only; we usually say we are giving each other a house project. Some years we break the rules and buy each other more than stocking gifts.

I don’t think we should put so much focus on gifts, but not everyone in my family agrees. I love giving gifts, but not at the expense of my family being stressed out and in debt, you know? Also, after everything we have gone through with the pandemic, it just seems weird to get so materialistic. Others use the holidays as a time to show love and appreciation and I get that, too.

Try not to stress. Try to enjoy the process if you can and once you decide, do not overthink. Use the Lazy Genius principle of “decide once”. I also love the idea of going with a theme each year like “cozy”, “pjs”, “fun in the kitchen”. I love a good theme, you know!

Step One: Make a list of all the people you buy for with potential ideas. I do keep a list of ideas in my phone throughout the year.

Step Two: Make a budget.

Step Three: The hard part begins. Start online shopping or shopping in stores. As you buy things, check off on your list. Do not overthink it and stick to your list. Also, do not overbuy.

There is nothing wrong with sticking to just a couple of stores for all of your gifts.

Use Amazon’s search bar and type in “gifts for 8 year old boys” if you need inspiration. Then, if you can find that item locally, do so.

Try to shop locally when you can and think outside the box. A gift certificate to a locally owned restaurant or a locally owned hardware store, boating supplies store, exercise studio, cookware store, wine shop, etc. all make great and thoughtful gifts. If you are local, what about a gift card to Paul’s Fruit Market, Lotsa Pasta, Fresh Market, or a locally owned restaurant. These are treats that some people may not normally have in their budget.

Really listen to the people you are buying gifts for. Do they mention wanting to learn to cook? Do they talk about a game they loved as a child?

Here are things I love to give:

-Bourbon Barrel Foods – bourbon smoked pepper, bourbon seasonings for grilling or cooking, bourbon caramel sauce for ice cream, etc. Krogers in my area have a local section where you can find many of these items.

-personalized notepads – I did this for both grandmas last year.

-monogrammed items. I love giving necklaces, sweatshirts, etc.

-photo gifts – mugs, mousepads, calendars – I have done all of these. Costco or Walgreen’s are where I have ordered from.

-experiences – tickets to a concert, play, etc.

-magazine or newspaper subscriptions

-streaming service subscriptions (maybe they would like Acorn TV for the British shows)


-go in with other family to get a bigger gift like Airpods or a Solo stove.

I love to shop at Costco for gifts. They have some really great products – books, clothing, gloves, socks, knives, cooking stuff, and so much more. One year I think I bought almost all of my gifts there.

I love Aerie for the teen and college age girls and for me! Their stuff is great quality and won’t break the bank.

Uncommon James – really cool jewelry at a decent price

Kendra Scott

Target.con is so user friendly. Did you know the website has more than the store?

Nordstrom.com – you might be surprised at how reasonable their prices are. They have excellent customer service and quick shipping.

I love to get little kids rain gear – they get really excited over their very own umbrella, new rain boots, and a rain jacket. I will often get them something to play with immediately, too.

I would love to get any of these luxury beauty items:

I love the idea of these because I think a gift should be something someone might not buy for themselves but that they would love to have.

Bum bum cream – I did say I didn’t think it was that great, but I have changed my mind. It smells really good!

Ibis perfume or lotion. We discovered it in Michigan and it smells amazing.

Tan luxe the butter – the newer formula is even better.

Olive and June – manicure sets. They are supposed to be really good for those that enjoy an at home mani.

Olaplex – there are some amazing sets right now

Donna Karan deodorant – a cult favorite that I haven’t tried yet.

Fragrance Discovery set – these are really cool. You get to try out a bunch of scents to see what you like.

Gift sets – all kinds of sets are out in TJ Maxx, Target, and more.

I asked Tom for some suggestions. He is very particular and really likes these brands:

Free Fly

On shoes

Rapha biking clothes


Bayleaf work out clothes

If you are local, he likes Quest Outdoors.

If you have a teen that is hard to buy for, they really just want…

Cash – maybe you could wrap it with their favorite candy?

Also, they love fast food gift cards, gas gift cards if they have to buy their own gas, Spotify gift cards or subscriptions, streaming service subscriptions, concert tickets, etc.

Happy Shopping! Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments!


10 thoughts on “Gifting

  1. We have greatly simplified our gift giving over the years too; we never spent a ton money wise on our kids or each individual person on our list but with 11 nieces and nephews it does add up! Now that they’re all tweens and teens they just want money or gift cards and while it’s not nearly as fun as shopping for toys and crafting supplies it is pretty darn easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gift giving is hard in my family because we set a very small budget for the nieces and nephews and as they have gotten older it’s hard to find things they’ll like so we end up giving cash. That is what they really enjoy anyway. I like giving experiences because it seems like we all have what we want anyway. Great ideas on your list Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post! So many great ideas. We’ve tried to simplify through the years but it still feels like so much! I am glad my kids are starting to appreciate things like basketball tickets or a manicure gift card! I’m saving this post. Thanks for the ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My first or second year of teaching, we had a Christmas Around the World tree in my classroom. A couple of moms made origami ornaments for the tree that I was obsessed with. Almost 30 years later, I still have 2 of them that I put on my own tree every year. It remains a favorite memory of my early years of teaching. A couple of years after that, knowing how much I loved the origami ornaments, my mom had the art teacher at her school fold money into origami shapes as my Christmas gift. It was so incredibly cool and I had a hard time unfolding the shapes to spend the money!


  5. My grands like to get addition to their cash gift, a bag of favorite candy, popcorn tins with a variety of popcorn choices, none of which they have to share.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s