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2012 Christmas Gift Guide

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Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Christmas Gift Guide

Charles is really good at giving gifts (to me).  Past gifts have included a surprise trip to NYC, a Coach purse, and a horse.  And no, we're not rich...not even close!  But he plans these things and just makes them happen (maybe someday I can get him to tell the story of what he had to sell to buy me that Coach purse...it's kind of funny).

Meet Seamus.  I had known him for years, but became "my" horse in 2005 as my Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas present that year.
I'm more like, "Hey, what do you want for Christmas?  A new golf club?  OK, go buy it," and that's that.

But when it comes to other people - like my kids and relatives - I stress out and hem and haw over finding the perfect gift and then read all the reviews on Amazon before finally buying it and then anxiously wrap it up and hand it over, just hoping it will be exactly what they didn't even realize they'd been wanting.

So, I'm hoping to help you out a bit this year.  Here is a list of some of my favorite unique gifts that I've given (and a few I've received, too).  I guess you could call this my Official 2012 Gift Guide!


For: The Person Who Has Everything
Gift: Knowledge, in the form of a class

I know I said I suck at coming up with creative gifts for Charles, but one year I proved myself wrong.  I got all creative and got him a gift certificate to Sur La Table for a cooking class.  This turned out to be the BEST GIFT EVER.  For me, mostly.  Because I requested he attend a cooking class on sauces...meaning, he learned how to make hollandaise and bernaise...meaning, I get homemade Eggs Benedict for all special occasions and WOW is it good.  I put a little extra on the gift card so he had enough money for the class and then to bring something home from the store afterwards, too (I knew he'd need some kitchen implement that we didn't have to whip up those Eggs Benny for me every weekend, right?).

You aren't required to have selfish motives, though, to gift a class or two.

Photography classes, art classes, yoga classes and horseback riding lessons also come to mind as fun gifts that keep on giving.

For: Your Mom (or Grandma)
Gift: Captured memories (bonus if you have grandkids or a grandpet!)


So, I can't go too much into detail here because my mom reads this, but I can say that this year I've got a few really awesome things up my sleeve (actually, in my closet because I already bought them) for her for Christmas.  But I will say that these days it's easy (so easy!) to go above and beyond the typical framed picture of the grandkids.  With Shutterfly and (my favorite) Paper Coterie, you can quickly and inexpensively create calendars, photo books, canvas prints...even magnets and key chains (an affordable way to send something unique to all those Great Aunts!).

I made this journal for myself...but I could have made one (and just might) for a number of people.  It was less than $20 at Paper Coterie (that's my affiliate link).

For: The Geek Who Likes to Eat (in my case, my Dad)
Gift: Star Trek Pizza Cutter 


Does it get any geekier better than this?  My Dad's a big Star Trek fan (I believe the proper word for that is "Trekkie"), and I found this Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter at Think Geek (which is basically where you want to go for all of your "geek" needs).

For: The Girly Girl
Gift: Birchbox


If you're not familiar with Birchbox, it's a box-o-awesome that costs $10 and is delivered once a month.  It's filled with high-end beauty samples and girly goodies and is tons of fun.  I gifted 3-month Birchbox subscriptions to two of my friends for their birthdays this past summer and they were a hit.

For: The Jewelry-Lover
Gift: A Handmade Bracelet



Jewelry is one of my favorite things to browse on Etsy.  It's all so pretty and unique.  I've purchased several bracelets - for myself and for friends - from Etsy.  My favorite shop (and where I bought these bracelets) is The Cambrayah Collection.  She's a work-at-home-mom and does fabulous work!  In fact, I may have just purchased something from her for someone on my Christmas list.

For: The Minimalist or The Person Who Has Everything
Gift: Donation to a Charity

{so minimalist, I don't even have a picture of it!}

We all have friends who seem to accumulate less clutter than the rest of us, and we all have friends who already own every.single.thing.ever.made.in.the.entire.existence.of.the.universe.  Both of these people are hard to shop for.

I don't necessarily fall into either of those categories, but one gift I received (and appreciated) was a donation to a charity that provides clean water to people in third world countries.  This is a gift anyone would appreciate, but I think it may be *extra* appreciated by those who try to live with less junk in their lives and those who already own All The Junk.

There are a lot of charities out there...this year, I am thinking I'll check out charity: water when making donations.

For: Practically Anyone, but Especially All the Tweens and Teens on Your List
Gift: iTunes Gift Card


I'll bet most teens (and even tweens, probably) have some sort of Apple product in their lives, be it an iPod or iTouch or whatever other iThing was just released.  An iTunes gift certificate is easy to give, always appreciated, and can even be emailed (those high-tech teens these days).  Or, you can print it out and make it into a cute and personalized card (I'd link you to iTunes here but then I'd have to download it, and I only do iTunes on my phone, so...sorry!).

For: The Kids on Your List
Gift: Art (that they create)



Jack got a lot of gifts last Christmas...but you know which one he's used on an almost daily basis for the past year?  His crayons!  Granted, they've been replaced a time or two...but that's the beauty of them.  They're so inexpensive and fun, and THEY WILL GET USED (which is the point of a gift, right?).  This year, I'm sticking a box in each kid's stocking and putting together an "Art Station" for Jack, which will include paints, a pad of paper, glue sticks, kid-safe scissors and probably some stickers.  Kids love to create, and that's something I want to enable, enable, enable!

For: Your Out-of-State Relative
Gift: Local T-Shirt or Local Food


I'm from Southern California, and that is where 90% of my family resides.  Being a SoCal girl, I was practically raised on In-n-Out hamburgers.  And you know what we got in Texas this year?  In-n-Out.

I picked up a couple of Texas In-n-Out t-shirts ($10 each, woohoo!) and sent them to my Dad and brother.

Then, I headed downtown and picked up local-made dips, salsas, and pancake toppings (I know...yum, right?) and shipped those off to all of my Cali friends.  The gifts were not something they could buy in California and reminded them of us every time they used them (which is okay to do with family members, ha!).  But a word to the wise...all those bottles of fancy local salsa were expensive to ship, so you might consider ordering online and shipping directly to the recipient in cases like this!

Those are just a few of my favorite gift ideas.  I'd love to hear yours!  And if you're an Etsy shop owner, don't hesitate to share your shop in the comments section!

And if you're trying to think of something cute and inexpensive (and maybe homemade?) to give teachers/neighbors/coworkers - stay tuned.  I have some *amazing* ideas coming up (I'm getting my mom and mother-in-law involved...my mom's a super crafty elementary school teacher and my mother-in-law's a retired Home Economics teacher and am amazing cook...they will not disappoint).

Disclaimer: I was not asked/paid/begged/bribed/forced to write any of this by any of the companies above.  These are just a few ideas I had and wanted to share!


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2 Comments:

At December 13, 2012 at 3:17 AM , Blogger Alison said...

I think gifting experiences is really awesome - it's unique, it's always something that's wanted and it's always appreciated. And OMG, a horse! :)

Stopping by from SITS.

 
At December 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM , Blogger Carrie said...

RIGHT?!?! The horse thing was totally awesome!

 

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