I received some of these products free for consideration and some links are affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.
It’s (almost) my favorite time of year…Christmas! The most precious family time, for me, are those days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s when we have nowhere to go and nothing to do. But before we can get to that time of rest, we have to do ALL. THE. THINGS. Visits to Santa, family photos, baking cookies, and, the most time-consuming task of the whole season… finding the perfect presents for everyone on our list! I can’t really help you with all the other things but I do have a number of fabulous gift ideas to help with the gift giving. Just consider that my present to you this holiday season! :)
This gift guide includes gifts for children, teens, and adults as well as some gifts that the whole family can enjoy. More gift ideas will be added as I find them so bookmark this guide and check back in throughout December for more gift ideas!
Aura Digital Photo Frame
One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is look at pictures so she has been loving having this Aura frame set up in our living room! Aura designed their WiFi-connected digital frames to make it easy to share photos and videos from phones to one or multiple frames. I really enjoy how quickly I can upload photos to the frame and have been trying to go into my Facebook memories daily to pull out my favorite photos from years past to add to the frame. Aura also has an in-app photo scanner to make it easy to add non-digital photos. I haven’t used this feature yet but I’m excited to add in photos from my childhood of loved ones who are no longer with us.
Shop Aura frames here.
If you are looking for a gift that’s going to get your child or tween outside playing, Gel Blasters would be the perfect gift for under the tree! They are a great way to get your kids (and adults, too!) engrossed in high-energy, competitive fun! They are like a cross between paintball and nerf guns but they won’t stain your clothes and you’ll never have to pick up another dart off the ground again! These next-gen blasters are eco-friendly because instead of plastic ballistics, they use colorful, water-based beads that disintegrate on contact. Some even glow in the dark which is great for nighttime play! A set of gel blasters were gifted to my nephew and he had a great time playing with his friends!
Shop for Gel Blasters here.
Now for a great gift idea for little ones! Toniebox is the OG screen-free audio entertainment system that delivers equal parts imaginative, tactical play; sleek, intuitive tech; AND music and stories from the biggest names in kids entertainment. Turn on the Toniebox, pop a Tonie on top and let the audio adventure begin! Emma loves listening to music and stories before bed on her Toniebox. The Little Mermaid Tonie is her favorite!
There are some new Tonies out just in time for the holiday season, including a limited edition Mickey & Friends Starter Set (Disney100 Toniebox), PAW Patrol: Liberty, and MARVEL Spidey & His Amazing Friends.
This one is for all those people who can’t start the day without a cup of coffee! Each perfectly-portioned Steeped Coffee Bag contains craft-roasted, ethically sourced coffee that’s precision ground and triple nitro sealed to showcase the distinctive flavor profile of each blend. If you’ve been looking for an eco-friendly alternative to pods, this is it! Both the inner bag and outer pack are fully compostable which is pretty cool. They also donate a portion of their revenue to communities in needs which I love!
Date Night Gift Baskets
Give the gift of time this holiday season and give a date night gift basket to your significant other. I’ve created several over the years including my favorite, this Dinner for Two gift basket (complete with a delicious dinner recipe, of course!) I share other date night gift basket ideas, including a paint night gift basket and a game night gift basket, here.
If you are looking for a game to play with friends, or at family game night with teens, Priorities is a great choice. Priorities is an easy-to-learn card game for teens and adults in which you have to rank everyday items from love to loathe and then your friends have to try to predict what your priorities are. With a deck of 200 item cards, you’ll never run out of fun combinations to rank, making Priorities a game you can play again and again. Best of all, this is a quick-to-play game so it’s perfect for even the busiest families!
Find the game here.
Puffer Hug 418 Scarf
Need a gift idea for that person that is always cold? The Puffer Hug 418 Scarf is a lightweight, versatile wrap that can easily be transformed from a cozy scarf into a vest in seconds. This must-have accessory for cold winter days includes two deep front pockets to keep hands warm, a side zipper pocket for essentials, and three front snaps to turn it into a vest. The 418 Scarf also includes a heart charm in the left pocket, embodying Puffer Hug’s mission to spread love and give back to children’s mental health programs (which I love!)
Central Perk Mug
Some of my fondest memories of my time away at college include gathering around the tv with my friends once a week to catch our favorite show so I, like many others, was devastated when I heard about Matthew Perry passing away. I received this mug, originally created to commemorate the Central Perk Coffeehouse that opened in Boston last month, a couple weeks before Perry passed and it’s even more meaningful to me now. It reminds me of those times with my friends and all the laughter that we shared.
You can find this mug, and other exclusive Central Perk Coffee Co. themed items here or at the Newbury Street coffee shop in Boston.
The squeals of delight that my daughter made upon the opening of this package is what makes the hustle and bustle of the holiday season all worth it! Snoozimals are so soft, it’s like hugging a cloud and my four year old was thrilled to receive her new huggable friends. Snoozimals make the perfect companion for bedtime or an afternoon nap. While they are adorable to look at, hugging them can also relieve stress and anxiety while providing comfort and security.
Find your child’s new huggable friend here.
ABLE Clothing – Merly Jacket
If you have a stylish woman on your list you’ll want to check out ABLE Clothing, a Nashville-based clothing brand changing women’s lives worldwide. ABLE Clothing is known for their leather bags, handmade jewelry, and the best denim jackets. The Merly Jacket aka “the last denim jacket you’ll ever need” is a timeless wardrobe essential that’s crafted from buttery-soft materials for that coveted “broken-in” comfort. More important than their clothes though, is that they are on a mission to empower women through ethical fashion. And they don’t just talk about it…they aim to hire women who have faced extraordinary circumstances and provide them with dignified jobs and livable wages so those of us who wear their items can feel confident in the pieces we are wearing, not just in how we look but also in the impact we are making.
Shop ethical fashion here.
StarFire Camp Stove
Shopping for a “prepper”? Get them something that they’ll always be able to use! I like this StarFire Camp Stove that gives you a simple & efficient way to boil water and cook food with only kindling or leaves as fuel. It’s lightweight and portable so it’s also perfect for roasting marshmallows for s’mores in the backyard!
Find the StarFire camp stove here.
DIY No-Sew Doll Blanket
Have a child that loves dolls? Consider making some DIY doll outfits, bedding, and accessories! I made a fleece blanket recently and it was a fun addition to my daughter’s little doll cabin. See it here. Want more DIY gift ideas? Check out these DIY gifts in a jar here and here.
Pickleball seems to have exploded in popularity over the past year so, if you are searching for a gift for pickleball players, you should consider Pepper Pong. Pepper Pong is a new, portable racquet game that blends the best parts of table tennis with pickleball. It can be played indoors which is perfect for the many cold days ahead! The way the game works is simple. After setting up the free standing fence, players use specially designed rackets (called “mullets”) to hit a uniquely designed Nerf-like ball (called “precious jewels”) over the fence to score points. The learning curve is low enough that anyone can play, yet is still challenging enough to create long, competitive rallies to keep your skills sharp. This is a great way to keep your family active indoors!
Advent Calendar from Adagio Teas
I am loving the trend of adult Advent calendars and this one from Adagio Teas is perfect for the tea drinker who wants to countdown to Christmas! The 2023 Tea Advent Calendar is designed to infuse your days with the spirit of joy and celebration. With a captivating design adorned with twinkling lights and festive garland, this calendar is not only a visual delight but a delightful journey for tea lovers. It’s available in both loose and teabag options and the teas are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan-friendly.
Maria Trolle’s Universe Coloring Book
Coloring books for adults? Yes, please! I had never heard of Maria Trolle before but her illustrations are beautiful! This anniversary collection brings together 70 of Maria’s best-loved illustrations and 22 new scenes for you to color and explore. Through the coloring book you can enter a world of lush greenery and whimsical fantasy. Smell the scents of gardens in full bloom and bathe in the warmth of the sun seeping through the forest canopy. Pause by the babbling brook to say hello to Luna, Myra, and the fairies and magical animals of the forest. Calm your mind and let the colors of your imagination brighten this magical kingdom, from its magnificent landscapes to the butterflies flitting through the foliage. Escaping into a world of fantasy is just what I need after a long stressful day!
Barbie Movie & 2023 Holiday Barbie
The highest grossing film of the year, as well as in Warner Bros. history, is now available to own! Give the cinephile or teen Barbie lover in your life a copy of this amazing movie. Buy the blu-ray here.
Have a younger Barbie fan? Gift them this year’s holiday Barbie! I received the newest holiday Barbie and Barbie Hallmark ornament almost every year when I was a kid and now they are both must-haves under the tree for my daughter. Buy the 2023 holiday Barbie here or the annual Barbie ornament from Hallmark here.
Need some stocking stuffers for teens? Bootleg Bath is an organic, eco-friendly beauty brand that has redefined the world of bath and hair products. I love that they offer shampoo and conditioner in bar form instead of selling them in plastic bottles that will just end up in landfills. Give the gift of quality and luxury this holiday season with Bootleg Bath‘s handcrafted hair and beauty products.
Shop eco-friendly beauty products here. Need a scent suggestion? Greyhound has a fresh, light citrus scent that I really love!
I’m The Chef Too
Have a little one who loves to help in the kitchen? I’m The Chef Too is a monthly subscription baking activity that blends Food, STEM and The Arts into educational fun, bringing the family together in a delightful and delicious way. When you sign up for the monthly subscription your child will receive all the materials needed to create a fun treat. Some are holiday or seasonal themed, like December’s Reindeer Cocoa Bombs and February’s heart-shaped surprise cookies! So cute! There are also kits you can purchase separately including generic kits (like erupting volcanos!) to branded kits with your child’s favorite characters like My Little Pony, Transformers, Peppa Pig, and more! The My Little Pony kit shown above is what we received!
Shop all the kits here.
Experience Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
A great idea for toddlers and preschoolers is to gift them experiences. I put together a list of 20+ experience gifts for toddlers and preschoolers. The ideas consist of everything from theme specific kits you can put together yourself and enjoy at home, like a baking kit and a “snow much fun” kit, to gifting memberships to places like museums and the zoo. Another fun experience gift would be tickets to the theatre (if you are local to Chicago I have some fun Chicago theatre ideas here.)
Mom Tote Bag
Any other moms always carrying around everyone else’s stuff?! I love this bag from Two Fingers One Word because it perfectly describes my life. There’s lots of other delightfully hilarious gifts to choose from, including a new holiday collection. I could see these gifts being perfect for your snarky friend or your 20-something year old relative!
Design Your Diffuser Kit
You know that person that always has a diffuser going? They’d probably love to create their own scent with this Design Your Diffuser Kit, a one-of-a-kind kit to explore the wonderful world of scent with the tools to create your own custom reed diffuser fragrance. The kits are proudly made in the USA with 100 percent essential oil blends and provide everything you need to originate a fragrance of your own, along with in-depth instructions on how to smell, blend, and mix materials. The experience is unique and designed for you to truly explore your olfactory and the art of perfumery. It’s the perfect holiday gift or activity for those of any age.
I love puzzles but, as a mom, I don’t have any time to complete them anymore. That’s why I love Jiggies, puzzles housed in small boxes that have less than 100 pieces. Jiggies give you the brain-break you need and can be completed quickly- perfect for those who can’t devote days to a puzzle (or can’t leave an unfinished puzzle sitting around due to young kids or pets.)
Shop Jiggies here.
Faith in Phonics
Faith is important to me so I was intrigued when I saw this Faith in Phonics box set because I’m always looking for new ways to teach my daughter about Jesus. Through this set, children are introduced to the sounds of the English language and the letters that represent the sounds. In doing so, the stories of the Bible, from the birth of Jesus to Noah’s Ark, are brought to life. A few things to note: This publisher seems to be a Catholic publisher and is based in the UK. They mention in the books that due to where people live the letters may make different sounds and suggest parents adapt the book to fit the way they speak. While I may not use these books as-is for the phonics aspect, I do like the kid-friendly way Bible stories are shown and the questions at the end prompting kids to think more about the stories. I think they would make a good gift for children learning to read.
With all this gift buying for others, I think you deserve to get a gift for yourself! If you are stressed, not sleeping well, or feel like you are always in “fight or flight mode”, maybe talk to your doctor about Truvaga. Truvaga is a handheld device you can use twice a day for just two minutes per session that will help reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase calm. It does this drug-free by stimulating your vagus nerve – also known as the “super-highway” that helps regulate the nervous system. By calming our natural fight-or-flight response (which is often triggered by everyday issues), Truvaga decreases stress hormones in the body that contribute to inflammation, mood changes, restless sleep, and more. (Truvaga™ is a general wellness product and as such has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Truvaga products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Talk to your doctor before using any wellness product.)
Learn more about Truvaga here.
Looking for a gift that would be perfect for the foodie in your life? How about a ButcherBox subscription? ButcherBox offers delicious 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, pork raised crate-free, and wild-caught seafood, delivered right to your door. You can find box options and delivery frequencies to fit your needs and cancel any time with no penalty. Price-wise they average their meat has an average cost of less than $6 per meal and there are often specials to get even more great-tasting, high quality meat for less!
Through the end of November 2023, get free steaks for a year when you sign up for a ButcherBox subscription. Reading this after the deal ends? Click here to see what other new subscription deals they are offering!
New Children’s Books
Books are always a wonderful gift idea for kids! One tradition that some of my friends have done is to wrap books up and have each child open up one each day of Advent. What a great way to add to their book collection each year! I shared some of my favorite preschool books in the past but here are some new releases your children might enjoy:
The Friendly Animals: A Christmas Story is a sweet retelling of the first Christmas through the perspective of the animals in the barn who offered their own gifts to the baby Jesus. The Friendly Animals: A Christmas Story is based on a centuries-old folk song now brightly and gently illustrated. This traditional Christmas story is perfect to read to small children during the holidays to teach about the nativity and the heartfelt gifts the animals at the manger gave to baby Jesus, sharing their kindness and love. (Ages 3 to 8)
Every Dreaming Creature is a visually stunning exploration of animal senses through dreams, from Caldecott Honoree and New York Times bestselling creator Brendan Wenzel. As one dream slips into another, every page turn immerses you in the sensory wonder of the world and all its creatures, from the ocean depths to soaring skies, and everything in between. Each creature dreams and experiences life in a different way. Each is connected despite their differences. Poetic and universal in its gentle message of interconnectedness, Every Dreaming Creature yields deeper meaning with every read, offering new discoveries hidden within the acclaimed artist Brendan Wenzel’s dazzling, vibrant artwork.
ABC’s of the World’s Religions lets kids travel around the world and across the centuries exploring the beauty of the world’s major faith traditions. Learn along with kids as you explore sacred spaces, holy days, and rituals in several different religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Left-hand pages offer rhyming couplets that explain the basic concepts. Right-hand pages offer additional information, including similarities and differences across religious traditions. Using a non-devotional, age-appropriate approach, ABCs of the World’s Religions is great for anyone interested in developing religious literacy and cultural competency in kids age 4-10. I think that teaching children to understand and respect other’s beliefs is vital and this is a great way to start the conversation with them.
U is for Universe is a great board book for toddlers to learn all about the Universe from A to Z. A fascinating collection of illustrations for young readers featuring scientifically accurate and super colorful scenes of what there is to see and learn about in space: planets (made of diamonds), moons (with a crater a thousand miles long), solar flares, comets, black holes (where nothing can escape), and even volcanoes! Illustrator Greg Paprocki’s popular BabyLit alphabet board books feature his classically retro mid-century art style that’s proven to be a hit with both toddlers and adults.
I Love the Mountains is a cute sing-song book for kids. Take a walk in the mountains and sing this rollicking song, whether for you it’s a beloved campfire tradition or a brand new rhyme. (Or maybe like me, you first learned it watching Barney the Dinosaur with your kids!) Little ones will love the bouncing melody and the Meyers’ adorable illustrations, and parents will love the nostalgia of simpler times and summer camp songs.
The Littlest Yak and the New Arrival is the perfect gift for a young child who will be a big sibling soon. This adorably warm and reassuring story from the award-winning creators of The Littlest Yak shows readers that there will always be room for families, and hearts, to grow.
Only: The Bird Who Liked Being Alone is a sweet story about friendship and inclusion. Only likes quiet time, and they definitely like being alone. All the other birds are too loud and too rough! Only decides to create a peaceful space that’s just for them, but when a friend shows up wanting to try some quiet time too, the two birds must figure out a way to be sure no one feels left out. In this companion title to Neither, Airlie Anderson shows readers that it’s okay to sometimes be noisy, to sometimes be quiet, to sometimes be together, and to sometimes be alone—as long as no one is made to feel lonely.