December is officially here and now the mad scramble starts to finish Christmas shopping—eeek! I actually have a pretty good grip on mine, just a few things to pick up, and I’m done. Wrapping it however, well, let’s just say I know what I’m going to be doing the rest of the week. I do at least have my Christmas cards made, I just need to take the time to sit down and address them.
There are always those people who you have a hard time with, we all have them. I finally figured out what to get my few “difficult” people thank heavens. However, just in case you are still trying to think of something, I decided to make a “12 Days of Christmas Favorite Things”—yes, I’m totally stealing my title from Oprah and Ellen—but hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
The items on this list are all items that I would not only be happy to receive but would feel confident in giving—and many of them I already have at some point.
1. VERA BRADLEY—okay, this is a very girly gift, which is why I put it at the beginning of the list. For those of you not familiar, it is a nice line of quilted purses, totes, backpacks—you name it. What is really a plus is that they have a wide variety of items, so you should be able to find something for that special gal on your list regardless of your price range. I have several of their bags and I love them because they are lightweight, full of pockets and (for the slob like me) completely machine washable.
2. BURTS BEES LIP SHIMMERS—excellent little stocking stuffer, these cost all of $5 apiece and can be picked up at drug stores and grocery stores just about anywhere. I hate lipstick, I could never get past the taste of it, and these are wonderful because they come in a variety of tints and have a light peppermint flavor to them. They did make a clear one too for the guys, not 100% sure if it is still available though.
3. CHOCOLATE—not just a Hershey bar, but a box of good quality chocolate from an actual chocolate store, or a box of Russell Stover chocolates. I know very few people who don’t like chocolates, so this is a good gift for the person who has everything. And if you really feel like splurging, there is always Godiva ;)
4. LANDS END TOTES—these come in a variety of sizes and colors and if you want to personalize it even more, you can have it monogrammed with a single initial, all three initials or an entire word or name. Several companies make these, but in my opinion, the Lands End version is the best buy for the money and the highest quality.
5. LOTIONS/BODY WASH/FANCY SOAPS—I like this gift because it is something everyone can use and it doesn’t sit around and collect dust! And while it may sound girly, it doesn’t have to be, there are many companies out there making very nice stuff for men as well. I remember a few years ago one of my male colleagues complaining about his hands cracking and becoming sore, so another co-worker and I bought him a bottle of Eucerin lotion to go with the other part of his gift—I actually think he liked the Eucerin better.
6. MAGAZINES—whether it be a subscription to a magazine, or even just a single issue tucked in with some other odds and ends, who doesn’t like a good magazine?
7. FOOD—I love consumable gifts, I hate acquiring things that are just dust collectors, and food is something everyone needs and likes. Either a gift box you make up yourself, or purchase pre-made from Hickory Farms, Swiss Colony, Pittman and Davis or any of the other companies all make a thoughtful gift. My best friend made me up a box of some of my British favorites for my birthday this year and I was thrilled. She put it all in a re-usable decorative storage box—my kind of present!
8. CALENDARS—these days there are calendars with every theme you can imagine, and most everyone can use a calendar. Better yet, go to a photo printing website and custom make one with family photos, vacation photos—let your imagination run wild.
9. PHOTO BOOKS—another one of those items that you can customize with whatever pictures you want to. There are plenty of places to buy them from—Shutterfly, Snapfish, MyPublisher, and even RiteAid are just to name a few. A great way to commemorate something special as well!
10. HANDMADE ITEMS—with Pinterest you can find a plethora of great ideas of things to make and give. Not crafty? Swing by Etsy.com and let someone else make it for you. The number of things available there is just amazing, and there are some truly talented people out there.
11. UNCLE JOHN’S BATHROOM READER—these are terrific books for the person who loves trivia! We always have several of these floating around the house, and they regularly come out with a new one, so even if you buy one for someone now, you can buy them another one in a couple of years. They even did ones for certain states a couple of years ago. (And yes, we are nerds!)
12. GIFT CARDS FOR DINING OUT—I’m not a huge fan of gift cards unless you know of something the recipient can use in particular. For example, a friend of mine knows that I do a lot of sewing and crafting, so she got me one for Joann’s which was terrific. I really hate giving ones to Walmart or a grocery store—I always have this fear that they will use it to buy mundane stuff like toilet paper, or worse yet, dog food. But one to a restaurant is a different story—to me you are encouraging them to do something fun and for some people even something extravagant. They also come in handy for one of those days where you thought you were going to cook dinner, but when it actually came time to—well, we all know how that goes.