I’m doing things untraditionally this year by sharing a post-holiday gift guide/round-up. While I find some holiday gift guides to be helpful, I mostly feel very overwhelmed by the sheer volume of them in November/December. I did participate in the madness by sharing a crowd-sourced round up of screen-free gifts for 4 year olds because it was super helpful for me with my shopping but then I called it a day. There are some years that I have the bandwidth to put together elaborate gift guides – 2022 was not the year for that. 😛
Now that we’re on the other side of the holidays, I have found myself wanting to share our big hits. Shopping for gifts can be tricky so I’m hoping these ideas can be helpful all year long for birthdays and other occasions.
What I’ve got for you in this post are 10 gifts that I gave or received that were big hits. The gifts are a little all over the place but I think it’s a fun and useful round up. You’ll also see one miss because it’s too funny not to share and a reminder of the risk we take when we get sucked in by social media ads.
10 GREAT GIFT IDEAS
1. CUSTOM PHOTO GIFTS
I have been a fan of custom photo gifts for many years. One of my favorite photo gifts to give family is a calendar. I started this 16 years ago when Sullie was a puppy and I created 12 months of cute puppy and family photos. These days, the photo calendars are pretty heavy on the Finn photos. Most calendar making sites will let you customize the dates to add in family birthdays and significant events which is a nice personal touch too.
This year I also did photo mugs and was so pleased by the size and quality of them. I’ve also done a lot of canvas prints in recent years. I typically order from MPIX and find their quality to be excellent.
2. ANSON MILLS
I am always trying to come up with creative, outside of the box ideas for my dad and I think I nailed it this year with a selection of freshly milled heirloom grains from Anson Mills. They based in South Carolina and specialize in native stone-ground organic ingredients milled from new crop heirloom grains, legumes, and oil seeds. They cold-mill all ingredients to order, immediately chill vac-pac them, and ship the same day for maximum flavor retention.
Y’all know my dad enjoys cooking, baking and bread making so I ordered him Carolina Gold rice, polenta, grits, bread flour, rye flour and pizza flour. If you have a foodie in your life, check out Anson Mills or other small mills. Here’s a great round up from Food & Wine.
3. VRST CLOTHING
In 2021 I did an awesome holiday shopping experience with Dick’s Sporting Goods and it made me an even bigger fan of the brand than I already was. During that holiday shop, I learned about a new men’s private label athleisure brand Dick’s had just launched. VRST is a lifestyle line more similar to lululemon than say a Nike or Under Armour. The women’s equivalent at Dick’s is CALIA – which I also love and have several pieces from.
I got my dad a pocket tee (he lives in them) and a sweatshirt and the quality of both was great. Highly recommend as a lulu-esque alternative. You can shop VRST on their dedicated website, the Dick’s website or in-store.
4. LULULEMON PACE BREAKER SHORTS
Speaking of lululemon, I got my dad hooked on their Pacebreaker Shorts years ago and the love is still going strong. This year I got him the linerless version for something different. These shorts are awesome for working out and causal day-to-day wear.
5. POCKET WRAP/SHAWL
I got my grandmother one of these wrap/shawls with pockets last year for Christmas and then found something similar for my mom this year. My grandmother loves her and wears it while she’s sitting out on the balcony. I thought the pockets would give her a great place to stash her tissues. I got one for my mom because she’s always cold since having her surgery. She got so many gifts for staying warm this year, haha.
6. COZY SLIPPERS
I feel like you can never go wrong with giving a high-quality pair of slippers as a gift. My grandmother gifted both my mom and I slippers this year I got the Ugg Curly Slide Slippers and my mom got the L.L. Bean moccasins. I adore the UGG slippers because they’re so warm but my feet don’t sweat in them. Also, they don’t fall off my feet. I feel like with a lot of slide slippers I have to clench my toes to keep them on when walking and that’s not the case with these. I have no personal experience with the L.L. Bean Slippers but my mom has had multiple pairs and likes them a lot.
7. COZY ROBES
I gifted my mom a Lake Cozy Robe (for her birthday which was not too far away from Christmas) and it’s been a big win. The robe features a turndown collar, big pockets and a sewn-in belt. It’s fleece-lined with a soft cotton jersey exterior. I had heard great things about the quality of Lake products and this one definitely didn’t disappoint. Another thing we liked about it was that it fits well and doesn’t swallow her. The Cozy robe is Lake’s heaviest robe (operation keep mom warm).
If you’re looking for a men’s robe, I’ve gifted the Ugg Robinson Robe and it’s an awesome choice for the guys!
8. KID’S DIGITAL CAMERA
This camera is just over $30 and has over 20,000 almost 5-star reviews on Amazon! It’s comes with auto-focus, 8 mega pixels and shoots 1080P video. I had this camera charged up and sitting out on Christmas morning and Finn has had so much fun with it! He loves taking photos of things around the house and switching it to selfie mode and using the self-timer. He’s also discovered that he can play games on it. Big win!
9. NIXPLAY DIGITAL PHOTO FRAME
Okay, I have to fess up and admit that this Christmas gift was given to my grandmother a few years ago but it’s gone down as one of the best gifts of all-time. Why? Because the quality of the photos is super great and I can update/change her photos remotely from an app on my phone! My grandmother absolutely loves it when she gets a new photo and will sometimes tell me she’s “ready for a new picture.” Note, you can set up a playlist with multiple photos but I find flashing/changing photos to be distracting so I always put a single photo up and change it every few days.
10/10 recommend the Nixplay Digital Photo Frame. It’s on the pricier side but well worth it!
I knew I was going to order Finn a Toniebox from my list of 25 screen-free gift ideas for 4 year olds and it’s been a hit! It’s a screen-free digital listening experience that plays stories, songs and more. You can change the stories/songs by changing the Tonie character at the top of the box. This is the kind of toy that Finn enjoys quiet time in his room with. I’ve found him up there several times listening to his Toniebox and he’s excited to get some of the other characters.
THE MISS: FAIRY LIGHT SPIRIT TREE
I was scrolling through Facebook one evening when I came across an ad for this Fairy Light Spirit Tree. I was loving the white holiday lights all over my house and thought this may be a pretty way to enjoy twinkle lights all year long. I ordered one for me and one for Dorie for her holiday gift.
- The “Fairy Light Spirit Tree” took almost a month to be delivered.
- The craftsmanship left something to be desired.
- To return the tree you had to pay to ship it to the company headquarters in Australia (it came from China).
I mean, it’s fine but the tree trunk/limb part of it looks like it’s wrapped in something one step up from aluminum foil and the white plastic base is super cheap. It doesn’t look terrible at night and I’ve thought about wrapping something around it to cover the base. I still gave it to Dorie because she has a sweet screened porch and it’s found a great home out there.
Lesson learned on impulse purchase from social media ads. Of course the reviews on the website were all raving about the tree. I’ll do a little more outside research before spending $85 in the future. 🙂 Had to laugh at myself on this one.
And that’s a wrap. (See what I did there?)
What’s the best gift you gave or received this year?
Have you had any social media ad shopping fails?