Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.
Monday, December 03, 2007I'm a gift shopping junkie. I don't mean in the sense that I like to buy a ton of stuff. I mean it in the sense that I'm obsessed with finding unique and interesting gifts for people. I Christmas shop throughout the year, adding to a pretty sizable bookmark file whenever I find something unique. As I was out hunting for a ideas yesterday, I realized some of you all might be in the same boat I am. Looking for some great gifts that show you hunted a little further than the Target circular. ;) I'm certainly not buying all of these items this year, but they're certainly some of my favorites.
(Disclosure: No one paid to get on this list. I've tried a few of these, received a few as samples and found a few on my own...but no one bought their way onto this list. That said, most of the toys at the bottom are linked to Amazon using my affiliate link. Go buy a bunch of stuff so I can stock up on some books I've been eyeing. :-P)
Gifts for Moms (Yeah, yeah, they're all "being a mom" related...)
Daisy Gear Bags - $48-$85
I know, I know, it seems like a lot to spend on a diaper bag. These things rock though. If you know an on the go mom, this is a perfect choice. From the integrated wipes container (so you can get at your wipes without digging through the bag) to the reversible cover (so dad can have a manly black bag), they're built for moms. They also look nothing like diaper bags, so there's no reason mom can't continue to carry it even when kids are older.
Check out my review of the Daisy Gear Sport Bag from earlier this year or watch a demo on the Daisy Gear site.
Ergo Baby Carrier - $115
I think this is the one product I wouldn't have survived this past year without. Long-time readers will remember the debacle that was me trying to find a sling or wrap for Emmitt. I'm large chested and nothing seemed to fit properly. The Ergo solved that and was a total God-send. From grocery shopping to airport hopping to trekking through New York City, the Ergo helped me take Emmitt places a stroller couldn't. It was also invaluable for those days when Elnora wanted to play outside and Emmitt was too small to be down on his own. Love, love, LOVE this product.
Honorable Mention: Neat Solutions Baby Einstein Eco-Friendly Table Toppers
DadGear Diaper Vest - $82
From the same folks who make the Daisy Gear bags, the DadGear diaper vest lets dads carry around everything they need without having to carry a "girly" bag. This thing is pretty cool, though I never could get Greg to try out the one they sent us since it was far too large for him. Still waiting to pass it on to the right friend some day. Extra bonus of the DadGear Diaper vest? When they're not shoving diapers in the pockets, they can fill it with a million other things before heading off to fish, work in the yard, go to the game, etc.
For Your Tree Hugging Friends
Collapsible European Market Tote - $30
I'm a sucker for reusable bags. I've been carrying my Whole Foods canvas bags for more than a year now and am always hunting cool options for toting around groceries and other items. I spotted this tote just last week and all I could think of was how nice it would be for our weekly farmer's market. It's got a much wider base and holds more than my canvas totes, which would give a lot more flexibility for filling it with produce. ($5 more gets you the fancy fabric version.)
SIGG Water Bottles - $15-$25
I've been reading about these bottles for years and finally ordered a few this year to give as gifts. The company has been making these bottles in Switzerland for nearly 100 years and from what I hear, they last for decades. They've got a special coating inside that gives 0.0% leaching (so you don't have to worry about chemicals or a plastic taste in your drink) and they weigh less than naglene bottles. According to SIGG, the internal coating is tough enough to handle fruit juices, energy drinks and even alcohol. I'm really hoping I get one of these for Christmas myself. (ETA: Lactivist regular Rachel sells these at her online store.)
Bamboo Towels and Blankets - $18-$90
When I got an email from a rep for The Company Store asking if I'd like to try out some of their bamboo products, I was pretty skeptical. Bamboo just doesn't strike me as being...well...comfy. Then my sample blanket and my sample towel arrived. Holy smokes folks. These things are awesome. The towel is, no kidding, the softest, fluffiest towel I've ever used. Greg wasn't a fan (he said it felt like he was drying off with a "shammy") but I love it. I've washed it quite a few times and it's still every bit as soft. The blanket is the same way. Super soft, amazingly warm and enough weight to it to feel like you've got covers on. Besides, bamboo is hypoallergenic AND naturally regenerates. Eco-friendly AND cozy.
Honorable Mentions: Ilumina Organics Body and Baby Care, Membership to a CSA
For Those Far Away
Dancing Deer Bakery Yummies - $20 and up
If there's one thing I know, it's good brownies. I don't have a sweet tooth, I have a sweet mouth. (also a smart mouth and a loud mouth...but that's another story.) I first stumbled across Dancing Deer Bakery a few years back and I've since had a chance to try several of their cookies and brownies. This stuff is amazing. They are far and away the best brownies I have ever eaten in my life and the cookies rank up there pretty highly as well. They ship all over the U.S., so if you want to top the standard "ship a book from Amazon" distance gift, this is one way to do it.
Biggs and Featherbelle - $15 and up
Now I'm not generally a "girly" type, (As if you haven't already figured that out) but I'm a sucker for good bath products. I've never had a chance to try the stuff from Biggs and Featherbelle, but I've sent it as gifts a few times and the folks on the receiving end say they loved the stuff. They've got a great little holiday gift pack for $15 that includes three different products, or you can put together your own set. (Spend $20 by December 19th and get free shipping!)
For Random Gift Exchanges with People You Hardly Know (a.k.a. co-workers)
Write-on Coffee Mugs - $13
Coffee mugs are boring. Everyone knows it. But...these ones do carry some entertainment value. Tic-tac-toe? Hangman? Things to do list? Now you can use that caffeine boost to get something productive done. Besides, these are 18oz mugs, which is way bigger than the standard "empty before you get back to your desk" variety of coffee mugs.
Kikkerland Bobbler Opener - $5
If ever I've seen a random gift that has entertainment value, is practical and can be given to just about anyone, this is it. And hey, if you know the person well enough to live in the same house as them, just tuck one in their stocking. These bottle openers are sort of like the grown-up version of Weebles. Plus, something tells me that if you use them to open beer, they'll just get funnier and funnier with each and every bottle....
Honorable Mention: Jewel bud vases (set of six, split them up), 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours
Pottery Barn Dolls - $40
I've been hunting for a doll for Elnora for a few months now. She's been loving anything to do with babies and is constantly putting her stuffed animals down for naps or trying to feed them. She's just not old enough to take care of a Lee Middleton or American Girl doll yet, but I wanted to get her something "special." Then I spotted these cloth dolls at Pottery Barn Kids. We're going to hit the store this weekend to let her look at them to see if she's interested. If we get a "me take home please" out of it, there will likely be one under our Christmas tree.
My First Brio Train Set - $35
I adore wooden toys. There's just something about a simple toy that seems to open up so much more room for the imagination to come into play. So while I see the attraction of Geotrax, I think we're more of a Brio family. I'd already been planning on making a Brio train set Emmitt's "big" gift next Christmas, then I spotted the My First Brio Train Set at Toys R Us. It's a pretty simple little set. Just some track, one train and a "stuffed" tunnel. It all fits together with other Brio sets though, so I think we're going to get him this set this year and just build off of it next year.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress up Doll - $9
Again with the wooden toys. (I'm a total Melissa and Doug junkie...love their stuff!) This one is a modern take on paper dolls. The Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress up Doll (there are a couple different ones) feature magnetic shoes, hats, pants, shirts, dresses and so on that little hands can mix and match and place on "Maggie Leigh." Paper dolls would get shredded within a day in this house. This set stands a chance of surviving.
Knotwüd Blocks - $15
Yes, I love wood toys, but the reality is that sometimes they get tossed around the room. The sharp corners of wooden blocks hurt. (I speak from experience.) So, if you want the same concept in a much gentler form, check out the various products from Knotwüd. Amazon sells the Knotwüd, but you can find quite a few other products in the educational section of your Toys R Us. We saw puzzles, ABC blocks, even train sets. All made out of this strange foamy type material. Pretty cool stuff.
Honorable Mention: The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Daring Book for Girls, Crayola Color Wonder Products, Anything Melissa and Doug, Dado Cubes, Gorilla Blocks
Labels: Life as a Mom