2019 Gift Guide: Kiddo Stocking Stuffers

29 November 2019

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with delicious food and the people you love! We celebrated with our dear friends and their parents, as has become our tradition for the last many years, and today we’re headed to Charlotte to be with my family! Then we get our tree on Sunday :)

And in between, we shop a few sales! I’m so glad my gift guides — for ladies, men, and parents/in-laws and your favorite kids — have been helpful. As promised, here are a few suggestions for kiddo stockings. I’ve mostly linked to Amazon, but this is an instance where I’m actually quite practiced at picking up little treasures throughout the year — another great opportunity to shop small and local!

June’s stocking, knit by my older sister!

Shark socks
— Unicorn hair clips
— Glitter play-dough
— A fun card game
— Build-your-own-cupcake sticker book
— A stamp set (split it up!)
— Mini construction vehicles (you can split this up, too!)
— Adorable fruit socks (these are going in June’s stocking!)
Linen hair bows at a GREAT price (we have and love this set!)
Bath drops, beloved by children everywhere
— Set of 12 bath bombs (I bought this pack last year and used 3 in her stocking, 3 at Valentine’s Day, 3 in her Easter basket, etc.)
— Mini bath bombs
Crazy paint brushes for little hands
— Sweet playing cards
— Sparkle gel crayons
— Little Schleich animals
Mini puzzles
— Rainbow eraser

Plus we always include basics like toothpaste, a new toothbrush, sweets and snacks (bunny grahams are a favorite!), and my Mom always adds chocolate gold coins to everyone’s stocking :)

Happy shopping, friends! And psst — I collected a few grown-up stocking stuffer ideas here, with the hopes of adding a few more over the next few days!

2019 Gift Guide: Your Favorite Kiddos

27 November 2019

So happy to hear this year’s stripped-down gift guides are helpful! Two things I wanted to note before we dig into kid ideas today:

First, they’re not as conducive to internet gift guides, but don’t discount the joy in giving experiences. I actually went back and added a few ideas to yesterday’s grown-up guide, and have included a few here! Some of the best gifts I’ve ever given or received have been carefully-selected adventures (bonus points for a surprise element!).

Second, if it’s important to you, shop local when you can! Of all the categories, I find kiddo gifts especially easy to score at my favorite local boutiques (because everything is just so cute!!). Similarly to shopping from an online small business, your local purchase makes SUCH a difference to those business owners, especially at this time of year!

If you’re in the Triangle, head to my faves:
Parker & Otis
The Museum of Life & Science gift shop
Stylish Living
McIntyre’s Books
Quail Ridge Books

And now, for the gifts…

My favorite kiddos :)

Gifts for your favorite boys:
— A high seas sweatshirt or dinosaur pants (both on Shep’s wish list!)
— A basketball that glows in the dark and gets brighter the more you bounce it!
— A sweet little Weekender bag
— A Harry Potter sweater!! Perfect for an older kiddo getting into the books. Or, a handsome Fair Isle sweater if he’s not yet hooked.
Star Wars socks
— A sharp rain coat (love the red, too)
— An adorable tool box
— Cute plaid jams
— An Arctic explorer shirt

Gifts for your favorite girls:
— A caboodle. What is it about storing treasures neatly that gets kids so jazzed?
— Dreamy castle pajamas
— A beautiful blanket for her bed or a picnic in the yard (unicorn-esque colors but amenable to mama, too!)
Herd Your Horses, a board game I was OBSESSED with as a girl! If you have an equine lover in your fam, this is a slam dunk.
— THE CUTEST slippers! June has the rainbows and I also love the shooting stars!
— A friendship bracelet making book. You had and loved this as a kid, yes??
— A perfectly pink fleece
— A horse-print top
— The most MAGICAL play mat. The price is hefty – maybe a good grandparent gift? Or maybe they’ll have a Black Friday sale? June would flip over this.
— Non-hideous light-up sneakers. One of the three things on June’s dictated Christmas list this year, ha!
— A fabulous red cape for dress-up

Gifts for everyone:
— A sweet peg nativity set
— A rock tumbler. This is one of June’s gifts this year :)
— A marble race track
— A play kit or subscription to Loveverybaby. A few family members chipped in for the 13 to 15-month kit for Shep for his first birthday and it was a HUGE hit!
— A book – always a book! Lots of favorites here.
— A cooking class, sewing workshop, or other fun activity
— A doctor play kit (on June’s wish list!)
— June and her weather-loving daddy would love this weather station. I could see us doing it at the breakfast table!
— A children’s museum membership (the Museum of Life and Science, if you’re in the Triangle!)
— A cute hat. I just bought a pom pom number for Shep from this company at Tiny!
— A checkout register with endless possibilities but no beeps
— A Kiwi Co. Crate box or subscription. (June would LOVE this and we are considering getting for her birthday!) There’s a Black Friday sale, too!
— An ice cream scooper set. June’s cousin has this and she has spent HOURS and HOURS and HOURS playing with it every time we’re in the vicinity.
— Tickets to a performance, like a ballet, concert, or ice skating show
Sleeping Queens, a card game you’ll actually enjoy playing together :)

These are loose categories (mostly just to break it up a little!), so of course feel free to mix and match for your favorite kiddos! And check out my past kiddo gift guide for even more ideas.

I’ll be back with kiddo stocking stuffer suggestions on Friday, but until then, Happy Thanksgiving, friends!! I am thankful for your thoughtfulness, good humor, and smart ideas each and every day! I’m lucky to have you here.

Psst–gifts for your favorite grown-ups are here! Affiliate links are used in this post!

2019 Gift Guide: Your Favorite Grown-Ups

26 November 2019

Friends — welcome to the most spectacularly visually UNimpressive gift guide you’ve ever seen on the internet, ha! It’s been a hot minute over here, and though my time is short right now, I’ve been collecting gift ideas for months and can’t let Black Friday sales pass us by without offering up a few ideas for the ones you love!

But first, let’s talk about something. I think we can all agree that the best gifts are personal to the recipient, and perhaps even say something about the giver, and/or about the two’s relationship? What, then, would I have to offer as you search out gifts for your people? Why are we here??

The short answer: while I can’t pretend to shop for your sweet mom who calls you every Monday on your drive home from work, your sister who just moved to a new city, or your husband who is adjusting to life as a dad of two, I can offer up my best ideas for gifts that have been hits with the people I love. My hope is that somewhere in the list, you’ll find something that DOES speak to a personal connection — or will at least get your wheels turning!

With that, let’s get this show started!

For husbands, dads, and brothers:
— A pair of Allbirds. John has the Runners in natural grey and loves them so!
— Our friends brought this camping and I’ve wanted one ever since (they really work and we really need one for our backyard!). It looks kind of scary, but it shoots salt (!), which “decimates flies on contact.”
— The comfiest joggers. John has a similar pair and changes into them almost every day after work in the winter. So cozy!
— An old-school mug with one of his favorite places on it.
— A fun book comparing ballparks then and now
Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. I didn’t know this existed until a few months ago and now I must have it?!
— A subscription to the Goodnewspaper (a quarterly print publication filled with really good news – and great design)
— A custom photo mug. I had this lightbulb moment earlier this year that cute/slightly cheesy photo products don’t just show up on your doorstep when you have kids – someone has to get you them. Get him one :)
Sagrada or another great board game for a group or for two
— Tickets to a sporting event, concert, or comedy show. I got John tickets for Jim Gaffigan two years ago and it was a huge hit!

Also: take a peek at last year’s gift guide!

For moms, sisters, and best friends:
— Pretty silicone lids if she’s trying to create less waste (also great: beeswax storage wrap)
— A canvas toiletry case made by artisans in Haiti
— A pink woven vase (going on my list!). Also this and this woven basket.
— A beautiful salad or fruit bowl
— The coziest socks (I love the gray color – and pom poms!)
— Cute ear muffs, for those who aren’t hat people (and this for those who are). Also in buffalo check.
— A dainty cityscape pencil cup
— A bold bud vase
— The new book by Garden & Gun (I’ve already picked this up for someone on my list!)
— The fuzziest, comfiest pullover
— A happy mug (literally) to brighten her mornings (or a citrus tumbler for later in the day)
— A leopard foldover clutch
— Knit tech gloves (love the hearts!)
— A pearl barrette
— Three earring options: raffia hoops, tortoise hoops, or gold stars
— A modern gold locket (print out a photo for it!)
— An Instax mini (we love ours!)
— These floral melamine plates — a dupe of the coveted Caitlin Wilson ones! They are used daily in our house!
— The most buttery soft leggings. I have and love the Havelock Blue!
— Ballet-style pom pom slippers
— A ceramic KitchenAid stand mixer bowl (so pretty!!)
— A cooking class you can take together

Last year’s gift guide here!

For parents or in-laws:
Obviously many of the above options would be good fits, but a few additional ideas…

— A sculptural watering can
— A pretty insulated cooler bag (especially if your in-laws take long road trips like mine do!)
— A lovely fireplace basket (or log holder)
— A gorgeous wreath straight from the wilds of Maine (my favorite!)
— An indigo block print tablecloth. We have and love this one!
— The coolest wooden puzzles
— A pretty straw hat (my Mom and I both have a similar one and get compliments all the time!)
— PowerSheets, because they’ll help her figure out what’s next with the kids all grown up
— A magazine holder. Bonus: include a subscription — my current favorites are Bon Appetit, Our State, and The Atlantic.
Cafe lights, if they have a little outdoor area. Offer to hang them as part of the gift! :)
— Pretty potted rosemary
— A cool pillow showcasing their home state (look closely!)
— A keepsake interview book, to record their stories
— A quirky baking kit, because retirees have time on their hands
— A gorgeous gold cookbook and tablet stand
— A sweet frame with a picture of grandkids, because that’s all they really want :)
— A cooking class they can take together
— Tickets to a show, concert, local river cruise, train excursion, sleigh ride, etc.! (<– all things my in-laws have done and enjoyed, ha!)

More ideas here!

Of course, keep in mind that these categories are just starting points – mix and match to your heart’s content! You know your loved ones best!

If this is helpful (even sans photos), I would love to hear! Kiddo and stocking ideas hopefully coming tomorrow! Happy shopping! :)

Affiliate links are used in this post!

6 things on my November holiday checklist

18 November 2019

We’ve been home every weekend in November thus far, and after a hectic second half of September and October, it has felt absurdly luxurious. It’s allowed me to take the holidays slow, as I wrote in my November goals post, which is just as I like it. For the most part, I try to keep Christmas in December, but there are a few things I like to do in November to set myself up for a peaceful and joyful Advent. If you’re curious, here they are!

Prettiest Christmas decor from one of my favorites, Sweet Shady Lane!

1. I order our Christmas cards. I usually save the stuffing, addressing, and stamping until the first week of December or so (it’s cozy to do in front of the fire with a Christmas movie on!), but I order our cards and send our newsletter to print in November so they’re ready when I am. Can’t wait for you to see this year’s choice! (From Minted, of course — little peek at our family session here!).

2. I plan our calendar. There are several pieces to this:

— I confirm any dates we’ll have houseguests, or that we’ll be traveling. I make sure we’re clear on holiday plans for both sides of the family.
— We decide where we’re going to go for our end-of-year celebration dinner and make a reservation. Weekends in December book up fast! So do babysitters!!
— I look up the dates of any “external” holiday activities we want to do and make sure they’re on our calendar. For us, this includes a concert we go to every year, our town’s Christmas parade, and often a Nutcracker performance. I have also been known to proactively text friends who usually host things in December (like a caroling party) to check on the dates so I can block them off, ha! I also make sure things like John’s and my work parties are on the calendar.
— With all of these top-tier things in place, I can see how full our month is and better judge what else we have room for. Finally, I’ll make a loose list of other things we want to fit in and tentatively schedule them, knowing they’re easy to flex (things like baking sugar cookies or an evening drive to look at lights).

3. I clear the decks. Before I add Christmas decor to the mix, I like to pare our home back to a clean slate. I clear surfaces and remove extra decor. I tuck away any furniture we don’t need for the month. I clean anything that needs it. If there are persistent trouble areas, like a particular closet or a spot on the counter that consistently attracts papers, I’ll try to tackle them now. I want the Christmas version of our home to be the most peaceful, lovely, and cozy, so a little extra effort in November goes a long way.

4. I choose a devotional or faith focus. This could be a book I’ll read, a study I’ll do, a journal I’ll complete, a podcast I’ll listen to – something that takes me deeper into my faith! I’ve heard good things about options from She Reads Truth, All Good Things Collective, Blessed is She, and IF Gathering. This year, I’m doing a study from Alexandra Kuykendall with my church.

5. We draw names. These days, we are doing “secret Santa”-esque gift exchanges amongst the siblings on both sides instead of everyone giving everyone a gift. (We still give gifts to parents and kiddos individually!) I like to have our picks nailed down in November, which leads me to my list to-do…

6. I make a gift plan – and do some shopping. As much as this flies in the face of certain circles of the internet, I actually like to do some of my Christmas shopping in December! It feels festive and celebratory and happy to me. However, I like to make a general plan for as many gifts as I can early in the season, and I particularly like to knock out the hardest gifts (and any custom gifts) in November. To me, the hardest gifts are usually my parents and in-laws (and they often end up getting custom gifts, so extra time is usually required!). Kid gifts are easy and fun, so I’ll often leave those til December, hitting up my favorite local spots to round things out. And then I get to wrap — whee!

For me, November boils down to taking the time to make a thoughtful plan — one that I can execute with joy in December! I’d love to hear: what holiday tasks have you been checking off lately? Or are you a December-all-the-way gal?

Affiliate links are used in this post!