Favorite gift ideas for the ones you love

13 November 2023

Okay – with this gift guide, we’re venturing into slightly more traditional territory: and by that I mean there are things on here that we don’t already own, ha! That being said, everything I’ve rounded up looks like a truly excellent gift option to me – and in many cases, the gift ideas are things we own, or have gifted to others. Lots of great gift ideas for parents in here (the ones who have everything!) as well as siblings – and maybe even teachers! Let’s do it.


Original Bogg Bag | We use ours at the pool, the beach, and the soccer field, but I think they’re particularly helpful for road trip packing.

— Snap tote | They fold up flat and snap open to fit a ton – I use mine at least weekly, and have had it for years!

— Boat & Tote bags | Incredibly sturdy and incredibly classic. I like mine open top, in navy, with sans serif embroidery. I find this to be a versatile gift at a great price point that’s easy to personalize – you could embroider her initials, nickname, or something funny or practical!

Hope Heals sweatshirt | A bold message with profits going toward an incredible organization. (Hope Heals is a camp that invites entire families affected by disabilities—regardless of age, diagnosis, or location—to enjoy respite, relationships, and resources, completely free of charge.) I would love one of these! Probably should have put it in the gifts for Em guide :)

— For the men in your life, don’t forget this post on some of John’s favorites – lots of good ideas in there! One to highlight: the Legends sweater shirt, which is probably John’s favorite thing to wear. Looks like a flannel, is as incredibly soft and stretchy as the best sweatshirt.


Something meaningful, framed | We recently gifted John’s parents a house portrait as a housewarming gift and framed it with Framebridge – a favorite I’ve used for many projects over the years. There are lots of house portrait options on Etsy, too!

Souper Cubes + your cookbook of choice | Souper Cubes are one of those things you don’t really think you need and then you have them and they are SO GREAT. They cut down on a lot of the mess of freezing leftovers and make it so easy to heat up individual portions! For cookbooks, I like Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Skinny Taste Fast and Slow, and The Defined Dish.

— Round serving tray | I have the blue design, but the strawberry fields pattern is also absolutely gorgeous. They’re a good size and perfect for corralling things on a dresser or coffee table!

The prettiest vine candleholder | This might be fun to pair with some other tabletop goodies for a mom or sister – think: a block print tablecloth or anything from this small shop!

Solo stove | Yes, this gift was all the rage a few years ago, but it’s still worth a mention! Produces a near-smokeless fire in a compact, good-looking package. Pair with extendable sticks and the absolute best thing to sandwich a marshmallow between.

Tea kettle | An elegant countertop tea kettle for the tea, coffee, or hot chocolate drinker in your life! We’ve gifted these twice and they’re always a hit. Lots of fun options for this one – pair it with some gourmet or meaningful tea or coffee, a pretty tea towel, and/or a mug that will make them smile!

Something from White Flower Farm | This is my father-in-law’s favorite plant source, and we have ordered many things from them over the years! Bulbs, wreaths, flowering houseplants – or a gift card for them to choose something for their yard.

A photo gift | Don’t sleep on the photo mug, friends! Are they a little cheesy? Yes. Do lots of grandparents legitimately want one? Absolutely yes, but they’re not, you know, something you’re going to buy for yourself. A personalized calendar with photos from the year is another sure bet!

A live wreath | This has been our preschool teacher gift for several years running – we buy simple wreaths from a local fundraiser and dress them up with bows. I have also done the same for hostess gifts! L.L. Bean has beautiful options if you need to ship.

Weather station | Even if your gift recipient isn’t as into weather as John is (that is to say, very), they’ll probably still appreciate this weather station. We look at ours multiple times a day to decide what layers to wear!


PowerSheets | My beloved goal planner and monthly calendar rolled into one. Can’t do life without it.

A gorgeous embroidery kit | This is the company that makes my adored Advent calendar kit, but they have a number of other embroidery projects, too! Perfect for the gal who wants to keep her hands busy and make something beautiful.

A media subscription | Whether physical or digital, this is one of my favorite things to give. In recent years, I’ve given an Our State subscription to a friend, an Atlantic subscription to my Dad, and a So Many Thoughts subscription to my Mom.

A digital picture frame | The siblings went in on this for John’s parents a few years ago, and it’s so easy to upload new photos by email!

A record player | I think this would be a really fun gift for a teen or family – I’ve considered getting one when our kids are a bit older! There’s something about the physical, interactive nature of a record player that appeals… it’s more than just listening to music, it’s an activity!

An Instant photo printer | Again, I think this would be popular with teens to use more independently, but it could also be a fun gift for a family. June is into journaling and crafting and she’d love to be able to easily print out photos we take on trips and adventures.

Something customized | Always a win. Two of my favorite options: a custom book stamp or a custom notepad!

A stick-on bird feeder | Is it just me, or are people really into bird watching these days? This would make a fun gift for anyone from grandparents to your brother with toddlers. I’d love one for our back door!

A beautiful Scrabble board | Listen, I know this board is, like, stupid expensive. But it is SO lovely, and it has remained on my gift board for years. Could be a good gift to go in on with siblings for parents, or a splurge for yourself! If you have the right spot to set it out in your home, it could be treasured for years.

Whew!! I sincerely hope you found an idea in there for the ones you love, or that something I listed sparked an even better idea. More to come later this week!

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November 13, 2023 1:21 pm

Are we the same person (or have I just been reading your blog for too long, ha!)? Giving various people on my list custom photo calendars, a custom notepad, and a silhouette portrait like the ones in your photo! Also, I think I own five Boat and Totes, but all of the monogrammed ones have my maiden name initials — so I probably need a new one, right?!

November 14, 2023 5:08 pm

We have a stick-on bird feeder and it’s been really fun…and it came from the Target dollar spot! We’ve even had a raccoon or two eat out of it :)

Love the silhouette art! Adding that to my list this year.

November 17, 2023 6:02 am

Emily, your gift guides are the very best ones I see and I always find at least one (or ten!) ideas to give at the holidays. Thank you for the time you spend putting these together!! Now off to do some Christmas shopping….