Best 2016 christmas gifts

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With Christmas only days away, are you still searching for that one unique gift idea that will make Christmas morning extra special. Well, I’m certain you’ve perused gift lists that cover so many things that by now your head is simply spinning. That’s why I’ve decided to mix it up a bit here, giving you some perfect presents for travelers, gifts for around the house, bath and beauty gifts, and kitchen gifts that each offer something super fun and interesting, but none of which will blow your budget out of the water.

We’ve got cool techie gifts and gizmos, and even a small, just for fun kind of gift that you could get for a teacher, friend or distant relative. But there’s no doubt about it, quantities are diminishing so it pays to shop now, while you can still get free two day delivery with Amazon Prime. If you’re not a member, now is definitely the time to consider it. Plus, the gift of Amazon Prime is a no-hassle, great gift idea for anyone on your gift list. Don’t forget, December 22 is the cut-off day for two day shipping in order to get your gifts there in time for Christmas. And if you still can’t find the right present, even after all your searching, by all means, go for an Amazon gift card. There’s no question, that with millions of items available on Amazon, your giftee will find something absolutely perfect and you’ll be the hero who made it all possible.

Whether you’re looking for a few add on items, or the one really big gift that will make this year’s Christmas special, we found a lot of gift ideas that are sure to please pretty much anyone on your list. Here are our Top 26 Best Christmas Present Ideas for 2016.

Best Christmas Gifts – Gizmos & Gadgets

1. Mevo – Live Event Camera for iOS Devices


This Christmas can be the year you capture and share all your best memories with a pocket sized camera that virtually turns your iOS device into a full editing suite. Mevo is the new pocket-sized live event video camera, and the companion iOS app lets you edit while you film. Now you can share live events in real time with unprecedented production value. Turn your iPhone into your own personal video editing suite. Zoom, pan and cut with ease, all from a single camera and iOS app. Stream live to your customers, family and friends from virtually anywhere via Wi-Fi or LTE. Mevo supports Livestream and is the first camera to stream to Facebook Live. Now you’re in the director’s chair. From concerts to school plays to business events, Mevo delivers a new kind of video sharing experience. Be sure to get a protective case to safely take your Mevo to every event you want to share. And make sure they have plenty of memory cards to record, edit, share and save.

Price: $399.99 (15 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Mevo – Live Event Camera for iOS Devices here.

2. Tile Mate Key Finder


Keys and phones have an uncanny knack for disappearing, usually at the most inconvenient times and places. With the Tile Mate, you can avoid frustration and worry as you’ll always know how to track down your stuff. Use your smartphone to make your Tile Mate ring when it’s nearby, but out of sight. If your Tile Mate is within Bluetooth range, it will play a loud tune until you find it. Tile Mate is perfect for hooking onto your keys, luggage, bags, or anything else you never want to lose. Or use the Tile Mate adhesives (sold separately) to stick Tile Mate to any flat surface. Now 25 percent smaller than before, Tile Mate easily loops onto key chains or attaches to anything you don’t want to lose, meaning you can find your stuff fast. Use your smartphone to make your Tile Mate ring when it’s nearby but out of sight. And if you can’t find your phone, just press your tile and it will ring your phone even if it’s on silent. A custom cover protects your Tile Mate from the weather and wear and tear. You can even get a custom dog or cat collar that holds your Tile Mate so you’ll never lose
your pets either.

Price: $69.99

Buy the Tile Mate Key Finder here.

3. Toymail Talkie: Bitsy a Bat


Now kids can stay connected with mom and dad, grandparents and friends, no matter the distance. With this super cool Toymail device, sending Toymail is a cinch! Kids simply cycle through their contacts and push a button on the back of the Talkie to message a grownup’s phone or another kid’s Talkie. It’s family voice chat that’s simple and safe whether you’re in the next room or halfway around the world. Parents can change the toy’s personality, filter recordings into silly voices, and unlock physical play to make the toy ‘weee,’ snore, and laugh. Kids can two-way voice chat with their friends and family. These toys check for new messages on a timed schedule, more often when they’re being played with frequently. The Toymail Talkie is all about bringing families together, connecting parents to kids, and kids to their friends, without putting them in front of another screen. Toymail tech goes beyond messaging into expandable content to keep the toys evolving as a child grows and their interests change. Hank a Dino is another popular Toymail Talkie. The Toymail Teensie Weensie is a silly noisemaker that clips on anywhere.

Price: $52.11 (12 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Toymail Talkie: Bitsy a Bat here.

4. Nest Learning Thermostat


Did you know that saving energy starts with your thermostat? It controls half your energy bill – more than appliances, or electronics. This Christmas, give the gift of true energy savings with Nest. In independent tests, the Nest Learning Thermostat saved an average of 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. That means that in two years, it can literally pay for itself. Plus, the Nest is happy to interact with its humans. With Farsight, the Nest lights up when it sees you coming and displays the time or temperature from across the room. But even if your giftee is away from home, they can control it using their phone, tablet or laptop, which means they’ll be saving energy 24-7. The Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm is another highly rated home device that could be lifesaving. In the case of a fire, it sends alerts to smart phone devices. It also lights the way to safety in the dark. Nest also makes an indoor security camera that records activity and sends snapshots to your smartphone. With such good attributes, any of these three devices would make terrific Christmas gift ideas.

Price: $243.99

Buy the Nest Learning Thermostat here.

5. Koolatron Coca-Cola Personal 6-Can Mini Fridge


There’s hardly anything more annoying than packing your favorite beverage to work, only to have someone snitch it from the office fridge. With this perfect Christmas gift, disappearing soda is a thing of the past. This handy desktop plug and play mini fridge keeps your cold drink chilled and at your fingertips. The Koolatron Coca Cola fridge is collector’s favorite. The Koolatron Coca Cola fridge cools up to 32-degrees below ambient temperature and holds 6 (12-ounce) cans. It also features a self-locking recessed door handle. Just keep your soft drinks and sparkling water cool and refreshing when you’re called into a last minute meeting. You could also stow other snacks in this fridge if soda isn’t your thing. This mini fridge would be a cool Secret Santa gift idea, or great for your teenager’s room as well.

Price: $29.99 (40 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Koolatron Coca-Cola Personal 6-Can Mini Fridge here.

Best Christmas Gifts for the Kitchen

6. Joyoldelf Silicone Wine Glasses


Imagine having the kind of wine glasses you can take anywhere, from camping to the patio to the beach, without ever worrying that they’ll break and you’ll be cleaning up a mess of spilled wine and broken glass. Give yourself and the wine lovers on your Christmas gift list a set of these stemless silicone wine glasses. At 12 ounces each, they’re great for wine, beer or any other beverage of your choice. These fun, portable glasses are made of food grade silicone, so they’re stain-resistant, shatterproof and dishwasher safe. These little glasses will be the life of your next outdoor or indoor dinner party. For an impromptu picnic, pick up a handy grab and go kit with two silicone glasses, an unbreakable folding bottle that holds a full bottle of your favorite wine, and a handy carrying case. Silicone is such a versatile material, you can even find silicone bakeware and freezer containers, all of which are easy clean and unbreakable.

Price: $14.99 (63 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Joyoldelf Silicone Wine Glasses here.

7. Müeller V-Pro 5 Blade Mandoline Slicer


With today’s focus on fresh food rather than fast food, people want to step up their kitchen game. This Müeller mandoline slicer is the perfect Christmas gift idea for foodies and anyone who wants to learn to create meals that will impress their family and friends. This wickedly sharp little tool can quickly slice a whole tray of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Since we know that presentation makes food far more appealing, imagine how much easier it will be to convince picky kids to eat what’s good for them. This mandoline comes with an excellent four blade set, made of hardened surgical stainless steel. This kitchen essential is easy to operate, and even easier to clean because it’s dishwasher safe. With this mandoline, you can create veggie slices that are perfect for grilling. Keep them from falling through the grates on your barbecue with a set of non-stick grill mats. Whenever you’re using sharp tools, kitchen cuts area almost inevitable, but you can help prevent them with cut resistant kitchen gloves. Impeccably sliced veggies are also the key to a perfect stirfry. Why not consider adding a wok and stirfry cookbook to this affordable gift selection?

Price: $29.99 (50 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Müeller V-Pro 5 Blade Mandoline Slicer here.

8. Mason Jar Measuring Cups

(World Market)

Remember how collectible old blue canning jars are? These stylish Mason Jar measuring cups feature a design inspired by those same vintage canning jars. Use each layer of the jar is ready to measure liquids or solids in four sizes – one cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup. Because they’re dishwasher safe, they’re easy to clean. Then simply stack them back into their jar shape for a cute countertop display. Get the matching Mason Jar measuring spoons to go along with this cure Christmas gift. The Mason Jar Ceramic Cookie Jar is another adorable addition to any kitchen counter.

Price: $21.79

Buy the Mason Jar Measuring Cups here.

9. Chefcoo™ Eight Piece Kitchen Gadget Set


Prep work is the biggest chore in the kitchen, right? That’s what makes this beautiful gift box of kitchen gadgets a perfect Christmas present for anyone on your list who loves to cook. With colorful non-slip handles to brighten up any kitchen, these stainless kitchen tools include a peeler, paring knife, pie server, can opener, pizza cutter, grater, knife sharpener and a garlic press. Buying them as a set is much more affordable than purchasing each individually. Each tool has a useful hanger hole in its handle to allow for storage on a rack or hooks. If you’re looking to brighten up someone’s kitchen, check out the matching cooking utensils from Chefcoo. You can even find brightly colored cutlery to compliment the gadgets and utensils.

Price: $24.99

Buy the Chefcoo™ Eight Piece Kitchen Gadget Set here.

10. Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Coffee & Espresso Maker


If George Clooney and Danny DeVito are convincing enough to make you buy a Nespresso machine, perhaps Christmas will compell you to give this awesome gift to someone on your list. As the pioneers of single-serve coffee, Nespresso, introduces the VertuoLine Evoluo with an all-new design. It offers freshly brewed coffee with crema as well as delicious, authentic espresso, and the Evoluo machine conveniently makes two cup sizes, an eight ounce coffee and 1.35 ounce espresso, at the touch of a button. The VertuoLine Evoluo coffee maker delivers a perfect cup of coffee time after time, thanks to Centrifusion, a patented extraction technology developed by Nespresso. The Evoluo also comes in a deluxe premium version with extra large water tank and capsule container and chromed details. To make kitchen storage convenient, get a Vertuoline storage drawer than can hold both the coffee maker and the coffee capsules.

Price: $130.22 (35 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Coffee & Espresso Maker here.

Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers

11. Bloody Mary Carry On Cocktail Kit

(W&P Designs)

If you’ve got a frequent flyer on your Christmas list, this nifty cocktail kit makes a perfect Christmas gift idea or stocking stuffer. It has everything they’ll need to make the perfect Bloody Mary on their travels. This kit includes the tools to craft two Bloody Mary cocktails mid-flight, including a flavorful small-batch bloody Mary mix. The carry on kit can pass muster with the TSA, making cross country cocktails and travel just that much more pleasant. These awesome kits are also available for other popular libations including Hot Toddys, and Gin and Tonics. And to make their pre-travel planning that much more fun, get them a hilarious packing list pad.

Price: $15.49 (35 percent off MSRP

Buy the Bloody Mary Carry On Cocktail Kit here.

12. AZMED Complete First Aid Emergency Kit


Accidents happen, especially when we’re traveling. Someone on the trip always manages to get some cut, scrape or blister, bug bite or bee sting that threatens to ruin everything. This Christmas you can pop this awesome first aid kit into their stocking to make sure they have the right treatment at the ready. This well-stocked little kit is the perfect tag along for camp outs or cross continent trips. It already contains a set of bandages for the usual scrapes and cuts, and features an extensive array of convenient and easy to use first aid supplies, from sting relief pads to alcohol wipes. Plus, if you add a few other items to your kit like Tylenol, Benadryl, Neosporin and Hydrocortisone, you’ll be set for any minor emergency that comes up, ensuring your travels will be full of fond memories no matter what happens along the way.

Price: $17.97

Buy the AZMED Complete First Aid Emergency Kit here.

13. BAGSMART Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag


Looking for a compact, hassle-free way to tote your toiletries? The BAGSMART hanging travel toiletry bag is the perfect Christmas gift for travelers. The toiletry kit features multiple compartments in various sizes to accommodate everyday essentials. Unlike bulky, heavy bags that add to your burden, this space-saving bag issuper slim and lightweight so it can easily be stashed right in a suitcase or carry on. Three mesh pockets keep toiletries organized and accessible, five mesh pouches with elastic loops expand to store small supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste, and four elastic loops hold combs, cosmetic brushes and more. Waterproof pockets with zippers keep items secure plus there’s no more worry about bottles spilling and leaking. Refillable travel containers make it easy to take small quantities of your favorite products with you.

Price: $20.99

Buy the BAGSMART Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag here.

14. The Book of Everything: A Visual Guide to Travel and the World

(Lonely Planet)

Want to know how to wear a kilt, kiss a stranger, prevent a hangover, get out of a sinking car, eat a lobster, greet an alien, predict the weather, play croquet and much more? The Book of Everthing has it all. Dive in and learn to travel in a whole new, more unabashed way. You’ll experience the world differently after reading this book, and once you’re mentally equipped for a world of smart, safe and exciting travel, you can use your witty know-how to make friends wherever you go. Since 1973, Lonely Planet has produced the world’s leading travel guides, but if you’re like me, you’ll also want to check out Fodor’s and Rough Guides as well as Lonely Planet guides for the cities you’re planning to visit.

Price: $14.70

Buy the The Book of Everything: A Visual Guide to Travel and the World here.

15. Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones


Traveling exposes you to so much good stuff, and some not so good stuff, like people in the seat next to you who want to talk for hours on end. That’s when you slip on your Bose noise cancelling headphones and simply ignore them. Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones are engineered with world-class noise cancellation that makes quiet sound quieter and music sound better. These headphones connect easily to any devices with Bluetooth and NFC pairing. Volume-optimized EQ delivers balanced audio performance at any volume, while a noise-rejecting dual microphone provides clear calls, even in windy or noisy environments. Voice prompts and intuitive controls make communicating and controlling music hassle-free. A lithium-ion battery gives up to 20 hours of wireless play time per charge. In a situation where charging may not be possible, just plug in the included audio cable. Wired mode gives up to 40 hours of play time per charge. Premium materials make these headphones lightweight and comfortable for all-day listening. And the Bose Connect app creates a more personalized experience. This headphone set includes the Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones, a USB charging cable, a backup audio cable, an airline adapter and a carrying case. Bose also makes more portable wireless noise cancelling headphones.

Price: $349

Buy the Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones here.

Best Christmas Gifts for Around the House and Patio

16. Lemonbest Vintage Ceiling Chandelier


A really cool Christmas gift for someone on your list who is a new homeowner is a light fixture featuring those vintage Edison style bulbs. Needless to say, this design might not fit every single home, but I’ve seen them in lots of modern, eclectic and country homes, and oddly, or miraculously, they seem to look great no matter what the home’s design or the owner’s personal style. This Edison style chandelier is a great buy and would definitely upgrade the look of any room in which it’s installed. Extra bulbs are always a great idea as a gift add-on. A simple Edison style fixture would really dress up any porch, patio or bathroom.

Price: $48.99 (51 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Lemonbest Vintage Ceiling Chandelier here.

17. Hanging Clear Glass Prism Air Plant Terrarium


If someone on your Christmas gift list loves plants, but they’ve simply got a brown thumb or no time to take care of them, a beautiful air plant terrarium is a wonderful way to bring trouble free, easy care plants into their life. This pyramid-shaped glass terrarium adds modern style and classic elegance to a home or apartment. Made of clear glass and featuring a sturdy metal pyramid shaped frame, the hanging terrarium is perfect for adding a touch of greenery to any space. Simply hang the prism from a tree branch, eave, or ceiling, add some small stones to the base, and snuggle in some beautiful air plants that simply need a spritz of water to grow and prosper. This terrarium would also be beautiful with flickering tea lights inserted into the rocks. Consider LED tea lights if you’re worried about a fire hazard.

Price: $24.99

Buy the Hanging Clear Glass Prism Air Plant Terrarium here.

18. Sunbeam Electric Heated Throw Blanket


Imagine snuggling up under a sunggly, warm, cozy electric throw. No this isn’t your momma’s old electric blanket. This is intended for couch and recliner use, with a cup of hot tea and a good book or movie. This Christmas gift idea is perfect for anyone of any age. They can experience the luxurious comfort of this velvet plush heated throw as they wrap in warmth and pure pleasure on cold winter nights. This garnet red throw measures 50” x 60” and is made of luxurious, premium-soft velvet plush (100% polyester), with a Thermofine Warming System, which senses and adjusts heat to deliver consistent warmth. There are three heat settings and a three-hour auto off feature, plus this toasty throw is machine washable and dryable. In fact, if you get the Amazon Fire Stick streaming device, they can spend the who Christmas break cozied up and watching their favorite shows and movies.

Price: $49

Buy the Sunbeam Electric Heated Throw Blanket here.

19. BBQ Grill Tools Set


Every man loves his barbecue grill and all the accoutrements to go with it. This Christmas, you can class up his act with the gift of this beautiful grilling tool set. This handsome 16-piece set is made of sturdy stainless steel construction, which means they won’t rust when used outdoors. It comes with a chef spatula, grill tongs, a silicone basting brush, four pairs of corn holders, a grill cleaning brush, two skewers for grilling veggies, plus an extra cleaning brush head, all in a beautiful storage case. The elongated handles all have convenient rings for hanging nearby so he can keep his your tools close at hand. The aluminum storage case doubles as a travel carrying case, and keeps his BBQ tools safe from the elements during the off-season. For a great grilling experience, consider getting him some a remote grill thermometer to keep cook meats perfectly while he waits inside. And because it’s dark at dinner time, get your pit master a Grilluminator grilling light so he can see what he’s cooking and when it’s reached the perfect level of done.

Price: $44.99 (48 percent off MSRP)

Buy the BBQ Grill Tools Set here.

20. Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit


An aquarium can be a multi-faceted Christmas gift idea. Its beauty is undeniable, but the relaxing sound of the water, bubbles and the zen art of watching beautiful tropical fish is equally captivating. This awesome five gallon aquarium kit contains everything your giftee will need to get started on a new and addicting pastime. The kit includes Marineland’s three-stage hidden filtration with a Rite-Size Z Cartridge, Marineland Bio-Foam, and an adjustable flow filter pump. The bright white and blue energy-efficient LED light is hinged for easy access to the tank, and features a three-way switch to toggle between white and blue, off, and blue-only settings. The white LEDs create shimmering light in the water that mimics the underwater effect of sunlight, and the blue LEDs produce a relaxing moonlight glow. Also included is a base and a unique glass canopy that slides to the back of the aquarium for easy feeding and water care dosing. This easy-to-assemble kit is beautifully designed and easy to maintain. Beautiful aquarium plants add to the color display inside their aquarium. Aquarium sculptures make fun and interesting play structures for their fish.

Price: $61.23

Buy the Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit here.

Best Christmas Gifts for Bath, Body & Beauty

21. English Laundry English Rose Eau de Parfum Gift Set

(English Laundry)

An English Rose refers to a woman who’s a bit of a darling. This Christmas, give your darling this perfume for women that’s a fruity and fresh sweet white floral. While it’s rose in color, the scent isn’t related to roses at all. Instead, this highly rated perfume from English Laundry is carefully composed with top notes of kiwi, red litchi and quince. At its heart are notes of white chocolate and jasmine with orris root, musk and precious woods at the base. This lovely perfume gift set includes perfume, body lotion, shower gel and a nifty English Laundry key ring. If your lady prefers a moe earthy, musky scent, the English Laundry Signature gift set is a great fragrance option. English Laundry Notting Hill Femme delivers more herbal and green notes and you can also get English Laundry Notting Hill for men.

Price: $88

Buy the English Laundry English Rose Eau de Parfum Gift Set here.

22. French Vanilla Bath Gift Set

(Freida Joe)

This adorable bath set is like a two-part Christmas gift in one. The french vanilla fragrance spa set comes loaded with luxurious bath products including shower gel, bubble bath, bath salts, body spray, body lotion, and two bath bombs. But what makes this set extra special is that it comes in a natural, two tone wooden jewelry box, trimmed with antique leather looking accents. It features a mirror inside to give that final check on makeup and jewelry. You could also surprise your Christmas lady with some baubles to fill her jewelry box with after she’s done using up all the fun bath products like matching earrings and a necklace, or perhaps some bangle bracelets.

Price: $35.99 (45 percent off MSRP)

Buy the French Vanilla Bath Gift Set here.

23. Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat


If the stress of the holidays makes it too busy for you or your man to get to the spa for a massage, why not bring the massage to your home this Christmas? This fun and relaxing Christmas gift idea allows you to enjoy a luxurious massage right in the comfort of your own bedroom or living room. Zyllion’s new Shiatsu pillow massager gives a fantastic Shiatsu-style massage anytime. The ergonomic construction fits perfectly in the small of your back or neck while its four deep-kneading rotating nodes work wonders to relieve aches, knots and muscle tension. All your giftee has to do is sit back, press the on button, and let their stress melt away. It provides fast-acting relief, with incredible convenience and affordability. If their feet are the biggest pain point, get them a Shiatsu foot massager, or consider a foot spa that uses both warm water and massage to relieve those aching dogs.

Price: $44.95 (44 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat here.

24. Remington Lithium Powered Grooming Kit


Men have to deal with hair, and usually they wish it was more on their head than their face, bodies, nose and ears. But this dandy grooming tool is the perfect Christmas gift idea for men. This grooming kit gives your man the power of precision with complete versatility for all of his grooming needs. The Remington grooming kit includes: a full- size trimmer; foil shaver; nose, ear and detail trimmer; hair clipper comb with eight length settings; three beard and stubble combs; and a storage/travel pouch. The lithium battery is rechargeable and delivers up to 65 minutes of powerful, cordless run-time. It’s self-sharpening, surgical steel blades stay sharp and last long. Textured grips fit firmly in his hand for ultimate control at any angle. And he can simply rinse all the attachments under a faucet for easy cleaning. If you guy is bald, and he’s looking for that special tool to keep his dome pristine, the Headblade is an easy answer to a smooth and shiny look. But be sure to get him some Head Slick shave cream, created specifically for immaculate head shaves.

Price: $15.97 (20 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Remington Lithium Powered Grooming Kit here.

25. Oreadex Face Massager


Looking her best year round is probably a priority for the lady on your Christmas gift list, whether it’s your mom, wife or girlfriend. This cool facial massager delivers LED phototherapy and tender vibration with heating to help skin absorb her favorite facial creams and lotions more effectively. It can also help to reduce wrinkles, increase skin’s flexibility and tighten the skin through massaging. The ergonomic design and special powder puff shape makes it easy and comfortable to use. There are also specific massagers to use in the sensitive eye area than can deliver real wrinkle reducing results.

Price: $39.99 (33 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Oreadex Face Massager here.

Best Christmas Gift Just for Fun

26. Kikkerland Silicone Ice Trays


I admit it. The more I shopped this Christmas season, the more addicted I was to the myraid of cool silicone glasses, cups and cooking utensils. But let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with these funny and fun ice cube trays made from silicone. They easily freeze and pop out the cutest ice cubes that are guaranteed to be conversation starters. Grown-ups will love them just as much as kids, because there are so many designs to choose from. In fact, silicone is kind of the new kitchen sweetheart for it’s durability, flexibility and easy care. You can get silicone bakeware and glassware to go along with these delightful ice trays. Jam them in the most most crowded cupboard and never worry about breakage.

Price: $5.99 – $13.99

Buy the Kikkerland Silicone Ice Trays here.

Are you looking for more great holiday gift ideas? We’ll help you find the perfect present for your husband, a sweet and sentimental “first Christmas” ornament or the best gifts for your parents that will make this Christmas more memorable? Visit our Gifts page for more thoughtfully curated gift guides, or check out our Toys page for gift ideas for your kids.”

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

Want to know what to buy this Christmas for people who love travelling and adventure? We’ve rounded up the perfect gifts

Personalised Special Location Map Cushion, £35,
These personalised cushions take sections of a British Isles map, to create an unusual map cushion that will sit perfectly in any home.


Juice Weekender Powerbank, £34.99, Juice
Perfect for festivals, camping and long journeys, this portable charging gadget can charge multiple devices at once.

‘Our Journey’ 3D Signpost, £48,
Featuring a central sign post and up to six arrows, which are engraved with a couple’s memories, places and dates.

Travel card holder, £8, Oliver Bonas (available October)
Oliver Bonas have a lovely range of travel card holders in an array of colours, perfect for those who love a city break (and aren’t afraid to take public transport!)

Philips Steam & Go 2-in-1 Handheld Garment Steamer, £79.95, John Lewis
Let’s be honest – few of us want to get the iron out on holiday, which is why this nifty handheld steamer is every traveller’s best friend!


Personalised World Travel Map, £135,
This bold map comes with pins so the recipient can chart their progress across the world’s destinations – an ideal talking point.


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Last minute Christmas gifts for her 2016: Best present ideas for the special woman in your life this year

The countdown is almost over for Christmas, and the pressure to find that all important gift for your mum/sister/wife/girlfriend is probably weighing on your mind.

However, kick starting your Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be pain-filled, trawling around your local high street or shopping centre lugging an armful of heavy bags. You just need to know what you’re getting.

Even for those who have left it to the last minute, there is still time to pick up some of these gifts in store – most major retailer’s even offer gift wrapping so that will save you extra time.

Check out our handy present guides on gifts for him, gifts for kids, Secret Santa and even Christmas hamper gift ideas for foodies.

Because finding the perfect present can be super stressful, we’ve compiled a selection of gifts (for all price points) below, and they’re guaranteed to put a smile on any lucky lady’s face come Christmas Day.


Will be here in





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Lipstick, £36 Victoria Beckham for Estée Lauder

The singer-turned-designer got us all excited when she announced her collaboration with the luxe make-up brand earlier this year – and she didn’t disappoint. From eyeliner to lipsticks, treat your lady to a beauty must-have.

Silk pyjamas, £40 BouxAvenue

Even women who have everything need to sleep in style – so only silk pyjamas will do.

Perfume, £65.50 Molecule01 by Molecule

The wearer may notice a subtle, velvety, woody note which will vanish, then re-surface after some time. More than this, she or he will notice the impact the fragrance has on other people, because Molecule 01 lends an indefinable allure to the wearer.

Women by Slim Aarons book, £55 Oliver Bonas

A necessity for a photography lover’s bookshelf, Slim Aarons: Women celebrates the photographer’s central subject, women in Hollywood, fashion and society.

Cashmere jumper, £99 Rosie for Autograph at Marks & Spencer

Enjoy a blissful slumber in cosy loungewear. Opulent cashmere looks elegant and feels wonderfully soft. This gorgeous, vintage-inspired nightwear has been designed in collaboration with supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Notebook, £45 Smythson at Selfridges

If she’s a list-maker or loves to write down her ideas, spark her imagination with this exquisite pocket notebook.

Benefit So Tintilating set, £14.50

Get Benefit’s much loved lip and cheek stain and moisturising lip balm in this exclusive gift set from ASOS – and it’s a bargain at only £14.50.

Braun Face 810 epilator and cleansing brush, £34.99

Give the gift of flawless skin with this sleek Braun epilator and cleansing brush, now £34.99 from Boots UK.

The interchangeable heads offers both precise epilation of even the finest hairs and a gentle, deep pore cleansing with the brush.

Zoella ‘Lazy Days’ gift set, £16

This cosy socks and candle set will be just what the doctor orders on those cold wintery nights post festive blow out.

Pick up this great value Zoella gift set from high street chain Superdrug.

Dyson hairdryer, £299

Supersonic, the first ever Dyson beauty gadget (Image: Dyson Hair / Instagram)

Really looking to splash the cash? Then show the one you love how much you care with hefty priced Dyson Supersonic hairdryer.

Our in-house beauty team swears by the results despite the eye-watering price tag, claiming: “It’s undoubtedly faster, quieter and easier to use, and I’ve never had such shiny, smooth hair from a DIY blowdry before.

“£299 is an insane amount of money but then again, a good hair day is pretty priceless”.

M&S Silk and lace teddy, £45

A great gift for your wife or girlfriend, this Rosie for Autograph playful nightwear will add a touch of flirtiness to your festive evenings.

Antique Gin tasting set, £44.95

Drinks by the Dram Antique Gin Tasting Set is the perfect gift for all the girls in your life

Gin is the alcohol of all ages, with this artisan set the perfect gift for any drinker. Your girlfriend can use it to create luxury gin and tonics, your mum can bring it out at her next dinner party and your grandma can drink it as a nightcap and revel in the hazy memories it brings back from 30 years ago.

Drinks by the Dram Antique Gin Tasting Set offer 5 different tasting bottles from between 1950 and 1970, all of exceptional quality.

We’ve tracked down the best Secret Santa presents to suit smaller budgets.

The group gift-giving tradition of Secret Santa is a great way to save money at Christmas.

But picking out a suitable present, within an agreed limit, can be challenging.

So instead of spending hours traipsing around the shops trying to find something decent, we’ve compiled the ultimate gift list for Secret Santa presents suitable for any budget.

£5 and under

If you’ve agreed on a tiny budget of £5 and under, here are a few ideas on what you could go for.

Music lover:

How about these stylish music magnetic note holders from Not on the High Street? They’re great for photos and a steal at only £4.99.

Help them craft those compositions with a six-inch keyboard ruler in black or white. You can order it from The Music Gifts Company for just £1.50.

For something a little more dapper, pick up this this five-piece drum kit lapel pin for £4.11 from Musical Gifts Online.


Let them show support for their favourite football team with a mug from Lillywhites for just £4. Choose from the likes of Rangers, Celtic, West Ham, Arsenal, West Ham, Newcastle and more.

Or keep them warm on their winter runs with a woolly pair of McKenzie Alonzo gloves for a fiver from JD Sports.


Pep up a G & T with pink peppercorns, juniper, hibiscus flowers and cardamom with the Gin and Tonic Cocktail Botanicals kit from Lakeland. It costs just £3.69.

For the baker in the office, you can pick up safari, space or dinosaur cookie cutters for £5 from Suck UK.

Take a punt on this slow-cooked bacon jam with chipotle for £4 from Not on the High Street.

And for the party animal? A jelly alcoshots mould, £4.99 from MenKind.

Style addict:

For stylistas, you can get a with the letter of their choice on it for £4.90. Get yours from Not on the High Street.

Or how about a travel-themed compact mirror? You can pick one up with an inspiring travel quote for just £4.50 from Tesco Direct.

Lucky Dip:

This telescopic back scratcher should sort out any nagging itches your Secret Santa receipient has. Get one for £3.99 from MenKind.

How about this Science Museum Crystal Snowman? You can have fun and learn how crystals form at the same time! Pick one up from Debenhams for £5.

Help maintain that manicure with a nail buffer from the Body Shop. Go on, it’s only a fiver.

The humourist will appreciate this Spike Milligan mini wall calendar – it’s £4.99 at Waterstones.

For that one who always loses their keys, get them a whistle key finder for £4.99 from Zavvi.

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£10 and under

As the budget increases, so does the quality of gifts.

Music lover:

HMV is doing a cracking deal offering you two CDs for £10 covering pretty much every genre you can think of. How about If I can Dream by Elvis, Queen’s Greatist Hits album or Motown Anthems?

Or you can get that music lover a pair of Beho NPNG On-Ear Wired Headphones for £9.99, also from HMV.


Get this bargain Karrimor pedometer for £5.99 (reduced from £11.99) from Sports Direct.

Soothe someone who’s tee-d off with this pack of six Keep Calm golf balls, £9.99 from John Lewis.

Keep it simple with Nike metal swoosh cap which costs £9.99 at Lillywhites.


Whip up a batch of delicious beer cookies with this handy kit for £9.99 from Firebox.

Spice up their Christmas tree with a mulled wine Christmas bauble for £6 from Whittard. It’s also available in ground coffee and hot chocolate.

This Glenfiddich Family Collection single malt whisky gift pack (3 x 5cl) is perfect for a Secret Santa and only sets you back a tenner. Pick it up from Sainsbury’s.

If you’re buying for more of a morning person, check out this Perfect Porridge in a Mug gift. It comes with a recipe and instructions on the mug itself. Get one from Lakeland for £9.99.

Style addict:

This simple and elegant Emma Teardrop pendant necklace is ideal if you don’t know much about who you’re buying for. And it’s only £6 from Accessorize. Result!

This Fika milk jug is only £7 but will add some style to any kitchen counter. Get it from Oliver Bonas.

New Look has a burgundy knitted scarf on sale for £9.74, down from £12.99.

Lucky dip:

It’s cheeky swigs a-plenty with a George Hardy hip flask, available for £7.99 from Argos.

A Desktop Boxing kit will help get your colleague destress on the sly.

The kit includes a mini desktop punching bag, two tiny boxing gloves for your index fingers and a 32-page book with basic finger boxing moves and boxing trivia. Get it for £6.98 from Waterstones.

Make sure they can carry on texting on the go with a Smart Glove that still lets them use their iPhone without their hands getting cold. Get a pair in pink or black for £7.95 at Prezzybox.

Or buy them this sweet tricycle bike planter for £9 from Not on the High Street.

Compare credit cards with loveMONEY

£15 and under

It’s rare to get a budget this high for Secret Santa, but if your friends are feeling particularly flush this year then there are plenty of presents available to splash some cash on.

Music lover:

Sick of listening to their favourite song on repeat? Get the lyrics printed on a poster for them. The Favourite Lyrics Poster is available from Not on the High Street for £10.95.

A bit unusual, but they might like this Too Hot to Handel apron from The Music Gifts Company. It’s only £15.

This pocket-sized induction speaker looks like little more than a block, but put your phone on it and it amplifies anything from Metallica to Sinatra, or just some rubbish ringtones. It has 15 hours of playback too. Pick it up for £11.99 from Red 5.


Give them some inspiration for their next cycle trip with Traffic-Free Cycle Trails for £14.99 from Cycle Surgery.

This 8kg kettlebell is great for building and maintaining fitness levels. Buy one from Decathlon for £12.99.

Bring a bit more zen to their lives with a Gaiam Watercress yoga mat in purple. Buy it at John Lewis for £14.99.


Let your hard-boiled egg rest on this pillow egg cup for £12 from Suck UK.

A box of Prestat fine chocolate assortment (210g) is £11.24 from Waitrose. What a bargain!

Perk up cheese and crackers with Mrs Bridges chutney selection hamper featuring ginger and chilli, sweet onion and more. It’s £12.50 at Debenhams.

Style addict:

Take a plant pot, split it in half and what do you get? Bookends! Buy a set from Suck UK for £15.

Add a bit of exotic flavour to any living room with a small Moroccan candle for £12 from Monsoon.

Keep it simple with a women’s black shoulder bag from H&M for £12.99.

Complete any suit with a pair of silver diagonal twist metal cufflinks from The Collection at Debenhams. They’re £15.

Lucky dip:

For a bit of luxury get them an Aroma Home microwaveable hot body wrap with a lavender fragrance from Prezzybox via Tesco Direct for £11.95.

Solve all nail painting woes with the Tweexy. It’s a nail polish holder that you wear as a ring over two fingers in a cup that holds the nail polish, meaning you don’t to have to faff about handling a bottle of nail polish. Grab one for £14.99 from Firebox.

Make that trip a bit more special with a personalised name luggage tag from Not on the High Street. It only costs £13.99.

How to save even more money

When buying your present you’ll also need to factor in postage costs, if buying online, and order the gift so it has enough time to arrive. Check out the dates before you order.

Buying through a cashback website, such as Quidco or TopCashback will save you money, as will doing your spending on a cashback credit card.

Also keep an eye out for vouchers and money-off discounts to help lower the price.

A good current account can help you get more back from your everyday banking.

The TSB Classic Plus Account gives you 5% interest on balances (until January 2017) on balances up to £2,000, and that’s not even a teaser fee. Compare more deals at the loveMONEY current account centre.

This article has been updated for 2016

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Last Updated on November 6th, 2017

It’s that time of year again! Yes, we know we do one of these posts every year, but more travel gadgets and great travel gifts have sprung up in the last 12 months! Whether you’re buying a travel-related Christmas present for a friend or relative or need a gift for a traveller departing at a different time of the year, our top 20 travel gift ideas will give you some inspiration. So without further ado, here are some of our top gift ideas for the jet-setter in your life…

1) Mini Global Travel Adapter

There’s no need to pack multiple adapters when you’re equipped with a universal travel adapter. The Mini Global works in over 150 countries and combines 3 plug types in 1, making it perfect for multi-destination trips. It’ll work in many popular gap year destinations such as Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan, as well as most countries in Europe…To name a few. The Mini Global adapter is also great for use in South America where plug sockets can vary from region to region.

2) Travel Journal

You don’t have to be a teenage girl or the brooding sensitive type in order to keep a journal. Travel journals are the perfect way to record your experiences when travelling, make note of contact details for new found friends and store keepsakes from your trip. The My Way Journal range from Marco Polo even comes with emoticon and themed stickers and a keepsake pocket at the back. The journal is divided into three sections “before the journey”, “on the journey” and “after the journey”, so is great for planning your trip, as well as documenting your experiences as you travel. When you return from travelling you’ll have a great little keepsake/mini scrapbook of your trip to treasure forever!

3) Mini Cable Lock

Security is always a concern for travellers, and this handy gadget offers so much more than a standard padlock. The mini cable lock has a 3 digit combination and comes with an extending flexible coated steel shackle, which will fit through pretty much any backpack zip or lockable zip. It can also be used to lock your hostel locker or to lock your backpack and other equipment to railings and other fixed/hard to move objects. If you’re travelling with a friend, you can also use it to lock your backpacks together on trains and buses, making them harder to steal.

4) Power Bank

Missing out on once in a lifetime photo opportunities because of a dead battery can be avoided, thanks to the trusty power bank! Charge it up and carry it in your daypack when you’re out and about for instant charging of your mobile phone on the move. It can also come in handy when all the wall sockets are in use back at the hostel. This slim power bank is the size of a credit card, so you don’t have to worry about packing bulky chargers.

5) Water-to-Go Bottle

For travellers visiting countries where the water is likely to be unsuitable for drinking, there really is no better option than the Water-to-Go Bottle. Not only does it save you money compared to buying bottled water every day, but you’re also doing your bit for the environment by not creating more waste plastic! The Water-to-Go bottle has a built-in purification filter which removes 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and other contaminants found in water. No need for chemical treatments and it’s so much easier.

6) Travel-Sized Scratch Map

Who hasn’t heard of the scratch map?! This clever little world map come scratch card makes the perfect gift for travellers, and Luckies have even made a travel-sized version so you can take it with you on your travels! If you’re not familiar with the concept, the scratch map comes with a removable top foil layer, allowing you to scratch off the countries you’ve visited. A great keepsake for any traveller, and a unique way to document your trip.

7) Travel Gear Voucher

Even with heaps of travel gift ideas at your feet, you may still want to play it safe and go for the trusty gift voucher. Gap Year Travel Store vouchers come in £10, £25 & £50 options and allow travellers to choose their own gift from our huge selection of travel accessories and equipment.

8) World Map Travel Towel

The travel towel is possibly the number one travel accessory, but with so many options available it can be hard to know which one to buy as a gift for your backpacker friend or relative. This world map option from Lifeventure ticks all the boxes with a compact pack size, anti-bacterial protection, giant size (great for the beach) and world map pattern. Oh and it’s quick drying too!

9) Matador Pocket Blanket

Her’s one for the gadget lovers! The Matador Pocket Blanket is a puncture resistant blanket with weighted corners, water repellent base and a pocket sized storage pouch. Great for the beach, remote areas and adventures in the wilderness, it provides enough space for 2 people to lay down or for 4 people to sit. Don’t let its teeny pack size fool you though; it opens out to 160 x 110cm in size!

10) Travel Clothes Line

We’d have to say one of our top travel tips is to pack fewer clothes and wash the ones you do take more often. With this in mind, a travel clothes line makes a great and quirky travel gift. There’s no need for pegs, simply tuck your clothes in between the twisted elastic to hold them in place and hook it to hostel bunk beds, trees and anything else it’ll attach to for easy drying of your clothes.

11) Money Belt

Perhaps not the coolest of travel gifts, but an essential for many destinations around the world. A travel money belt is the ideal gift, particularly for travellers visiting South and Central America, Asia and Africa where petty theft can be common in some areas.

12) Bra Stash

Here’s a great gift idea for female travellers! The bra stash clips to your bra and is big enough to store a couple of bank notes and credit cards. A discreet and safe way to store cash and valuables when travelling, and it’s made from 100% silk for added comfort.

13) Marco Polo Travel Guide

A travel guide for a traveller’s destination is always a safe bet when it comes to buying a travel-related gift. Marco Polo’s pocket travel guide range covers a range of popular gap year and travel destinations such as; Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia and New Zealand. These guides are much more compact compared to other travel guides on the market, so you can take them with you without taking up valuable packing space. Each one comes with a pull out country map at the back!

14) Multi-Purpose Travel Soap

Packing multiple bottles of toiletries will only weigh you down, so we always recommend ditching the bag full of toiletries in favour of a multi-purpose travel soap. Designed to wash your body, hair and clothes (amongst other things, depending on the brand you choose), multi-purpose soap allows you to pack one bottle instead of several and is concentrated to make it last longer. A must have for any traveller!

15) Travel Door Lock

For travellers visiting countries or areas with a high crime rate, or just for travellers who want added peace of mind, a travel door lock makes the perfect gift. In accommodation where security may be an issue or where door locks aren’t present, this little gadget can be used to stop intruders and unwanted guests getting in.

16) Scrubba Wash Bag

This travel gadget made our top 10 gifts last year, and it still has a place for 2016. Essentially a dry bag with an integrated wash board, the Scrubba wash bag allows you to get a machine quality wash whether you’re in a hostel, camping or trekking up a mountain. It packs down to a small size and is ideal for travellers on longer trips, as it saves money on launderettes and is also a better option compared to hand washing.

17) Matador Droplet Dry Bag

Dry bags are on many travel packing lists, especially if you’re travelling during the rainy season or are hitting the beach often. The Matador Droplet is a 3 litre dry bag stored in a compact silicone droplet storage case, complete with a key chain attachment. It can be used to keep contents dry or to store wet items like swimwear.

18) Travel Towel Poncho

A travel towel with a difference! Opening out into a whopping 230 x 85cm beach sized towel, the travel towel poncho can be used to get changed down at the beach, then opened out and used as a normal travel towel for drying off after a swim or shower. Its large size also makes it ideal for sunbathing.

19) Travel Sink Plug

A what?! Yes, a sink plug for travelling. It may seem odd, but you’d be surprised at just how useful one of these can be when travelling. When it comes to hand washing your clothes in a hostel sink, you may find sink plugs are nowhere to be seen, so having your own to hand is wise. A fun gift for travellers and bound to be a hit with anyone who loves a gadget or something a bit different!

20) Anti-bacterial, Anti-mosquito & Anti-bed bug Liner

Sleeping bag liners are one of our top recommended items of kit for travel. This all singing, all dancing sleeping bag liner is made from 100% cotton and repels mosquitoes, insects and bed bugs with its triple layer protection. It’s also anti-bacterial to keep it fresher for longer, great when you’re unable to clean it for a while. Sleeping bag liners are a great alternative to sleeping bags if you’re travelling to countries with a tropical climate and sleeping indoors.

Now you’re suitably inspired (we hope!) you can check out our entire travel gift range for even more gift ideas, and to hunt down some of the items from our top 20!

33 Gifts Travelers Actually Want

I did a lot of traveling in 2016. Along the way I figured out what makes a nomadic lifestyle feel luxurious, and what gets thrown away in the hostel dumpster. I take forever to replace things that desperately need replacing and I’m constantly getting rid of things to keep my life minimal and packable. This is exactly what I kept in mind while crafting this list of 33 things travelers actually want to receive.

Global Entry Clearance

Photo Credit:

The bane of a traveler’s existence is waiting. Global Entry Clearance is basically a way of registering yourself as a trusted global traveler, and as your reward you get to skip a lot of lines. This is the only gift on this list that the receiver will have to work for after getting it, but a $100 check made out to the CBP and application instructions wrapped up for your travel-loving friend will mean a lot.

Wanderlust-Inspiring Books

I absolutely loved and devoured Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Personally, I can’t see a man relating to this story as meaningfully as a woman, so I would recommend you gift this to your travel-loving female friends.

Everyone should read The Alchemist. It’s fast, adventurous, full of wisdom, and applicable at any stage of life.

Travel blogger Brooke spent a year traveling the world solo, single, and on a budget. A Year To Myself is about her experience that year. I want to read this so bad!!

Better Packing Containers

I’m a packing cube convert. After moving from San Francisco to NW Washington to Nanjing to Beijing and back to Washington, I know what travel containers are actually helpful and which ones aren’t at all. I want this set of 4 myself.

A hanging toiletry bag like this is invaluable in a cramped bathroom, which seems to be the norm while traveling. Also, this comes in a ton of diferent colors/patterns, so it’s fun to pick out.

Occasionally I mix clean and dirty clothes in the same suitcase and this bag would probably convince me to stop that disgusting behavior.

I used a tote bag very similar to this one all the time when I was living in China. It collapses into itself so it fits easily in your purse, and if you need an extra bag you can unfurl it and voila – a tote bag.


I own a DSLR, which obviously takes higher quality content, but I found myself capturing a lot more once I got a GoPro. It fits in my pocket, and I literally push a button to start recording video. I filmed most of my daily vlogs on it!

A Legitimately Nice Power Bank

The only power banks I’ve ever owned were either free or incredibly cheap, and I’m just waiting for the day I can justify dropping $28 on this one, which holds a ton of charge, does the job fast, and won’t break after 6 months like my other ones.

A Drink On The Plane

This is one of those clearly-impractical-but-justified-by-cuteness items you’d find at a kitschy small town gift shop, and I love it. The Bloody Mary cocktail kit comes in a little travel tin and has MINI PICKLES inside, I repeat, mini pickles.

Practical Accessories

OK, OK, I know compasses aren’t a modern gadget to travel with, but they can be damn useful when you get lost in a new city. This working compass necklace is really similar to one I relied on while exploring China.

Touchscreen gloves are essential for a modern traveler. I know this beause I don’t have them, and I feel their absence when it’s freezing cold and I have to take off a glove to find out where I am.

This scarf has a hidden pocket perfect for carrying a concealed passport, hotel key, or cash.

Family Passport Organizer

This little wristlet looks like a fashion-forward wallet, but it’s actually designed perfectly for a family who travels together.

Kindle or Book Credits

I love reading books the old-fashioned way, but when I travel the Kindle is way more practical.

As someone who has a Kindle but hesitates to buy books for myself, I can tell you that having a gift card to buy a few books is awesome.

Global Snack Box

One of the best things about travel is tasting new food. These Try The World boxes are subscription boxes for unique snacks and new ingredients, featuring a different country every month, or you can buy them one at a time. I’ve never tried it personally, but it’s something I’ve been interested in for a while.

These. Trust Me.

Photo Credit: Odditymall

I found out about these recently and I’ve been obsessed with the idea of them ever since. Have you ever tried to fall asleep with music on but couldn’t bear the feeling of your headphones while laying down? Sleep Phones are what we’ve all been waiting for.

Versatile Clothing

My oversize circle scarf is by far the most versatile, travel-friendly item of clothing I own. I use it as a scarf in the cold, a blanket on the plane, a pillow case in a nasty situation, and a covering at temples.

I tried these shoes on once about 2 years ago and since then I’ve seen them on hundreds of people. The absolute comfort is still stuck in my brain, and I still want them. If they were waterproof, they would be the absolute best travel shoe, imho.


I just bought this flexible tripod, and now I can’t imagine life without it. Forget selfie sticks – this can get you any shot you imagine. Compatible with tons of different kinds of cameras!

Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are SO much easier to deal with than a tangled mess of wire, and these have really awesome Amazon reviews.

Luggage Scale

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my husband to estimate how much my luggage weighs. We’re usually wrong. A luggage scale would eliminate the guesswork. Also did you know a lot of international airlines have weight limits on carry-ons?

Scratch Off World Map

I’ve wanted a scratch off world map since I first saw one. A lot of travel maps don’t give you a chance to mark off just part of a country, but this allows you to scratch off however big or small a chunk of land as you want. Just because I’ve been to Beijing doesn’t mean I want to check Dalian off the list, ya know?

Old Lady Things They Secretly Want

Lavender sachets just like grandma sews to keep her clothes smelling fresh, except these have a fun, modern design. Smell good, feel good.

Packing clothes in your suitcase always leaves the weirdest lines and wrinkles, so I’ve been wanting to try out a wrinkle releasing spray. Look good, feel good, knowwhatimsayin?

A Better Travel Adapter

I bought the cheapest travel adapter Amazon had to offer, and it works, but feels really crappy. A nice travel adapter is just one little piece of luxury that feels awesome while traveling… and won’t fall out of the socket.

A Packing List They Don’t Have To Write

Sometimes I just want an easy button when it comes to packing.

Airline or Accommodation Gift Card

A gift card for an airline, Air BnB or a hotel chain might be the most foolproof gift you can possibly get a travel lover.

Travel Fitness Kit

It can be really hard to figure out what to do and where to go for a good workout while traveling, but a travel-size fitness kit means you can turn your hotel room into a temporary gym.

A Possibly Unnecessary But Very Cute Journal

In honor of my fellow school-supply-obsessed freaks (I know you’re out there), I feel obligated to suggest a travel journal. They’re adorable, and probably really impractical and about to sit on a shelf for a while only to be rediscovered during the next big home clean-out, it’s such a fun thing to receive. This colorful, hardcover beauty is on my wish list.

Travel Blanket

Honestly I’m recommending this because I can’t stand the blankets they hand out on the plane. At least I have a chance at falling asleep with this cozy, compact option.

Happy Travels!

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*Most links above are affiliate links. I earn a small commission from sales of many of the products listed, at no extra charge to you! 🙂

The Ultra-organized Traveler

As the year winds down and the gift-giving season is near, we’ve got Secret Santa exchanges to think about, whether it’s in the office or among friends.

Do you know someone who loves to travel the world, but you’re not sure what would suit them? We’ve got the perfect gift ideas based on their traveling personality that will make you a hit come Christmas time:

These travelers dot their i’s, cross their t’s and basically have everything neatly in place. That said, even the most put-together of us still need a bit of help, and that’s where these gifts come in handy.

Source: OEE / Amazon

Baggage organizer set

Packing and unpacking is usually one of my least-favorite parts of traveling, but with these babies, it’s a cinch. They typically come in the form of pouches or cubes, and help separate your clothes and accessories, in addition to maximizing the space in your suitcase.

Source: Zoppen / Amazon

Travel wallet

How is a travel wallet different than your typical wallet? Well, it stores everything a traveler needs in one useful place, from your passport and flight tickets to your mobile phone and cash. Be sure to keep it safe, though!

Source: Sovereign-Gear / Amazon

Travel journal

Forget Facebook and Instagram: a trip of a lifetime is best remembered when it’s recorded in a journal-slash-planner, so you can look back on it from time to time. There are various types, ranging from the sleek and serious to the fun and colorful. Pick one that will suit your favorite adventurer best.

The Beauty-conscious Traveler

For those who manage to look effortlessly flawless after a 13-hour flight, these are their secret weapons.

Source: LUOYIMAN / Amazon

Travel bottles

Ever hate it when a cheap bottle to store your toiletries leaks all over everything else in your bag? Get a proper long-lasting set that’s made for traveling. Or better yet, get them a travel set from their favorite beauty brands.

Source: Andre Lorent / Amazon

Make-up brush travel set

Store your make-up brushes in a compact, easy-to-pack brush holder to ensure that your make-up stays on point.

Source: NiceEbag / Amazon

In-flight cosmetics pouch

Keep your cosmetics on hand for touch-ups before landing in a stylish transparent cosmetics pouch that will make going through security hassle-free.

The Globe-trotting Traveler

There are travelers, and then there are travelers. Those who fall in the latter category always have a bag packed for their next adventure the next time a long weekend rolls around. These gifts are just the thing for those whose love of traveling is a part of their DNA.

Source: Fotopro / Amazon

Smartphone camera lens set

For the slick smartphone photographer whose Instagram feed is to die for, these lenses will help them get the perfect shots during their travels.

Source: Luckies of London / Amazon

Scratch-off travel map

For a fun way to keep track to all the countries you’ve been to (and those you’ve yet to visit), use this scratch-off travel map.

Source: High Sierra / Amazon

Carry-on bag

A versatile and durable carry-on bag is every frequent traveler’s best friend. Get one that can fit everything you need for your trip and is easy to carry around.

The Gadget-savvy Traveler

You probably know one of these – they can’t stand to go anywhere without their gadgets, they’re like an extension of them. These gifts will make traveling with all their devices in tow so much easier.

Source: BESTEK / Amazon

Universal travel adapter

It’s hard to keep straight what kind of plugs or voltage is used in the country you’re traveling to. This is why a universal travel adapter is a must-have, as it can easily adapt to any system and acts as an extension cord, allowing you to charge all your devices in one go.

Source: NIFTY / Amazon

Portable power bank

When you’re out and about during your travels and running low on battery, a portable power bank is a godsend. You won’t find yourself stuck somewhere with a dead mobile phone again.

Source: Uncommon Goods

Handy cable organizer

This prevents all your various cables and earphones from getting tangled up. No more spending precious minutes detangling your cords!

The “Comfort is King” Traveler

For those who have trouble getting any shut-eye during long-haul flights, these gifts are a blessing. They’ll be able to get the best sleep of their life on the plane.

Source: Parachute

In-flight travel kit

This travel kit comes complete with a cozy blanket and sleeping mask so you can rest in comfort.


Neck pillow

Catch some zzz’s without getting a crick in the neck with this comfortable neck pillow.

Source: AKG / Amazon

Noise-canceling headphones

Snoring neighbor? No problem! With these noise-canceling headphones, you can block out the rest of the world and dream in peace.

While these gifts may be great, they fall second to the greatest gift of all: the gift of travel! Check out Traveloka for awesome hotel and flight deals so you can plan a 2018 getaway with your best travel buddy.

246 SharesThe holiday season is a great time to have a positive impact on your local economy. Kingston has a wide array of offerings to choose from, making it easy to find something for everyone on your list. From the foodie to the music lover to the socially conscious, Kingston has you covered.

Below, in no particular order, is a list of some of our favourite ygk gifts to give. Pick up your loved one’s favourite local treat or introduce out-of-town friends to some of the many treasures offered by Kingston businesses. Between boosting the economy and giving some love to local vendors and artists, you can’t really go wrong when you shop local.

Locally Roasted Coffee: Pick up a delicious blend from Coffeeco ($11.25) or Cooke’s Fine Foods ($14.95). Both offer a variety of locally roasted, and in Coffeeco’s case, fair trade coffees. Multatuli’s Christmas Blend (available at Coffeeco) is a favourite at this time of year and can be purchased online or at one of their two stores.

Cooke’s Special Old Cheddar Cheese: Who doesn’t love Cooke’s amazing old cheddar? I’ve been known to pop in to Cooke’s just to visit the cheese man and enjoy a sample, and I’m sure I’m not alone. This delicious secretly sourced (although we are assured it is local) treat is a hit at gatherings and makes for an excellent gift (don’t forget to keep it refrigerated though!)

Local Art: There are many galleries to choose from in Kingston where you can acquire local one-of-a-kind works, prints and sculptures for the art lover on your list. Take a stroll downtown and you’ll notice a ton of galleries and shops to choose from including Cornerstone, Heather Haynes Gallery, Black Dog Pottery, Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery, Studio 22 and Martello Alley, to name a few.

Local Spirits: Prince Edward County has so much to offer when it comes to wine, cider, sparkling wine and now even vodka and beer! Take a short trip down the 401 to pick up some great local spirits to gift or serve at a holiday party. Many of the wines produced in the county are also available in our local LCBO. More of a beer person? Head over to Stone City Ales, The Napanee Beer Company or MacKinnon Brothers and pick up a seasonal growler or squealer brewed right on the premises.

Kingston Olive Oil Co.: One year I was given an incredible bottle of KOOC’s Black Mission Fig Balsamic and I enjoyed every drop and then went back to get more. This locally owned shop offers a huge variety of olive oils, vinegars, gourmet salts and even bath and body products. Can’t decide? They do gift baskets too!

1000 Island Soap Company: This local company offers all natural, handmade soaps that they make right in the store. They also offer scrubs, fragrant oils, lotions, massage oils, bath salts and body butters. Aside from these pampering products, 1000 Island Soap Co. also specializes in products to help with specific issues such as eczema, anxiety, foot care, cold and flu and baby products.

Local Music: Kingston has a lot of local musicians. From rock and blues to Celtic and country, there is a huge variety of musical offerings to choose from and most of these bands have albums available for purchase. Visit the website of one of your favourites and pick up a CD or download for a friend. You will be making some local artists very happy. Need some suggestions? Check out our #ygkPlaylist, Six Questions and Live at The Option for some great ideas.

YGK Fashion: Pick up some Kingston themed apparel from the newly launched YGK Studios. These locally sourced and Canadian made shirts, hoodies and pants brim with Kingston pride and nostalgia featuring vintage logos including The Manor, House of Sounds and S&R.

Spa gift certificate: There is no shortage of salons and spas in Kingston and we all know someone who deserves a little pampering this holiday season. Grab a gift certificate for a manicure, facial, massage or general use from one of our many local businesses such as Sabaya Spa, James Brett, Serenity Spa, The Annex and many more.

Grand Theatre or Isabel Bader Gift Certificate: Not every gift has to be a tangible item. Experiences are some of my favourite things to give. Why not gift someone with the opportunity to take in a performance from one of our local theatre companies or The Kingston Symphony? Between that and the many live bands, comedians and other performances coming through his year, there is definitely something for everyone in this gift idea.

2016 Limited Edition Pewter Ornaments: Downtown Kingston’s 23rd installment of their annual pewter collection features landmarks including The Portsmouth Tavern, St. John the Apostle Church, Vandervoort’s General Store, The RCHA Club and The Tragically Hip’s Commemorative Brick at Market Square. A limited supply is available for $10 each with proof of $25 purchase from select downtown businesses. Available at the Grand Theatre and K-Rock Centre box offices, as well as the Visitor Information Centre at Confederation Park.

Donate to a Local Charity: What to get for the person on your list who has everything…Why not make a donation in their name to one of many Kingston Charities? Joe’s MILL, Martha’s Table, The Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Dawn House Women’s Shelter are just a few of the many charities that would benefit greatly from your donation. Visit for a list of dozens of local charities.

Gift Certificate to a Local Restaurant: We all know how lucky we are to have so many excellent, locally owned and sourced restaurants in Kingston. Share the deliciousness this year with a gift certificate to Casa Domenico, Le Chien Noir, The Iron Duke, Days on Front, Bella Bistro, Aqua Terra, Harper’s Burger Bar….I could go on forever! Gift certificates can be purchased at each restaurant and in some cases, online.

Local Lit: We have a ton of great authors living in Kingston. From historical to fiction, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to local books. The folks on your list will enjoy reading the words of YS Lee, Iain Reid , Merilyn Simonds and Aaron Asselstine to name a few. Head to Novel Idea to pick up a few copies.

Thanks to YGK Studios, Stone City Ales, The Kingston Symphony and Cooke’s Fine Foods for today’s photos.

Vermont-Made Holidays Gifts for 2016

Made-in-Vermont Christmas Gift Ideas for 2016

I love nothing more than giving gifts. I would rather give gifts than receive something any day. I spend hours on end every Christmas season researching and brainstorming the very best gifts for the people in my life. I always like to find something unique, thoughtful, and, whenever possible, locally made. Here are my top made-in-Vermont gift ideas for the 2016 holiday season. What are your favorite Vermont gifts to give?

For the Beer Lover in Your Life:
Although admittedly spendy, Simon Pearce Ascutney Pint Glasses ($70) are a no-brainer for the craft beer enthusiast in your life. They are rugged and feel oh-so-good in your hand. They’re hand-blown glass and fit a full 16 ounces in the pint. Pair two glasses with a bottle of Lawson’s Finest or a four-pack from The Alchemist, and your beer-loving friends and family in Vermont will be forever grateful. It’ll be their favorite gift under the tree, guaranteed.

For the Newly Engaged Couple in Your Life: Heirloom pottery, that is, pottery that is timeless in design and made to last, is the perfect gift to start forever for a newly engaged couple in your life. Farmhouse Pottery, based in Woodstock, Vermont, delivers on everything from berry bowls to beehive salt cellars to your everyday pantry mug. The Silo Batter Bowl ($165) is one of my favorite Vermont-made wedding gifts, and it would be equally awesome for Christmas. Pair it with some maple syrup and locally made pancake mix to inspire a new Sunday morning tradition for the bride-and-groom-to-be.

For the Foodie in Your Life (or for the Holiday Hostess):
Find a unique basket at an antique store (or perhaps any old basket hidden away in a closet) and fill it with delicious Vermont-made products. For a breakfast theme, grab some hyper-local-to-you maple syrup, buttermilk pancake mix from King Arthur Flour, the best granola you’ll ever try (seriously) from Nutty Steph’s, Vermont Smoke & Cure maple brined bacon, and some coffee or tea from Vermont Artisan. For an hors d’oeuvres basket, fill it with some bars of Cabot Cheese‘s award-wining cheddar, Castleton Crackers, a Vermont Salumi red wine and garlic salami, gourmet mustard from Green Mountain Mustard, and a few bottles of a local craft beer.

For the Weekend Warrior in Your Life:
For the weekend warrior, or the friend or family member who travels frequently for quick business trips, gift the Overnighter bag ($238) from Red House. These bags are full of unique touches and made of waxed canvas, antique brass rivets and zippers, and Horween leather. They’re the perfect size to carry just the right amount and are available in a variety of neutral tones from Ash and Oak to Forest and Navy.

For Your Wife (Whose Gift You Can Never Quite Get Right):
Head over to Matthew Taylor Design in Shelburne to peruse his in-house selection of handmade (and stunningly gorgeous) jewelry. Or, if you are a planner and creative, work with Matthew to develop a custom piece. At the minimum, drop in and buy a Gemstone Candle ($35). Each handcrafted soy candle has a hand-selected gemstone inside… One in every 20 candles even has a diamond!

For the Travelers in Your Life:
Give the explorers and travelers in your life a gift card for a night away in a quaint Vermont town. Dorset, Vermont, would be my pick for a relaxing getaway this winter. Try a gift certificate to the Dorset Inn for friend or family member who prefers more traditional and historic, or the Barrows House Inn for those who enjoy high-end accommodations that are more modern and sleek. Give them a handmade itinerary of all of the hot spots in the area to check-out: H.N Williams General Store for a blast from the past, 3 Pears Gallery to admire some beautiful local art, JK Adams for anything and everything you could ever need for your kitchen, Hildene and nearby Manchester for a day of exploration.

For the Baby in Your Life:
I get excited every time I find out someone I know is pregnant, because I always pick up one of Zutano‘s Cozie Baby Hats ($18). They’re sherpa-lined and bunny-eared, and babies look oh-so-cute in them. For some added coziness and warmth for Vermont’s winter, also pick-up some matching Cozie Baby Booties ($24). I couldn’t imagine a more practical and cuter Christmas gift for the newborn, baby, or toddler on your list.

For the Dog Lover in Your Life:
Gift whimsical dog art from Dog Mountain and artist Stephen Huneck, or customized dog art from Native Vermont (Ryan Fowler was born in Vermont, but now operates out of Chicago, just for the record). Stephen Huneck’s gallery is so fun to browse; be sure to check out the Vermont-branded dog art as well. Many of Native Vermont’s dog art pieces ($36 and up) are customizable for a highly personalized gift a dog lover with love.

What are your favorite Vermont-made gifts to give? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going!

Categories: Made in Vermont

Tagged as: Made in Vermont, Made in Vermont gifts, Vermont Christmas Gifts, Vermont Gift, Vermont Gift Ideas, Vermont Holiday Gifts, Vermont Made

We like to bake together, but tend to clash because she’s more fast and loose with ingredients and I need everything to be measured out. And whenever we make something we try to eat it all in one sitting, because we don’t like baked goods hanging around the house for days. She has a hard-line stance against makeup, dresses, nail polish, purses, jewelry, and basically anything else traditionally feminine. When we go shopping together she doesn’t even enter the women’s section. She really like bananas; she used to eat like 5 to 10 bananas a day. When we were kids, if she ever found a bee in the garden that couldn’t fly, she would make it a house out of mulch and twigs to protect it. She’s a really funny and creative person. She’s really passionate about her beliefs concerning social justice. I’m pretty sure she’s at a Trump protest right now. We both got really into campaigning for Bernie Sanders together, and we voted together for the first time last May in the New Jersey primary. She likes to draw little faces on things, like mushrooms and fruit. She will occasionally break out into spontaneous impressions of Steve Irwin. She used to draw a lot when she was a kid, but then she stopped. Now she’s trying to get back into it, watching YouTube tutorials on how to use pastels and things, and she’s made some really beautiful stuff.

Growing up, I kind of always looked up to her as my older sister. I admired her refusal to compromise on her values. And I thought she was cool because she read a lot—really large books too—and I had trouble reading. She made me my first mixtape when I was 13, and it was the coolest thing ever to me because she didn’t like to talk about what music she liked to listened to, and now she was sharing it with me. We’re both really into music now and trade playlists on Spotify. She has impeccable grammar skills, and has spent years correcting my “should of”s to “should have”s.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: I think once I got her a book she liked? Probably not though.

Our suggestion(s): Your admiration for your big sister is utterly heartwarming. Anything that equips her to further the interests you’ve identified here, or expands her slate, is a solid gift idea. If she isn’t already into kombucha (a fermented beverage sometimes associated with new-agey hipsters that my digestive system and I will defend until our mutual demise), she might really dig an introduction; GT’s Kombucha is increasingly available in mainstream grocery-store chains, so it’s slightly less of a niche product than before. (To save you from a rookie mistake that I and others have fallen victim to: If you grab one to try, do NOT shake the bottle before opening.) You could get her a basic home-brewing kit ($45) if you know she likes the end result. You could also support her venturing back into art-making with a combo wooden easel and supplies drawer ($14 on sale). And depending on her living situation at school, this cute indoor herb garden ($46) might be an easy way to appeal to her botanic interests—rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano are fairly safe bets.


The Renaissance-Man Romeo

Age: 24

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Budget: Up to $50

About them: We met through a dating app, and by the third date, it was established we both really liked each other. We’re both black, went to good schools for undergrad, and in master’s programs but at different schools in the city—he’s going for writing and wants to be a novelist after, if he can. He likes all of the staple authors: Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, etc. He also student-teaches and when we started dating, he was working on a translation of Lu Xun (he’s fluent in Chinese). He did rugby in undergrad and now does MMA; he grew up horseback riding, doing archery, and playing guitar. Even with all this, he’s not actually a “jock” or a “bro” type. We often cook things together with his two cats and his style is kind of dapper queer aesthetic but chill—he describes himself as a hipster. Bit of a nerd, he likes Games of Thrones and goes to the Renaissance fair each year. We probably won’t be spending a bunch of time together over the holidays—my plane tickets back home and to visit friends across the country were already bought before I met him—so it feels extra-important that the gift is thoughtful and good. He just does or has done so many interesting things that it’s throwing me for a loop.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: Our second date was right before his birthday so, when we were walking around, I pulled him into a cute wine shop I knew and bought him a bottle we picked out. He liked it, but obviously that was trying to be appropriate for a second date and this is “The Holidays.” I have a tendency to stress over the perfect gift and go overboard instead and end up buying quantity over quality, so I’m counting on y’all to pick out something solid.

Our suggestion(s): There’s a risk, when trying to further a self-described nerd’s interests, that their fandom long ago consumed and moved past the character universe we’re recommending, but … has he checked out Romance of the Three Kingdoms (two volumes on sale, $17 and $21)? The historical-fiction epic is considered China’s first novel, and seems like it would check several of his boxes. You mentioned his lengthy list of hobbies and past experiences; what kind of new hobbies might both of you enjoy doing together? What can be your thing as a couple? I’m a big fan of recommending go-do presents to relationships new and decades-old; it can be so easy to fall into a pattern of Netflix nights in when you love just being with a person. But if spending Tuesday nights at a couples sommelier class while low-key over-analyzing other people’s relationships isn’t your bag, how about giving him this cookbook ($18) full of Renaissance-era recipes (with updates for the modern cook) and flagging a few to make together? It shows you’re game to get involved with his offbeat proclivities, and promises some fun date nights as you continue getting to know each other.


The Arts-and-Craftsy Wife

Age: 30

Location: Michigan

Budget: Up to $200

About them: My wife is difficult to shop for—we are well off enough that we can usually purchase stuff that we need or want, especially since we try to keep within our budget for the holidays. The possible exception is jewelry—not necessarily precious, but one of a kind. She also likes crafts and art—not any specific type in a sustained way, but dabbling in a lot of different activities. She also values fitness but in a casual way; she likes to bike and run, but she is not a gym rat.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: For recent holidays she has been big on experience, but we have a young child and many of the obvious experiences (massage, pedicure, etc.) have been done before. Big wins for me in the past have included a vintage Honda motorcycle jacket, brass-wire jewelry from Poland, and a hot-air balloon ride.

Our suggestion(s): Because your wife is crafty without a particular medium, she might really love a jewelry-making class ($15–$40, plus materials) or a project kit (huge range in price, $9–$260+) on Craftsy—this wire-weaving class might be a great fit for her. You could buy her the class (or draft a homemade “gift certificate” so she can pick that one or another) and go with her to purchase supplies. It’s a sweet way to show you support her artistic interests. You could also schedule for spring some time together outside: This “rockhound” resource highlights stops around the Upper Peninsula. (In a storybook tie-in, she might find some jewelry-ready stones along the way to incorporate into her new craft—but at the very least, it’ll be a pretty decent road trip.) For less involved gifts that still bring a little extra, check out Punjammies, lounge pants made by women in India working to remain free from sex slavery, according to the company; she could easily wear out of the house ($54). Or, 31Bits and Ten Thousand Villages both offer up jewelry made sustainably around the world. I’m wholly obsessed with this brass pendant ($58) at 31Bits, this cuff bracelet ($35) handmade in Kenya, and these earrings ($30) made from bomb casings in Cambodia.


The Handy, Outdoorsy Boyfriend

Age: 32

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Budget: Up to $200

About them: He loves the outdoors, anything on or in the water, fixing up old things (furniture, boats, etc.), building things, cooking, maps, all things Scottish, boxing, and is a budding entrepreneur. He doesn’t get excited about many material gifts. He’s pretty quiet and NOT EASY to shop for! Every gift I’ve ever been really excited about giving him has been used once or twice, if ever.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: A framed map is probably the gift he expressed the most excitement over. Ugh.

Our suggestion(s): How about planning or proposing a volunteer trip together? Check out and find a time when both of you could help with flood-response efforts in the aftermath of the storms this year. Habitat for Humanity is also a reliable option. You’d be spending time together outdoors, working with your hands, and doing something for the greater good—sounds like he might be into all of that. If a little recreation is in order, you could sign up for a three-hour canoe or kayak tour ($59 per person) or customize your own. Or, seek out a boxing match and make a raucous date night out of it; Friday Night Fights in NOLA sounds like a helluva time, albeit with infrequent iterations.


The Preschool-Teaching Sister

Age: 32

Location: Iowa

Budget: Up to $100

About them: She is very creative and artistic. Is a preschool teacher. She has six kids and, as described by my mom, no time for hobbies. In all honesty, my sister and I haven’t spent much time together alone, as adults. Which is probably why I find gift-buying for her especially hard. When we were younger (under 15), we enjoyed biking and spending time outdoors. My mom used to take us to plays, which we both enjoyed. My sister lives in a rural area, with the nearest “big city” an hour away. She spends her time at church, at kids activities, and doing daily household tasks. She used to enjoy manicures and pedicures and that would be something she wouldn’t necessarily spend on, so I got her a gift card for her birthday for this. I don’t think she has ever used it. She likes clothes. Her life to me seems hard. I can’t imagine not having personal time to do the things I enjoy. My wish for her would be to give something that would make her life easier, like automating a daily task or giving her time for herself. Can you buy someone freedom?

Gift(s) they’ve loved: N/A

Our suggestion(s): StitchFix might be a great gift for your sister. For $20 a shipment, she can get a regular delivery (the company lets the customer choose the frequency) of new clothes to try, and can buy the items she loves. When she sets up a profile, she’ll be able to identify her style, sizes, and price range so she doesn’t end up with a beautiful piece she can’t purchase guilt-free. You could also put together a “help Mom with the chores” package that might ease the housework burden: BOX4BLOX ($45) is a sneaky, fun way to get the kiddos to help pick up. Look at the kid-sized Slipper Genie ($19) and try not to picture an updated, miniature Breakfast Club dance montage set in your sister’s kitchen. And the carpet roller is one of the most enduringly fascinating cleaning devices for small ones; add to the gift package a child-sized model ($30) from, an amazing online store that features, among other things, grown-up cleaning supplies sized for children. Its indoor-clean-up section alone occupied much of my browsing time one recent afternoon.


The Knows-What-She-Likes Wife

Age: 43

Location: Northern California

Budget: More than $200

About them: Reader, picky, from the Midwest, loves food from around the world, never seems overly surprised by the things I get her. She loves to camp and our best times together have been while traveling. Her favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; she loves Shakespeare and she went back to school and wrote her dissertation on Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet. She is a thoughtful person who cares deeply about her family, but being Midwestern she wears her deepest emotions far on the inside. I think the gift that she reminds me that I gave her for Christmas was bath towels, so I could really use some help in finding a gift that will really move her. Oh yeah, every year she puts together a picture book of all our good memories for the year.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: a purse

Our suggestion(s): (My colleague Matt Thompson had an especially fantastic idea for this gift, so I’ll let him take this one.) An author named J. Ryan Stradal wrote a wonderful novel that might be perfect for your wife, called Kitchens of the Great Midwest ($17). Each chapter of the book follows a different character, but all of their lives revolve around one common thread we won’t spoil for you. Buy your wife the novel. Note that it’s filled with recipes. Buy high-quality ingredients. The audiobook version of the novel—voiced by two different actors pairing off, filled with note-perfect Midwestern accents—is a delight. Buy that too. Each chapter works as a short story, so you can listen to the book together while you make the recipes. Cajole someone with beautiful writing to copy the recipes for you on quality paper by hand, and bind them into a keepsake. Enjoy!

—Matt Thompson


The Paragon-of-Self-Control Husband

Age: 44

Location: Smyrna, Delaware

Budget: Up to $200

About them: Cuban heritage, semi-Republican, Catholic, seven siblings, loves reading history and military-related books, immersed in healthy living (eating and exercise), hates the outdoors, father of three girls, hates Trump, hates Clinton, social beliefs very liberal-leaning. My husband, in addition to what I’ve told you so far, prides himself on self-control (emotional and physical). He won’t partake in any substance that might hinder his ability to have complete control over his body or emotions. He can come across as rather conceited and uptight because of this, but is actually one of the more laidback people you’ll come across. He tries, usually very unsuccessfully, to be diplomatic in all situations, which can be just as difficult when you fall firmly in the independent category. He enjoys reading and is much more well-read than the average person with an advanced degree, which he also has. He reads The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Affairs magazine, albeit constantly interrupted by our three children. Although he was born and raised in the U.S., his idea of family is more important and immediate to him than your average American. Spending time with his family is very much like that movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He’s also extremely handsome and in very good physical condition. So much so that people can be somewhat taken off guard. Women often assume he’s conceited; people don’t stop and stare, but he is a hunk … A favorite memory is more an amalgam of many memories together. He is very thoughtful, much more so than I am, and does things for me often. If my car is low on gas, he’ll go fill it; if I don’t have any of the candy I like in the house, he’ll run out to grab some. I like spending time with him, I think, because we’re so different.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: Foreign Affairs subscription; an expensive watch

Our suggestion(s): Has your buff husband ever tried indoor rock-climbing? You could gift him three trial climbs with instructors at Delaware Rock Gym ($20), potentially unlocking a new fitness-focused pastime. You could also try a package of books; we’ve heard great things about The Living and the Dead by Brian Mockenhaupt ($3 on Kindle), Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre ($18 on sale), and How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything by Rosa Brooks ($18 on sale). Or, if you’d like to up his game in the kitchen, you could get him an airfryer ($160 on sale) for oil-free snacks and sides. Or, if you feel like you’ve got a pretty good idea of what tasting notes he goes for, you could make him a custom protein bar (price varies)—a box of 12, actually—that’s low-sugar, high-protein, or whatever nutrition profile might suit him.


The Vocal, Opinionated Mom

Age: 49

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Budget: More than $200

About them: Likes baking, dislikes messes and her daughter in law who she thinks is too passive. Widow for 5 years and devoted to her family. Orthodox Jew with a career in education. Loves clothes and loves to shop. Opinionated, talkative, proud, straight-laced. Generous with time and advice; defy her at your own peril.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: sentimental lists; handbag

Our suggestion(s): Too often we wait until it’s almost too late to start recording our relatives’ notes of wisdom. Why not start now? Buy a Zoom recorder ($100) and “gift” her an hour or two of recording time a week. You’ll sit together and just let her riff. If it’s awkward at first, try keeping in mind something like these journaling prompts; I’d bet her memories and aphorisms are tied together quite closely. You could also do this by phone by setting the Zoom to record with your phone on speaker, or using Skype, though the sound quality might suffer. Use a free editing program like Audacity to cut them all together (it’s easier than it sounds, I promise), or upload them as individual clips to Soundcloud. Establishing a living library shows that you value that advice and time she’s so generous with. Some similar ideas if you’re intimidated by the technical aspect: Give her a line-a-day memory book ($14), or take a blank recipe book ($7) and start filling in the ones of hers you know, leaving room for her to add in her aphorisms and notes alongside.


The Mystery-Aficionado Mom

Age: 53

Location: Somerset, Ohio

Budget: Up to $200

About them: Was a single mom, now married to my stepdad of 20 years. Staunch feminist. Has degrees in mathematics and anthropology. Runs family manufacturing business started by her parents in the ’80s. Loves gardening, remodeling her 1801 Federalist house, crochet (NOT KNITTING!). Absolutely must have a project of some kind at all times. Aficionado of mysteries and thrillers (P.D. James, Agatha Christie, John le Carré, etc.) and raised-letter novels. Lifelong devotee of PBS and British imports. I was raised on Diana Rigg’s shoulder pads. Loves Harry Potter, has enjoyed Parks and Recreation and Community from what I’ve shown her. Enjoys blankets, black coffee, baking, post-dinner gin and tonics, and falling asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. Has a bichon frise named Popcorn who accompanies her to work every day. If she wants anything, she buys it. If she wanted something, she’d already own it.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: N/A

Our suggestions: OK, forgive us for fudging on the budget from the start, but this splurge sounds so perfect for her: Register her for a one-night murder mystery adventure with a friend (maybe you?) at the White Oak Inn in Danville, Ohio ($324). She might also like a collection of Kerry Greenwood’s “Phyrne Fisher” books—this edition includes her first three adventures for $17, and the others usually range from $10 to $15 each. There’s an excellent Australian TV series based on the books; if she hasn’t watched every episode already, she might love a DVD collection of its three seasons ($80). I’m intrigued by this collection of eight suspense novels ($58) from the 1940s and ’50s—maybe there’s one or two in there she hasn’t read yet? Another good source for new author ideas: our story from the July/August issue on the women writing the best crime novels today.


The ESPN Dad

Age: 64

Location: Maryland

Budget: Up to $100

About them: He loves watching sports on TV—any sport, any team, all weekend. He doesn’t watch movies, read books, or listen to music. He’s a fan of history, like as a general concept … He’s a big guy (XXXL). He’s a finance manager at a Ford dealership. He needs nothing, he wants nothing, but my siblings and I have to get him presents every year! I can’t get him another Villanova hoodie! (His alma mater.) Our mom usually just gets him new socks and cologne. My dad is introverted and he’s always had a hard time connecting with his children. He worked all the time when we were kids and as we grew up, I think he didn’t really know what to do with us. Our family vacations were sporadic and always to some historical landmark that no one else was interested in. My sister and I wanted amusement parks! As an adult, I love history—but as a child, touring Civil War battlegrounds felt like actual torture. Recently, as I’ve gotten older and had my own children, we have grown closer as a family. This past spring, we all went to Disney World together (my parents, my sister, my brother, his girlfriend, my husband, my two kids, and me). It was probably the best time we’ve had together. We went to the parks together, and my parents took day trips to see historical sights. Everybody got what they wanted and we all got to celebrate my daughter’s fifth birthday together. My dad and I are very different. I’m loud and optimistic. He’s quiet and pessimistic. I guess the thing that really connects us is how much we both love my mom and my kids. It makes me happy to see them have experiences with him that I feel like I missed out on.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: I literally have no idea. He never even opened the Mad Men DVDs I bought him. I think he liked a history of football book I once got him. It was in his bathroom anyway …

Our suggestions: This would be a bit over your budget, but maybe you and your siblings could go in on a pool of tickets to take him to see the Ravens play—tickets start at $75 each. You could also pick and choose among the 30 for 30 DVD gift sets—this one’s $50. And what about something to augment his kicking-back-in-front-of-the-TV hobby? Make him his very own trail mix (price varies) for some snacks from the heart.


The Constant Mother

Age: 66

Location: Morton, Illinois

Budget: Up to $100

About them: My mom is a caregiver for our family and rarely has time for herself. She takes care of my dad who has MS and my sister’s family who have multiple health issues. I live many states away and try to think of gifts that will make my mom’s life easier or give her a few moments of comfort. The only idea I have this year is a gift certificate to a restaurant so she doesn’t have to cook, but I would like to find a more personal gift. She enjoys reading and doing puzzles but gets both from the library. She is very practical and fairly reserved, so I don’t think she would enjoy a spa certificate. She doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but she likes the DVDs for Planet Earth and Peanuts. She grew up in very rural Pennsylvania and lived in Belgium for a few years when my dad was transferred there for work.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: I bought her a neck and shoulder wrap that you warm in the microwave, and that was a winner.

Our suggestion(s): Sounds like your mother could use a daily mini-escape. Buy her some noise-cancelling headphones ($65) she can wear while making dinner or doing other caretaking tasks. Then help her get set up to download audiobooks from the library—this FAQ section might be useful. You could also go ahead and buy an audiobook she might like; I just finished and loved They May Not Mean to, but They Do by Cathleen Schine, a novel about the evolving relationships between parents and adult children as time goes on. Or, if it’s time to update the neck and shoulder wrap, this one ($70) massages and heats. You could also get her a collection of tools to help save time while cooking—maybe a Garlic or NutZoom ($10-$18), an easy-to-read meat thermometer ($20 on sale) for the oven, a pair of scissors to cut fresh herbs ($11 on sale), or hybrid temperature tongs ($34) for the grill.


The Far-Away Mom

Age: 83

Location: Albany, New York

Budget: More than $200

About them: Wheelchair-bound, raised six kids, liked to play the clarinet (but can’t any longer), Catholic. I wish I could bring her more joy. I live in Charlotte—just moved—so don’t see her as much as I wish.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: Fresco from the Vatican, yummy food

Our suggestions: Your mother might appreciate a St. John’s Bible edition of the Book of Gospels ($299-$350), whose full-color “illuminations” sound beautiful. Or, plan a visit just to see her, and take her to the Albany Symphony ($57 a ticket) so she can revel in the woodwinds’ contributions. Or, since she loves yummy food, set her up with a Try the World subscription—roughly $39 a month will bring her a box of treats from all over for a regular surprise even when you can’t be there.


The Great-Artist Grandma

Age: 91

Location: Springfield, Missouri

Budget: Up to $100

About them: Can’t do a lot of things she likes due to age and poor health. Abstract painter (first woman at OU to have her own show!), likes Sudoku and cryptograms though her vision is getting worse; likes dogs, loves pink, used to have a garden, likes puzzles but needs big pieces to see, enjoys watching British TV shows and mysteries with me.

Gift(s) they’ve loved: Cryptogram and Sudoku books, puzzles

Our suggestion(s): This involves a little bit of legwork on your part, but not too much, and we think it sounds perfect for your grandma: Make a puzzle of one of her paintings ($35). has several piece-size options so you can pick one that will be easiest for her to work with. You could also get her something to make TV-watching even cozier when you’re there with her—the “peach eco” throw and pillows here sound lovely ($37).

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Catherine Green is a former managing editor of Connect Twitter

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