Fun Christmas Ideas

I absolutely *love* to give gifts, so Christmas shopping is one of the highlights of my year.

Carefully selecting the right gift for the right person, scoring a killer deal whenever possible and even wrapping are all part of the fun.

Here are some of the things I have my eye on this year:

For kids:

  • Science kits are a high priority item. Mindware  has several options that appeal to all kinds of kids, but my favorite was this Lip Balm Lab.

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There are also Perfume, Slime, Soap and Volcano labs available. Most of these are for kids 10 and up.

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  • A game the whole family can play. I already mentioned this in my Thanksgiving recap post, but a favorite new find (via my friend A.) is Not Parent Approved, a family-friendlier version of Cards Against Humanity.

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For college-aged young adults:

  • Home Tees. These would be particularly good for homesick college students.

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  • Snacks. Last year I stocked up one nephew’s dorm room with Costco-sized versions of trail mix, Twizzlers, M&Ms, animal crackers, popcorn and other assorted junk foods that would be uniquely appreciated at 3 A.M. An excessive snack supply also seems like a good way to quickly turn your room into the go-to place on your floor. Score one for popularity.
  • Individual coffee makers, like a Keurig, with at least six boxes of coffee pods. Here’s the important second part of this gift: send yourself a reminder to send more pods again in March and May. The last thing you want to do is give a kid a space-hogging appliance that he can’t afford to use. 

For adults:

  • A case of wine. I’ve given this gift again and again for a variety of occasions, and it’s always well-appreciated (and usually gone before the end of January).
  • A magnum of wine. Magnums are the oversized wine bottles that are the equivalent of two regular bottles. If you choose something spectacular, like this Veuve Clicquot, you’ve got one impressive gift. If you buy a $6.99 1.5-liter bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay, you’re going to be disowned.
  • A wheel of parmesan cheese. Ok, this is basically a fantasy gift given its $2250 price tag, but it looks so incredible.

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  • Coffee or beer from a local roaster/brewery. Or kill two birds with one stone with a growler of coffee stout.

Fun things I just love:

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  • These. Can you detect a theme? (Sadly, these are sold out).

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  • Artist socks. These are also sold out, but immensely fun. They are from Signals.

 

 

Christmas Wrapping

Last night, I started wrapping the mountain of gifts we have to distribute.

More than half of the pile was actually for school and work, and I zipped through those presents in about two hours.

Except that left everything for our families still unwrapped.

This morning I expectedly woke up at 4:30 AM and decided to make the best of the situation, so I was up to my ears in paper and tape with “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as company.

(Don’t judge. I know).

I was also very surprised to find someone sleeping on sofa instead of his bed.

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Waiting for Santa?

I always wrap presents in paper that is decidedly non-Christmas-y.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been doing this for about 20 years.

Often I use plain brown craft paper with fancy ribbons.

This is my favorite style from this year:

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Other papers I’m using:

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Tip: Spend a little extra and get the nice, heavy paper.

It’s so frustrating to try to slide a pair of scissors along a roll to cheap gift wrap and get a crumpled mess instead of a clean cut. The nice stuff also tends to have a grid on the reverse side that makes cutting straight lines easy breezy.

Here’s one finished pile from my A.M. project (massive cup of coffee not visible in photo):

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Merry Christmas (To Me)

Did I mention that I needed to start my holiday shopping?

Spouse and I made a list last night of all the people we needed to gift, plus what we’d already accomplished.

Summary: The list spanned more than 50 people and the fait accompli section was a mere 20%.

Yikes!

Yet, despite all of this, the same this happened as does every year: the accounting showed that I had purchased some pretty sweet gifts for myself.

Seriously, the deals this time of year are impossible (for me) to resist.

(I know, I know).

I spent a portion of last night opening the mountain (yes, fair descriptor) of packages piled at the front door of Fancy Pants Ranch and discovered two items that were just for me.

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The first was an ice-blue cashmere scarf from Banana Republic that I got for 40% off and the second was a tee shirt from Bombas with a motivational message.

Since my resolution for 2015 is to be authentic, this shirt hit home with me.

Bee better.

So true.