Saturday, November 27

2021 Gift Guide - Stocking Stuffers

Check out my gift guide for KIDS here.

Check out my gift guide for ADULTS here.

I've got one more gift guide for you this year, and it's all about the stockings (speaking of which, I'm hoping to have a new DIY stocking tutorial for you next week!) I made separate guides for adult stockings and kid stockings, but I'm going to stick them both in this one handy post - so scroll on down if you're looking for ideas for the kids! 

Like the rest of my gift guides this year, these are truly some of our favorite things that we use on a regular basis. And FYI, when I asked my mom and sister what they would put on this list the first thing they both said was "good kitchen scissors" and I already had it on here as one of my top picks. So I guess my #1 stocking stuffer recommendation is kitchen scissors. If you're looking for trendy cutesy stocking stuffers that most people have never even heard of, you've come to the wrong place. But if you want an honest-to-goodness gift that will be used for years, I've got the guide you're looking for, folks. So let's get to the good stuff:

ADULT Stocking Stuffer Guide :

1. Simple Circle Earrings  /  2. Hot Cocoa Mix (or make your own!)  /  3. Popcorners (or their favorite snack!)  /  4. Silicone Spatulas  /  5. A Slim Wallet  /  6. An Infuser for Loose Leaf Tea  /  7. Bobby Pins (because we always lose them)  /  8. A Garlic Rocker  /  9. Good Kitchen Scissors  /  10. A Wrist Magnet  /  11. Silicone Straws (especially good if you're gifting a straw cup!)  /  12. Tallow Balm (or your fave lotion)  /  13. Isotoner Mittens  /  14. A Pinecone Necklace  /  15.  Erasable Gel Pens (or my other favorite pens)  /  16. A Pen Light  /  17. A Pocket Knife  /  18. Jeopardy Desk Calendar (may or may not fit in a stocking - but my father in law has this and saves the cards all year to play jeopardy whenever the whole family gets together! )

Wednesday, November 24

2021 Gift Guide for Adults

Check out my gift guide for KIDS here.

If you're like me, you love finding a really great gift guide full of really great ideas that will make your shopping really easy this year! But finding such a guide can be pretty frustrating.... because a lot of lists like this don't actually have anything on them that I want to buy. I don't want a list of trendy ideas that sound cool but aren't truly practical or useful. I don't want to give gifts that will be clutter by January. 

That's what inspired my 2021 list. It's full of things that we truly love and use on a regular basis. You can choose anything on this list and know that it's tried-and-true. Hopefully it's helpful and you'll find some great gifts for everyone on your list!

1. Wingspan Game  /  2. Cozy Minimalist Home Book  /  3. My Favorite Sweater  / 4. A Tin of Tea  / 5. Chicago Cutlery Knife / 6. Good Mixing Bowls / 7. Cast Iron Pan / 8. Mesh WiFi / 9. Insulated Travel mug (small / large / straw cup) / 10. Art Prints (tree rings print / vintage painting print) / 11. Wool Socks  /  12. The Best Notebook  /  13. History Books (Washington: a Life / 1776)  /  14. The Perfect Mug  /  15. Gift Card  /  16. A Plant  /  17. Laptop Stand  /  18. Keepsake Ornament  /  19. Bluetooth Speaker  /  20. A Good Puzzle  /  21. Outdoor Blanket  /  22. Handheld Espresso Maker  /   23. A Custom Necklace  /  24. 7 Wonders Duel Game  /  25. Kreg Jig  /  26. A Good Drill   /  27. Compound Miter Saw 

Saturday, November 13

2021 Gift Guide for Kids

There are a lot of gift guides floating around out there - but how do you know which suggestions are really good? So for this year's gift guide, I'm sharing our tried and true favorites. The things my kids truly love and use daily. Hopefully it will help you find the perfect gifts your kids will love! And since I only have experience with boys, I asked my sister (who has two girls) for input as well (there were several items that overlapped both of our families!). So you should be able to find something for everyone! 

1. Mega Wedges    2. Kozy Couch    3. Kingdomino Game   4. Roller Blades   5. Picasso Tiles   6. Floor Puzzle   7. Wingfeather Books   8. Perler Beads (and boards)   9. Bow and Arrow   10. Legos (or Lego Friends)   11. Schleich Animals   12. Pirate Jewels   13. KiwiCrate Moon Darts   14. Dollhouse   15. Brush Markers   16. Disney Frozen 2 Pop Adventures


My minimalist heart looks at this list and thinks, "man, that's a lot of toys," but keep in mind that we really do limit the amount of toys we actually give each year. So while this is a big snapshot of the toys we have, I would never plan on getting so many things in one year. We try to stick to the four gift rule: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Which means one toy-type item per kid. Because managing too much stuff isn't fun for anyone. Here are some favorites from every category:

---- "Want" Gifts ----

Gifts to Get Them Moving

We have a house full of boys, which means a house full of energy! So gifts that involve big movement have been a huge it at our house. One of the best gifts we ever gave them was building a rockwall with monkey bars in the playroom (you can find our free plans to build your own here). Since then we've added a couple play couches and a pair of mega wedges and it has transformed our playroom into a building/climbing/fort-making wonder land. 5/5 stars would 100% recommend both of these items. We also have a few large flat bed sheets just for fort-making. We also love gifts that encourage outdoor play. We've gotten hours of play in the driveway from roller blades (don't forget helmets and knee pads), but they also love scooters and bikes. They also love making stick forts in the backyard, which is so much better when they have weapons to defend their territory - especially this bow and arrow, this other bow and arrow (definitely recommend one of these for each kid!), and a few good swords.

Gifts for Creative Building

Our boys also love to build! Our legos and picasso tiles are both used daily. If I had to list a top two toys in our house, those would be it. Instead buying a new building toy for Christmas, I would just buy more legos and picasso tiles to add to their collection for making bigger builds. They love them that much. Right now my boys are really into minecraft legos, but my sister says her girls prefer the lego friends sets. Kozy couch is also worth mentioning again for kids who love to build!

Gifts for Artists and Creators 

Our boys also get a big kick out of making things, and their preferred medium is perler beads! They've been using them for years and haven't tired of them yet - because there's always something new to make! We started with kits but now we just buy big packs of colored beads and plain boards and they make up their own patterns, or we'll print patterns off google (usually for 3D minecraft characters right now). This year their grandma is surprising them with the mini perler beads they have been begging for. For little artists, both my kids and my sister's kids love brush markers, and my older boys have had a lot of fun with these portable watercolor kits! In the past we've done KiwiCrate subscriptions (or just bought single boxes without the subscription) and they've loved everyone so far. This year I'm eyeing this Moon Darts Box and this Wrap Rockets Box. They have tons of options for different ages!

Gifts for Creative Play

We love toys that allow lots of options for creative play. Toys that can't be used for multiple things are often toys that will be used the most! Our kids love having animals and little guys they can use in dollhouses, jungles, under the table, and even in the tub! All of our kids like schliech animals, my boys love the imaginext action figures, any my sisters kids love playmobil characters with changeable clothes and the disney pop characters. This last one is super random, but has been one of our most played with toys - fake jewels. Whether they're looking for treasure, bartering in their "shops," or stocking their forts, these jewels get daily play in some way! My sister also recommends collecting a few velveeta cheese boxes (they use them as barbie cars, dollhouse rooms, treasure boxes, cooking pans... just about anything!).

Puzzles + Games

Every year we also put a family gift under the tree that we can all enjoy together like a puzzle or game. Some of our favorite family games lately are King Domino (we're gifting this to a few people this year!), Sushi Go Party, Bohnanza, Dice City, Monopoly Deal, Ticket to Ride, Wingspan, Sequence, and Blockus. Our smaller boys really love this Under the Sea Seek and Find floor puzzle and their alphabet puzzle, and this Lego Minifig Puzzle was a favorite for our big boys!

---- "Need" Gifts ----

This is a really broad category that can be literally anything your kids need (or that would be super handy for them to have). It's a great chance to replace worn out items, invest in quality items that will last for years, or find things that will make their life a little easier. This could include anything like: new shoes, noise cancelling headphones, a sleeping bag, a duffle bag, rain boots, a bank, etc.

---- "Wear" Gifts ----

This one's pretty self-explanatory - if they can wear it, it counts! A new hoodie, cardigans for church, warm boots, a ball cap for their favorite team, cozy pajamas, minecraft tshirts, even a fun costume for dress-up. We got our six year old the cutest hat and jacket at Walmart this year. (And yes, I have no problem bundling a couple things together like a hat + jacket that for this category!)

---- "Read" Gifts ----

Last by definitely not least, the "read" gifts. Probably my favorite category. We love good books and we love reading together, so every year I bundle together several good books for each of the boys. I match the reading level of our older boys so they can read to themselves at bedtime, and stick to picture books or read-alouds for the younger boys. I also add a couple books for the whole family under the tree that we we will read aloud together. My favorite resource for finding new books for them is Read Aloud Revival. Sara has put all kinds of hand book lists together, and she pre-reads everything to make sure they are totally clean and child-appropriate (which seems harder and harder to find these days!). For my boys, I usually just pick a new book from her Books Boys Love list and so far they have loved every one. She also has a list of Books Girls love, favorite picture books, and more! I recently discovered Good Book Mom who does similar book suggestions and got my 8-year-old the Last Firehawk series she reviewed. He read almost a book a day! There are so many good books on those lists, but here are a few of our absolute favorites so far: Wingfeather Saga (probably our #1 pick!), Growly Series, Green Ember Series (on sale right now!), My Father's Dragon Series, Edge of Extinction (gifted this to my 9-year-old last Christmas and he said they are the best books he's ever read!), The Hobbit (this illustrated version is the bomb), How to Train Your Dragon Series (the audio book version read by David Tennant is amazing - we were able to get it through our library!), The Sign of the Beaver, Seven Silly Eaters, If I Built a House, The Big Honey Hunt (our youngest loves these older Berenstain Bears books!), The Complete Brambly Hedge, Tales that Tell the Truth, Ramona Quimby age 8, Mervin the Sloth, Don't Push the Button, The Ark the Reed and the Fire Cloud, The Giant Jam Sandwich, The Cook and the King, and The Alfie Out of Doors Book. I guess I better stop there. So much for "just a few." Did I mention this is my favorite gift category? 

I hope this guide gives you a great starting point as you look for gifts for all the kids on your Christmas list! I'm hoping to share another guide soon with give ideas for adults, and a quick guide for stocking stuffers. So stay tuned!

Want more ideas? Check out my minimalist gift guide for kids! And you can browse all my past gift guides here.

What would you add to this list? What are your favorite tried-and-true gifts for kids??