It’s that time of year again…when everyone starts playing holiday music on repeat, makes their gift lists, and somehow passes over that other holiday we call Thanksgiving! I’m definitely one of those people that looks forward to Thanksgiving, so I usually wait to go all-out decorating for Christmas until after it’s all over.
** Thank you Uncommongoods.com for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own! **
BUT – I do like to get all my gift lists made and most of my shopping done before the December rush and really take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales! I absolutely love giving presents (and I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself), but sometimes finding the right gift for the right price can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Especially if you don’t even know what to get someone in the first place! Thankfully I have a few tips to help with that…
Southerner’s Guide To Gift-Giving
I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a home that had a “gift cabinet”. It’s where my mom would put all kinds of cute nick-knacks and random stuff that would make perfect last-minute gifts, and didn’t cost her a fortune. We’re talking picture frames, candle sets, coffee mugs with hot cocoa kits, tea towels, inspirational note stands, etc. She would pick things up on sale and we would use them for random things throughout the year – teacher appreciation gifts and last-minute birthday presents for family members were probably the biggest things we used those gifts for! But I learned something incredibly important from that cabinet – everyone loves something they can use regularly. So my first (and most important!) tip? Unless you know exactly what someone wants…
Pick Something Useful
Think about WHO you’re getting your gift for and think about what they use regularly. Then you can either:
a) Replace something they already have (and use!) that you know is a bit old
b) Get something that they would definitely use or would make their lives easier in some way
Do they love taking baths? Bath bombs or bubble bars from Lush. Love coffee? A new travel mug or a coffee subscription. Have a cook in the family? Get a cookbook + stand for the kitchen. Or cute hand towels with matching oven mitts. HECK. Even a new set of cooking utensils! Which, honestly, I could use right about now…
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Give Them An “Experience”
If you can’t think of anything particular thing to give someone, why not give them an experience instead? Do they seem stressed? Get a gift certificate for a massage. Do they always get their nails done? Mani/pedi voucher. Have a foodie in the family? But them a gift card to a cool new restaurant. It’s easy for you AND it’s something a little out-of-the-box that they would enjoy!
You Can’t Go Wrong With $$$
“But Cameron, money isn’t thoughtful.” No, but it’s practical as hell! I would GLADLY take $50 in cash over something someone bought me for $50 that I hate, can’t return, never end up using, and then donating or re-gifting to someone else. SO. If you aren’t sure what to get someone, know they are so picky that they are going to hate anything you do end up getting them, or know they are basically broke and would appreciate just getting money – give them cash or a gift card to a store they actually shop at. There have been many times when I’ve received gift cards for presents, and you know what? I loved them every single time. I got exactly what I wanted and I don’t think less of their gifts because they weren’t “thoughtful”.
Ask Them What They Really Want
If you really want to give them something they love but don’t know what exactly that something is, they only way to do that is by asking them what they want. This is the ONLY way to 100% guarantee they love what you get them, because it came straight from the source! And if you really want to be sneaky and don’t want to ask them directly, just ask their best friend or significant other (or even their parents) if they mentioned something they wanted.
Mini Gift Guide (All Under $50!!)
I did mention that I’m an awesome gift-giver? Because I totally am. If you skipped straight down to this part of the post and missed my gift-giving tips, then remember just one thing – give them something useful. That is always my go-to gift for anyone on my list! But I don’t like to just give them anything they’ll use – I like to give them something that’s reasonably priced for me that’s also high quality. Something that’s going to last them a long time, that you can’t just find everywhere, and that’s a step up from what they would just buy themselves. Which is a pretty tall order if you ask me! Thankfully UncommonGoods.com has everything I look for and more. Not only are all of their items really cool, but as a company they focus on sustainability – both within the company and without – which is definitely something I can get behind. And they have some pretty awesome gifts!
So moving on the the good stuff…
For all the ladies in your life…
1) Upcycled Cotton Sari Duffel Bag
Cute, unique, affordable, and most importantly useful! I’m actually in need of a new weekender duffel bag, and this one will certainly do the trick!
2) Lavender Heat Pillow
I frequently get headaches and stress migraines and suffer from seasonal allergies, which means I’m constantly cranky. But one thing I found works wonders is a nice hot bath (for the allergies), a cold head compress (for migraines) and a nap. But sometimes I can’t just drop everything to take a bath or a nap, so the next best thing is a scented heat/cold pillow! The heat loosens everything up for you in the sinus department, while the lavender scent relaxes you. You can also chill it in your refrigerator for a few minutes for a cold compress to help with migraines.
3) Literacy Scarves
I love scarves and I love books, so obviously I need these in my life. They come in several book options (Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland, Sense and Sensibility) and they even have a “lighter” version (with even more options!). So for all of you ladies like me that love scarves but live where it’s pretty warm year-round, the lighter version is perfect!
4) For All You Cat Ladies…
Anyone else’s cat really love laying on their laptop? Well now they can have their own with this crazy laptop cat scratcher!!
1) Upcycled Tire Toiletries Bag
For the longest time, my fiance used this old (and frankly really dirty and gross) toiletry bag. I finally broke down last year and bought him a new duffel with a matching toiletry bag, and he absolutely loves it! Which just goes to show that replacing something old works as a gift-giving strategy! This one is actually pretty similar to his new one and has a water-resistant base, which means the bag won’t get wet being on the counter!
2) Tie/Cufflink Traveler Bag
Just like our jewelry, guys need somewhere to put their accessories. And while I’m sure they’re more than happy to just stick their stuff in a shoe, at least with this bag their ties won’t end up smelling like feet and cufflinks won’t go missing!
Other cool stuff + stocking stuffers:
If you’re looking for something smaller to work as a stocking stuffer…
1) Travel Cord Roll
Keep all your cords and charging cables organized with this travel roll!
2) Blooming Tea
My future mother-in-law gave me a really cool glass tea pot and blooming tea kit one year, and I have to say – it is cool as heck! I don’t drink tea every day, which means it’s an experience when I do. And watching these little balls of tea bloom is certainly an experience!
3) Bluetooth Tracking Tag
Anyone else know someone that is constantly losing something? *cough* me *cough* Well this little device has you covered and doesn’t look like it would be the only thing preventing you from losing your keys!
4) Hair Tie Bracelet
If you’re anything like me, you always have your trusty back-up hair tie on your wrist. Why not make it more fashionable looking with this cute cuff bracelet?
Have you started making your gift list yet? Do you have any gift-giving tips?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!