Welcome to the new year, that special time when we’re reminded that we’re simply not good enough as we are. We should sleep more, but also get up before the sun to work out. We should have more adventures, but also make sure you save your money. Read more books, but also spend more time with your kids. Focus on your relationship, but also on yourself. More self-care, more discipline, more, more, more. This year we’d like to suggest something different. Instead of resolutions, try recognition. Read more
Christmas shopping can be fun. But sometimes it is a desperate, long, lonely slog through crowded stores full of items you can’t imagine anyone wanting. We are here to help with a list of 55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas, with Helpful Categories.
Our categories include: Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them, books for people you want to annoy, books for people you want to impress, annoying toys for kids of parents you can’t stand, necessities for outdoorsy people, necessities for indoorsy people, supplies for glamorous tweens and teens, picture books for kids, toys for kids of parents you like.
Let the Shopping Begin! Amazon said I had to put this where you could see it and that seems totally fair. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them
Japanese Origami for Beginners Kit: 20 Classic Origami Models: Kit with 96-page Origami Book, 72 High-Quality Origami Papers and Instructional DVD. Includes a DVD? Awesome. And if you no longer have a DVD player, use the DVD as a coaster. Or frisbee.
Books for people you want to annoy
Books for people you want to impress
Kindred by Octavia Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. This is the novel you have been looking for, waiting for.
We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is the book everyone did not know they needed. Buy a copy for everyone you love and become the person everyone comes to for author recommendations.
Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives
Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!
Picture books for kids
Beast has been robbed! And so has the whole village. Without tools the villagers can’t put on their legendary Winter Party, so Beast sets off to solve the mystery. Discovering that a stranded Snow Beast is behind the robbery, Beast has to decide whether to help this odd-looking stranger.
Wilma’s parents don’t know quite what to do when their daughter wakes up green and requests bugs for breakfast. At school, Wilma’s teachers are appalled by her unusually colorful antics. Wherever Wilma goes, surprises await her and readers of this irresistibly funny fable. Absurd and action-packed.
Once upon a time there was a Princess . . . who made a pit stop. While the Birds and Beasts changed her tires, her Fairy Godmother told her she was in last place! With just one lap left! She might as well give up! Give up? Not THIS princess! Instead, she hits the gas!
Have you seen Oliver K. Woodman? You’d know if you had–he’s made of wood. And he’s on a spectacular cross-country journey. Folks of all sorts guide Oliver along the way and report back in letters and postcards to his friend Uncle Ray. After all, there’s a lot of road–and adventure!–between South Carolina and California.
A bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.
Necessities for the outdoorsy
(it occurs to me that these gifts illustrate the fact I know nothing about what people do outdoors and that I think it is incredibly dangerous, which it most certainly is)
BEAR SPRAY! Do not go into the woods without it. You know what, don’t take out the trash without it. I used to live on the side of a mountain in La Crescenta and there was a bear that used to wander around the neighborhood. He had a cute name, I can’t remember it. Porkchop? Marshmallow? Rip-You-To-Shreds-And-Eat-Your-Spleen? Something like that… Meatball! It was Meatball.
Necessities for the indoorsy
Let’s begin with the basics. A good robe. This one is unisex so the sizing might be a bit of a challenge, read the comments and answered questions and you should be fine. There are 10 colors to choose from.
crocs makes slippers, they are unisex, they are wide in the toe box which I love and yes, I am wearing a pair as I write this. 11 colors to choose from and unisex sizing. So much better than a hatchet and some bear spray, am I right?
Throw blankets are the life blood of the indoorsy. One can never have too many. This one is 20 bucks and comes in 15 colors and 2 sizes. That’s such a wide range of options, you could probably find one an outdoorsy person likes.
If you are new to the indoorsy lifestyle, you won’t have a backlog of books, magazines, movies and TV shows you are determined to consume before you die. The New York Times Book of Movies is a great place to start. And it smells better than bear spray.
This pretty teapot is only 30 dollars!
You can fuss around with a teapot if you want but if you are going solo on your indoorsy, this tea cup with a built in infuser does the trick. There are many different colors and patterns, I just liked this one. I might buy it. Also, when you run out of tea you can just put booze in it. Or water. Whatever your doctor recommends.
These noise cancelling headphones are so expensive ($349) they make my spine itch but I still really, really, really want a pair.I also want one of these! It’s a Breville Convection oven with an air fryer and it will make toast! It’s also super expensive at $350! But it does so much…
Let’s be honest, I am going to buy all of the indoorsy products, except the slippers because I already own a pair of those. Let’s move on to the kids and whether or not we like their parents.
Annoying toys for the kids of parents you can’t stand
An actual review from a horrified customer, “It’s gift able only if you don’t like the parents. The noise is awful, you can’t turn it down or off when you’re playing with it. I sent it back.” The most common complaint about this toy is that there is no way to turn the sound off or down.
I love glitter glue and my house is coated in it but I don’t care. My ex-husband once said our house looked like an embarrassing romper room. There are people who will loose their minds at the idea of glitter stuck all over their house and/or car.
These little toys get tangled in absolutely everything. It’s as if someone with a hatred of children invented a toy. I hate them. My kids hate them. You should have a wee bit of a grudge against the kid as well as the parents because no one is safe from having to have one of these things cut out of their hair.
Toys for kids you like
My family has had many Connect 4 tournaments and I have lost every single one of them. No matter, this is still a fun game and people of a certain age love to repeat the best advertising line ever, “Pretty sneaky, sis,” when they lose.Crayons are like Lego and books, you can never have too many. Get a shoebox to store them in if your collection is getting out of hand.I loved coloring books but my kids never liked them. If you end up with someone who draws a lot, get a ream of cheap printer paper. For all others, this is a good quality drawing pad and it’s only 3 bucks.
For glamorous tweens and teens
There is a lot here to love. It’s a small, plastic banana. It has hand lotion in it. And there are mangos and red apple versions if you want to make someone a little fruit bowl.Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, envy is.
Weird dishtowels to buy for people you know will love a weird dishtowel
And finally, this!
It’s a bag for snacks! Or lunch or a paperback romance and a can of diet coke…the possibilities are limitless!
And there you have it. Happy Shopping! If you have a category you’d like me to source gifts for, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do!
You know how people have framed, posed family portraits on their living room walls? I have never had one of those, not with my family of origin or with my married family or with me and Six and Older Son.
These portraits fascinate me. I try not to stare rudely at them when I see them. There is a difference between making a polite comment regarding the image of another person’s gene pool and staring at the image like an investigator studying some wing-nut’s murder board.
How do people manage this herculean task? Read more
Think about the last time you made a grocery list. Did you stick to it, buying only what was on it? If you did, you are my new hero and I salute you. If you didn’t, I feel your pain. Grocery shopping is a complex balance of hard facts and wishful thinking. The true victims of my grocery lists gone awry are the wee Persian cucumbers that molder away into a pile of slime and seeds in the back of my fridge. I always buy them and then the week doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would and who pays the price? Innocent cucumbers, that’s who. Read more
Laundry in 5 easy steps? Yes. Laundry is actually 5 separate jobs: Sorting, Washing, Drying, Folding, Putting away. Read more
If you have been a regular reader of these notes from the home office you are well aware that I am a talker. Well, my dear fellow humans, you haven’t seen nothing yet. In person, I talk even more (if you can believe it). Hillary Hess invited Felicia and I to talk about our app Tend on her excellent podcast, Helping of Happiness Podcast. Read more
Mom meltdowns are as common as kid meltdowns. Mom meltdown averted can be as much of a parenting win as averting a kid meltdown.
I have trouble expressing how I am feeling. When I am embarrassed about those feelings, I have an even harder time. A few months ago, I bought a ring. I love this ring way more than anyone should love a thing that does nothing useful. It just sits on my finger and sometimes gets caught in my hair.
But I do love it and a few weeks ago I couldn’t find it. Read more
I haven’t really liked summer since I was 15. When I turned 16 I got a job and never lounged through another summer ever again. So unless you have a beach house that you don’t have to continuously sweep the sand out of, summer’s here time to lower your expectations. Read more