Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

Gift giving pic

Not much qualifies me to write this post, except that I happen to love getting gifts. (You’re probably not supposed to say that.)

But I love giving gifts too! I’m really good at it. Every year, I give Corey something I really want for myself, and she does the same thing, and then we just borrow each other’s thing. It’s really a perfect system. Like last year, she gave me a roller tube of perfume, which I keep in my purse. And every time we go anywhere together, she says, “Can I have some perfume?” Then I don’t feel bad using all the expensive hair stuff I gave her, which I say I’m too cheap to buy for myself. Or maybe this system only works if you have a twin sister? Someone should get back to me on that.

So I thought it would be fun to just throw a few ideas out if you’re having a hard time figuring out gifts …

Let’s start with my personal favorite category, presents for the Girly Girl:

1. Unique jewelry and household items from a fair trade store such as The Village Experience.

Bracelets Vase

When I lived in Indiana,  I loved browsing in this store. The Village Experience is a unique beauty and home goods boutique that sells fair-trade merchandise from impoverished countries around the world. Their mission is to be a socially pro-active business dedicated to uplifting impoverished communities in the developing world through efforts in international trade and tourism.

(The vase is from The Village Experience, and those bracelets are from Village of Hope Uganda, an online Web site to benefit orphans in Northern Uganda. The webstire states: “Children roll each bead by hand from recycled paper. Orphans (ages 12-18) making these beads receive food, education and medical care as a way of providing for themselves and their siblings. All profits from the sale of these items go directly to the projects that support the orphans of Village of Hope Uganda.” I ordered these last year, and I love them.)

2. A fun apron. I love aprons. I have a little collection of three now and am thinking when I get a bigger kitchen, it would be fun to hang them on a little rack on the wall. Etsy and ModCloth both have some bright, frilly ones that definitely turn you into a better cook. It’s science.


3. Something she wouldn’t buy herself, like a massage package or a spa day. It’s really nice to not be distracted during your nice, relaxing massage by disturbing thoughts of, “I hope I didn’t accidentally overdraw my bank account when I bought this.” I know Massage Envy has locations all over the country and if you’ve never been there before, the first hour-long appointment is only $39. (I’ve never been there personally, but I’ve heard good things.) Plus, the Web site is all Christmasy. Need I say more?

4. TOMS shoes.
image  TOMS

I’m sure everyone has heard, but TOMS donates one pair of shoes to a child in Africa for every pair sold. And there are some super cute new styles coming out. I have a red pair, and I wear them all the time. They are so comfy. I’m slowly working up the nerve to buy glitter ones. 😉

For the Athletic Girl:

1. A gift card for Lululemon Athletica workout gear. Every runner/yoga/weight lifter girl knows that cute workout clothes are 60% of the battle.

image image

It’s a universal truth that these workout clothes magically transform your backside into Cameron Diaz’s. It’s a less awesome universal truth that a pair of their running tights costs up to $98. I love their clothes, and they are great quality, but it’s hard to justify spending that kind of money on clothes you know you’re just going to get all sweaty. So getting them for free is especially great. And, you can buy a cute no-slip headband while you’re there and wrap it around the card a few times for a fun gift presentation. (These headbands are kind of life-changing.)


2. If she runs outside, runner’s pepper spray. This one was inspired by my dad. I’ve unwrapped more than one pepper spray in my day. This one wraps around your hand so you don’t have to worry about gripping it. And if you’re wondering, they don’t take them away from you at airport security, which in equal parts relieves and horrifies me.

3. An iTunes gift card. Great for an inexpensive gift exchange, and new music to work out to is almost as important as rear-end enhancing pants (almost).

itunes gift card

(Really I just liked this goofy picture.)

For Your Parents:

Sometimes it’s hard to shop for your parents (although 1.5 million times easier than shopping for a guy).

In my family we’re not big fans of giving gift cards, because it’s not really as fun as opening a real present, but it can be really fun if it involves still picking something out together. Example:

1. An gift card.

Starry Night

I love this site. Picking out art is really fun, at least to me, but hard to do for other people. A gift card solves that problem but it’s specific enough that it’s clear you still put thought into the gift. This site is great b/c you can type in an artist, a theme, etc and come up with a million options. And you can choose whether you want it in a frame, on canvas (for some prints), or just a poster. Anything that involves ordering a present and being all excited a week later again when it arrives is fun!

2. Tickets to something.

Tickets are a great present—they will still have something to look forward to after the holiday. With sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, it could be anything from tickets to a play or concert you know they would love to a romantic carriage ride and a hotel room in the city for a night. You could always throw in an offer to babysit their pet that night, too, or buy tickets for yourself to go with them so it’s a together present.

For Your Guy:

It must be said, shopping for guys is the worst. Why are men so hard to shop for? If you ask a girl what she wants, you get a nice respectable list you can wrap around the house three times. If you ask a boy, you get the always annoying “I don’t know,” or the equally irritating, “I don’t really need anything,” or my personal favorite, “just get me whatever.” Well, if I happen to interpret “whatever” as “a new vacuum,” it works out for everyone.

Real ideas if you’ve already gotten him a new vacuum:

1. Anything with his team’s logo printed on it. Dave is getting quite the accumulation of UK stuff. But it’s always a fun gift, as we know how deeply attached they are to their sports teams (you can’t hear, but this was typed in a completely loving tone).

Shot glass UK water bottle

2. A beer brewing kit.


This is just fun, no? The name is pretty awesome too.

3. An “Experience Gift“, like skydiving together. It seems most guys are big into adventures, and they would probably like it if we pretend to like it too. This one time (at band camp) I told Dave I would ride a roller coaster with him and then totally chickened out of it. He was bummed. (Ok, it was actually in Vegas.) I’ve felt bad ever since and will probably need to do something completely terrifying like skydiving with him at some point to make up for it.

I just realized I lumped guys into one category. Ok, I know they are all different and probably deserve a few more categories … but I spent more time on the girl presents because they are more fun to look at.

For Anyone! A Barnes N Noble Nook Color.

Nook Nook logo

It’s like a Kindle, but with Internet too. Dave got me one a few months ago and it’s awesome. I love bookstores, but I love ordering a book from my couch even more (sorry, Shop Around the Corner!!). Bonus: you get to read steamy romance novels on a plane without your neighbor seeing the embarrassing, graphic covers (hypothetically). They will perhaps think you’re reading War & Peace instead.

So … all that said … I just realized it’s December 10, and I haven’t bought anybody anything. I have no clue what I’m getting anybody.

If you have fun ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section. 🙂

Happy shopping!



  1. actorsdiet says:

    tom’s is making ballet flats but not til next year!!! those would be on my wish list for sure…

  2. Isabelle@cheesymiteapples says:

    I have a necklace with the exact same beads as that bracelet from Uganda! I got mine from
    I like your gift ideas…now I just have to start shopping 🙂

  3. Aww Casey! Your blog just makes me so happy whenever I read it! :). Boys are the WORST. Louis is so sweet he always pretends he loves whatever I bought and refuses to return it (although I guess everyone does that a bit…). BUT then Ive just totally wasted £100. Although admittedly the worst was when I bought him this massively expensive ‘experience’ diving trip (in SCOTLAND admittedly) and then threw away the voucher, couldnt get a refund and couldnt afford to re-buy it. That was also the firs tyear we were dating – wooooops! xox

  4. Hahaha I wonder how many pepper sprays we have unwrapped over the years . . .and weren’t those little hammers to stick underneath the driver’s seat in our cars Christmas gifts too? Hey, can I have some perfume?

  5. I looooooooove this post, but I have a couple of things to point out:

    1. The twin trade doesn’t work so well from halfway across the country. Just sayin’. 😉
    2. Mr. Beer is a great gift idea, until it completely takes over your kitchen because you have three mini-kegs going at once. Buy him a gift certificate to go somewhere where you can “brew your own” instead! lol
    3. I, too, love to receive gifts. My best friend magically appearing in my living room instead of being in Pasadena would be a fairly decent gift this Christmas. I mean, in case you were wondering what to get me… 😉

    Love you!!

  6. I second runner’s pepper spray. FANTASTIC idea. Also? I love that apron.

  7. Beer making kits are a fantastic idea! A jersey of your significant other’s fave player is always a good one so they can wear it to games.

  8. Such great gift ideas! Seriously! I love Toms! And those headbands and cute aprons and the fair trade jewelry. So many good ideas! 🙂

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