Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Making My List and Checking It Twice: My Holiday Gift List

Holiday gift idea for teachers, families, kids and family

I am a bit compulsive about my holiday shopping - not a big surprise if you know me and my type A personality!  I have a major method to my madness, which includes a spreadsheet that lists everyone I am buying for and columns to indicate their gift idea and the budget set for the gift.  The last column lets me check it off once it has been purchased.  I religiously finish my shopping by Thanksgiving.  I do this so that as December rolls in, I can pull out a bottle of bubbly and casually enjoy wrapping my gifts before Hannukah and Christmas hit.  I love the holiday season and this strategy really allows me to delight in finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list, while savoring the experience of shopping and opposed to stressing and moaning over it!

I am almost done with this year's Santa list.  Here are some of my favorite things I will be gifting this year.

For Teachers
  • Penzey's Teach Box - If you aren't lucky enough to have a Penzey's near you, they offer a full selection of their spices online.  Last year, the company came out with their Teach Box.  It includes jars of their Forward! and cinnamon spices, a Teach! pin and bumper sticker, and a book of stories and recipes.  It all comes packaged in a branded Teach! box.
  • Girl Scout Peppermint Bark - The Girl Scouts Fall Product Nut Sale is happening now.  As a Girl Scout leader of two troops, I obviously try to support them as much as possible.  This year's bark comes in a really cute commemorative tin.  It's the perfect holiday treat and also gives back at the same time, something any teacher can appreciate. 
  • Lush Bombs and Bars - This line of fresh, handmade cosmetics is almost entirely vegan.  I love everything they have to offer, but I especially enjoy giving their massage bars and bath bombs as gifts because they are the perfect way to pamper and thank a special teacher or coach who give so tirelessly of themselves.
Hostess Gifts
  • Pottery Barn Wine Stopper - The Peace Heart Stopper sends the message of the season and  pairing it with a bottle of champagne keeps the festivities pouring! 
  • Burn Candles - I first received one of these candles a few years ago and was enchanted by the beautiful container and clean, sweet aroma.  It is one of those simple pleasures you love to have but feel too extravagant to purchase for yourself...and hence, the perfect gift!
For Kids
  • Author Tool Kit - As a writer, I enthusiastically promote anything that fosters writing in our young ones.  Scribble Press offers a great kit for kids to create their own professionally bound book.  They write the story, create the illustrations and send it to Scribble Press to have it printed and bound.  With any luck, I will encourage the next J.K. Rowling or Judy Blume!
  • Green Kid Crafts Subscription - This monthly club sends the gift recipient a box containing projects using all eco-friendly and green materials (recycled felt, paper and ribbon; cruelty free feathers; and natural materials like colored sand, clay and canvas).  Each box also comes with free games, coloring sheets and ideas, as well as suggested reading for the month's theme.  
  • Bright Light Pillows - These fun light up pillows are all the rage with my daughters and their friends.
For Families
  • GiftLit Subscription - I recently discovered this awesome version of a book-of-the-month club.  You can customize your own 3, 6 or 12 month collection for children, teens, or adults.  I love to give families gifts that provide an experience and this club gets families reading together.  I am pairing these subscriptions with personalized book plates.
  • Cookie Platters - Script and Scribble makes adorable platters that can personalized with names and messages.  I plan to pile these high with homemade baked vegan treats made with love by me and my kiddos.
Other Ideas
  • Personalized Stationery - I am a huge fan of all things Erin Condren.  Her design is joyful, colorful and cause to celebrate.  Her line of personalized stationery and products make anyone feel special.
  • T-shirts from Sevenly - This amazing organization partners to fund 52 t-shirt charity campaigns per year (1per week).  With every t-shirt sold, $7 is given to the week's charity.  I heart this organization and its vision to help fund worthy causes that can help change the world.
  • Sponsor a Child - Save The Children offers a great program to support children all over the world.  This is a special gift that is life changing for many children and truly defines the meaning of the holidays for me.
  • Photo Canvases - Our holiday card photo sessions (another compulsive project of mine) always leave me with a wonderful selection of family poses to share.  This year, I plan to pick my favorite and have it printed on canvases for my loved ones.
What gifts are on your must-buy list?  I'd love to hear your favorites.