Smoothies are becoming more and more popular as a healthy on the go meal option. Those who drink them on a regular basis know that the ideal container is one made of glass. Unlike plastic, glass never transfers a strange taste into a smoothie, even when it’s stored in the container for a day or two. This means the produce used to create the smoothie will not be overshadowed by a plastic taste. HSN is now offering a set of two glass smoothie containers with airtight lids. The glasses are even marked with measurements so you can mix drinks right in them if you need to, or keep track of just how many ounces you’re consuming each day. At $25 for the set of two, this gift idea is perfect for health-conscious people who are always on the go!
I’ve always tried to come up with unique and interesting gifts for this blog. One of my best friends is a coffee lover, and I’ve given her many coffee-themed gifts throughout the years. From a beautiful travel mug to an eco-friendly hand protector (like the cardboard ones at Starbucks, but reusable) I have searched high and low for unique ideas. This Christmas, I know exactly what I’ll give her. A bag of fair trade organic coffee from Peru, called Tunki Coffee. Click the link to find out more about it, or to order a bag. This coffee is grown on a cooperative in Southeastern Peru that unites hundreds of farmers and their families. It’s called Cecovasa, and the farmers there have received a lot of attention since one of them entered Tunki Coffee in the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Coffee of the Year Awards. Not only was Tunki named Coffee of the Year among 130 samples from 22 countries, but it also received the People’s Choice Award. Now everyone is wondering where they can buy Tunki Coffee from Cecovasa. One company, Rojas International, is distributing Tunki from Cecovasa in the US. They sell Peruvian Food products under the brand Mama Tina’s, and if you’re a fan of Peruvian cooking, you know they are all natural, high quality foods. Of course, not all of the coffee they sell is from the farmer who won the prize – there would never be enough to go around! But the coffee is grown within the cooperative that he is a member of. The brand Tunki has existed for several years within this cooperative, and is receiving recognition within Peru and abroad. What an interesting story to tell my friend when I give her the bag I just ordered! I always feel good when I buy fair trade products.
A lot of my friends are into the green lifestyle, bringing their reusable shopping bags to the store and carrying stainless steel water bottles instead of buying plastic and throwing it away. Now people are starting to look past these little changes to incorporate the “green attitude” in all aspects of their lives, especially fashion. Organic cotton and recycled materials are popping up in designer stores, and even Organic Jewelry has become trendy. These natural Gourd Earrings from Peru are not only made with a renewable resource, but they’re also sold by a fair trade-friendly company. Real gourd is used in many Peruvian Jewelry designs, and is hand carved by talented artisans using traditional techniques. The gourd is set in sterling silver, making them an impressive gift for any eco-friendly fashionista!
One of my favorite online companies is Levenger. Their tagline is “Tools for Serious Readers” which hooked me right in. Their tools really are great – my friends joke that my husband should be calling them to establish a monthly limit for my spending with them! One of my favorite lines is the “Circa” line of paper and notebooks. You can see it here. The idea is that you can take secure notes (like a spiral notebook) and then move them within a notebook or from notebook to notebook; the flexibility of a three-ring binder without the bulk. The new covers are available in a bright microfiber cloth or a colorful glossy cardboard which is appealing to the younger crowd and makes this a terrific graduation gift idea for the student moving on to college. A bunch of loose paper along with a couple of notebook covers and he/she can travel from class to class with just one notebook and rearrange the notes into separate notebooks once back in the dormitory. Just beware: if you are a reader or writer this is addictive territory!
As a mom who is wishing on a star for grandchildren, one of my favorite gifts to give a mother-to-be is a basket filled with all the books that became childhood favorites for my girls. The classics “Good Night Moon”, “Love You Forever” and “The Hungry Caterpillar” are just three of the many well-read books that became bedtime rituals in our home. It’s amazing how many times a child wants to hear the same story over again. No matter that as the reader one wishes for a reprieve from the repetitiveness, as time passes the memory becomes dearer. I realize what a new mother has to look forward to, and my great wish is to hold out my arms and say, “Here, look! You don’t know it yet but these are books you will cherish - memories you will build with your child on your lap as you whisper, “I’ll love you forever.”
For a bigger basket:
The Napping House
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
On the Day You Were Born
I’m a big believer in gifts that show you were thoughtful about choosing them. My friend bought me a beautiful hydrangea plant for my birthday recently and as much as I love the plant (and I do!) I also love the fact that she knows me well, and thought about choosing something that would please me. That plant is thriving in my garden showing lacy white blooms and every time I walk by or stop to admire it, I know I have a friend who cares about me. Isn’t that what we want our gifts to say? So while I love to give gift ideas here (yes, one is coming…) I also advise you to spend a few minutes thinking about the person you’re buying for to get a sense of direction.
Today’s suggestion: Now that there are video cameras on our phones and computers, it’s pretty easy to create a video clip and while the tech savvy person can edit it and get fancy with music in the background, none of that is necessary for this gift idea. Record yourself sharing a happy memory. It can be a story for your child from his past or a memory from your own childhood that you share with your parent. The ways to use this idea are endless but the key is to let the person know that they play an important role in your happy memories. Here’s the fun part that may require a little courage on your part: post your video somewhere, on YouTube or FaceBook for example, and then send the link to your gift recipient. You won’t believe how many people will share this with their friends because everyone loves to have their life witnessed. You’ll be the coolest gift giver ever.
I’ve always loved receiving jewelry gifts. I feel that a woman can never own too many accessories! One thing that makes jewelry a great choice is that every woman needs a nice variety of it for different occasions, outfits, and moods. Of course, a wedding ring or other sentimental piece may be worn everyday, but most women enjoy mixing it up with a variety of earrings in different sizes and shapes, fun bracelets, and unusual necklaces. From chunky and funky to dainty and feminine, you can find a piece of jewelry that will fit your recipient’s taste. The key is to look past the mass produced styles in the popular stores, and seek out the more exclusive boutiques and online shops. That is where you’ll find handcrafted jewelry. Instead of having the same look as all of her friends, your recipient will enjoy a piece of artisan jewelry that people notice as being unique and beautiful. This carved gourd necklace is an instant conversation starter. Artisans in Peru hand carve designs into their gourd jewelry, and then it is set in sterling silver. Talk about a unique jewelry gift!
There are a few sites that offer photobooks on the internet now. My favorite is MyPublisher.com. It’s so easy to use their software and the end result is as professional as anything on the shelf at your local bookstore. I heard about this site when I received a gift of a photobook from a family who had visited our vacation home with us. They compiled photos from that trip, many featuring my children with their children having a wonderful time together and “published” a book as a thank you gift. It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and it has become my “go to” place on the web for personalized gifts at Christmas. Pull together some digital photos, upload them to theMyPublisher.com site and start arranging them into your own special gift for someone.
This year I bought my husband an iPad for Father’s Day. I know it doesn’t seem like such a creative gift, after all there were lines outside the door of the Apple Store with the launch of this new gadget. But for someone who is technologically challenged this is a gift of technology that is so intuitive it brings the internet into the realm of the possible, something that makes it an unparalleled gift. Of course, setting up the iPad so that favorite websites are easily reached with the touch of a button, and help setting up an email address for future communications – these are the details of the gift that make it personal. Believe me, the time and money are well worth it and you’ll be receiving thank you notes for a long time to come – probably by e-mail!
Have you ever walked into a store and been swept away by the music that is playing? I remember the first time I heard Tiger Lily by Natalie Merchant. I was sitting in a quiet bar on a lovely summer Friday afternoon waiting for a friend and the music set just the right mood for the pending weekend of rest and relaxation. Music is a matter of personal taste but with some forethought it’s possible to choose terrific CDs to give a friend. Looking for a safer alternative? How about an iTunes gift certificate and a list of songs that you think your friend would enjoy? I’d love that gift!