Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

A Thoughtful Gift Idea

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.

A Gift Full of Memories

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.

Snuggle Up

While is may initially appear as a somewhat ridiculous or silly gift, a snuggie is in fact the perfect present for the cold winter weather. I too, was originally hesitant about owning or using a snuggie but after enjoying it once, it has become more used more than any other blanket lying around my house. It is perfect for curling up on the couch after a long day at work, to do anything from watching a movie to reading or eating. The arm sleeves and neckline allow you to continue moving about as much as you like while still staying under the warmth and comfort of the blanket. It is also great for people of all ages. After falling in love with it myself I could not resist buying one for my mother and 8-year-old cousin. Needless to say, they too have become hooked. The soft fleece and color options make this the perfect gift to give to all of your friends and family members, as it is both inexpensive and instantly ready to give to anyone. If you wanted to give something extra you could always include a collection of classic movies and books as well.

    Just in Time for the New Year

    With the start of the New Year,ca lendars are great gifts. They make the perfect small present to simply show that you care or are thinking about someone without spending a large amount of money. Every year since I can remember my mother has given me, and all of my siblings, a calendar from our favorite vacation spot, Hilton Head Island, SC. This has become somewhat of a tradition and it is one that I hope to later take over. It is easy to select a calendar that you know a person will love even if you do not know them well. Just look at ones of their favorite sports team, city, flower or even artist. The calendars of old black and white photographs are some of my favorite. It is something that anyone is sure to love and that no household should be without. If you know that they already have a calendar a small day planner or desktop calendar is just as fitting. If you are looking to personalize the gift or do something additional you could always pencil in a night on the calendar where the two of you could have a night out as an extra surprise.  

      Sweet Dreams

      No matter how old you get, Christmas and the holidays will always resolve around children, so don’t forget to keep them in mind when shopping for the perfect gift. For a new born or young child blankets are always a great idea. While this may seem like a somewhat ordinary or overused gift, there are plenty of ways you can add some excitement to this otherwise expected present. One thing for example that I have found all kids to fall in love with, are the blankets that are combined with a stuffed animal. After all who wouldn’t love getting two presents for one? The attached blanket makes it the perfect animal to cuddle with when falling asleep. This unique blanket is also available in a large variety of animals, in everything from lambs to monkeys so you can select the perfect friend for the child. These fun blankets are soft and available at a reasonable price. If you want to add something extra to the gift you could also always have it embroided with their name or initials on it. 

        A Night on Broadway

        When I think back to past presents that I have received the ones that I have enjoyed the most are always the ones that are more than just materialistic gifts but actually let you create an experience. They allow you to enjoy the gift with your friend or loved one and create memories that will last longer than any item that you could purchase. Broadway or off Broadway tickets are a great thing to buy for anyone, young or old, male or female. I recently saw Avenue Q and would see it again or recommend it to any of my friends in a heartbeat. The show is filled with humor and is sure to put in you an automatic good mood and keep you laughing the entire time. The shows unique premise and ideas are unlike anything else. The play uses puppets to share the story of recent college graduates living in New York using songs and adult humor that will keep you entertained. With all of the shows that are available there is something for everyone regardless of your personal taste and style. While the price tag that is associated with Broadway may immediately scare people off or seem intimidating, most shows will offer special deals or promotions that will lessen the price. Off Broadway plays also often offer the same experience but for a smaller price and often in a location closer to you, opening up more options. 

          To Satisfy Those Chocolate Cravings

          If you are on a budget while shopping for a present, making something is a great solution. It allows you to stay on budget while being creative too. One of the easiest ways to go about this is cooking or baking, as there are very few people who could resist the idea of free, already prepared food. While cookies or other baked sweets may seem cliché you cannot go wrong with them. If you want to try something a little different though you can always stay away from the typical chocolate chip cookies and look up a new dessert or recipe. One of my favorite recipes to make are peanut butter balls. They only require a few ingredients and are easy to make. Just combine 1 stick of butter, 1 box of powdered sugar, 2 cups of crunchy peanut butter and 3 cups of Rice Krispies and shape them into small balls and chill them. Afterwards you can either roll them in powdered sugar or coat them in chocolate. Just wrap them up and they make the perfect gift to bring to a dinner party or just as a thank you gift. My only advice is to make sure you make two batches, as you will want to keep some for yourself- they are truly addicting! 

            A Basket of Goodies

            A great way to give a gift for any occasion to someone is to select a theme and pick various smaller presents relating to it and put it into a basket. This gift is not only fun for the person to open but also to make. For instance we all know at least one person with that caffeine addiction, so find a giant mug and fill it with specialty coffee beans, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop and biscotti. For anyone who enjoys a bottle of wine with dinner, a basket filled with specialty wine, wine glasses and cheese is hard to resist. My Mom has always loved to take a bath as her way to escape from work and a long day and would always love a gift compiled of bubble bath, bath salts, and various lotions and candles. You can also throw in their favorite magazine or a new book. If you are scrunched on time stores such as Bath & Body Works sell prepackaged baskets that will do the trick. This is also a great idea for anyone who is about to travel. Just fill a backpack with a camera, suntan lotion, and a journal and they will be ready to go. Kids will love this idea too and will be ecstatic with the idea of getting more than one present. With gift baskets you can find something for anyone and it is easy to personalize and to include their favorite things or even inside jokes. 

              Come Sail Away

              Speaking of taking a get away, if you are looking for an anniversary gift, a vacation is the perfect present. While the options are endless, a cruise is my ultimate recommendation. A cruise allows you to pay a set fee from the start and then enjoy your time off without having to worry about bills or any additional expenses, as food is already included. With all expenses included you better get ready to eat your heart out with an endless supply of meals and irresistible desserts that will be available to you 24/7. The endless amount of activities and events that are already planned will allow you to both finally get a chance to relax and let others take control as you soak up the sun. Most ships also stop in multiple locations throughout the trip, which allows you to visit various locations and get a taste of different cultures and histories often all within a week. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on two cruises and both of them have given me experiences that will last a life time such as swimming with dolphin and parasailing. Cruises are great for any age and also a fun idea to plan with other couples or family and friends. So book your ticket and get ready to sit back and relax!

                For The Bookworm In All Of Us

                Whether you are relaxing by the pool, soaking up the summer sun, or keeping warm by the fire in the winter, a good book is the only thing you need. Especially with the growing age of technology books have become more important then ever and will never truly be replaced by any modern technology. Books help you escape from reality without being interrupted by bothersome commercials. They allow you either be swept away in another persons world or feed you new information that you would not have discovered otherwise. When it comes to reading everyone has their guilty pleasure whether it be the seductive romance tales of the past, the page turning suspense stories or the newest novel series. Books are great to give to both men and woman alike. You can give books by a person’s favorite author or I love to give books to my friends and family that I have already read and fallen in love with myself. Then, not only will you know they’ll love it but it becomes a great conversation piece for the next time you all go out. Even if the person you are buying for isn’t an avid reader there are few people who could resist the newest best selling series such as Harry Potter or Twilight. They will not only satisfy your curiosity as far as what all the fuss is about but they make for a fun easy read for adults too. Unique coffee table books make great gifts as well. Just pick up a photography book from their favorite vacation spot or a unique book such as Post Secret, which displays postcards sent in by people from around the world illustrating their deepest secrets.