Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

For Movie Nights or Rainy Days

Regardless of whether or not they admit it each person has at least one television program that they are hooked on and that is a true guilty pleasure. A great gift to give to someone you are close to is their favorite series on DVD. My personal addiction is Greys Anatomy. While I became hooked on the show a few years ago I had never seen the first few seasons until my friend gave them to me for my birthday. I made my way through the first few DVD’s instantly and even to this day love to pull them out on a rainy day and watch them again. Even though some shows offer episodes online it is often times only the most recent ones that are available or you get stuck waiting for hours for it to download in low quality. This gift is great for both men and woman of all ages and is also perfect to give to an entire family. Don’t forget about some of the older shows too. People will love watching reruns of their favorite programs from when they were growing up or will be excited to share them with their kids. 

    The Gift of Choice

    No matter how hard you try there are always going to be those few people who are impossible to shop for. Infamous for returning presents or those who never ask for anything for themselves- we all know at least one. Why they may seem somewhat overdone gift certificates are a great solution. If the person you are giving the present to really doesn’t have a need for any more materialistic things, a gift certificate to the movies or a day at the spa is a great way to force them to enjoy some time for themselves. If a spa day is a little out of your budget a card for a manicure and pedicure can always be used. For teenagers an iTunes gift card is perfect and is sure not to last long. If you’re shopping for children and just not sure what toys they already own a card to Build a Bear is a great way to get them involved in their present and allows them to create memories and a stuffed animal that they will love forever. Even if your friend or family member isn’t much of a shopper it is hard to find many who could resist a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts certificate. 

      Gift for Kids (or yourself…)

      Grace: Even though I’m a college student, I still love being a kid.  That being said, I love giving kids gifts that I too can enjoy.  My grandfather actually used to give my dad gifts that he would play with later, so I guess this sentiment runs in the family.  One great gift for kids that I would love to give/get is a Marshmallow shooter.  It sounds really silly, but when you think about it, shooting marshmallows at people sounds really fun and tasty!

      This is a great gift for a fun loving family or for your silly friends.  The only problems I can think of are that the marshmallows might stick together, possibly making loading or shooting the shooter a bit messy, and you might find marshmallows weeks after playing with it.  There is no better combination that food and toys!

      Fun, Easy Way to Make Ice Cream

      Grace: I’ve always wanted to make homemade ice cream, but ice cream makers are so expensive and I don’t even eat that much ice cream.  Ice cream makers also aren’t that interactive for kids since it does all the work for you.

      However, I found this fun gift called the Ice Cream Ball that is a great way for kids to make ice cream.  It doesn’t make a lot of ice cream, just a quart or a pint depending on what size you buy, but it’s still a great way for kids to experience making ice cream.  All you need to do is add the ingredients, and then roll the ball around for about 20 minutes, which shouldn’t be difficult for any active child.  It also seems to be quite popular when camping, since I’ve heard of people using it while on camping trips and loving it.  If you’re looking for a fun gift for kids, definitely consider the Ice Cream Ball.

      Dan: This is a really wonderful gift idea.  It is a safe and non-MESSY way to make ice cream.  I used to make ice cream in middle school science class with dry ice.  I do not recommend that for home, haha.  I would absolutely buy this as a gift for someone.

      Trips as Gifts

      Dan: When most people think of giving gifts they think of a materialistic item.  Something that they can hold and use form time to time.  Many people seem to overlook trips or special outings that can act as really memorable gifts that can be savored that moment and in the future.

      If you are on a tight budget, there are many cost effective places that you can bring someone to for a gift.  An example would be an art museum, zoo, or aquarium.  Many of these institutions can be highly priced, but usually, if you go at the right time tickets/entry can be really cheap.  If allowed, take photos while you are there.  Hopefully you will have a great time, and to cherish those memories you can give another gift, a photo album or video.  Cough cough, I know I want to go to the National Aquarium in Baltimore sometime, but when/if I go, I would love to have video or pictures of my experience.

      Grace: It’s kind of funny that Dan should mention this gift now because for my friend’s birthday yesterday, he was given a book filled with pictures from the past year.  Although the book wasn’t filled with pictures from just one monumental trip or event, it was still a great gift.  My sister also receieved a gift like that and she absolutely LOVES it!  There are picture sites, such as Kodak, that provide the option of making a professional-looking photobook filled with pictures and text of your choice.  This is a very personal and loving gift!

      Are You Out of Ideas?

      Dan: This season there are many new products coming out for purcahse but so many of them may be out of budget.  This gift idea may sound typical, but it is one that can be USED and truly appreciated.  Many gift certificates are frowned upon because of the store(s) that they can be spent at.  A McDonald’s gift certificate for $50 is amazing, but the health benefits are not.

      An iTunes gift certificate, though, is great because the program has evolved into a store that carries more than just music.  You can find movies and even books on tape at the iTunes store now.  There are no applied time limits for the cards so that there is no rush to use them right away.  You can spend as little as $25 and go up to $2500 I beleive.  The card alleviates the stress of continual credit card charging (per song) and really makes music and other mediua purchases in the future more relaxed.  This is the ultimate gift card and a GREAT gift idea!

      Grace: I LOVE getting iTunes gift cards as gifts!  I hate buying full CDs because I usually only like a couple of songs, so I find iTunes to be very convenient.  However, it may be convenient for me, but it makes it rather difficult for other people to buy me music as a gift.  That’s where the iTunes gift card comes in.  There’s no more of this guessing and gambling when buying music for someone; they can do it themself, but it still feels like a gift from the heart, which is what is important.

      Shredded Money!

      Dan: First semester of my sophomore year of college I took a class officially titled as, “ECON302 Banking and Monetary Policy.” That class ended up becoming the bread and butter of my life as it’s about all I do in college now.  However, my professor, when getting an exam back or when recognizing a great group effort at an attempt to analyze economic phenomena, such as the Japanese bond crisis or when interest rates in the United States were around 15%, she would hand out a special gift…thousands upon thousands of dollars of shredded money!

      YOU’RE RICH!  Not really since its been destroyed, but various Federal Reserva Banks sell pretty packages of currency that has been taken out of circulation due to wear and tear.  Even though you wish you could glue it all back together again, it is a really neat gift idea.  You can use it for educational purposes, when teaching the true value of money.  It’s not the paper composite it’s printed out, but the value you can get in exchange for it.

      Grace: This is a very unique gift idea, because at the heart of it, the gift is not so much about a physical object, but more about an important life lesson.  Lots of people, especially those from the younger generation, don’t understand the value of money, and then when they go off on their own, continue to practice bad spending and saving habits.  Although this might not seem to be the coolest gift ever, it’s certainly the most helpful in the long run.

      Give a Personalized Gift

      Grace: I’ve been talking a lot about personalized gifts or gifts that have special meaning to the recipient.  One way to do this, is to literally give a personalized gift, such as a necklace with the recipient’s name engraved on it.  However, personalized gifts are not limited to jewelry; I found this great site that has a vast array of items that can be personalized.

      The most obvious choice for a personalized gift is a piece of jewelry, such as a necklace or a bracelet.  However, this site also offers personalized clocks, pens, music boxes, and water globes.  An engraved music box or water globe would be the perfect gift for a younger girl, while an engraved clock or flask would be great for an older man.  I love the range of products provided (they even personalize pillows and blankets), and there is also a great selection of fonts for you to choose from.  This is definitely a great go-to site for a special gift!

      Dan: Great idea, I can’t believe we did spot this great website earlier.  Personalized gifts are really the way to go if you want to add some additional extra meaning.  Inside jokes, or something meaningful for that significant other can read add value to any gift!

      Children’s Baking Kit

      Grace: Growing up, whenever I wanted to bake it would be a huge hassle for my mom because I could never find anything and I would always make a mess pulling out all the decorations and such.  Also, by the time I finished baking, there would be too many cookies or cupcakes and we wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of them.  It would have made life so much easier on both me and my mom if I had my own baking kit.

      I recently found this great cupcake baking kit that would be a great gift for a little girl.  It comes with a mini baking pan, 200 paper baking cups, an icing decorator with interchangeable tips, and four recipes.  I love that everything is miniture so there’s no worry that your child will be bouncing off the wall because she ate one, giant cupcake.  Whenever I would bake when I was little, I would always get so frustrated because my decorations would never look nice, but the icing decorator helps create very beautiful and professional (or as professional as little kids can get) looking cupcakes.  Every little child wants to act like an adult, and this baking kit will definitely make them feel grown up.

      Dan: I think this is a great gift idea for a child Grace!  This really reminds me of an easy bake oven that my sister had when we were younger.  She would consistently make mini cakes and cookies and force me to eat them (boy I was in trouble if I didn’t).  This is a really quality gift that I completely endorse!

      Make Your Own Doll

      Grace: Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved DIY kits.  My favorite gifts were the ones where I could make things to stick on the windows or make my own stuffed animals.  I love the idea of inspiring a child’s creativity and encouraging them to try new things, which is why I love this DIY Yoyo Doll Kit.

      Most DIY kits I had were actually quite complicated, so although they were fun and I loved the end prodcut, sometimes they were a little frustrating too.  However, this kit doesn’t seem to be too complicated, since all the hard parts (the hands, head, etc) come pre-made.  In addition to being fun, this gift is also ecologically and socially conscious.  Made from old sweaters, this is also a fair trade product , thereby helping developing countries and the environment at the same time.  If you’re looking for a socially conscious gift that’s also fun and cute, I would definitely take a look at this one!

      Dan: This is a great gift idea!  Not only does it make a toy but you can learn along the way.  I was never one for dolls.  When I was in the 7th grade in home economics class, we had a school project in which we had to use sewing machines to make stuffed animal frogs.  Let’s just say I did not have what it takes.  Ended up borrowing a friend’s from a different class, got caught, and had to hand in my leaking bean bag that did not resemble a frog whatsoever.  Therefore, I would also have to agree with you that some of these DIY projects are simply frustrating and not fun at all.