It is hard to believe that another holiday season is fast approaching! Each year, I tell myself that I am going to try to slow down and enjoy this time with family and friends more, but let's face it, it is just a hectic time with parties, shopping, decorating, family gatherings, etc. I hope this year is finally the year that I don't feel like I am running around in circles like a crazy person--we'll see.
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is buying gifts for family and friends--it is actually one of my favorite things to do in general. I guess you could say that gift giving is my love language. I truly enjoy trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one that I hope will make him/her smile. I attribute my love of gift giving to my grandfather, who we called Dannanny. He loved sending a gift--big or small--to his grandchildren. As a child, I remember my grandparents sending us a box of fruit, oranges and grapefruit to be exact, as well as a box of Kimberly-Clark paper products. Without fail, these boxes arrived at our doorstep every December and became a little Christmas tradition for us. While boxes of Kleenex and paper towels weren't super exciting, you better believe we were grateful for them when we were down to our last rolls of toilet paper and remembered that we had a roll or two in our Christmas package.
After Jacob and I got married, I was spending time with my grandparents. I don't remember exactly what we were doing--most likely we were having dinner with them--when I casually mentioned my love of bleu cheese to my grandfather. A couple of weeks later, a package of bleu cheeses from Williams-Sonoma arrived that my sweet Dannanny sent. That was probably my favorite gift that I ever got from my grandparents. It was so thoughtful--and from that gift, I learned to quietly listen to my loved ones. It is in these casual conversations that you can really discover what some of their favorite things are. Just listen and don't let on when they've given you a great idea for a gift because nothing is better than the surprised look on their faces when you have given a thoughtful and personal gift.
I wanted to share some of my favorite gift ideas with you, in hopes that it makes the Christmas season a little bit easier for you. I am sure that I will forget to include something, so be sure to follow along with me (@thedutchdoor) on Instagram for additional gift ideas that pop back into my memory.
***I have linked all of the websites and items in my post, so click on the bolded text and some of the pictures to link up to the product.***
I have to admit that I would like to buy most of these things for myself, and I think that it never hurts to buy a gift...or two...or four...for yourself! Whenever I can, I try to purchase things from small businesses. I think it helps make for a more unique and special gift, while helping support those small business owners and their families.
For Her (or Yourself)...
One of my latest obsessions for our home is the dreamware from Polder's Old World Kitchen. Any and all of their pieces would be the perfect gift for the cook in your life (or yourself). All of the pieces are hand-carved by a family in Virginia. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow them to see their beautiful pictures and to stay up-to-date on the amazing discounts they offer on their dreamware (@poldersowm).
If I could only wear one thing for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a pair of Lake Pajamas. They are amazingly soft--like sleeping on a cloud--and the designs are classic and fun! This is one of those gifts that you need to treat yourself to.
I first heard about Glassybaby votives when I was watching one of Martha Stewart's shows many moons ago. I have always been fascinated by watching glass blowing, and she took viewers on a tour to show how the votives were made. These votives are beautiful, and I love the names given to each color--kindness, hugs, faith, and my favorite--wet dog. I have given these as teacher gifts, as well as to family and friends, and I pick them out based on the name of the votive and the meaning behind it. For Mother's Day last year, I gave my sister the "godmother" votive, since she is our boys' godmother--and it just happened to be one of her favorite colors, which was a nice coincidence.
If you think you need to include something else with a candle, a match striker would be the perfect accompaniment. I adore these strikers from Farmhouse Pottery! A candle and the striker would be wonderful gifts on their own, but wouldn't they make for such special gift as a pair!?!
I am a sucker for pottery and caffeine, so pairing those two together would be a lovely and useful gift for just about anyone. If you follow my on Instagram, you know my love for Mollie Jenkins Pottery, who is based in Georgia. I gifted myself one of her mugs last year, and it is beautiful (don't worry that they're all sold out at the moment--I think she is adding more pieces to her website very soon. They are worth the wait).
While I am not a coffee drinker, I do love a cup of hot tea--makes me feel British, and I am obsessed with the Royal Family! Can we talk about Harry and Meghan's engagement!?! So exciting! Thanks to my friend (who has no idea who I am), Jen Hatmaker, I discovered Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea. It is a perfect drink for this holiday season.
After receiving one of these monogrammed melamine plates by La Plates from one of my best college friends (thanks, Blair!) when our first son, Wynne, was born, these have been my go to kids' gift. Our boys love them, and we love them, too, since having their names or monogram on them helps prevent fights. Let's face it, kids fight over everything, or is that just our boys?
These melamine plates by Sarah + Abraham are also a lot of fun, since you can personalize them to look like the child you are giving it to. We got these for our boys a couple of years ago, and they love them.
Since we have three boys and the only other girls in our house are two kitty cats, I am zero help in the gift giving department for girls. Our boys also only really play with sports stuff, but one non-sports related toy that they all love are Magna-Tiles, and I think they would be a crowd pleaser for girls, too. To get started with a set, I would recommend getting at least 100 pieces of the clear (they will still be colorful, but they're translucent, which is great for building garages/houses and such to put their toys in). They are a bit pricey, but they hold up very well. We have had ours for three years or so, and so far so good--they have stood the test of time with our three boys, who are very hard on things.
For the hunter or fisherman in your life, Andrew Lee Designs has some beautiful pieces that I think would make a thoughtful gift. Andrew lives in Auburn, Alabama, which this Auburn alum loves, and his artwork is beautiful.
These leather coasters would be a perfect addition to an office or a man cave. These might help the boys in my life to remember to use a coaster--see a gift for him and a gift for your table--no more water rings. I am quite partial to the dog coasters. Aren't they nice!?!
For the outdoorsman, who wears a coat and tie during the week or on Sunday mornings, Andrew has the most unique collection of cufflinks that would add a fun touch to a suit or tux. These would certainly make a special gift that could be used for many years to come.
For the beer enthusiast, a growler paired with their favorite brew would make the perfect gift. I love this one from Terrain and think it would be a beautiful addition to a night of entertaining.
If you ask any of my friends, they will all tell you how much I love a good koozie. I have been known to make a koozie or two for our Auburn tailgate group or even for a fun trip to California with friends to watch Auburn play. I have always loved Honey Bee Tees for their adorable kids' shirts, but their koozie game is also strong! How cute would these be on Christmas Day!?!
Most days, I am without makeup (scary, I know), but one of my favorite things to use when I do put my face on is this lipgloss from BeautyCounter. Fig is my favorite shade.
While I love the winter months, I am not a fan of the chapped lips that come along with the cold weather. I having been using the lip conditioner from BeautyCounter for a year now, and I love it. This peppermint lip conditioner would be a festive stocking stuffer.
While I am on the subject of beauty, I wanted to share my favorite skincare items. I am obsessed with all of Tata Harper's products. They are a splurge (they are offering 20% OFF right now!), but I try to buy the trial sized items when they are offered to make sure my skin really benefits from the product before investing in the regular size. These masks are two of my top three favorites of hers (the other is the regenerating cleanser). The clarifying mask will make you look like Elphaba from Wicked, but green is my favorite color, and it is fun to scare my boys when I have it on. If you only try one, I would definitely lean towards the purifying mask. It is amazing--it makes my skin feel fabulous and so soft. Be sure to sign up for their emails, so you do not miss out on future sales!
Am I the only one who is constantly searching for something to write on? A writing pad is something that everyone could use. This one by Everyday Occasions is much nicer that the spiral notebooks I pick up at the grocery store. For Christmas, I ordered a couple for myself, as well as the boys' teachers (surprise, if their teachers are reading this). I will be putting these notepads away from little hands when I get them, since the boys like to write on everything.
I am sure Santa (ahem, Mom) didn't reserve this stocking stuffer trick just for my and my sister's stockings, but if Santa needs a filler...he can just throw an orange or two in the bottom. Just what every child wants for Christmas!
The best part about the holidays is being with family and friends, but the second best thing is all of the yummy food you get to eat. My most favorite dessert is pie from Southern Baked Pie Company. Full disclosure, the founder, Amanda, is one of my best friends, but her pies are ah-mazing! If you are in Atlanta or Alpharetta, she opened up stores there last year, so go find them! You will thank me. Of course, all of you Gainesville folks know about it. If you don't live close to those areas, she also ships. My favorites are her chocolate chess pie and pecan pie. She also makes yummy savory pies, which are great, if you want to take the night off from cooking or need to take dinner to someone.
All Southerners love a biscuit, but I am ashamed to say that I have never made a batch. I discovered Callie's Biscuits a few years ago, and I don't plan on ever attempting to make biscuits myself--these are too, too good! I am so hungry just looking at these pictures of their Buttermilk Biscuits and Ham Biscuits.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, since I am sure I will remember some great gift ideas that I forgot to include here.