I don’t read that many blogs and I don’t have any social media accounts. Yet, somehow, I feel like I’ve been bombarded by gift guides since mid-October. Since I’m aiming for a minimal Christmas, I’ve found these surprisingly stressful. Each guide I’ve come across has been unique (I can’t think of a single case of overlap) and has a lot of great ideas. But…I’ve already made my choices. Nevertheless, I click on links and get tempted by thoughts like “Wouldn’t a foot-operated rocket launcher be SO MUCH FUN!” before I accept I don’t really want to store a foot-operated rocket launcher. And knowing the enthusiasm some kids in my household display, chances are it would break in about 2 minutes.
So this isn’t a gift guide, per se. Just a collection of recent favourites, many of which have shown up under the Christmas tree in recent years. I’m not including links because a) that way you don’t feel pressure to click through and fall through an internet rabbit hole and, more acutely, b) I’m lazy.
Some of my Favourite things
- YETI | I started out with a plan to use my Yeti (I have the 10 oz Rambler with the Magslider lid) for hot beverages…but I quickly discovered it kept things too hot. I pivoted to using it as my water cup and have used it for this purpose every day for two years. I love the lid mechanism, love the size, and water stays cold all day. The version I have is not spillproof, though, and can be too big to fit in some car holders.
- BROOKSIDES | I get a bag of these every year at Christmas and on my birthday. It’s nice to identify a go-to treat you really enjoy and then save it for special occasions. Every year when I pass along my “wish” list to John I make sure to include Brooksides and Twizzlers. I think he’s got the memo by now, but I’d never want to leave matters of chocolate covered acai berries to chance.
- TEA/COFFEE | To follow along with the food theme above, I love a good cup of Earl Grey, Chai, or a bulletproof coffee in the morning. I have a pretty narrow range of tastes in this department, and don’t usually ask for these items under the tree…but they’re still favourites.
- APPLE DEVICES | These are the priciest items on my favourites list, but I couldn’t leave them off because they really are among my absolute favourite things. I put on my Apple Watch first thing in the morning. I use it to set timers, track workouts and check the weather (I’ve disabled text/mail alerts, but you can have all this information pushed to the watch as well). I think one of the reasons I appreciate the watch so much is because of my other Apple devices. I use my iPhone, Macbook Air, and AirPod Pro’s every single day for work and leisure. I’ve been using my Macbook for about 6 years now, so while these are expensive up-front costs, they are also long-term investments (I have the Series 3 Watch…and they just released the Series 7, so these are built to last and I don’t feel the need to upgrade when new versions are released). Also, if you have some tech saavy, these items can often be sourced at significantly discounted prices via second-hand routes.
- MAGIC BAGS | I actually own two sets of Magic Bags (the term I use for any grain-filled heating pad, a bit like I say Kleenex for all brands of tissues; I actually just use a pharmacy brand). I use them virtually every day in the winter (sometimes reheating them in the microwave 4 or 5 times). They’re also great when the kids come in from playing outside in the winter and have cold extremities. I’ll use them on my feet in bed, on the couch while we’re watching a movie, or put one under my feet and the other in my lap while I’m working at my desk. I was huddled outside in the cold last week at a playground when one mom mentioned heating them up and putting them in her kids beds at night before tucking them in. How lovely. (My husband does sometimes do this for me and it is lovely)!
- A GOOD SHOWER CAP | This one might sound funny, but I adore my shower cap. It’s thick and has wonderfully stretchy elastic that doesn’t leave indents. I use it multiple times a week and would be lost without it. Even if I wasn’t lazy I couldn’t link to the one I have because it’s not branded and I got it years ago. But you’ll know a good one when you find it…
- FOOD PROCESSOR | I’m sure many people have food processors collecting dust in their cupboard and would hate to receive one as a gift. But I use mine every single week. I use it to make my favourite muffins, I grind up oats to make flour for the waffles I talk about with shocking frequency; I’ll chop vegetables for chili and blend nuts into butter. Not pictured, but another favourite: my KitchenAid stick blender. I use this less frequently, but it’s great for frothing a bulletproof coffee or pureeing soup.
- SILPAT | Still hanging out in the kitchen. I don’t use this item a lot, but when I do it’s a game changer. Silicone sheets are great for lining pans, but then I discovered that a friend of mine uses one to cover casseroles or other dishes in the oven! Genius. I use the Amazon Basics brand and they work great.
- SUNDAE SPOONS | When we got married my parents-in-law gifted us a set of quality silverware, which happened to include 6 sundae spoons. They also gifted us a set of very tall mugs. Sundae spoons are the perfect way to stir oat milk into my steaming cup of chai, but we use them for everything and I actually asked for a second set for Christmas a few years ago because 6 was never enough to make it through to the next dishwashing cycle.
- HEATED SOCKS | This was a post-Christmas purchase last year and one that I’ve really enjoyed. The set I have are a bit thick to wear in everyday shoes/sneakers, and I’d love to source a more streamlined pair. But they do fit inside my winter boots and, though tight, were the only reason I survived our family foray into downhill skiing last year. The batteries on medium setting last most of a day and are easy to recharge.
- A BOOK SERIES | I love to read, but my love of minimalism definitely extends to the book shelf. After years of never buying books (instead I content myself with checking out a gigantic stack at the library each week), I’ve decided I do enjoy owning a complete book series. Last Christmas I asked for – and received! – the Harry Potter collection. My daughter and I read through this simultaneously and I get real satisfaction out of knowing that I have a matching set that fits compactly in its own little box and looks great on the shelf!
- A NICE MUG | Get this right and it makes every cup of tea and coffee taste better. It really does. Can I get an Amen?
- NOTEBOOKS | I am constantly taking notes – at work, at church, on the go. Thick, lined paper with good binding. It’s the stuff of legends.
- HIGH QUALITY HAIR TOOLS | One of my cousins is a hairdresser and sourced me salon-grade Babyliss products. They were pricier than entry-level models, but I swear my blowdryer works in a fraction of time of my old pharmacy-grade one. And my favourite feature – the chords on salon-quality ones are SO MUCH longer.
- WHITE NOISE MACHINE | I’m at the point where I can’t sleep without white noise. I’ve bought several Dohm products but have had quite a few issues, so don’t know if I’d recommend that brand outright (though they were great about sending replacements). Relax Melodies is a great free app for white noise, which is what I use when we travel.
- GIFT CARDS | To Amazon, to a favourite coffee shop, a restaurant, a high-end consignment store, the health-food store. I love the flexibility of gift cards and most stores – even small specialty ones – offer gift card options these days.
- ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH | This might sound strange but remember…this isn’t a gift guide. I actually did gift myself a pink Philips toothbrush several Christmases ago. It can take a bit of geting used to, but a good electric toothbrush really elevates the boring routine of oral hygiene and leaves my teeth significantly cleaner than a normal toothbrush!
If you're looking for some great gift guides that are actually gift guides...might I suggest: - Enjoying the Small Things (several) - Young House Love - Chris Loves Julia (so many!) - The Vanilla Tulip (several) - Mix and Match Mama (so many!) - Danielle Moss (so many!) - Life As A Doctor's Wife (several)
Now…what are a few of YOUR favourite things?