Holiday & Entertaining

Holiday Gifts For Guys, Gals & Kids: 2013 Edition

Big news, guys! We finished our makeover at the Children’s Hospital, and we can’t wait to share all the photos – hopefully on Monday! So today we thought we’d Friday things up with one giant gift guide for everyone who has been asking for it (hope it’s not too late – and so sorry for the delay!). Last year we shared our picks for lads, ladies, and kiddos across three different posts, but this time we thought we’d just smash them all into one big gifty rundown. And in the interest of thriftiness, there are lots of under-$15 things along with a ton of $30-or-less finds. Note: none of these are affiliate links, we just think this stuff is a good time.

Here are a bunch of things that we’re digging for Clara or other kiddos – along with a few baby items now that the bun is on the way.

1. I love cruising around on Etsy (shopping there makes me more confident that it’s not something one of our nieces or nephews might already have) – like this $19 whale puzzle that’s homemade and super charming. Update: this $19 version sold out, but it looks like it’s still available in pink and there’s a larger $29 one left.

2. This harkens back to Clara’s baby days, but a relative got us this sleep sheep as a gift, and it was so convenient to snap to her carry-along car seat for keeping her snoozing when we popped into restaurants or other people’s homes.

3. Clara would go nuts for this awesome $15 wooden vegetable garden for her dollhouse. She loves little interactive items like this, where you can actually “plant” things like carrots and then pull them out to harvest them.

4. This $23 eco friendly beehive toy is another one that we’re tempted to grab for Clara (kids can work on their fine motor skills while they pinch each bee and place them into the honeycombs). And you know we like bees…

5. This $9 book never fails to make us laugh when we read it (crayons have feelings too!).

6. Clara and pretty much every kid she knows are into sharks, so I think they’d get a kick out of this shark bath towel.

7. This $36 Zoey The Mouse doll is handmade and crazy cute. Is it weird that I want one?

8. Clara got this $12.99 magnetic dress-up set as a gift from her cousin Elsa for her birthday and is IN LOVE with it. They’re little wooden dolls with magnetic clothes that you can easily change (sort of like paper dolls, but with magnets instead of tabs).

9. This $8 wiggling worm toy looks cute for a certain bun on the way, but I can’t tell if it’s too early to get him a Christmas present? Someone say “no way!” so I can click “add to cart.”


Here are some things I thought would be fun for moms, sisters, friends, or any other ladies out there.

1. These festive $5.99 glasses would be sweet filled with anything from candy to a bag of hot cocoa mix – and a few of them with a bottle of wine would work too.

2. Ceramic house ornaments. I love them. In fact I wouldn’t be mad at Santa if these guys showed up in my stocking this year – especially since they’re on clearance.

3. I love poking around on Etsy for my sisters-in-law or my best friends, and this little customized necklace (she’ll make any state or animal) is pretty amazing indeed.

4. This clean-lined necklace is on my wink-at-John-and-send-him-the-link list this year. I love the long-ish chain and the mixed metals.

5. This little heart sweatshirt is on sale for $15, and I think everyone from my niece to my mom could rock it.

6. A gleamed out little pillow (on clearance for $17) could fit the bill for your home-loving (or Nate-Berkus-loving) friend.

7. I love a little colorful clutch like this for corralling everything from makeup to other odds and ends in my purse that would otherwise be floating around and falling out.

8. Photoshop humor wins every time. I’d totally buy one of these crop-tastic shirts for myself and one for my art director friend.

9. I’m a huge fan of Katie Daisy’s Etsy shop, and I think this $18 Here & Now print is one of the sweetest reminders to stay in the moment.

10. Brown leather studded gloves (on sale for $16) are a chic little gift for someone who’s into fashion or warm hands.

11. This is my favorite tech gadget that I’ve seen in a while, and it’s only $9. It plugs into your outlet and cuts the power to any charger/device/appliance that’s connected to it at a certain interval (ex: after two hours, when it’s fully charged). So the laptops and phones will get juiced up, but won’t keep sucking power from those outlets all night long once they’re full.

12. These blue tights would be such a fun stocking stuffer (pun intended) – and they’re on sale for $8.50.


Last but certainly not least, John got in on the fun and put together this “Dude Guide O’ Gifts” – so I’m handing him the mic for the last third of this post:

1. I’m two issues into a $24 Mental Floss subscription that I got for my birthday this year and I’m already hooked. Any trivia geek or factoid cowboy will have a field day with this magazine.

2. Since I’m not fancy enough to give someone an actual phone (or ask for one either), a new case is a nice middle ground. This wood-ish iPhone case on ScoutMob is marked down to just $16.

3. I’ve kinda been jonesing for a cordless circular saw. A friend let me use theirs recently and I loved not messing with extension cords. But maybe that’s just the saw addict in me talking.

4. Our showhouse builder loaned us his old ear-marked copy of this book and it sucked us right in.

5. Threadless has tons of cool stuff, and I love that you can get it on shirts, hoodies, mugs, or the ol’ classic poster. This cool-ly colorful Linear Landscape print starts at just $8.

6. Thick glasses + mustache + Etsy shop = congratulations, you’re now the owner of the ultimate hipster shirt.

7. Not to go all Rob Kardashian on you, but I think we can all stand to own some not-so-serious socks.

8. This $19 “Old Town” throw is a good guy-friendly blanket for sending some warm wishes. The brown is pretty neutral, but the geometric city print is a nice upgrade from the generic.

9. Our garage is currently lacking in the light department, so every time I see the sign for this $20 work light at Lowe’s, I realize it’d be a great gift – especially for the tool guy in your life. You can always use more light. And clamps. Someone put that on a t-shirt or something.

10. In preparation for my annual “watch less TV” resolution, I love the idea of stocking up on family friendly games like this Telestrations one that I keep hearing so much about. And if you’re feeling less than-family-friendly, we hear that Cards Against Humanity can be pretty fun too.

11. Subscription boxes are the gifts that keep on giving. I have my eye on StrideBox, which comes stocked with goodies for runners. But there’s also one for bike enthusiasts and a bunch of others on this review site.

Did you guys see any favorites among the mood boards above? Do you have any especially tricky-to-shop-for relatives? What are you hoping to give (or receive) this season? Are you crossing your fingers for tools or decor items? Wrapping up some homemade or local finds for your loved ones? And are you breaking out all the saved-from-last-year gift bags and ribbons to get everything wrapped up? You know Sherry is.


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by CharlestonCrafted by Miller8786
by CrabandFishBlog by wilm



Some Happy Holiday Decorating

Nothing makes a house (especially one that we’ve lived in for 6 months) feel like a home like a little holiday coziness. So along with decorating the front of the house, and setting up our tree, each year we love to document how we festive-ify the rest of the house (here’s that post from last year, two of them from 2011, one from 2010, one from 2009, and one from 2008). This year was an especially exciting year because it’s our first Christmas of living in this house… which means I have new spaces to play with – like a different fireplace mantel, and stairs for the first time in seven years of home-ownership!

For almost every other space I just used what we already had, but for the stairs I ran to JoAnn and bought some faux garland (and an evergreen sprig for my green HomeGoods jug). It was $14 for both of them thanks to 50% sales on the Christmas stuff. To hang the garland on the railing, I just used red ribbon from last year (I’m the girl who saves every ribbon when I open presents to reuse it) – one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle. I also added a clear zip tie at the top (under that ribbon) to be sure things stay put.

The bench is a HomeGoods find that we’re planning to eventually use at the foot of our bed (once I recover it) so I tossed a furry blanket on it and plopped it in the foyer for now. I got the idea for the whole garland/bench thing when a few people showed me this photo from Country Living and said “I can’t believe that’s not your house – there’s even blue trim in the room next to the stairs!” – how funny is that? So it was definitely the inspiration for this little holiday moment. Although the first thing we did in the foyer has already turned into a new holiday favorite: The Christmas Moose!

We grabbed him at HomeGoods back in September for $9 (weirdly enough, it was John’s idea – I think I’m rubbing off on him) for the express purpose of hanging him up for the holidays. Basically John picked him up, declared that his name was Morris The Moose, and said “we should bring Morris home and hang him every Christmas, so he can live out his destiny as The Christmas Moose.”


He’s pretty much Clara’s favorite holiday decor item ever (if live seals can’t be brought in for the roof, at least there’s a silver moose in the foyer). The best part is that I didn’t have to make any holes in the wall to hang him. I just used the screw that was holding up the Ikea frame that usually lives on that wall, so it should be easy to swap out that picture for a moose every December. And then I just stuck some remnants of ribbon and pom-pom fringe around his neck along with a few pink ornaments and called it a day.

Next we have the living room mantel, which has a bunch of stuff that we’ve enjoyed for a few years in a row. The green feather trees (they’re hand-me-downs from John’s sister, but she originally got them from Target) are nice up on the ledge, along with some wrapped presents. Those are my favorite no-fuss accessories to break out every year because they’re fake and I wrapped them back in 2010 but they’re such an easy way to look like I’m this master gift wrapper (meanwhile I’ve shopped for about 6% of this year’s gifts and wrapped 3% of them). Oh and our stockings are currently labeled as “Mommy & Daddy”, “Clara”, and “Burger” but we’re thinking when the bun comes along next year we’ll get five of them (one for each person) so there’s no more random stocking sharing going on.

My favorite detail of all in here is the cardboard Burger (a reader hand-made him at a book tour signing last year) who’s sherpa-ing a present. Cracks me up every time.

A few folks asked where our outdoor star pendants ended up in this house (you can see where we got those here), and the answer is that we finally got around to hanging them in the corner of the sunroom-turned-veranda, so we can gaze at them from the sofa in the living room every night.

The console in the foyer also got some casual cuteness, mostly in the form of leftover ribbons, and a homemade reindeer.

I have these little letterpress “love” blocks out year-round, but a pink ribbon and two tiny ornaments make it a little more cheerful…

… and this reindeer was handmade by John’s grandpa, so he’s hugely sentimental and we love seeing him standing on his ribbon pile when we come down the stairs.

Our leaning chalkboard in the office got a little holiday message on it as well. Clara asked me to add the birds and snow. Now I just need her help decorating a snowman down at the bottom (she loves to chalk things up down there). She’s also a fan of drawing bunnies these days, so we might get some of those in the mix…

Clara and I also got to do a fun little Christmas craft together, which was basically making a giant mess with fake snow (it was THE BEST and SO HILARIOUSLY MESSY). Otherwise known as making these two snow-filled boxes, complete with tiny trees and mini dogs.

Don’t mind Captain Barnacle’s legs in this shot (he still goes everywhere with Clara). This is what we used for the project:

I grabbed two of these glass boxes from TJ Maxx (I think they were $7.99 each) along with a bag of fake snow, a two-pack of little trees, and one package of tiny ceramic dogs from Michaels (they’re meant for those little holiday villages that people make under the tree with various buildings and skating rinks, etc).

Then Clara just had fun covering the kitchen with fake snow filling each of the two boxes with a mound of snow, and adding a few dogs and a tree. Now they sit on the media cabinet in the living room and Clara can usually be found standing about 2″ away just gazing at them. She even named a few of the dogs (Elmo is the one on the right, and the one in the top hat is Gru). The good news is that the hand-vac was able to suck up all the little glittering snow particles that exploded all over the table and floor during our little crafting session.

So that’s how we added a little more holiday fun to the house. It definitely feels homier with stockings and ribbons and a big ol’ silver moose. What have you guys done inside? Is anyone else having the best time ever decorating their stairs? I can’t be the only one walking in there every ten minutes just to smile at the railing.

Psst –  Still in the holiday spirit? Here are nearly 40 other holiday posts from the past: 

Christmas Table Settings

Adding Holiday Sparkle

Making Dried Citrus Ornaments

A Huge Holiday Idea Roundup

Making Ornament Magnets

Planting Holiday Paperwhites

Making Glass Ornaments

A Few Simple Gift Ideas

More Cheap & Easy Gifts

Our Baby Girl Themed Tree

Our Citrus Themed Tree

Our Silver Themed Tree

Making Faux Presents

DIYing A Holiday Welcome Mat

Two “Baby’s 1st” Ornaments

Our Paint Chip & Ribbon Tree

Exterior Holiday Decorating

A Holiday Gift List For DIYers

A Festive Tabletop Tree

A Homemade Advent Calendar

38 Homemade Ornaments

Holiday Art Tweaks

Free 2012 Calendar Download

Our 2011 Holiday Card

What We Got Each Other

Clara’s Christmas Play Kitchen

Easy DIY Secret Santa Gifts

Giving Sentimental Gifts

A Gradient Christmas Tree

Making Every Corner Festive

Toddler Gift Guide 2012

Ladies Gift Guide 2012

Guys Gift Guide 2012

An Easy Ornament Garland

Our 2012 Christmas Card

Hosting Christmas Dinner

Storing Holiday Decor