A Christmas gift guide you can afford

I can’t believe it is already that time again – time to buy gifts for the holidays! I luckily have already gotten basically all of my/our shopping done this year, but usually I am scrambling till the end. Last year I put together this gift guide for you guys, and honestly all of that is still relevant for this year, too! I’ve seen so many gift guides out there this season, and even if some of the items are in my realm of budget, most of the items are outrageously expensive. We all deserve to be spoiled, but I can’t justify or afford spending $150 on a blanket or a cardigan for all my girlfriends. OBVIOUSLY once we win the lottery this won’t be an issue, but until then, we are on a two teacher budget so here are some nice gifts you can afford this holiday season ūüôā

1. Barefoot dreams socks¬†– I was able to find some of these for even less than this link shows, but these are hot sellers this season! They are incredibly soft and cozy, perfect for lounging around the house or sticking into some boots when it’s really cold out! The perfect cozy splurge, because I can’t afford the cardigan that is over $100!

2. Wicks for wags candles – I always personally think candles are a nice gift, because they can actually get pretty expensive and you always want to have several around! My friend Meghan got me one of these and I LOVE it. I love a gift that gives back, and this shop gives at least 10% of the money they make on candles to help animals in need. Read more about their cause here. Plus, it’s a gift from a local vendor and supports a small business!

3. Joanna Gaines Homebody design book or Magnolia Table cookbook, Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings or Hungry for More cookbooks. I have two of these, and would love to have the other two. Wonderful gifts that someone might not want to purchase for themselves.

4. Dior lip glow – I have seen this product raved about for years by different bloggers and finally bit the bullet on one during Black Friday sales to try it out. It is as good as they say it is!!! A great way to treat someone to a pretty and practical gift that they will get use out of! The perfect hint of color and intense moisture.

5. Slippers – I think a nice cozy pair of slippers is a great gift for the holidays. I like these and these!

6. Flannel pj shorts – if you get hot like I do when you sleep, flannel pants can just be too much. But I love Old Navy’s flannel boxer pajama shorts!

7. Books – Educated is the latest book I read and I am just amazed at this incredible story. I read it in two days over the weekend and could not put it down! I am dying to read Girl, Wash Your Face and Where the Crawdads Sing next. For more ideas,¬†here’s a great list to get you thinking if you know someone who loves to read!

8. The Yellow Bird products – I have written about this company before here. All natural, chemical free products that make for wonderful gifts for anyone!

9. The Little Market is always a great place to shop for items that give back – candles, jewelry, home goods, tote bags, you name it!¬†I love these tassel earrings and this dainty tassel necklace. Whitney got us tassel bracelets for being her bridesmaids in April, and I never take mine off! This tiny pearl necklace is also a perfect dainty piece.¬†I also love The Flourish Market for spending money towards a good cause (local in downtown Raleigh if you’re in the area!).

I also think another great gift idea is to give the gift of a subscription box! One month, three, or whatever you can afford Рthey all offer different options! Some subscriptions I have used or been gifted in the past and have really enjoyed are FabFitFun, Shaker & Spoon, GlobeIn, Cloth & Paper, and Ipsy. There are also subscription boxes for pets, wine lovers, chocolate lovers, all kinds of things!

I can never find a gift that seems right for the men in my life, no matter how many different types of gift guides for men I peruse. So some ideas I actually DO like for men include flannel pajama pants, slippers, a Yeti mug if they drink coffee, a beard hair catcher for easy clean-up if they have facial hair, or a nice flannel shirt or jacket. There are all kinds of gadgets out there for men but I have seen this digital grill thermometer in a few different places, so if you have a guy that loves to fire up the grill, this is probably a great idea!

Hopefully this list at least sparks some interest or gets you thinking about some things you could get for some people you may be having trouble thinking about! Christmas will be here before you know it – I just got up my Christmas decorations over the weekend, so I’m already feeling behind!

Happy shopping!

Gift guide // Christmas 2017

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It’s that time of year! Everyone is coming out with their gift guides, so I’ve rounded up some ideas for mine! Sometimes I get frustrated with gift guides because I feel like they are¬†nothing like¬†the people I want to buy for, or they cost 18 times my budgeted gift amount. Especially with gift guides for men – I’m always like, “Is there really a real man out there who would actually enjoy these things?”

I digress. So anyway, consider this more of a gift-giving guide than an actual list of items you should purchase for someone. I love to give gifts, and if I had more money I would do a lot more of it! I’m personally not a huge fan of pre-packaged gift sets because I like the idea of putting together a gift myself. Read along for some helpful hints at putting together some gifts for the holidays.

1. I think a thoughtful gift comes from really knowing the person you are buying for. Duh, but what I mean is this: ¬†Think about what they do in their free time, their hobbies, what they talk to you about, the way they dress, etc. Do they like to be outdoors or snuggle up inside? Do they like to go to concerts, shop, read, pamper themselves, go out to eat, cook, etc.? If you think of a person’s interests and what they spend their time doing, that can lead to solid gift-giving.
2. Start paying closer attention to your conversations with people. Inevitably as humans, we will throw out in conversation that we¬†really need a new xyz,¬†or we are¬†obsessed with the new xyz,¬†or we¬†would die for xyz but can’t justify spending money on it for ourselves.¬†You get the picture. Start listening to what your friends and family mention as you’re having regular conversations with them. Make a mental note, and when you give them that gift, they’ll be so surprised and impressed that you remembered!
3. I always go to Etsy for anything personalized. The world is your oyster when it comes to that place. You name it, someone has a shop for it. And I love that you’re supporting a small business owner who is working hard for what they’re passionate about. Everything I have ever ordered from Etsy has been a huge hit. You can get personalized prints, maps, mugs, shirts, jewelry, signs, decor‚Ķliterally. Anything. You. Can. Think. Of. In the past, I have ordered hand-lettered inspirational quote paintings, custom t-shirts, cute maps for friends who have moved from place to place so they have all of their ‘homes’ with them, jewelry with birthstones, initials, important dates, words, etc., and much more. The best part is, probably no one else you know will have what you order!
4. Consider the gift of time rather than expensive gifts that might not get a lot of use. If you find yourself buying something “just to buy something,” consider asking that friend or family member if you can just¬†do¬†something together this year instead. Whitney and I started a tradition a few years back of just picking a day in the calendar around Christmas time and spending the whole day together. As life gets busier, that time is so much more important and valuable to me! In the past, we have gotten massages, gotten our nails done, had fancy brunches, gone to our favorite restaurants, tried new restaurants, cooked our favorite meals together at home, hung out and watched TV/movies, gone to see movies, etc. This year, instead of gifts, my siblings and I are going to do a sibling sleepover and watch old movies, hang out, eat, go on a hike, and just enjoy each other’s company. If you’re someone who values time together, try that with people who you think will enjoy it. It takes so much stress off of the gift part and really focuses on what’s truly important – and you can always sneak in a card or a small gift if you feel the need!
5. Gift an experience. This is similar to #4, but includes purchasing an actual item. A concert, a cooking class, a weekend away, a food truck rodeo, gift card to a restaurant you know someone wants to try, candle-making class, etc. I also love the idea of an experience that is new to both people! Groupon, Offline, and Skillpop are all great places to buy stuff like that.
6. Don’t forget places like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshall’s for discounted gifts that are still really ¬†nice. It doesn’t matter what you spend on someone’s gift, and it is just plain smart to try to save a little money on things, especially when you have a lot of people to buy for! Home gifts like coffee table books (I asked for this one!), trinket trays, pretty coasters, and vases are always nice – anything that you think someone might actually use. And obviously, Target is one of my favorite places to buy little gift items! I love the idea of buying a cute and useful basket like this or this to hold the rest of the gift items. A cozy blanket or a themed gift like bath products, manicure items, or winter favorites would fit perfectly in one of those baskets!
7. Clump your gifts so you don’t have to agonize so much over one main thing for someone. I am a big fan of gifting in twos and threes; whatever feels complete. Find a base gift to give someone, and then add in a smaller gift or two that you can’t go wrong with. I always love to give and get candles, dainty jewelry, nail polish, body lotions (my favorite), face masks, cozy socks or scarves, and good books. A simple pair of Kate Spade studs is always exciting and still a really nice gift (I like these, these, and these). They also always have a $50 and under page where you can look for pretty little things to fill in a gift (or to be the main event!).

So there you have it! Some actual gift guides I’ve enjoyed this year are here, here, and here (for linked and shoppable items). For the guys in my life, I always tend to really nag politely ask until I get an answer, but when that fails, I have never gone wrong with flannel shirts, funny t-shirts, vests, books, movies, shoes, a nice wallet or watch if needed/used, and everyone’s favorite, soft clothes (sweatpants, gym shorts, pajama pants, hoodies). But the men in my life are not very picky, so I’m lucky!

Happy holiday shopping! What are some gift-giving guidelines you follow? I am not much of a Black Friday sale shopper, but I love to get my gifts bought early so I can enjoy the rest of the season spending time with my favorite people and wrapping up everything to put under the tree!