Here is my special friends holiday list. Maybe I’m over thinking this list, but its important to me that each gift genuinely match each friend. In past years, I would brave crowds of shoppers then search out boxes for shipping, then stand in post office lines and pay hefty fees for shipping. That was then, this is now. I now click my way to find the best of the best and even better the sellers wrap and ship— often without cost. FYI I am not affiliated with any of these companies and do not receive commission.
The Top Ten No-Nonsense Holiday Gifts
1. French Chic by Tish Jett ( Rizzoli, $30)
My neighbor just came back from her first trip to Paris and like most women, she was mesmerized by the seemingly inherent style of French women. She was almost obsessed in deconstructing their look– was it in the scarf? The hair? The fit of the coat? I’m giving her the answers she wants with a copy of French Chic. Written by the founder of the uber popular blog, A Femme of a Certain Age, French Chic ( Rizzoli, $ 30), it drills down into the secrets of french style to provide easy to follow rules and suggestions. Even better, it is aimed for women who as Tish puts it “the last time they saw 40 was on a speedometer”. Its availability on Amazon which means it can arrive in less than three days.
2. Do It Yourself Lotion Kit
Despite my passion for all things beauty, I rarely give skin care products. But I have two DIY friends who are always trying out new recipes for kitchen cosmetics. For them I have ordered this kit from Made On ( $45). It contains measured quantities of ingredients like shea butter and beeswax and necessary equipment like an eyedropper and containers for lip balm. Well-written instructions plus an e-book to create more DIY products make this my favorite gift for homegrown cosmetic chemists.
3. Sun Protective Tee Shirt
Since a close friend died from melanoma, I have become fairly obsessed with sun protection. Both my daughters spend their winter vacation running after small children with tubes of sunblock. Since I can’t be there to make sure they apply and reapply sunscreen to their own limbs, these long sleeve shirts from( Coolibar, $45) with a UPF of 50+ will do the job for me. I got one in hot pink for my extrovert and a white tee for my quiet child.
4. Unique Travel Tags
I have several friends who were born with the travel gene. Over the years, they have brought home tons of souvies and the last thing they need is something else to put away For them, these unique travel tags ( Inventive Travel Ware, $5.00) will be something they can actually enjoy using. I usually send a selection of four different tags. These bright colored plastic tags include:
*A blue tag that says” Please don’t take my bag, I’m too old to chase you”
* A pink tag that says” Take my luggage, do my laundry”
* A purple tag that says” Keep looking, I think yours is a different shade of black”
And MLF, have a fabulous trip to Russia.
5. Bark Box– gift box for pets
For friends with fur babies, a Bark Box with toys and treats is always welcome. They are assembled according to the size of the pet and have equally useful gift boxes for cats. While you can get a multi month subscription, a single box for a small dog is less than $30.
6. Blow-Out with Blo
One of the best things about blogging is that you make so many great friends across the country. One dear online friend keeps telling me I have great hair and I keep telling her I just have a great blow-out. This year I saw that Blo, a blow dry chain , opened in her hometown of Tampa , and I down loaded a gift certificate ( $45) for her just in time for New Year’s Eve. Blo is a nationwide chain backed by Gweneth Paltrow. Her stick straight hair has inspired an generation and now top quality styling is available just about everywhere in the US.
7. The Perfect Gift for Book Lovers That is Not a Book
My son in law is a big Ayn Rand fan. When I discovered an Atlas Shrugged tee shirt from The Out of Print Clothing Company, I knew I had found a great ‘ I get you” gift. He loved it and often wears it when we get together. My husband collects vintage science fiction and was equally happy with his Farenheit 451 tee. I find it very difficult to give presents to men, and these tees seem to hit the sweet spot of guy gifts– personal, but not too personal.
8. Shark Tank Book
I have several friends who share my obsession with Shark Tank. We watch and discuss it as if it was a course at Harvard Business School. I wanted to send them a set of Shark Tank of DVD’s, but it was only available in a streaming download and I can’t figure out how to gift wrap that version. Instead I found a wonderful book by Shark Tank superstar, Lori Grenier . Invent It, Sell It, Bank It: Make Your Million Dollar Idea Into a Reality ( $18) is packed with the same type of no-nonsense business advice that makes Shark Tank so addicting.
9. DIY Cheesekit
I have to admit that my other foodie friends and I sort of compete to see who can find the coolest cooking/eating gift. Sometimes its a tool and other years its a basket of unusual ingredients. This year I think I cranked it up a bit with DIY kits for homemade string cheese from William Sonoma ( $40). I haven’t tried it yet so it will be an experiment for all of us. But they are true foodies and even failures are interesting.
10. Holiday Gift Box from Omaha Steaks
My webmaster is one of the most important people in my life. She is always there to talk me down from the ceiling when Google or WordPress change the rules of the game. She has a large, adorable family and I love to imagine their enthusiasm when they open up a box of holiday foods from Omaha Steaks. More than just delicious meat, the box also includes items like stuffed potatoes and a chocolate cake.