AMAZINGLY SIMPLE – 25 Gifts you NEED to give someone this Christmas!

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Oprah Winfrey just released her 2018 list of her favorite things. Although fun to browse through, I am confused to think of anyone who thinks this is a great list.
Here are a few of my thoughts while perusing her list:

  • I have never in my life considered spending $200 on a foot massager or $160 on nail polish.
  • I love my pets but don’t think that I need to spend over $100 on a blanket for them or $200 for a doggie DNA kit (and why are the human ones cheaper?).
  • I stopped and clicked on the link for “Carl the Drinking Snowman”, but was upset to learn that Carl doesn’t actually drink anything and the whole thing has nothing to do with any sort of alcohol. I feel like a great marketing team was let down by the people in product development on this item. And, who spends $50 on one hot cocoa? (Is murdering a snowman REALLY that much fun?)
  • I liked the idea of the Grow Your Own Christmas Tree, but there is no way my DH would think a bag of dirt and a tree seedling should cost $45.
  • OPRAH AND I ACTUALLY AGREED ON ONE ITEM!!!                                                           (See below to find out which item appears on both of our lists!)

So here is my response – Here is my list of 25 Gifts you NEED to give someone this Christmas!  (I am not sponsored or associated with any of these brands – although I would love to be – these are just my personal favorite items that I like to give, or receive.)

  1.  Haba Dolls – The cutest dollies ever!  They come in lots of different sizes, ages, and nationalities.  They are all super soft and totally machine washable.  This company is also a pleasure to work with.  This little guys name is Fritzi (purposely gender-neutral so you can decide) and a while back Fritzi went MISSING.  My three year old panicked and after looking everywhere, I started panicking too.  This exact doll (the one Babyman doesn’t go anywhere without) is not being made anymore.  I contacted HABA and explained my situation and they informed me that they aren’t selling Fritzi anymore (which I of course knew) but they would contact me if they could come up with another solution (which I figured was a nice way to get a crazy momma to hang up).  I got a call the very next day and HABA sent me a brand new Fritzi totally FREE as a replacement part.  Now that is customer service!  Babyman was told that Fritzi went on a little vacation, to explain his absence and why he was looking so perky and fresh upon his return.1116181113
  2. Schleich Animals – The best figurines ever!  They come in animals (real and imaginary) as well as people and even some cartoon characters.  We have a big basket of these that everyone likes to play with.1116181116
  3. Sarah’s Silks– Beautiful real silks that are offered in different sizes and colors.  This rainbow silk came in Babyman’s Easter basket and is tied to make a sling for him to wear his baby, as costumes for playing dress up, a landscape for peg dolls and animals, as a roof on block buildings, as a blanket, as a door to a blanket fort, …(really I could go on forever)1116181127
  4. Stockmar Crayons – I used to buy crayons like I bought toilet paper, just pick them up every chance you get because you know they are always running out.  I thought the price was high on these babies at first, but now they are on my must have list.  The quality is beautiful, they don’t break, they last forever and they come in these nice metal cases.  This is L.L.s set (my chief crayon breaker – I’m serious he has been to therapy for this) and not one is broken.  Babyman has a set of eight in Waldorf colors that are just gorgeous.  I think Dude will be getting some (maybe the stick and block mix) for Christmas.
  5. Bogs Boots – We have a pair of these that have made it through all three of my boys.  The kids feet stay dry and warm even in our crazy Ohio winters and the kids can put them on BY THEMSELVES!  They make these in sizes from infant through adult.  1116181131a
  6. Sevi Nativity Set – Look at this beautiful gem.  Both toy and decoration, all wood (except for the tan cloth playmat and a smaller woven piece that is in the barn and hard to see in my picture), all natural paints.  Our old nativity set was ceramic and the “wise guys” and Joseph got into an altercation with the avengers that involved lots of ceramic hands and staffs breaking off.  My kiddos are already fighting for who gets to play with this new set first (We don’t let anyone do anything Chrismas-ish until Black Friday).1116181545
  7. Hanna Andersson PJs – The best pj’s on this planet.  Amazingly soft and strong, they are great hand-me-downs.  They come in infant through adult (around each holiday they offer cutesy family photo matching sets) – they also offer pet ones on occasion.  Although they are known for the striped ones they also have lots of cute colors, patterns, and even commercial characters.  Look for direct sales from the Hanna website and buy off season if  you can for the best prices.1116181546
  8. Indestructibles Books- I borrowed these from the library.  There are tons of titles.  Babies can chew on these and they can’t be ripped (even by big people that have tried – don’t ask me how I know)1116181547
  9. Land’s End Canvas Bags – Everyone needs a few of these.  They come in lots of different sizes, colors and patterns (you can also get them monogrammed).  I favor the ones that have a zipper on top.  They are machine washable, too!  We use ours for grocery shopping, farmers markets, library trips, a diaper bag, an overnight bag, snacks in the car, carrying our little brother around the house…1116181548
  10. Pottery Barn Kids/Teen Suitcases – This is Dudes suitcase.  All of us have our own which just makes trips and packing super easy for me.  We used to get them from Land’s End but they don’t make very many anymore.  After a thorough search, I have chosen to buy the kids suitcases from Pottery Barn now.  This year Fifi is getting a Slytherin one that looks old school with leather straps (She requested a bigger bag than her current Land’s End carry-on) and Babyman is getting a Spiderman one (he is outgrowing the Trunki that he has been using and he walks everywhere without asking for rides now).  Dudes Star Wars and L.L.’s Avengers suitcases were bought a couple of years ago and still look nearly new even with a decent amount of use.  Be sure to check both the PBK and the PBT websites before choosing – they have different options on each site.1116181549
  11. Duluth Flex Firehose Pants – If you know a man or woman who WORKS for a living, you need to buy them these pants!  The picture below is of my husbands clean pants – I swear they are CLEAN!  He has two pairs of these that he has worn to work for a few years now.  They are flexible and durable and have lots of fun features like super strong Velcro loops and spaces for kneepad inserts.  Check out their advertisements if you are in need of a laugh.  They make these for men and women in a broad range of sizes.1116181551
  12. Hot Shot Hot Water Dispenser– We have a hot shot that the kids use almost everyday for tea, cocoa, oatmeal, etc.  I bought two this year for Christmas presents – one for my nephew who is headed off to college and one for my mom (I’m going to make a care package of “just add water” meals, snack and drinks to go with it).  1116181551a
  13. H & M Conscious Jumpsuit with Hood – My boys got these one piece sweat suits over a year ago.  L.L. is getting one again this year (in a darker color) because he likes it so much we can hardly peel it off of him to wash it.  I also like to support the conscious items that H & M is offering (voting with my money).1116181552
  14. Bella Luna Toys Bolga Baskets – This beautiful, small, handmade (ethically) basket is surprisingly strong.  It was bought as a toy container but I often steal it to use as a purse.  Truly a quality item that could be given to anyone.  Add some fruit or homemade preserves and make it an amazing gift (put a bottle of DarkHorse and some salted caramels in it and give it to me).1116181118a
  15. Dr. Martens Shoes – Everyone in my house loves them for their durability, comfort and classic styles.  They even make these in baby sizes. These are L.L.’s church shoes.1116181553
  16. GAP Jeans – I really don’t know what my DH does to his jeans but they were in my sewing basket at least once a week until we found these.  The classic loose style has a nice weight that he is comfortable in and I don’t have to mend.  (We tried to buy the step down brand, from the jointly owned company, to save a few bucks but it wasn’t worth it).  We will continue to buy these.1116181554
  17. Pampered Chef Mini Spatula – I am NOT a pyramid scheme type of woman, but this little spatula is amazing!  It is just the right size for cookies and brownies and plenty thin enough to get under things without messing them up (hello grilled cheese!).  Great for teachers, neighbors, or anyone you need a stocking stuffer for!1116181555
  18. Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven – I’m sorry, these are used so often in my house, that you are getting a picture of dirty pans (if you look close enough you can see remnants of bacon and brussel sprouts).  The pan in the front can be flipped on top of the one in the back to make a dutch oven.  My maid of honor bought these for me for my wedding shower and they only get better with age.  I have used these to make dinner in the fireplace when the power went out.  We even bring them camping with us (gotta have some dump cake).  Thanks Nicole!pans
  19. Craftsman Hand Tools – Great tools, American made, and they have a real life-time guarantee.  Everyone needs these.1116181556
  20. LYRA Color Giants Colored Pencils – These are Dudes (he is super color blind so that is why I wrote the colors on them).  Real, quality colored pencils, that don’t break and color beautifully (This kiddo hates to color – guess it’s not that fun if you can’t really see it – but actually uses these to color WITHOUT me making him!) They come in different sizes and amounts – these ones came with the nice wooden box.1116181557a
  21. Kid Made Modern Smarts and Crafts Kit – Here it is – the item that Oprah and I agree on!  My kids love to craft and this is a great big kit of fun extras.  They also offer smaller kits and different themes.  I find Kid Made Modern items at Target both online and in the big box store.  This is on two of my kiddos wish lists for Christmas this year.1117181432a
  22. Ikea Mala Drawing Paper Roll  – Who doesn’t need this?  Old-school butcher paper.  I like IKEAs for the price and that the roll seems really long without being too bulky.  I often use this to wrap gifts and sometimes use it to wrap sandwiches.  My kids use it to draw, color, and paint and to make crafts and racetracks and board games and I don’t even know what else.  Add it to your cart next time you shop IKEA – you won’t be disappointed.  Gift it to any kid by adding crayons, markers, stamps or washi tape.  1116181558a
  23. Melissa and Doug Service Station Parking Garage – I looked far and wide for a car set that was made of wood, compact, and had a carry handle.  This one has been better than expected and at a modest price point.  The back sides that you can’t see have a car wash and lift built in.  This toy is a great find with the quality you would expect from Melissa and Doug1116181559a
  24. Playdoh – Even if you prefer to make your own, it is nice to get a small play-doh set.(Keep the cute containers and use them again!)  L.L. bought this Avengers set (I only took a picture of my favorite piece – Tony Stark’s face is on the container when you lift Iron Man’s mask!) for himself and I was impressed with the attention to detail and the play value included.1116181600
  25. Legos – I would probably be dis-owned by my family if I didn’t include this awesome toy.  Although I hate plastic, I am happy to know that the Lego company is exploring other materials to (hopefully) replace the outdated and unhealthy plastic they are currently using (Dude got a cool set of eco-friendly Legos from the guy at the Lego store when he was there for his birthday!)  This set is Fifi’s, she “plays” with her Legos in a gentler way and was the only one who had a whole set already put together when I asked for one for a picture.(She has been a Beatles fan almost her whole life.)1116181601b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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