Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Photo Credit: Purroy Productions
It's that time of year again where we break out that dreaded “Shopping List" Lol. I've alwaysss been one who preferred (and still does) giving rather than receiving. I mean don't get me wrong...I LOVE a great gift Lol. But I always enjoy the feeling of gifting loved ones way more. Particularly, gifts that I know they'd get a kick out of! I remember in elementary school we had this pop-up holiday shop called "Santa's Secret Workshop," and I just haddd to purchase a gift for literally everyyyy family member because well I just did! Lol It just made me ecstatic to give out gifts. Luckily, that urge to purchase something for everyone kind-of subsided (more or less Lol) because it can hurt your pockets Haha! And falling into the must-have-it-now trap can be pretty lethal.
Often times, people ask me how do I balance my love for luxury products while still remaining mindful of my finances. Personally, it's really just the idea of just that BALANCE. It's truly a balancing act, and you gotta be able to know what you reallyyy want..what you really need...and what you can and can't live without (obviously, the latter varies from person-to-person). Nowadays, or I should say for the past few years, I've taken a much different approach to holiday gifting. Now, I limit my gift list to approximately 3-5 major purchases for the people at the top of my list, and then I am pretty big on homemade gifts for the rest. There is nothing like a homemade gift! The time put in, the thought behind it, and it’s originality. It's literally one-of-a-kind! Now since there should be balance with all things…I do not hand-make alllll my gifts Lol (thankfully). So, I make some gifts, buy some gifts, and purchase items to make other cool gifts. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you, some of my favorites gifts to give and receive! ;-) Ya know kinda like Oprah's Christmas list except my list is somewhat affordable Haha.
1. Milk & Cookies Aren't Just For Santa Ya Know...
Ok so this is a staple tradition that I've done for the past 5 years now and it's always a big hit among my colleagues. I love milk and cookies! Hahaha And I think we can agree that most of the world does too. So why not make it a cute homemade Christmas gift?! Sometimes, I add in brownie bites as a bonus cause well...Why not?! First, I get my favorite cookie box mix (Hey in Steph's world, homemade doesn't always mean made from scratch-made cause ain't nobody got time for that LOL). But if scratch made is your thing then please knock yourself out. Second, I purchase cute Christmas bags to package the goods (Usually I get these from the dollar store. They also have cute metal tins to elevate the presentation even more, which we at MBD are allll about!). Thirdly, I purchase these mini plastic milk jugs or mini bottles and filler-up with the milk brand of choice! Normally, I purchase these cartons at the above link, but being that we are in Covid-times, you can also buy pre-packaged milk boxes here. Lastly, I tie the milk to the cookies with a cute bow and VOILA you've got yourself a cute homemade Christmas gift that will be sure to be a hit! Bonus points with these cute little personalized labels. PS: Make sure to ask if your giftees are allergic to any types of foods or have any conditions (like lactose intolerance) and be sure to accommodate accordingly. PPS: If baking just isn't your thing, then hit up my friendors - Eva (Bella Sophia Sugarcrafts) and Liz (Cookie Girl Bake Shop) and they'll be sure to hook you up with the most decadent looking and tasty treats and kits!
2.) Pasta & Wine Night
So another fun DIY gift is putting together a dinner kit. No not like Stouffer’s Lol. I’m talking the typical cozy night-in where you’re stumped on what to cook. Let's be real...Everyoneee has those nights! So purchase a cute basket and fill it with items you would use to make pasta (i.e. any kind of pasta (traditional spaghetti or even pizza dough), tomato sauce of choice, parmesan cheese, a few spices like Italian season and basil, and top it all off with a bottle of wine). Wrap it in clear cellophane and put a nice bow on it and VOILA! Tip: It doesn’t have to be pasta either. For example, if you know the giftee loves brownies (another one of my faves Lol), then a cute baker’s mitt with a brownie box and a whisk is another great alternative that does the trick!
3.) Uggs Don't Stand for UGLY After All LOL!
Yes, I'm serious! Lol. Ok so not gonna lie....This gift is definitely on the pricier side Lol, but here me out! I freakin LOVVVVE my Uggs!!! Admittedly, I had loathed them for years thinking that Uggs stood for ugggglyyy Lol, but then I was gifted a pair and omg it changed my life, and NO, I'm not exaggerating! Listen, I ABHOR the cold weather like the plague, and Uggs are my saving grace against New York's cold temps. Now don't get me wrong....I don't want you going around just buying a pair for everyone on your list Lol. No...no..no. I suggest you invest in this pair of miracle boots on either yourself haha (hey your name should be on your own list too), or someone who means the world to you! For example, they make a great gift for moms, wives, girlfriends, etc. PS: Uggs do carry options for men too so be sure to check them out! Usually, I'll do a quick internet search to see who is having the best sales.
4.) Please Subscribe...
No, I’m not a Youtuber (yet…Lol), but if you're anything like me, then you're as stubborn as a bull (fellow Taurus here! (waving)). Anyways, my point...? Well I'm pretty obsessed with Youtube TV. It's essentially replaced my real "tv watching" and those damn ads are annoying as hell, but for the longest time, I would NOT give in and pay the subscription because I’m stubborn and frugal AF! Haha If I get it as a gift though…Well then that's a wholeee 'nother story...I’ll be like HELL YEA! Haha How awesome would it be to gift someone a year's-worth subscription for Youtube TV, Netflix, or even Amazon Prime? This way they can watch their fave movies, shows, channels, or purchase items without the guilt of that dreaded monthly payment. Andddd they think of you each time they go to use it! Now THAT'S a win-win!
5.) Gift Cards Eats!
Now you're probably thinking that these aren't too thoughtful, but au contraire mon frere, they are! Ya see…Ima foodie and the amount of money I've spent on apps like Grub Hub, Door Dash, & Uber Eats is obsene (and quite embarrassing Lol). I really be trying to justify my hunger cravings, but it’s a no-go. But, things change once someone gifts me an e-gift card for one of these apps...That guilt just magically melts away! I mean technically I can only use it with the appropriate food app right? And I haveee to spend it all before it expires right...? See?! Another win-win! Bonus points that you can literally buy it and it’s emailed to the giftee making it a perfect contact-less option for these covid times.
6.) Shopping Spree
Ok so although this relates to the previous #4 kinda-sorta. It deserves a category all it's own cause how many of us have received gifts we didn't really like. Now before you say…"Well, it's the thought that counts!" Yea this is true, however there’s nothing wrong with trying to gift something that YOU know for sure the person is going to like! What better way to do that then to give them a gift card to their favorite store…? If you're like me, you can sometimes fall into the retail therapy trap and again here comes the guilt, but with a gift card you can shop til you drop sans guilt! Tah-DAH!!!
7.) Filler Up!
Haha…So you’re probably thinking this is mad random, but hear me out. Have you ever pumped your gas and said “Damn…That’s the price per gallon?! No? Just me? Lol Well, I definitely have, so it’s one of those “I never thought about that as a gift, but it’s a great idea." Especially, when you don’t just wanna stick money in a card and call it a day. Depending on how deep your pockets are, you can do a month's worth, 3 month's worth, or even a year's worth. Hey...I consider not having to pay for gas a pretty nice luxury. Obviously, please gift this to someone who drives an actual car so that it goes to good use!
8.) Ready For a Close-up?
Another random right?! Wrong! Photo sessions actually make a greatttt gift. Capturing a moment in time with your family and friends is priceless, so photo sessions are not only a unique gift that most people don’t think of, but it’s also totally worth it! And it doesn’t have to be a holiday session either. Maybe you know someone who just got engaged, or is expecting, or just delivered. These are all such special momentous occasions that all warrant capturing. If you’re intrigued, then check out my go-to friendors that I love booking for all things pictures – Inka Originals, Purroy Productions, and Leigh Wilson Photography.
9.) Self-Care Kit
These next few gift ideas will focus more on overall health and wellness. If you’re anything like me, you fallen victim to Seasonal Depressive Disorder, also known as, SAD, which is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year, usually where climates receive less sunlight during certain times of the year. Believe it or not, more than 5% of the U.S. suffers from SAD. That's over 15 million people! There have been some staple items that I use to keep my SAD in check. They include teas, natural vitamins and supplements, facial masks, candles, and more. What better way to gift someone who has the winter blues then a selfcare kit. Throw in a bathrobe, warm fuzzy slippers, and whatever other faves the recipient might enjoy. While these are just some extra ways to help manage my SAD, I also highly recommend seeking professional support if you feel that your SAD is largely affecting your day-to-day life.
10.) Sleep In Heavenly Peace
Some people need complete silence to sleep. Others need a little something to lull them to sleep. Not a hardcore lullaby per say, but there is nothing like the sound of ocean waves or rain on the rooftop, especially when you’re experiencing difficulty falling asleep. Thanks to a good old sound machine, I have the option between waves, rain, tropical forest, and even white noise, and it’s the absolute best and necessary for someone like me. I love this sound machine by Hatch Restore, but it is on the pricier side, so another great alternative is White Noise Machine by Dreamegg.
11.) Massage Envy
No, not the franchise. As a bonafide Event Designer & Professional Planner, my wedding and event days include long grueling hours. It usually takes anywhere from 2-5 days to feel like my old self again and walk without a limp or hunching over (No, not exaggerating Lol). I can now say that after investing in my Shiatsu Back Massager, it's been a gamechanger and my recovery time is not nearly as long. After event day, I go home, shower, and put this bad boy on and start to feel 10 times better instantly! This item is truly a worthwhile investment for those who work a lot on their feet putting extra strain on their back. Therefore, I'm confident that you'll love it too! Or even couples can get it as a thank you gift for their Wedding Planners! ;-)
12.) Fragrance – Do you have a signature scent that people remember you by? I do! I do! And for me, it’s Donna Karen’s Cashmere Mist. Perfumes and colognes can err on the pricier side. Especially, from some of the more prominent designer brands. Solution? Travel size perfumes, also known as, purse sprays. You get the quality stuff for less then a fraction of the cost! Cause who goes through a whole bottle in a few months anyways?
Well guys...That's all for now! I really hope you found these tips really helpful. Please be sure to share them with your family & friends who you think could benefit from these tips! Between all of us, we'll put Santa outta business! Haha!!!
PS: Just so ya know. I stand by all my recommendations (And Disclaimer: This is what has worked for me! Therefore these are opinions of my own). Having said that, this blog post does contain affiliate links of which I receive a small percentage of earnings for my recommendations with every link that's clicked and purchased. So thank you in advance for supporting my small business!