I've mentioned in previous holiday posts that Keith and I started a new gift exchange tradition several years ago. I proposed the idea as a way to reduce the amount of gifts and money spent. But I mainly warmed Keith to the idea by suggesting that once we did have a kid, this would be a great way to make this time of year less about the overabundance of gifts and (hopefully) more focused on the quality family time. I've been meaning to share some ideas for others interested in incorporating this into their own family's traditions, so here's my holiday gift guide for everyone on your lists "something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read". This may be a little last minute, but I know several of the shops I listed are still shipping in time for Christmas, so it's definitely worth reaching out. Everything on the first three lists is U.S. made, geared toward a variety of ages and genders. I tried to link directly to all seller or maker's websites (in the fourth list of books for example), so you can shop locally if that's your preference.
It can be a bit of a challenge to differentiate between what someone wants and what they actually need, and often I find that these overlap with the other categories. Because of this, we rarely actually gift each other four gifts. For example, several years ago Keith gave me the entire Anne of Green Gable Series, which fell under "read" and "want" for me (I totally teared up). This year, both Keith and Adeline's "wear" gifts also fall under "need", so they each have three to open next week. First up, some U.S. made items that some on your shopping list may "want" this year.
- Posie Girl by Pockets with Posies
I love these gorgeously made dolls, and if you're interested, the shop is doing a release tomorrow morning. Jump on it fast, because they always sell out in seconds!
- Wooden toys by Bannor Toys
They have state-shaped rattles, push toys, etc. and I think these would make such great stocking stuffers, shower gifts, and for a child's something you want or need.
- Caramel Salted Caramel Chews from Napa Valley Chocolate
- Bath Salts from The Little Flower Soap Co
These could totally go under the want or need category for most people, and everything in this Etsy shop's inventory looks wonderful and relaxing.
- Feminism is Cool pin by Modern Girl Blitz
Everyone needs this pin (and hopefully wants it).
- Wine Bottle Gift Bag by Hen House Originals
I love that this bag can be reused, brought out at the holidays, or even incorporated in your home decor. Plus, it's just an added bonus if you include a locally made wine or beer too!
- Engraved Wooden Music Box by Soundbarrel
- Script Initial Ring and Snap Front Leather Wallet from James Avery
I love this lowercase initial ring and leather wallet by this Texas-based company (that my sister works at!).
- Wooden Blocks by Uncle Goose
These were one of Adeline's gifts from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and they are beautifully made! The shop also has customized blocks available, so you could gift these for a child's room with their name on them or as holiday decor for fa amily or friend.
We all need a variety of things - food, new socks, a foot massage, a clean house, so sometimes I've found that gifting "something you need" can be as simple as a handmade gift certificate good for one week of loading and unloading the dishwasher (*hint hint* Keith). It could also be a homemade meal or offering to walk the dog all weekend. But, if you'd like actual items to wrap and exchange with your loved ones, here are a few locally made items that might fit the bill.
- Pretzel Bandana Bib by Deeks and Me
How adorable is this bandana bib?!? Also, this is a perfect example of "something to wear" and "something you need". These come in handy when you have a newborn that spits up and then again once they start teething (so much drool!). Keep their face dry and have the most stylish baby!
- Burp cloths by Heavenly 4get Me Knotts
Oh man, when you have a new baby, you need burp cloths in every single room of your house! So, why not have some cute ones too? These are made by a high school friend of mine who also makes adorable clothing, bedding, and hooded towels.
- Beard Oil and Essential Oils by No Tox Life
Keith currently uses a beard oil we bought in Brooklyn, but we're planning to check out Smorgasburg LA this weekend and this is one of the vendors there. I'm also a big believer in using essential oils to help with headaches, anxiety, relaxation, etc (I use lavender essential oil drops on my pillow every night).
- Shaving Mug by Miri Hardy Pottery
Keith has let me know this is a necessity for any hairy man. Pair this with some shaving soap for your favorite bearded or beardless man.
- Vermont Maple Syrup by Dorset Maple Reserve
I gifted small bottles of this Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup to family last year and it was a big hit. I don't know how much everyone necessarily "needs" this, but as someone who always grew up with genuine maple syrup (no cheap stuff for us!) on my pancakes, I think this is an important addition to everyone's home. Plus it's not just for pancakes, they have cocktail recipes on their website too!
- Olive Oil by Lincoln and Berry
Everyone needs some good olive oil in their home!
- Fun socks by The Sock Drawer
- Small Lap or Wall Quilt by The Bottle Tree
When you're looking for custom wall decor or a new quilt for your bed or child's room, check out this Texas-owned company. The Bottle Tree is owned by a dear friend, who made a similar wall hanging to this for Adeline's nursery, and she sells beautiful custom quilts, teaches classes, and has a lovely blog.
- Christmas Coasters by E Line Creations
I feel like coasters and tea towels always make great gifts. Those are two things that get lost or dirty over time and it's always nice to get fresh new ones.
- Giving Thanks Tea Towel by Indigo and Snow
These might be part of some gifts I'm giving out this year. Shhhh!
This category is always the most challenging for me when buying for Keith, but when it comes to buying for our daughter, I think I bought her gift about four months ago. The great thing about "something to wear" is it can go beyond just clothing. Think about shoes, ties, headbands, mittens and hats, etc. This is also a great gift category that might allow you to make a gift instead of buy something. Even if you're not a seamstress or knitter, there are tons of ideas on Pinterest for making your own headbands and bowties!
- Knotted gown and donut beanie from Candy Kirby Designs
I always meant to buy a few of these before Adeline was born and sadly my pregnancy brain spaced it, but the next baby shower I'm invited to, I'm definitely gifting a few of these. Their shop also has blankets, crib sheets, and the cuddliest looking dolls!
- Squid Unisex Shirt and Dino/Robot Onesie by GnomEnterprises
That dino/robot onesie was one of my favorites of Adeline's 3-6 months clothes, and I really hope we get to pass this down to a friend or family member.
- "Hello darkness my old friend" shirt from The Handmade Home
This home design blog is great, but they also have a really fun line of tee shirts. There were too many to even share here and would be fun gifts for everyone on your list.
- "It is well with my soul" shirt from Pike Road Southern
Sadly this style sold out, but I included these on my list as a source for future celebrations or next year's "something to wear" gifts. They have styles for both men and women, and the main thing I love is that a portion of all their sales go toward helping cover local families adoption costs.
- Chunky Cowl Scarf by Hanson Street
This scarf looks gorgeous and, in the right color, could be feminine or masculine. I totally want a few of these for next winter in New York!
- "Stay little" tee from OneTwentyTwoKids
- Baby Red Moccasins and Bow from By Sophia Baby
These are insanely adorable! I keep almost buying them for Adeline, but since she's not walking yet, and just pulls off anything I put on her feet in minutes, it seems a little pointless. But oh man, once she needs shoes I am all over these!
Books are of course very much based on personality and preference, and for someone on your list that perhaps isn't a big reader, you could gift them a "book on tape" or even an Audible gift card to download some on their phone or tablet for their daily commute or future travels. Some of these books I've already gifted, some on are my own reading list, and some I thought might interest my readers.
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
We gifted this to Adeline as a stocking stuffer on St. Nicholas Day, and I've been reading it to her almost every day since. She only cares about how good books taste currently, but I am pretty infatuated with it.
- Let Me Finish by Minh Lé
As we want to instill a love of reading in Adeline, this book sounds like a great read to do just that. Plus, it was on NPR's 2016 best books list. This sounds right up our alley!
- The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na
- Patience by Daniel Clowes
As fans of Clowes' other graphic novels, Keith and I are both excited to read his latest, especially before it gets turned into a movie.
- Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
This graphic novel is written for children though it's about death. It has been very well received, so I'm definitely interested in checking it out.
- Born to Run Bruce Springsteen Autobiography
A great read for any of the music lovers in your life!
- Hamilton The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
Keith is totally obsessed with this musical, so I have a feeling both he, and a lot of other people, would enjoy this NPR best of read.
- Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
I really want to read this before seeing the movie next month!
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This was one of my stocking stuffers for Keith this year. We're planning to bring it with us over our holiday travels and are hoping to get some reading in over our flights.
If you implement your own "something you want/need/wear/read" tradition, please share some of your favorite shops or items from past years. Stay tuned for our post-gift exchange rundown in the coming weeks, along with our "word of the year" for 2017!