Every Black Friday, I’d join the crowds in the holiday rush to buy as many gifts as possible. The only problem was, I would spend all. day. long. shopping with very little to show for it. That’s because I didn’t necessarily know what I was shopping for.
Now, I take the time to create a holiday gift guide well before I go shopping. Not only does it help me shop with intention, it takes some of the stress out of gift giving.
A Holiday Gift Guide for (almost) everyone on your list
I’ve included shopping links, including some affiliates, to as many products as possible. I may earn from qualifying purchases.
Who Should Be on My Christmas List?
Every year I set out to stick to a small list, but I inevitably get caught up in the holiday spirit and wish I could get a gift for just about everyone I know.
Unfortunately, my budget and time doesn’t allow that. If you’re in the same predicament, I suggest making your list based on the nature of relationship, your budget, and how much time you have to shop. Once you’ve made your list, you can write down ideas for each person.
There are some crossover ideas between the categories of gift ideas. And some of the ideas listed for boys and men may work for girls and women and vice versa. Feel free to pick and choose what works for your list.
Gift Guide For Children Under 10
The only young children on our list are on my husband’s side of the family. For them, I adapt the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.”
These kids happen to have everything, so thinking of a good gift can be a challenge. But, we’ve always managed to buy gifts they love. Some of the biggest hits have been:
- Classic games. Connect four, Scrabble Jr., Uno and Clue are my favorite picks. One year we gave our niece and nephew a corn hole game and they really enjoyed it. We bought an inexpensive one, but these handmade corn hole games would last a lot longer.
- Pillow Pets – We got our niece and nephew Troll pillow pals a few years ago and they were a BIG hit.
- Toys from the latest hit kid’s movie – Star Wars was the “it” movie a few years ago. Anything Disney or Marvel is probably a safe bet. Double check with the parents to find out what’s current.
- Virtual Reality Headset – We got a virtual reality headset for our nephew last year. It was a huge hit with him and his little sister. We found the one we bought at TJ Maxx. Amazon has a good selection, too.
- Personalized Puzzles – There are all kinds of personalized name puzzles on Etsy that young children would love.
- Personalized Books – Young children love when their own name shows up in a story. Amazon has a lot of titles to choose from. You can also get personalized books for girls, boys, babies and toddlers at putmeinthestory.com
Non Toy Gift Ideas
- Tickets – They could be for an event like Disney on Ice, Cirque de Soleil, the circus, or any attraction in your town. Comedy Sportz is also a great, family friendly venue where you can bond over laughs. You buy sports, concert, theater and other tickets through Rakuten and earn cash back.
- Subscriptions – Cratejoy has subscription boxes for every age and any interest you can imagine. I love this Snail Mail box. Sunny the Mail Snail sends kids a letter every week.
Gift Ideas for Teen Girls
It wasn’t that long ago when my daughter was a teenager. Between her and my nieces, I’ve curated some tried and true gift ideas for teen girls.
- iTunes gift card. For downloading new singles of her favorite artists.
- Lip balm I suggest a tinted or flavored one.
- Face Masks – ORGAID sheet masks, a charcoal mask, or a red clay mask are all good choices.
- Polaroid Camera – I will tell you though, that the interest in a polaroid seemed to be a brief phase. If you’re okay with that, it is a really fun and exciting gift for a teenage girl.
- Concert tickets – Getting to scream and cry and giggle over Harry Styles or Justin Bieber with your best friend is a gift she’ll never forget. Earn cash back when you buy concert tickets through Rakuten. Billboard has a list of of rescheduled concerts and tour dates for 2021.
- Phone Cover – Teen girls love keeping up with the latest designs in phone covers.
And my seventeen year old niece says you can’t go wrong with blankets or clothes. Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, Target, Hollister, Lululemon, Forever 21, Aeropostale, or Abercrombie and Fitch are teen fashion favorites. Get cash back when you shop these stores through Rakuten. You can shop online or in store with the app.
Cool Gifts for Teenage Boys
Knowing what the teenage boys in your life are interested in is a great starting point for gift ideas. Some of my favorite ideas are:
- Lounge room signs like this personalized one for surfers or this personalized one for future pilots.
- Fishing pail, bait and a tackle box for the fisherman
- Leather tech organizer for the tech lover
- MLB/NFL sports history collectibles make great gifts for sports fans. You can find some great vintage items on Etsy. There’s also a fun selection on Amazon.
- Leather wallet, especially if he’s a driver. He’ll need it carry his drivers license.
- Money clip for the working teen
- Cologne – this cologne was a big hit with one of my nephew’s a few years ago.
Gift Guide for College Students
I’ve found college students tend to have a more practical wish list . Whether you’re shopping for a college girl or college guy, they’ll love receiving any of these gifts.
- Money – Every college student I know appreciates getting a cash gift. There are a lot of creative ways to give money to teenagers and college students. The simplest way is to wrap it in Christmas money holders. If you prefer to support small business owners, Hunter Paper Co has a cute cash money wallet card available on Etsy.
- Gift Cards: Gift cards are a great gift option for college students. They appreciate not having to use up all their cash on everyday expenses. Some good gift cards for college students include:
- local restaurants
- gas cards
- local grocery stores
- airline gift cards
Grocery stores, Walmart, and Target all have gift card kiosks in their stores as well as at the checkout aisle. If you’re on a budget, try buying discounted gift cards at Raise.com
- Clothes – My daughter rarely buys clothes because she doesn’t feel like she can’t afford it. I’m sure she’s not alone in that. You’ll find clothes they like at H&M, Zara, Asos, Target, or Lulus. Get cash back when you shop at these stores through Rakuten. You can shop online or in store with the app.
- Packing Cubes – Packing cubes make great gifts whether your college student is packing for a road trip or to fly home. TJ Maxx always has packing cubes hanging on the wall in their luggage section. The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set and the Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Tech Cube Set consistently rank on lists for best packing cubes. Amazon Basics cube sets also made some of the lists and has great reviews on Amazon.
- Luggage – Speaking of traveling, a nice weekend bag or carry-on makes coming home much easier. Again, TJ Maxx usually has a good selection. Jane.com is my secret spot for finding a great weekender bag. The deals on Jane run for a limited time so if you see one you like, you should snatch it up.
What to Get Adults for Christmas
A young friend told me about a gift she’d given her mom one year. She’d customized it by adding the lyrics from a song her mother used to sing to her.
That story reminded me that the best gifts come from the heart and are born out of relationship.
Thoughtful Gift Ideas For Your Husband
- Tickets. Give tickets to a concert to music lovers. One year I gave Matt tickets to see Lyle Lovett. (He’s a big fan.) Tickets to a game make a great gift for the sports fan in your family. Get cash back when you buy tickets through Rakuten.
- Books. Matt’s uncle sent him a Kindle downloaded with books that he’d read and knew would be of interest to Matt so they could chat about the books. I think that is a very thoughtful gift idea for the bookworm in your life.
- Gift Cards. For movie theaters, favorite restaurants, sports stores, Top Golf…whatever they’re interested in. Try Raise.com to get a discount on gift cards.
- Men’s Lounge Wear. Men, at least mine, enjoy being able to change into comfortable clothes as much as women do. Flannel or fleece pants seem to be the favorite around here.
- Shaving Kit. My husband really enjoyed the shaving kit I got him one year. Beard oil and a beard grooming kit is another great option.
- Nail Grooming Kit – These nail grooming kits are very nice and made great gifts when we gave them a couple of years ago.
- Men’s Valet. For holding change, his watch and miscellaneous items. I bought a full standing valet for Matt many years ago that he still uses to this day. But, you can also buy valet trays or boxes to set on a nightstand or dresser.
- Hobby Paraphernalia. The gift would depend on what your husband enjoys. A few common gift ideas are:
- Give a guitar tuner, picks, a pick hole puncher, strings, or sheet music to the guitar player. Be sure to find out what level player he is and what type of guitar he has.
- Golf lovers might enjoy golf balls. Add a personal touch with his monogram or a photo.
- Trading cards, or a t-shirt or hoodie from his favorite team would make good sports gifts for guys who love baseball or football.
- Give BBQ gear to the grill master
- A sketch pad and charcoal pencils make a great gift for artists who draw
- To a shave club. Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club are both reputable options.
- A subscription to Audible would make a great gift for those who enjoy listening to books.
- CreativeLive – Give your husband the opportunity to master a craft, pursue his passion, or pick up a new hobby with a classes on CreativeLive.
Gifts For Women
I typically shop for for the women in my life based on our shared interests. As my mom always says, if I love it, they will to. This is a curated list of the best gifts I’ve given or received over the years.
Best gifts for the homebody or introvert – If you’re friend loves her time at home, these suggestions are perfect for creating a cozy and comfortable spot just for her.
- A Journal – I prefer the Moleskine classic notebook in hardcover. (It’s popular with people who bullet journaler.) But, you can choose from all kinds of journals.
- Cozy Socks – I love cozy socks, especially since my feet get so cold. They’re also great for putting over your feet after an at-home pedicure to seal in moisture.
- Throw Blanket – I’ve been snuggling up under this sherpa throw blanket for years. A weighted blanket is also a good choice.
- Lounge clothes – Lounge sets let you feel dressed while still being comfortable and cozy. Some of the best loungewear for women is by Amazon Essentials. Target also has a great selection of loungewear.
Self Care Gift Ideas for Women – This gift is perfect for women of any age. One year I put together a self care box that included a plush robe, DIY bath salts and body scrub, body lotion, and lip balm. You could include:
- Jade Roller – This is a game changer in your skincare routine. Use it to reduce puffiness and increase circulation. There’s a noticeable difference. This is the one I use and I love it!
- Dry Brush – I gave my mom a dry brush and she loves it. It’s become a treasured part of her bath time routine.
- Bath Salts – I prefer Dr. Teal’s pure epsom salt or San Franscisco Salt Co. unscented.
- Body Scrub – Body scrubs feel so luxurious and are great for all over body exfoliation.
- Under Eye Masks – I use the Acure Radically Rejuvenating Under Eye Hydrogels and really like them.
Gifts for Home Decor Lovers – These home decor ideas are perfect for the first time home owner, newlyweds setting up their new home, a college grad who is embarking on her own, a young mom trying to create a cozy home, or an empty nester whose giving her home a makeover.
- Plants – Fiddle leaf figs, succulents and palms are really popular in home decor. You can find real fiddle leaf plants at Home Depot, but from what I understand, they’re hard to keep alive. The Nearly Natural fiddle leaf from Amazon gets really great reviews. The same brand also sells faux palm trees. Cratejoy has several subscription box offers for succulent lovers.
- Serving Trays – Serving trays are a home decor must-have. They can be used on coffee tables, ottomans, on beds, in the kitchen, or for entertaining.
- Candlesticks – Tapers are in right now and so are the candlesticks you set them in. A pair or trio of black metal candlesticks are on trend and fit any decor style. Vintage brass candlestick holders are also having a moment.
- Trinket Dish – These little dishes are perfect for setting on nightstands, next to sinks, on a stack of books, and the list goes on. Etsy has a great selection of handmade and personalized trinket dishes to choose from.
- Decorative Boxes – Decorative boxes comes in all sizes and styles and are a home decorators secret weapon. They can hide remote controls, fill bookshelves, hold momentos and so much more.
- Coffee Table Book – The book will depend on her interests, but Elements of Style is a pretty popular and safe choice for home decor lovers. I also recommend Architectural Digest, Living With Pattern, or Homebody by Joanna Gaines.
- Interior Design Class – Any home decorator would enjoy learning the tips and tricks of the trade. Creative Live offers interior design classes on finding your home style, using color in your home, and functional design. This design class on Masterclass looks really good, too.
Decor Steals is a great place to get Christmas gifts for the home at discounted prices.
Gift Ideas for Fashionistas – As a fashion lover myself, I’m sure these gift ideas will be a hit.
- Get Your Pretty On Gift Certificate – A Seasonal Outfit Formulas or Annual Membership Gift Certificate is, in my opinion, the best gift you could gift your fashion loving mom, friend or sister. Participating in the seasonal challenges has been life-changing not just for me, but all the women I’ve gotten to know in the challenges. Women from every age, stage of life, size and shape go through such incredible transformations, inside and out.
- Delicate Layer Necklace– These necklaces are very on trend and elevate any outfit.
- Plaid Blanket Scarf – Blanket scarfs are the perfect Fall and Winter accessory. They’re also great for traveling.
- A Tote Bag – You can’t go wrong with a leather tote bag. This inexpensive Kate Spade tote is another great option.
- Charlotte Tilbury nude lipstick in Pillow Talk – This is a universally flattering shade that’s very popular.
- Magnetic eyelashes – Magnetic lashes have grown in popularity lately. The Ardell lashes and the Kiss lashes both show up on ‘best of’ lists.
Gifts for home chefs – We all have that girlfriend or relative who loves to cook. As someone who loves spending time in the kitchen, these are some of my favorite gift ideas for home chefs:
- Cravings Cookbook by Chrissy Teigen – This is such a fun and pretty cookbook with great recipes. The fish tacos are AMAZING!
- Charcuterie Board – This personalized charcuterie board would make a great gift for any foodie.
- Apron – Every cook needs an apron or two. TJ Maxx usually has a cute selection. I also recommend the personalized and handmade aprons on Etsy.
- Online Cooking classes – Give her a Masterclass subscription so she can to learn how to cook with Wolfgang Puck or Gordon Ramsay. Or giver her lessons in cooking knife skills from Skillshare.
- Kitchen Herb Garden – Every home chef loves the idea of cooking with fresh herbs. Get them started with an herb garden from Etsy.
Good Homemade Gifts for Christmas
Personalized or handmade gifts are a great idea for anyone on your list. They’re also good Christmas gift ideas if you’re on a budget.
Homemade Gift Ideas
If you like the idea of a handmade Christmas, here are a few homemade gift ideas to get your wheels turning.
- Leather journal – One of our friends gifted Matt with a handmade, embossed leather journal. It was made and given with such pride and Matt was very touched.
- Decorative throw pillow – I sewed a decorative pillow for someone one Christmas. If you sew, you can make pot holders, stockings, table runners, decorative throw pillows, cloth napkins, clothes…
- Charcoal sketch – My husband sketched a portrait of John Wayne for his Dad one Christmas. And a few years ago, he sketched portraits of my niece and nephew to give my brother for Christmas.
- Bath & Body products – I had fun making bath salts and body scrubs one year. Rachel Talbott’s YouTube channel is my go-to for DIY beauty product tutorials.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or don’t enjoy crafting, you can always shop local artisans or try Etsy for personalized and handmade gifts.
Having a renewed perspective on gift giving has made the planning process so much more enjoyable. Not only do I look forward to Christmas shopping, but also to giving good gifts and spreading holiday cheer.
Wishing the same for you,