Gift Guide 2015: Part 5

Today we’re brainstorming gifts fir the couples on your list.

Kitchen

Bouchon Bakery

Depending on the culinary skills of your recipient, a fancy baking mix with a pretty mixing bowl and/or spatula is a fun and useful gift. For “fancier” baking mixes, I look to Williams Sonoma. It will look great paired with some of their seasonal or standard accessories like whisks, spatulas, cookie cutters, baking tins, or mixing bowls. If your recipients are already pro bakers or chefs, you might want to replace the baking mix with some premium ingredients like fancy vanilla extract, salt, olive oil, etc. and a tea towel. If you want to show of your culinary skills, consider making your best cookies and packaging them in gift worthy containers that they can reuse.

West Elm Bowls

Depending on how full you think the recipients kitchen cabinets are, I think it’s fun to gift a small set of pretty bowls, mugs, or a serving platter. It’s great to find unique items in boutiques and specialty kitchen stores, but if you want a short cut I think West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Sur La Table, and Williams Sonoma all have good options. If you can spare a few days, most of these retailers have personalized serving trays as well!

Home and Car

Address Stamp

A personalized set of notepads for the kitchen counter or a custom address stamp is a thoughtful and useful accessory for most households. As we know from my post on personalized gifts, Paper Source is my go-to for my stationary needs. You can pair this with a calendar a bottle of wine for a more substantial present.

faufurPB

I think one of the most thoughtful ways to gift is to upgrade something that gets a lot of use. One of these things is a throw blanket because, 1. people tend to accumulate  cheaper fleece or those sweatshirt blankets, and 2. blankets wear out over time and it’s nice to get a fresh one. And God forbid I have a blanket that actually compliments my living room (don’t forget, faux fur, like metallic, is considered a neutral if you’re from New Jersey)! This is another thing that you can get from your favorite home boutique, but I also like the options at Pottery Barn (above) and West Elm. And if it’s a family with young kids or pets, do them a favor and go for something machine washable.

AmazonEcho

My brother cannot stop talking about the Amazon Echo and apparently Oprah agrees with him. It’s basically Siri on steroids. It’s a speaker, it answers questions, and it can even turn your lights on and off (if you get the right light bulbs). Plus they are apparently adding functions every day. It’s a little pricier, so it’s for the people you really like.

Frost Guard

If you’re game to gift something extremely practical, take a look at the Q. QVC sells this thing called the Frost Guard. It’s a windshield cover that is perfect for those in colder climates. Instead of spending time cleaning off your frosty, snowy windshield, you just take off the Frost Guard and get on your way! This is great for people who park outside, and have to rush off to work in the early mornings! Pair with other cold weather accessories or some hot chocolate mix for a bigger present.

Experience

Tickets to a show or sports events, or a gift card to a restaurant is the perfect alternative to a material gift. The trick is catering to their interests and making it convenient for them logistically. Here are a few ideas:

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Gift Guide 2015: Part 4

This one is for the men on your list!

Accessories

jcrew Astronaut

I realize I live in the preppiest part of the country, but statement dress socks seem to be very in with the men I work with. You can go two directions with this: holiday socks, or general statement socks. Both are good ideas, but I’m thinking go general so the recipient can wear them all year. The above astronaut socks are just one of many options from JCrew, and almost every men’s apparel store have comparable options. Other classic work wear accessories are cool cuff links, a power tie, or a funky tie bar.

Banana Scarf

A scarf might seem like a snooze, but in my experience, it’s something that a lot of men forget to buy for themselves. I love a good mid-weight plaid scarf that will look smart with a wool coat. The above is from Banana.

Home

MarkTravelBag

Time to upgrade the travel toiletries bag! I love these leather ones from Mark and Graham. Pottery Barn has something very comparable. If you want a sportier option, I would look to L.L.Bean.

DollarShave

I’ve heard a lot of raves about the Dollar Shave Club, and it’s a pretty universal gift for men because most of them shave, right? You can gift a membership, and the options are very affordable. We all know that razors are annoyingly pricey, so it’s a great break! It’s something a little out of the box, but makes the recipient’s life a whole lot easier.

Apparel

Banana Sweater

The guys I know seems to accumulate tee shirts and sweatshirts like it’s going out of style, and they have to buy clothes for work, so I usually go for a shirt or sweater that is somewhere in between. This sweater from Banana is work worthy for most people, but it’s also casual enough for weekend outings. I also love this subtle patterned crew neck sweater, and a machine wash JCrew Factory half zip is always a winner.

UA shorts

If you’re shopping for a guy that likes to hit the gym, shorts are a great option. Like I said above, tee-shirts appear out of no where, but shorts are another story. I think it’s a great idea to gift a good quality pair or shorts from Under Armour (like above), or Nike because they will last a long time.

Technology

USBCharger

There are all sorts of great techy accessories out there that can make life easier. One of my favorite places for these items is The Container Store (there’s one in walking distance from me), but you’ll also see a ton at places like Best Buy. Something like this four USB charging adapter will help maximize outlets and get everything charged on time. There’s another similar option for the cigarette lighter in the car. Other good tech accessories are containers for all the cords, or stands for smart phones.

BasisWatch

Since we now need everything available on our wrist, this smart watch version by Basis is somewhere between a Fitbit and an Apple watch both in functionality and price. It tracks all of your activity and sleep, and it communicates with your smart phone to give you text, email, and phone call notifications. I also think this looks a little cooler than most of the fitness trackers on the market. You can go with the leather band, or there are sportier band options as well.

What are you getting the guys on your list this year?