The holidays are here again, and this year I did something crazy that I’ve never done before: I’ve somehow managed to do all of my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. And I didn’t just take the easy way out with gift cards and cash. I actually took the time to think about what each and every one of my friends and family members would like and bought it for them. Even the in-laws! So below is the list of 36 gifts I’ve purchased this year. It might give you some inspiration for your own holiday shopping.
I think I deserve some kind of medal for this.
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A Brownie Pan For My Friend Who Loves End Pieces
My friend Stacy is a brownie maniac. I’ve known her since college, and on nights when we’d get together and cram for an exam, we’d always made a big pan of rich, fudgy bars, and she’d always do the same weird thing: Slice off the edge pieces and eat those first, leaving me the gooey middle pieces.
So the minute I saw this edge-piece-only brownie pan, I knew it was made for her.
A Fire TV Stick For My Dad Who Has Too Many Remotes
Every time I go over to my parent’s house, I end up becoming ridiculously frustrated by their abundance of remotes. I have no idea how they’ve managed to accumulate 6 different remotes, and if I want to turn their TV on and have the volume on at the same time it’s basically like solving a Rubik’s cube.
This Fire TV Stick solves that problem. (Okay, this was mostly a gift to myself.)
A Ranch Cookbook For My Ranch-Loving Friend
My friend Ashley LOVES ranch dressing. It’s her one true love, and ever since the high school cafeteria days when she’d basically dunk her entire slice of pizza in the stuff, I knew they’d be together forever.
This recipe book is as fun and hilarious as she is, and I know she’s going to love it. Just reading through the recipes makes my mouth water. And I’m more of a blue cheese dressing-person!
A Scratch-Off World Map For My Jet-Setting Bestie
My best friend, Kate, is a world traveler. She’s always jetting off to exciting destinations and then showing me pictures of her most recent adventures. Since I have a 6-month-old son, the most exciting part of my day is actually finding the time to change into a clean shirt, so it can be a bit irritating at times, but I’m happy for her.
This scratch-off world map is a cool piece of home decor with a fun interactive spin.
A Fancy Popcorn Popper For My Movie Buff Sister
My sister Laura is a total movie snob. While I tend to be more into mainstream flicks, she’s always trying to get me to watch some black-and-white foreign movie with subtitles. On the few occasions when I actually agree, I usually end up falling asleep halfway through.
This silicone popcorn popper upgrades movie night and might actually make me want to stay awake during those arthouse screenings.
A Ping Pong Set For My Competitive Nephews
My nephews are a spirited duo. At 6 and 8 years old, they’re a dangerous combination of extremely smart and insanely hyperactive, so keeping them occupied at all times is critical.
I figured this tabletop ping pong set would be just the thing to keep them entertained and give their parents some peace and quiet (at least for about five minutes or so.)
Some Comfy Boot Socks For My Cousin In Minne-Snow-Ta
My cousin Kati lives in Minnesota, which, much like Wisconsin (where I live), the weather turns frightful during the winter months. And since she’s one of those outdoorsy people who actually enjoy being out in below-freezing weather, I thought these boot socks would be perfect for her. Her toes will stay warm and cozy, and her outfits will be 100-times more winter-ready.
A Special Lasagna Pan For My Friend With Picky Kids
My friend Breanne has three kids, and they’re all extremely picky eaters. I remember going over to her house for dinner once, and she made three completely different meals to avoid meltdowns: tacos, pizza, and macaroni and cheese. Sure, it was one of the best meals of my life, but think of all that extra work!
This lasagna pan features three separate sections so she can tweak a recipe slightly to make everyone happy without all the extra steps.
Some Gourmet Hot Sauce For My Bro, The Spicy Food Freak
My brother Andy cannot get enough spicy food. He has a mini bottle of Sriracha attached to his car keys and drowns every meal in Frank’s Red Hot. So much Frank’s that I wonder if his tastebuds have been completely burned off at this point.
When I heard about this gourmet hot sauce that’s infused with black truffles, I figured he’d be all over it.
A Mini Lightbox For My Favorite Instagram Star
My friend Lisa is a big deal on Instagram. She has over 20,000 followers, is constantly posting impossibly pretty selfies of herself in an assortment of adorable outfits, and has even gotten companies to send her free stuff so she can promote it on her page. I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty jealous.
This mini light box will make the perfect addition to her (insanely popular) Insta page.
A Craft Supply Kit For My Creative Niece
My niece is such a cool kid. At only ten years old she’s much more interesting than I’ll ever be. Whenever I hang out with her, I end up wishing I could be even half as hip as she is. We love crafting when we’re together, so I thought she’d love this arts and crafts library. It’s stocked with everything a creative kid could want.
…and creative adults, too. (I want one!)
This Coffee-Infused Maple Syrup For My Breakfast-Obsessed Mom
My mother is completely obsessed with breakfast food. She could eat it three times per day for the rest of her life and be perfectly content with that choice. I have to say; I can see where she’s coming from. Breakfast food is the best type of food.
So I thought I’d upgrade her breakfast experiences with this coffee-infused maple syrup. Just typing that out made my mouth water…
A Donut Bath Bomb Set For My Pastry-Loving BFF
Remember my BFF, Kate, the world-traveler? She also happens to be utterly addicted to donuts, cinnamon rolls, croissants, and pretty much any pastry. So, to help her cut back on her sugar intake while still partaking in her favorite treats, I decided to buy her this set of bath bombs shaped like donuts.
The best part? They’re zero calories!
An Iced Coffee Maker For My Coldbrew-Addict Sister
My sister was the one who first introduced me to the world of cold brew. “No thanks,” I said at first. “I’m not really an iced coffee type of gal.”
“This isn’t iced coffee,” she replied. “This stuff is different.”
So I tried it. And it was. And now I’m hooked too. This cold brew maker allows her to make it in her very own home! No more dropping $5 bucks on a tiny cup!
A Sorbet Maker For My Dad, Who Needs To Cut Out Sugar
My Dad has always been a huge dessert person and has an insane sweet tooth. The trouble is, all those years of sweets have finally started to catch up with him, and his doctor recently made him promise to cut back.
This frozen dessert maker creates mouth-watering ice creams and sorbets without the need for added sugar, so it’s right up his alley.
A Plush Throw For My Eternally Cold Sister-In-Law
My sister-in-law Jana is constantly cold. Even in the dead of summer when it’s 100 degrees out and humid, she’s usually wrapped in the thickest sweater she owns. Since I’m also someone who’s constantly cold, I totally understand and thought this incredibly comfy faux fur throw would be a cozy winter essential that she could huddle underneath until spring arrives.
A Snowball-Making Kit For My Hyperactive Nephews
Since no kid would be content with just one Christmas present, I decided to buy my nephews a snowball making kit as well. It’s one of those toys I had when I was their age, and it hasn’t changed one bit. You scoop a wad of snow into the mold, and suddenly, you have a perfectly sized snowball that you can use to make a snowman, built snow pyramids, or, let’s face it, throw at your family members.
Some Polarized Sunglasses For My Fashionable Friend
My friend Sam is much more stylish than I could ever hope to be. So the fact that I decided to buy her an accessory was a risky move on my part. What if she hates it? What if she pretends to like it but laughs at my horrible taste behind my back later?
These sunglasses, however, are the perfect mix of modern style and classic elegance. I know she’ll love them.
A Nintendo Switch For My Husband, The Kid At Heart
My husband has been dropping hints about wanting a Switch for months now. And by “dropping hints” I mean saying things like “I want a Switch” over and over again.
So far, I’ve been doing a good job of making it seem like I wasn’t going to get one for him, so I’m hoping he’ll be completely surprised on Christmas morning. And I’m hoping he’ll let me play Zelda on it.
A Gourmet Popcorn Tin For My Mother-In-Law, The Popcorn Junkie
If there’s one thing my mother-in-law loves more than anything (including, possibly, her own children), it’s popcorn. Cheese popcorn, caramel corn, kettle corn, or just plain buttered, she loves it all. So this gourmet tin was basically made for her.
Seriously, this stuff looks epic. I had to restrain myself from buying myself a tin when I bought her one.
A Wolf Puzzle For My Mom, The Puzzle Queen
I, personally, hate jigsaw puzzles. I find them tremendously boring, and whenever I work on one, it feels more like a punishment than a relaxing activity. My mother, on the other hand, loves them. There’s nothing she would love more than spending a Saturday night at home working on a 1,000-piece puzzle with a hot mug of tea.
This wolf puzzle has a unique shape and a gorgeous graphic.
A Dish Towel Set For My Mother-In-Law, Who LOVES Yellow
My mother-in-law has a major thing for yellow. Her curtains are yellow, her throw blankets are yellow, her dishes are yellow, and I’m pretty sure that 99% of her wardrobe is yellow. To her credit, she does look great in yellow. (I cannot pull it off to save my life.)
So, I figured these bright yellow dish towels would add a pop of fresh color to her (already mostly yellow) kitchen.
A Pancake Pan For My Aunt, Who Makes The Best Flapjacks
My Aunt Sara was basically like a second Mom to me. I have wonderful childhood memories of her whipping up Sunday morning batches of pancakes, and my and my siblings shoveling them down by the dozen. She’s also a big fan of winter months (which is a good thing, since she lives in the Midwest), so this snowflake pancake pan is sure to be a big hit.
A Cheese Knife For My Cheesy Brother-In-Law
My brother-in-law James loves cheese. It’s probably his favorite food, and whenever he comes over for dinner, I know that as long as I cook something that involves cheese, he’ll be a huge fan. This knife was specifically designed to glide through cheddar, gouda, swiss, mozzarella, and any other type of cheese you could possibly imagine.
Because everyone could use more cheese in their lives.
An Air Fryer For My Husband, Who Loves His Fried Foods
Air fryers have been on my radar for a while now since the thought of being able to eat deliciously crispy fried food without the added oil (and calories) that comes with the traditional method of frying sounds like a dream come true. And since I live in Wisconsin, where Friday fish fries are basically the law, I knew this thing would come in handy.
So while I bought this as a gift for my husband, it’s for me, too.
A Set Of Teethers For My Drooly Son
Okay, so I realize that my son is six months old and will have no idea what Christmas even means yet, but I love any excuse to buy that kid presents. Plus, these teethers will make my life a whole lot easier, since they’ll give him something safe to chew on, and help minimize the pain that comes with teething.
Because a happy baby equals a happy Mom.
A Tracking Device For My Husband, Who Loses Everything
I love my husband, but the man loses everything. I don’t think there has been a day since I married him where he hasn’t run through the house searching for his keys, his wallet, his hat, or whatever else he needs to grab before leaving the house for work.
This tiny tracking device can be attached directly onto whatever you need to keep track of, so you never lose your essentials again.
An Herb Garden Kit For My Green-Thumbed Sister-In-Law
I’m not the type of person who has a “green thumb.” I’ve killed every house plant I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t keep an actual garden alive to save my life.
My sister-in-law, Beth, on the other hand, is a bit of a garden-whisperer and would love being able to grow fresh herbs during the chilly months. This little kit will be just the ticket!
A Boar Bristle Brush For My Cousin With Amazing Hair
My cousin Mari has the type of hair you see on shampoo commercials. It’s long, shiny, and always absolutely perfect-looking. She treats her hair with the same kind of care and attention that I treat my baby, so when I came across this boar bristle brush kit, I knew that she had to have one.
It’s made for thick hair like hers and adds shine and bounce with just one quick brush-through.
A Pot With A Built-In Strainer For My Father-In-Law, The Pasta Fan
My father-in-law is a great cook. I love going over to his house with all of my husband’s siblings and their significant others for a big home-cooked meal. More often than not, that meal usually involves pasta.
Since he has so many people to feed, this oversized pasta pot is perfect for him. Plus, the built-in strainer in the lid makes cooking pasta twice as easy with half the dirty dishes to wash.
An Adorable Bluetooth Speaker For My Niece, Who Loves A Good Dance Party
Not only is my niece an artistic genius, but she also loves a good dance party every now and then. (Who doesn’t?!) So when I stumbled upon this tiny Bluetooth speaker, I knew that I had to get it for her.
Not only is it as adorable as she is, but the sound quality is surprisingly good. I guess she’ll have to put up with a lot more of my terrible dance moves!
A Sea Salt Sampler For My Brother-In-Law, Who Loves To Cook
My brother-in-law, Daniel, is an amazing cook. He’s not one to follow recipes and will instead come over to our house to cook an elaborate fried chicken sandwich that he invented (and nearly burn down our kitchen in the process), but the result is always unique and delicious.
So, this unique and delicious salt gift set seemed like his ideal gift.
An Electric Wine Opener For My Brother, Who Loves Wine And Gadgets
My brother is not only a huge gadget guy, but he’s also gotten super into wines recently. He’s constantly coming over with a new bottle and describing all the tasting notes to us, which are always entirely lost on my unrefined palate.
This electric wine opener combines his two greatest passions into one, and I have to admit, this thing is pretty darn cool.
A Set Of Relaxing Lotions For My Stressed-Out Sister
My sister has a hectic life. She’s a successful lawyer, has three young children, and always tries to cram way too much into each day, leaving her tired and frazzled by the time 5 o’clock rolls around.
I figured she could use some pampering, and these lotions are not only incredibly moisturizing, but they also are infused with scents specifically designed to cause instant relaxation.
An Amazon Gift Card For My Friendly Mailman
This might sound weird, but getting my mail is one of the highlights of my day. Let me explain: Our mailman, Marty, is amazing. He’s always incredibly friendly, stops to ask about my day, and doesn’t even mind when my dog barks ferociously at him.
I figured if anyone could use a $25 Amazon gift card, it’s Marty the Mailman.
A Sleep Mask For Myself, A Sleep-Deprived Mom
As I mentioned before, I have a 6-month-old son, which means that sleep is but a distant memory at this point. Since he doesn’t sleep well at night, I’ve adopted the practice of sleeping when he naps during the day. The problem is, if it’s not pitch black in a room, I simply can’t fall asleep.
This eye mask would be the perfect solution. Might I actually…dare I say it? Become well-rested for the first time in months!