Tag Archives: gift ideas

3 Gifts I gave in 2016 (and why regifting might be okay!)

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I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with gift lists this year! But as in years past, I wanted to share a few of the gifts I gave last holiday season, in hopes of helping inspire you with your own ideas. Since I found the time for this post a little late, those ideas might be a little last-minute anyway!

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Cookbooks

If you’ve been following this blog the past year, you’ll know I’ve been obsessed with cookbooks! I like checking them out from the library and then if I read one of real value, I find a used copy at {referral links –>>} paperbackwap or thriftbooks to add to my collection. Here the specific cookbooks I gave at gifts last year:

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Charter Fishing Trip

The gift of time is one of my favorite gifts to give. Even though Green Bay is only 4 hours away, it’s really hard to get my parents to come visit us in the Twin Cities. Also, my husband has been wanting to fish with my dad ever since they met and it had not yet happened. I decided to make both things happen!

I created a voucher for a Charter Fishing Trip for the four of us in the Duluth this summer. I let them pick the weekend and gave some options on charter companies and said we’d cover the charter and two-night accommodations. We stayed at The Suites Hotel in a two bedroom suite because the parking lot backs up onto the marina and all we had to do was walk outside to the boat at 5:30am.

My parents – Duluth Lake Superior Lakewalk, June 2017

My dad has been on plenty of fishing trips like these; but I have not. So I don’t think the trip was as special to him as it was to me in a fishing sense; but I think he really loved spending the time with us! Even though it was June, it was COLD out on the water. Locals joke that they only have one month of summer per year – August. Looking back on this photo, I can’t get over how happy I look!

The actual fishing wasn’t exactly what I expected, but we took turns reeling in the fish each time one bit. We made memories!!!

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My dad ended up with the last one and the biggest so far of the season of that charter company. The captain was proud!

Here is the video of him reeling it in. It took a long time. This two-minute video feels long, but it really took about 20 minutes or so to reel that ^ big guy in! If you want to fast forward, it’s about at 1:38 where the good stuff starts happening… you’ll hear from all the swearing at the end! HA!

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And this is one of my fave photos of the trip, with my parents looking at each other, laughing:

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Regifting: Why I think it’s Okay!

I am not anti-regifting. Truth be told, if an item you are given (or purchased) isn’t quite the right fit for you, someone else may get so much more joy out of it! But I’m not talking about your great aunt’s fruitcake or a sweater you hate…

I have two real big rules about re-gifting.

#1 – It must be something that if you won’t use or enjoy that you know that the recipient will.

EXAMPLE: Rob was obsessed with wanting to kayak one year, but didn’t want to buy all of the equipment. He did oodles of research and purchased a blow up kayak similar to this one. The review that sold him: some guy packed it as luggage for his trip to Europe. However, Rob blew it up all of once when we were up at his parents’ lake place, but never put it in the water. Almost two years went by when he realized who could use it more: my brother’s family! They go up north to our cousin’s cottage on the lake every summer. It was in like new condition since it had never been used. Last summer, Rob received a text with a picture of our nephew in it:

#2  – It must not be the *only* gift they receive. You should also give another gift.

For me, this is sort of like a backup. Before regifting, I like to be sure that it’s something the recipient will love. But in case my intuition is completely off, I won’t feel like I completely bombed.

EXAMPLE: You may want to give someone something that is a family heirloom or tradition or something that you once loved, but no longer use. When I was a kid, my mom found an old lava lamp and set it up in my bedroom. I loved the soothing aqua-colored “lava” pooling around when I’d turn it on at night. In retrospect, it was meditative. When we moved, that lamp somehow got lost. So Santa bought me a new one for Christmas, this time with green “lava” because I liked all things Kermit-the-Frog. When starting it up, I liked to call the first little lava balls Kermy Turds. So clever, I know. Recently, I had rediscovered that lava lamp when my parents delivered all of my stuff that I’d left back at their house since college.

My nephew is a HUGE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan and his favorite color is green. I decided he’d love to have my lamp! He did seem to love it when he opened it on Christmas last year. But recently when I asked about it, his mom said he hasn’t set it up nor turned it on because he is afraid of breaking it! (I may have to change that the next time I’m in town. 😉 ) But my point is here that this was not his only gift last year. I didn’t want that to be his only gift in case he didn’t like or use it.

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If you regift, what are your rules?

What are your tips for last-minute gifts?

Want more unique gift-giving ideas? Here are a few of my posts from past years:

Looking for more ideas? Try these links. Some are older, but I still think they have great ideas:

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Happy Holidays!
Carrie

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His & Hers Gift Guide – What They’ll Actually Use

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This time of year, I’ve been getting a lot of searches that link to this post from last year: Top 5 Gifts for the Hard to Buy For Person Who Has Everything. I want to offer up some more gift ideas this year. But I don’t want to give away my surprises of what I’ll be gifting.

Instead, I thought I’d create a different kind of list.

Part One – His

If you read last year’s post, you’ll know that my shopping for my husband is very difficult. He usually just buys what he wants when he wants it. And no matter how much thought I put into them, the gifts I get him end up in a drawer or on the shelf in the closet. So, instead, the HIS GIFT LIST will include items that Rob has either bought himself or has been given, but that he uses all the time.

Part Two – Hers

Here you will get a my Christmas Wish List. No, this is not a post to get what I want for Christmas. Besides, probably only one person I’m exchanging with actually reads this blog. And I’m pretty certain my mom is done with her Christmas shopping already. 😉 Instead, it’s just a list of things, that if offered to me this holiday season {or any old time}, that I would not turn down! It’s meant to give you ideas for women you may know like me.

Let’s start with the guys, since they seem to be the hardest to shop for, right? For additional ideas, please read Running with Racheal’s post from last year.

Great Gifts for Guys

{aka items Rob uses ALL THE TIME}

  • Smartphone – His iPhone is the one gift that Rob thanks me for throughout the year. He doesn’t know now, how in the world he ever lived without it. The thing is, it was a surprise a couple of years ago. He didn’t even know he’d want one. Because of the never-ending thank yous, it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  • iPhone Wallet – Rob bought this for himself within the last year and it’s made his life so much simpler. When getting ready for work in the morning, he no longer has to go in search of his wallet and his phone. It’s all together now. He found his on eBay and there are several styles. His is pictured below. He gets compliments all of the time. They are cheap, too!
  • Extra iPhone Chargers – Rob found these cheap online, too. I never strayed away from my one charger that came with my iPhone. But once we got extra, it made life so much easier! I can’t tell you how nice it is to have one in my car, one to keep in my suitcase or carry-on, purse, one for the office and the living room. Rob keeps one at work, too. It was handy when we left one behind on vacation to have extras on hand. Only downfall: When we finally upgrade to iPhone 5 or later, we’ll have to buy all new ones. But no matter, these were seriously cheap.
  • Flashlight(s) – Laugh all you want, but whenever we need a flashlight we can’t find one. This year, a friend of ours put flashlights in our golf tournament goodie bags. Of course, they were meant to keep in our golf bags to look for lost balls. But since we are too lazy to look for them are such good golfers, we use them around the house. Now, if we had about 5 more of those…
  • Lounge Pants – I don’t know about you, but we live in comfy pants over the weekend. That is, until we leave the house, of course. We’ve received lounge/sleepwear pants for Christmas a couple of times and now I don’t know what we’d do without them. They come in many styles. Rob’s collection includes Guinness and ESPN lounge pants, among others.
  • Packer/Wolverine Gear – You can never have enough gear to cheer on your team. Just make sure it is the size, style and fit that your recipient likes. I’m just sayin’, when I get him this kind of stuff, it always gets used!
  • Hammock – Once upon a time, Rob bought a hammock from Hammocks.com. And on any beautiful day in the spring, summer and fall, I come home to him reading, relaxing or napping in that thing. The dogs join sometimes, too! We bought our friends, who invite us up to their cabin every year, one as a thank you gift. It’s a priceless gift, really. It may be hard to think about when it’s so cold, but that’s why they are on sale today! We recommend the Quilted Island Bay with metal stand. Rob’s tip: Get coupons and promo codes when shopping online by typing in “Hammocks.com Coupon” instead of just “Hammocks.com” to save extra dough!
  • Dinner out – Rob nearly always takes me out to dinner, so it’s a special treat when I buy. Sometimes, I’ll make my own little certificate stating such {as I explained in this post} or what restaurant I’m planning on taking him, like I did for his birthday one year.

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Great Gifts for Gals

{aka gifts I would Graciously and Gratefully accept}

  • Socks – Not kidding here. As it grew colder this fall and I had to put the sandals away, I found that many of my socks were either missing a sibling or developed a hole. I’ve thrown away quite a few. I like fun, funky socks, but they can be hard to rotate within the wardrobe and Rob isn’t a fan. So even just comfortable black socks will do!
  • Turtleneck Sweaters – Are these out of style? I’m having such a hard time finding nice ones! I’m a freeze baby. So in the winter, I like warm sweaters. When I’m trying to overcome Pirate Eyes in the early, black a.m. of winter, I don’t want to have to think about my outfit before work. I want to put on a warm turtleneck sweater and dress it up with a scarf. DONE. Solid colors are best… and timeless.
  • Alligator Clips – This is the name Rob gave to a hair clip I used to rely on all of the time. I’ve lost it since our trip to California this fall and just feel LOST. I am all about low maintenance when it comes to my hair and rarely use a hair dryer. I used to twist it and put it up with my alligator clip when wet. Later in the evening or the next morning, I can wear it down without having to do very much with it! We’ve search stores everywhere for more, but just found them online under other names – beak clip, Japanese clip, concorde clip. There are lots of colors and styles to choose from!

Beak Clip

  • Opolo Mountain Zinfandel – This is one of our favorite wines, but it’s not really priced for everyday. So it’s a treat when we get it!
  • Davis Family Vineyards Pinot NoirGuy Davis knows his Pinot. I never actually liked Pinot Noir until I tasted his at his tasting room on a trip to the Russian River Valley. You can’t find it in stores, so you’ll have to order some. Might as well get a case while you’re add it. Your life will be transformed.
  • Davis Family Vineyards Wine Club Membership – Hell, why not just join the club? I did join the Davis Family Vineyards Friends and Family Club after that trip, but canceled when we needed to buckle down to buy our house. I should just get back in this club and swear never to buy a cheap bottle again and savor every drop of this wine. Quality over quantity, right?
  • Other Wine Goodies – I love this post by grapefriend, with some unique wine-related finds. In particular, I’m intrigued by the wine2go flask and the rewined carmenere candle.
  • Champagne – I love me some bubbly. But it’s extra special to receive a bottle of real champagne!
  • St. Germain – This elderflower liqueur is one of my all-time favorites. I haven’t met a cocktail I didn’t like when it’s made with it.
  • High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – At one point, we bought a Groupon to join an olive oil club. Each month for three months, we got high quality, expeller pressed Italian olive oils! We didn’t continue because it took us all year to use them. The third bottle is almost empty, so we’re in the market for more. I also love this idea of adopting an olive tree and receiving the olive oil produced from it.
  • Cheese of the Month Club – Um. I’m from Wisconsin. I’m a Francophile. No brainer.
  • Fruit of the Month Club – I’ve always wanted this! Fresh fruit delivered to my door every month, yes please! I’ve been eyeing the Arizona Orange Company for two years now…
  • CSA Share – I absolutely adored my CSA box in the summer! But it just proved to be too much food, even split with a friend. They had solo shares this year, but were more basic and sold out right away. If you want to give someone a CSA share, make sure the pick-up location and window is doable for them.
  • Donation to a Cause I Support/Admire – Like a Pet Rescue or Shelter, such as Homeward Bound, where I found Sophie almost 9 years ago and the Carver-Scott County Humane Society, where we found Shamrock this year. When friends of ours refused to let us pitch in for the timeshare and rental car when they invited us to join them in Hawaii, we donated to the Marine Mammal Center in support of the endangered Monk Seals on the island of Kaua’i. We were lucky enough to see them there.
  • Packer Gear – Can never have enough!
  • Packer Tickets – Hey, I am getting higher up on the waiting list; but if anyone can spare a pair, we’ll take ’em! {We support our team during winning AND losing seasons!}
  • Gourmet Coffee – I’m always willing to try a new brew.
  • Tickets to Evita – I love musicals and Evita will be in Minneapolis this year. I loved the music in the movie and have never seen it performed live.
  • Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake – Laugh if you must. I had a roommate with whom we bought these for each other’s birthdays! The Bonus is that the two of us shared it, so we both got to pick away at it All. Week. Long. It’s been years since I’ve had one, though, so maybe my tastes have changed. Wouldn’t hurt to find out!
  • Gift Certificates – I know some people think that these are impersonal, but I love them. They say to me, “I know you like to shop here, so pick out what you want!” or “We really loved this place and thought you might like it, too.” I also like to save them to use as fitness or weight loss rewards. Here are some great places for which to receive gift cards:
    • Sul Lago – Our favorite restaurant “South of the River.” The very first time we visited, we saw about a dozen or so people come in to order gift certificates at the bar!
    • Restaurants – We like to dine out, so any place we haven’t tried, under our Restaurant Impressions Wishlist will do. Otherwise, we always like to try other people’s favorites, so recommendations are welcome.
    • Kohl’s – I don’t buy clothes very often, but when I do it’s because I need something. Kohl’s is close and familiar. I like to save gift cards here as rewards to myself. I’ve found a lot of good deals on workout gear here, too!
    • Barnes & Noble – I don’t have a Kindle or Nook. I still read real books. But I really think B&N gift certificates are good for travel guidebooks. We love to travel. If you know someone is traveling somewhere, buy them the most current guidebook. Or, they can walk right into a store and flip through guidebooks to see which ones suit them best.
    • Spa – I don’t know any girl who wouldn’t appreciate a spa day or to choose their own spa treatment. Just a pedicure can do wonders.
    • Movies – We don’t go to the movies often, but when we do, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more!
    • Car Washes & Oil Changes – Okay, this one sounds really impersonal. But truthfully, I hate spending money on this kind of stuff myself. So having a card to just use whenever it is needed would be so wonderful.
    • Amazon Gift Card – Well, because you can use it for ANYTHING!

All I truly need for Christmas is health, love, spending time with family and reconnecting with old friends.

However, sometimes we just fret over that perfect gift for a loved one. So I hope these his and hers lists inspire you with ideas for the rest of your shopping this year. Or sit down and make out your own list. You might just come up with something for someone else!

What is a gift you wouldn’t turn down?

Did this post give you any ideas for someone else?

Cheers~
Carrie