Holiday Presents 2019

I know this is a money forum, and spending on holiday gifts can be frowned upon, but… I freaking love buying gifts for people. I get a ton of joy out of it. When I was a kid, I would do all the wrapping for my parents and brother (other than things for me), because I got so excited thinking about people’s reactions to their gifts. I thought here we could say what we are getting for people and also ask for recommendations if we are stuck on what to get someone! I will start in the comments.


Bless, I need this.

Mom: Homemade sweater (expensive but counting half of this under my craft budget)
Dad: Homemade socks and slippers (got free yarn! yes!)
Wizard’s grandma/aunt/uncle/cousins: Packets of homemade candies
Bestie: Donation to fave charity + packet of homemade candies
Kitty: Fresh gravy made just for her

Wizard: ???
Wizard’s mom: ???
Wizard’s dad: ???
Bungalow Court Friends: ???


These are for Christmas. We will be spending Christmas morning with my parents and shipping the in-laws their gifts (for the in-law gifts, I am heavily consulting with my husband on the gifts, but I love buying gifts and also will be doing the purchasing). For my immediate family, we don’t do giftcards really, but I’m fine with getting them for my in-laws since they like them.

My brother is my favorite person to get gifts for. He is 22, 7 years younger than I am, and always thinks whatever I get is awesome, so it is fulfilling. I got him a really nice face lotion from Sephora for half off on Black Friday-- it’s the one I use, and he used it when we lived together and really liked it, and he’s quite the fashionista right now and really into floral shirts, so I got him this one for 20% on Cyber Monday:

I’m not set on what I’m getting for my mom. My dad, quite frankly, is awful at buying gifts (one year he got me a lint roller for Christmas), so I always try to overcompensate and get her really thoughtful gifts. I bought her a book I know she wants. I think I will buy her a Harriet Tubman pin, which she would really like. I’m not sure what else to get her! I am considering buying her an Elizabeth Warren Billionaire Tears mug (25% off for Cyber Monday), which she would like, but I feel like I’m lacking something special? If I had unlimited funds, I’d get her some really nice cashmere thing, but I don’t. Previously I have gotten her one million scarves, which she really likes, but she seriously has so many and I think I’d get diminishing returns on that.

My dad is hard to shop for because he buys himself anything he wants. One-click on Amazon is super dangerous for him. He loves cooking and loves having fancy ingredients, so that’s what I’m going with. I got him some special cornbread mix from a celebrity chef he likes, some heirloom peppercorns, and I’m going to get him a giftbox of 3 hot sauces from a Boston hot sauce maker, since he really likes their stuff and is almost out of his favorite.

I got him a Nintendo Switch. He just said yesterday that we should save up and get one sometime because he really wants one, so this will be a fun surprise. There’s no way he will predict he is getting one because of the price, but his sister and I decided to split the cost, which made it affordable for both of us. I got a Black Friday $25 Amazon credit for buying the Switch, so I will buy him Mario Kart for $35 once that credit hits. My brother is getting him Super Smash Bros. as his gift, so he’ll be set on games until his birthday at the end of January.

Not entirely sure. My husband has been very successful getting her Lush gift boxes, so I think we might do one of those. We didn’t get her anything for her birthday, but did get stuff for her brother, so we will spend a bit more and pretend we meant to send a joint gift the whole time :laughing:. She loved the foundation I used at my wedding, but there is no way I am going to try to predict someone else’s foundation shade, so I think I will give her a giftcard to Sephora for it. Also, we just moved to a new city, so we’ll get her a little trinket from there.

This is by far the hardest one. He really keeps to himself and doesn’t share too much about himself (he is on the spectrum). He likes NASCAR and wrestling and classic rock but I don’t really know which classic rock. Last year my husband got him a wrestling video game and a multitool pocket knife thing, both of which were big successes. He usually gets my husband Walmart gift cards, so maybe we will get him a giftcard, but I’d like something additional that acknowledges we know his personality.

He loves to cook and is Italian, so I am pushing for a gift box from Eataly with some fancy cooking ingredients in it. J. wants to get him something so that he can cook dinner for the family, since that is something he loves doing, so we’ve thought about sending him some fancy meat or something like that. Who knows!


What do Wizard and his family like?

For Bungalow Court Friends, I think homemade candies would be awesome, unless they are too labor intensive to make. I think some homemade food item is the way to go, though.


Wizard won’t be too hard, because he loves so many things so much. I just have to decide.

His parents are harder. They like nice things that last a long time and are beautiful ($$$) and are also moving more minimalist/anti-consumerist, so that makes them difficult to buy for! I might try a puzzle, actually, they’ve been doing a lot of puzzles lately. And maybe a small assortment of consumables (fancy soap + rich hot cocoa is always applicable to everyone, right?).

Bungalow Court Friends are vegan and most of my candies are emphatically not vegan. However, I can make some interesting candies that would be vegan – hot cocoa mixes, marzipan candies, etc. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that.


Baby PDM: trampoline!!! A fancy spring free one from a work colleague for a great price.
Mrs PDM: more of a joint gift for both of us, two small (150ml) coffee cups made by a potter friend. Mrs PDM had two larger ones made for our wedding anniversary last year but one got broke so I’m replacing that as well.

Everyone else gets nothing. Maybe trinkets for nieces and nephews.


First up, I’m jealous of Baby PDM.

I had Grand Plans to make cute little washcloths for everyone for Christmas. I don’t have the patience or hand strength for that, so I have to buy some gifts;

  • MIL + Step FIL: a blue geranium, to complement her collection of various shades of red/orange/pink that she’s taken from cuttings in her neighbourhood. Farmers’ market food goodies.
  • Mum: A vanilla orchid
  • Dad: I’m finally, FINALLY gonna print him a canvas of a painting that a forummer did years ago. ZOMFG it has taken me forever to organise this thing (technically it only needed me to sit down at a computer for half an hour. oops.)
  • FIL & wife: A nicely presented collection of food from the farmers’ market.
  • SIL: Carnivorous plant LEGO.
  • Sister (I have 3 sibs but only have to buy for 1 every year): Uuuuuuuh halp. She started a FIFO job, maybe something nice for her to take back & forth from the mine site?
  • Son: A kickass sandpit and mud kitchen. He’ll get chocolate and fruit in his stocking from Santa too, maybe a matchbox car.
  • Hubs: A sprouting kit for his lunch salads.
  • BFF and her family: washcloths and some lovely soaps or such. Mostly because I started on hers first and it’s fun making different shapes for her kid!

@LadyDuck – I know, my first reaction was I want Baby PDM’s gift! For your sister… what about one of those digital picture frames where you can send pictures to it? It would be flat so easy to fit into a suitcase, and family could send photos to it while she is away and she could look at them at the site.

I just realized that I have a really obvious gift option: framed wedding photos (we got married in June). I have a great photo of my mom and me, so I think I’ll do that for her!


Your gifts for Wizard’s parents sound awesome! I think vegan candies would be fun to make. I know you can make vegan chocolates. What about some sort of chocolate peanut butter thing?


Dad: TBD
Mom: Butterfly necklace and outing with kiddo to a butterfly experience thing
Mr. Meer: I already bought his and gave it to him, a weighted blanket and duvet cover for it. I was casually stalking the internet for it all year and stumbled on a discount+coupon deal so it was ~$30 off.
Kiddo: more magna-tile knock offs to add to what he already has and plays with. Not sure what else to get him, he’s four and doesn’t really play with his toys - he’d rather be playing on his tablet (chock full of educational stuff) or being active and we only have so much room for indoor active stuff. Outdoor active stuff is already sufficiently covered.
Self: This is kind of from Mr. Meer last year, kind of finishing a project I have in mind that I’m being picky about. I want to get a family picture artwork thing like this or this (or maybe in the Calvin and Hobbes style but we actually already have some art prints that are from Wookie The Chew on a nearby wall so I don’t know if that’d be too much?). We already have a frame and a spot on the wall to hang it.

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Got one more knocked out! Work Secret Santa. My person likes, among other things, Harry Potter and exercising. She’s gotten rather ripped over the past couple years and does races where there’s obstacles and exercise stations (run here and climb up this obstacle or do X burpees, then run over there and crawl through some mud, then run to this other spot and do monkey bars, etc.) She also likes memes.

I found a seller on Etsy that makes work out shirts that say “Bro, do you even Leviosa?” As long as it gets delivered in time, I’m all set.



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My first two gift-giving events of the season are this weekend, and I have the gifts sorted for those.

Saturday is a friend white elephant/yankee swap party. I have a gift that I wrapped for this party two years ago and then forgot to bring (instead, I had with me a bag of groceries…). Then I didn’t make it to the party last year. So this year someone is getting two old but unworn ballcaps and one handmade (not by me) scarf.

Sunday is tea and ornament exchange with my ladies group. I found a wood cutout ornament at an art/craft fair in October for this.

My sis and her family are not coming for Christmas this year, which means I have to finish their gifts early enough to mail across the country. This will be a challenge, since I’m usually putting the finishing touches on some handmade gift Christmas Eve or even (last year) early Christmas morning. And 2/3 of those family members have requested specific handmade gifts. But at least I know what they will be. No idea yet for sis.

My teenaged cousins (6 of them) will get gift cards. I am hopeful Target will have their 10% off promotion this weekend.

I bought some pretty beach-themed dish towels for adult cousin 1 this summer, for her new vacation house. I got a set of four pretty owl bowls on Buy Nothing that I’ll give to adult cousin 2. Uncle gets homemade boozy nog, still need something for Aunt.

Mom and Dad are a challenge. I bought a small ornamental thing for their winter house, then found out they won’t be able to go there this year. I think I’ll give it to them anyway so they can “pretend they are there”. Still need a real gift, though, for the people who don’t need or want anything and are pretty much housebound (see not traveling to winter house).

White elephant/Yankee swap #2 is in January. I received a gift from a family member last year that is perfect to regift for this.

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I’m working on something new. Some folks are getting prototypes for Christmas.


I think those would be too heavy, at least all the ones I’ve held. She’s on a very low weight limit. BUT talking about it here has got me thinking maybe an Audible subscription or similar would be great!


Ooh, are those homemade notebooks? Could you please tell us more about them?

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They are! :grin: I wanted to make something for myself with specific spreads for a garden journal, I haven’t really liked what I have seen in stores. I guess I could try to find something online, but this is more personal. So I’m testing out different stitches and designs. The top one is a reclaimed leather bound journal with long stitch (the kind of thing you might see SCA folks or maybe cosplayers with). The second one (the smallest) has rigid covers with coptic stitch on paired needles (I really like the thickness of these covers). The bottom one has a somewhat thinner (softer) cover and has coptic stitch on paired needles plus french link in the middle (the french link turned out ok but is too wide, it would look better over a narrower distance). There are some other types I’d like to try (eg. certain japanese stab stitch patterns, french link over ribbon (I didn’t have any suitable ribbon and the cover on the green one is too thin anyway) but I really like coptic a lot, as well as french link over ribbon. I really like the look of the exposed binding and the fact that they open 180 degrees and lay flat. I also like the possibility for all kinds of unique covers (I have so many ideas that incorporate some of my other crafts), and the ability to customize the pages. The prototypes/tests, if they are good enough, are definitely good enough to use as gifts! (I have a few that didn’t make the cut.) They don’t take an insignificant amount of time to make, but they are much quicker than anything else I can do, and probably would be more likely to be used as well. :woman_shrugging: If they like them, maybe I can get my friends to talk them up and get commissions. :upside_down_face:


Thanks for the detailed explanation, very interesting and useful!
I like how you tested different patterns, they are all beautiful.

Ah ah, the first thing I thought was that if I received one of these, I would have a hard time using it for fear of “ruining it” :sweat_smile:

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(My secret wish)

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