Tag Archives: Gifts

2015 Christmas Gift Ideas and Thoughts on Gift Giving

Here are some articles with gift ideas – handmade and not – as well as thoughts on gift-giving:

  1. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/christmas-ideas/
  2. http://www.womansday.com/life/g955/gifts-for-her/
  3. http://www.iheartnaptime.net/handmade-christmas-gifts/
  4. http://www.iheartnaptime.net/handmade-christmas-gifts/
  5. http://www.moneyunder30.com/cheap-gifts-53-inexpensive-christmas-gifts
  6. http://greatist.com/happiness/meaningful-gifts-on-the-cheap
  7. http://www.betterbudgeting.org/2015/06/63-gift-ideas-for-under-10-any-occasion.html
  8. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/3-ways-to-be-a-better-gift-giver/
  9. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  10. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  11. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  12. http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2015/11/helping-your-kids-give-great-gifts-giving-healthy-and-thoughtful-presents.html

I found these articles useful for ideas and tips, as well as some thoughts on how to give a great gift and what makes a great gift.  I thought I would pass them on in the hope that they help someone else.  In addition, if you are looking for more ideas, check out my list of 101 Gift Ideas on a Budget.

Christmas present

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15 Father’s Day Gift Ideas – 2014 Edition

Older I get Smarter Dad GetsLast year, I tried to brainstorm gift ideas for father’s day.  My husband is NOT easy to buy for and I figured others are probably in the same boat.  That list and my list of gifts on a budget are two of my more popular posts, so I thought I would try this again last year (also, I had a request from a reader 🙂 .  Here are some updated ideas.

  1. A Father’s Day Weekend:  Take over the responsibilities around the house – for entire weekend.  For example, my husband let me sleep in both Saturday and Sunday on Mother’s Day weekend; normally, I sleep in Saturdays and he sleeps in Sundays.  If your husband normally takes out the trash, then take that over for the weekend.  If you are doing this for your father, then do things to make his life a little easier – take the car and put gas in it.  Cut the grass.
  2. Handmade “certificates”: good for “one day out without complaint,” “one day without taking out the trash,” “one day child-free,” “one day out with the guys – with no complaints,” and anything else you might think he’d enjoy.  Children could also make something along these lines –  with coupons for “one bedroom cleaning without complaint” and so forth.
  3. For the reader: handmade bookmarks, preferably by your child(ren).  Audiobooks are good for fathers that have a commute – even books for Kindles if they commute by train/light rail/bus or if they simply like to have things to read wherever they are! Other ideas:  a container with his favorite beverage, a snack, and a book (or gift certificate to a book store.)
  4. Dinner: with your little (or not so little) helpers, make his favorite dinner and have all of the family eat together.  Two years ago, I took my oldest with me and let him pick out things to make for dinner for Daddy; he did a very good job of picking out things that Daddy really enjoyed and I think it was good experience in thinking about others.
  5. Little every-day gifts:  Really listen when he talks.  If he has a bad day, step in without complaint and do the day-to-day things around the house that he normally takes care of and do it without complaint and without being asked.  Encourage him to spend some time with his friends.  Take pictures of him with the kids – frame his favorites.  Push him and the kids out the door with balls, rackets, etc. so they can play together.
  6. Touching: Write him a letter about how much you appreciate what he does as a father.  Have your kids write one too.
  7. Nuts: If he likes nuts, buy a big container of them and attach a handmade decoration that says “We’re Nuts About Daddy.”  Another idea:  take a peanut M&M bag (not the big bag) and put a string or rubber band around the middle to make it look like a bow-tie.  Then attach a note that says “To the best Daddy, from your little Peanut” (or peanuts…LOL).
  8. For a wife to give: go with him to do something that you don’t normally: monster truck rally, sports event, paintball, fishing, or learn to do something that he enjoys (like his hobby).
  9. Cute:  A bottle of soda with a tie and a note: For the Best Pop Ever, a container of Reese’s Pieces with a note -“We love you to pieces”.
    1. A Man’s Bouquet:  attach candy to his favorite pens/pencils and put in a cup of his favorite sports team or TV show.
    2. Make homemade ice cream cookies – using homemade cookies (his favorite of course), scoop out ice cream on to one and press the other on top.  Smooth over the sides and it is finished!
    3. Craft stores frequently have coffee mugs that children can put a drawing in; have the kids finish that and then fill with samples of coffee or his favorite candy.
  10. For the reader (2): have the kids make book marks, then laminate them (or use the laminating sheets you can get at an office supply store).  Another great idea:  scan your child’s artwork, shrink several down, and print out several in a row to create a memorable bookmark to laminate.  You can also use the scanned artwork to print miniatures out, put
  11. Picture:  Frame his favorite picture of the family in a beautiful frame – or have it professionally framed. You could also put a favorite quote about fathers or fatherhood in a frame – print it out yourself in a nice font.
  12. Super simple but from the heart:  write your father a letter and tell him what you love most, your favorite memories, and so on.  Have your children do this for your husband.
  13. Candy bars:  there are a lot of really cute printables out there that you can wrap around his favorite candy bar (“Million Dollar Dad”, “We’re Nuts over You” – over a Payday Bar, and more).
  14. Miscellaneous:  digital photo key chain (sometimes are found at drugstores relatively inexpensively),  cheese/sausage/cracker tray, his favorite beer, have a lawn service cut the grass for June.
  15. Shocking thought:  ask him what he would like MOST for father’s day…

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.  I’m looking for more ideas too!

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100 Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Buy coffee for the next person in line.
  2. Leave encouraging notes for people – in library books, on tables, near study areas.
  3. Send an encouraging email to someone.
  4. Put a note in a child’s lunch.
  5. Send an encouraging card or letter.
  6. Call your parents.
  7. Call your grandparents.
  8. Tape money for a drink to a soda machine.
  9. Leave dollars hidden near toys in the dollar store.
  10. Leave a plant on someone’s porch.
  11. Send a box of sunshine to someone.
  12. Smile at someone waiting on you.
  13. Tip well.
  14. Say hello.
  15. Buy a meal for someone in need.
  16. Save change, turn into bills, give to needy.
  17. Cut someone’s grass.
  18. Take a meal to a harried mom.
  19. Make a special treat for your family.
  20. Listen without interruption.
  21. When appropriate, give a hug.
  22. Do a chore for a loved one.
  23. Thank a veteran.
  24. Thank a teacher.
  25. Give scarves, gloves, hats, coats to the homeless.
  26. Participate in a walk/run for a cause.
  27. Leave a gift for your waiter.
  28. Leave notes in library books.
  29. If you see that someone needs something, give freely.
  30. Hold a hand.
  31. Just be there.
  32. Leave a gift card for a waiter, a mailman, your hair stylist.
  33. Donate books, supplies to a women’s shelter.
  34. Put together personal hygiene bags for a homeless shelter.
  35. Tape lottery tickets to a gas pump.
  36. Leave a Starbucks gift card with a note in a library book.
  37. Lend an ear when someone is upset – and JUST listen.
  38. Donate books to a growing library.
  39. Buy school supplies and donate to the school.
  40. Send a care package to a college student.
  41. Write to a soldier.
  42. Thank an EMT.
  43. Take cookies to the firehouse.
  44. Bundle nail files and a bottle of nail polish and leave at a park with a note – “This is for you.  Have a great day!”
  45. Write encouraging post-its and leave around the house.
  46. Cut a neighbor’s lawn.
  47. Help an older neighbor weed flower beds.
  48. Read to a child.
  49. Let a child read to you 🙂
  50. Give your child’s teachers a gift basket.
  51. Take gift cards to teachers.
  52. Give friends a night out by watching their children.
  53. Help a child with homework.
  54. Take a friend for a manicure.
  55. Take a friend out to dinner.
  56. Give someone a gift certificate for a massage.
  57. Teach a child how to do something.
  58. Give restaurant gift cards to your mailman.
  59. Make freezer meals for a family in crisis.
  60. Donate to a cause in someone’s name.
  61. Make a get well soon gift basket for someone.
  62. Leave encouraging post cards in public places.
  63. Send encouraging post cards to people who are struggling.
  64. Say you are sorry.
  65. Have tea with a friend.
  66. Be a Big Brother/Big Sister.
  67. Crochet scarves for the homeless.
  68. Make motivational/inspirational bookmarks and leave in library books.
  69. Volunteer for clean-ups.
  70. Make a favorite meal for someone.
  71. Watch your spouse’s favorite movie with him/her.
  72. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  73. Bake cookies for a child.
  74. Fix a nutritious snack for the homeless.
  75. Visit a lemonade stand.
  76. Give someone an umbrella on a rainy day.
  77. Leave an inspirational book in a doctor’s office.
  78. Listen – REALLY listen. Continue reading

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100+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I started thinking about how to fill stockings for my children (and possibly my spouse) and I realized that I had no idea what to put in a stocking – for a boy, a girl, or my husband.  Sigh.  So…I thought I’d do some looking and make a list of various things that I thought were good ideas and share with others.  Why should all of us have to do the searching and digging?  At any rate, I hope this helps.

I tried not to repeat suggestions, but some are appropriate for any or all of the categories.  In addition, some of these items are good for either gender.  I also did not break these down by age ranges, either, so some are obviously meant for young children and others for teens.

I also welcome additions or suggestions so please comment!

Ideas for Girls

  1.  DVDs
  2. Journal
  3. Dice or card games
  4. Nail polish
  5. Nail decorations
  6. iPod case
  7. Scarves and gloves
  8. Golf balls/tennis balls/hobby items
  9. Really soft socks
  10. Coloring books
  11. Colored pens/crayons/pencils
  12. Jewelery
  13. Craft kits
  14. Puzzles
  15. Gift cards
  16. Stickers
  17. Candy
  18. Small notebook
  19. Pretty night-light
  20. Christmas ornament
  21. Homemade cookies
  22. Key chain/watch/etc.
  23. Magic 8 ball
  24. CDs
  25. Bubbles
  26. Hair clips

Ideas for Boys

  1. Die cast cars
  2. Thumb drive
  3. Action figures
  4. Colored pencils
  5. Drawing pad
  6. Model car kit
  7. Small Lego kits
  8. Specialty toothbrush
  9. Seed packets
  10. Silly putty
  11. Temporary tattoos
  12. Calendar
  13. Hand puppets
  14. Stylus
  15. Handheld games
  16. Travel size games
  17. Fuzzy slippers – or character slippers
  18. Gold-wrapped chocolate coins
  19. Flashlight
  20. Bubble bath
  21. Playdough
  22. Tubes of plastic animals
  23. Animal crackers/fruit treats/ fruit roll-ups
  24. Character pajamas or underwear
  25. Lifesavers storybook
  26. Hair gel

Ideas for Women

  1. Lipstick
  2. Candles
  3. Burt’s Bees products
  4. Lotion
  5. Perfume
  6. Essential oils
  7. Gift cards
  8. Chocolates
  9. Games
  10. Sampler size alcohol
  11. Small bottle of wine
  12. Fancy soap
  13. Body scrubber
  14. Face mask (eye cover)
  15. Heat/cool socks
  16. Hot tea/cocoa/coffee
  17. Wine cork candles
  18. Chopsticks
  19. Battery checker
  20. Charging key chain
  21. Spool for earphones
  22. Pumice stone
  23. Beaded book mark
  24. Camera memory card
  25. Nice pen
  26. Bento box
  27. Cell charger
  28. Ear warmers
  29. Movie tickets

Ideas for Men

  1. Money clip
  2. Ice scraper
  3.  Multi-tool
  4. Book
  5. Playing cards
  6. Cork screw
  7. Pocket kite
  8. Shot glasses
  9. Travel alarm
  10. Games
  11. Bartender’s Guide
  12. Flash drive
  13. Universal remote
  14. Mints
  15. Cookies/candy
  16. Ear buds
  17. Computer mouse
  18. Soap (“manly”)
  19. Knit cap
  20. Silly toys
  21. Lip balm
  22. Team can/bottle cozy
  23. Lottery tickets
  24. Handheld electronics
  25. Tire gauge
  26. Magazine subscription
  27. Novelty ice trays
  28. Throwback T-shirt
  29. Keychain screw driver
  30. Glasses repair kit


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52 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

Things are tough.  The economy is bad, the job market is bad, the news is bad, and sports?  Well, the sports page used to be a place you could read about man’s achievements when everything else seemed bad, but these days, the reports in the sports page are just as bad as everything else: inappropriate emails and pictures, drugs/steroids/cheating, arrests, DUIs, and so forth and so on.  I have found that when things are bleak, one thing that can help lighten my mood is thinking about other people, thinking about people around me rather than obsessing about my own situation.  Here is a list of 52 ways to brighten someone else’s day:

  1. Listen – REALLY listen – to them.
  2. Give them a hug.
  3. Compliment one thing that you really like about them.
  4. Treat them to lunch, or coffee, or something else that you know that they would enjoy.
  5. Call them.
  6. Write them a short but heartfelt note and send it to them.
  7. Send an email – also heartfelt.
  8. Take them a flower or a plant, if they like those.
  9. Make arrangements to get together and do something fun.
  10. Smile – even if you don’t really feel like it.  Sometimes people just need a little encouragement, and you never know – the simple act of smiling at someone else might brighten your mood as well.
  11. Take them a bouquet of fresh flowers or a potted plant.
  12. Run an errand for them.
  13. Cook a meal for them – and take it to them.
  14. Share one of your favorite movies or books with them, if you think they would enjoy it.
  15. Cut the grass for them – or do another chore.
  16. Write a letter to them – or write one FOR them if writing isn’t easy for them.
  17. Give them the gift of a massage at a day spa.
  18. Pay for coffee for the person behind you at your local coffee shop – anonymously.
  19. Pay a compliment.
  20. Tell the people you love how much you love them.
  21. Spontaneously hug them – if they are a “huggy” sort of person.
  22. Offer to help a coworker out.
  23. Hold the door for someone who has their hands full.
  24. Make eye contact.
  25. Be polite and kind to people who are helping you – cashiers, workers at a store, waiters/waitresses, and so on.
  26. If you see someone that seems to be struggling, talk to them.
  27. Leave a thank you note.
  28. If you received really good service at a restaurant, say so to the manager.
  29. If your waitress/waiter is obviously having a hard day, be kind – say something encouraging or just smile and be patient.
  30. Use someone’s name when you talk to them – people love to hear their name.
  31. Be a courteous driver.
  32. Share good news.
  33. Take bagels or snacks to work for your coworkers.
  34. Put a note in your spouse’s lunch – or in your child’s lunch.
  35. Call your parents just to say hello.
  36. If someone drops something, pick it up and smile.
  37. Watch their favorite show with them.
  38. Send someone a short note, just to say you are thinking of them.
  39. If they are sick – take them a care package with tissues, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and saltines.
  40. Do your child’s chores for the day.
  41. Go to the hospital to visit a friend or relative – you’d be surprised how few people do this and how much it means.
  42. Say thank you to people who serve you –  wait staff, barbers/hair stylists, cashiers, etc.
  43. Hold the elevator for them!
  44. Tell them how proud you are of them.
  45. Take them a small, pretty plant.
  46. Take cookies to a nursing home or assisted living home.
  47. Donate nice, gently used work clothes to a group that helps people get a job.
  48. Leave a bigger tip than normal when you go out to eat.
  49. Make a care package for someone in the military.
  50. Donate blood.
  51. Participate in an “awareness” walk – epilepsy, breast cancer, heart….
  52. When you see something that reminds you of a friend, buy it and surprise your friend.

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52 Ways to Say I Love You

I am writing this because I know that there are people who need ideas on this subject, but I have to be honest. You need to know your audience. You know better than I do what would make your significant other, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. happy. Still, I have gathered a list of ideas that may help, just in case you are suffering from a lack of inspiration. In honor of Valentine’s Day…

  1. Tell someone you love them – it is just that simple.
  2. Prepare a romantic meal – or prepare their favorite meal
  3. Bake heart-shaped cookies- or a heart-shaped cake.
  4. Take over their household responsibilities for a week or a month.
  5. Make reservations in a bed and breakfast.
  6. Give a living gift: a blooming plant, bush, or tree.
  7. Name a star for them.
  8. Adopt an animal at a zoo, if they love animals.
  9. Take time to learn about one of their hobbies or interests.
  10. List the top 10 romantic memories that you share with them.
  11. Buy flowers for your partner’s mother to thank her for bringing such a special person into the world.
  12. Write a “101 Reasons I Love You” list.
  13. Go back to the place you had your first date with your partner.
  14. Make a Valentine’s card by hand
  15. Mail a card full of love and loving thoughts even if you live together.
  16. Tell your partner how proud you are of them.
  17. Support your partner through thick and thin.
  18. Wrap your arms around your partner and hug them enthusiastically.
  19. Learn to say “I love you” in different languages to surprise your partner.
  20. Read a romantic poem to your partner over drinks – and in candlelight or romantic lighting.
  21. Make homemade candy for your partner.
  22. Do a chore that they really hate so that they don’t have to worry about it.
  23. Talk to their family about things you might do that would make them happy.
  24. Call your partner or email them over the course of the day to let them know you are thinking of them.
  25. Go to see a movie that you wouldn’t normally go see, in order to make your partner happy.
  26. Develop a ritual with your partner: give each other a warm hug every night as soon as you are both home, sit and have a cup of coffee together first thing in the morning, cuddle on the couch and watch a tv show together before bed, etc.
  27. Surprise your significant other with a nice meal, with candles and music.
  28. Write a love letter and mail it to them.
  29. Write a number of small love notes and place them in places that your significant other will look.
  30. Put a love note in their lunch!
  31. Send them a love note (a mild one, mind!) to their email each morning.
  32. Send them a love text message!
  33. Cross stitch a simple, romantic mug
  34. Give your partner a little quiet time at the end of the day so that they can unwind, if that is what they need – even if you are eager to talk about the day.
  35. Look for little things that you can do to help your partner unwind at the end of the day: rub feet, make dinner (ok, not such a little thing), straighten, run a warm bath, make a cup of tea, turn on soft music, dim the lights, keep the kids distracted…
  36. Take the kids out for a meal and let your partner have a quiet meal in peace or even a hot bath in peace.  The two of you could have a nice meal together after the kids are in bed.
  37. Arrange for a weekend together at a bed and breakfast.
  38. Give him a back rub.
  39. Watch his favorite sport with him – and try to learn something about it.
  40. Tell him how much you appreciate his help.
  41. Tell him how much you appreciate him participating in your family events.
  42. Make his favorite meal, with his favorite dessert.
  43. Take time to really listen.
  44. Make a list of your 10 favorite romantic memories with your partner, then give it to them.
  45. Write a “101 Reasons I Love You” list.
  46. Write an original love poem for your partner.
  47. Make homemade candy for your partner instead of giving him or her store-bought candy.
  48. Arrange to have your anniversary off every year and spend the entire day together.
  49. Cook a nice meal together.
  50. Do one task each day that they really dread – and do it for them with a smile on your face.
  51. Look for ways to lessen their stress: do something around the house that makes things easier, buy them a stress-relief product for work, get a stress-relief CD, etc.
  52. Cuddle with your partner.  Give them a hug before they leave, whenever that might be.  See them off, wave to them.

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DVD Gift Basket Ideas

You can create a number of DVD gift baskets by going with a theme. Some ideas that I had for this are:

  1. General DVD basket: A rental certificate to your local or national branch of a DVD rental place, plus candy, microwave popcorn, and some soda. You could put all of this into a large bowl for the popcorn.
  2. Scary movie night: A DVD or two of top scary movies, plus the extras listed above. It helps if you know the recipient’s tastes! You could go with even more of a theme and buy monster movies, space-themed movies, murderer-themed movies, and so forth.
  3. Romantic movie night: Good choices to include are You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Moonstruck, When Harry Met Sally, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Pretty Woman, One Fine Day, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Nottinghill, Ghost… and I could go on and on. Think about the recipient’s tastes. Does the recipient like older movies? Then go with Roman Holiday and/or Sabrina. If they like Meg Ryan, then Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail are good choices.
  4. Western Theme: Depending on the age of the recipient, you could include children’s “horse movies” like The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, and others in the same vein, or adult features like Unforgiven, Wyatt Earp, Tombstone, Maverick, or of course, any John Wayne movies.
  5. Animated Basket: Go with any known favorites of the recipient, or go with a specific company, like Disney, Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, or others.
  6. Family Gift Basket: For a family gift, you might want to put several different movies together with snacks like popcorn, candy, and perhaps a soda. If there are kids of different ages, consider an animated movie, a “tween” movie, and something for the adults. If you want to cut down on the cost, think about checking out the budget racks at somewhere like Wal-Mart; you can frequently find an older movie for less than $12.

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