It’s my favorite time of the year, you guys: It’s officially socially acceptable to listen to Christmas tunes around the clock, plus I have a valid excuse to spend hours scouring the Internet in search of great gift ideas for you to give your loved ones! (I may also have shopped a
little lot in the process. Oops.)
Note: Some of these featured products are from our sponsors, while others are affiliate links that will earn me a small commission.
So without further ado, here’s what I’m digging this year:
FOR THE NOMADIC SOUL
Have a friend or family member in your life who is only satisfied when doing something new, exciting and/or unique? (I know a little something about that!) Well, Tinggly has the cure that ails them. I’ve always been a fan of giving experiences instead of mere stuff, and this is the perfect solution: You can gift your loved one a personalized box that contains a voucher to a bucket list kind of item that most people only dream of. Dinner with a NASA astronaut? James Bond sightseeing tour in Thailand? VIP helicopter over the Vegas Strip? Yoga retreat in India? Tango lesson in Buenos Aires? Tinggly has something for every taste. I also love that you can choose your box by theme: birthday, Christmas, wedding, couples and more.
FOR THE SUN BUM
True story: I allot more space in my luggage to sunglasses than I do to anything else, as heaven forbid I be photographed in the same shades over and over again! But I can’t help it: I’m always outside doing something fun, and if there’s one thing fashion-wise that I care about the most it’s what’s on my face. And I love the selection of women’s sunglasses available at Sunglass Warehouse. I’m a huge fan of Aviators—bonus points if they’re mirrored—and Sunglass Warehouse has so many different kinds of Aviators in stock, many available for under $20. (With as much as I change out my shades, I like keeping my cost per item as low as possible.) For those shopping for the holidays, Sunglass Warehouse is offering 40% off one pair of shades from now through Nov. 30 with the code SPENDLESS40.
FOR THE TECH-HEAVY TRAVELER
We’ve all been there before: You’re traveling all day and your iPhone quickly depletes of all power. It’s near impossible to locate an outlet at an airport, and even my backup battery usually dies well before my travel day has ended (a nightmare scenario as I rely on it for ride-sharing when I finally reach my destination). Which is why Lynktec’s Reeljuice 5X Power Bank + 10 Watt Rapid Wall Charger is my new favorite thing; it’s got four feet of retractable charging cord, and it gives me FIVE full charges before it needs to be re-powered. No more fighting my fellow fliers for coveted outlet space at the airport; in fact, I can even charge my phone while I fly. I’m giving one of these bad boys away down at the bottom of the post, but you can also get 25 percent off (site-wide!) with the code LUNATICATLARGE25.
FOR THE SCIENCE GEEK (OR THE TWEEN)
This Lock Pick Beginners Box is at the very top of my DIY-loving husband’s own list, and for good reason: It gives you the tools (literally and figuratively) that you need to learn how to pick locks, with two different sets of practice locks that have clear sides so that the trainee can see what’s going on behind the scenes with the mechanisms. This is the perfect present for a dude—what husband/boyfriend doesn’t love tinkering?—but also would be a fantastic and affordable option for your fidgety, problem-solving tween.
FOR THE PHILANTHROPIST
You guys know my love for St. Jude runs deep. It’s just so cool what they do there: On top of being one of the top research facilities in the world, St. Jude also ensure that its patients don’t have to worry about a thing (like, for example, cost or lodging for the family) other than getting better. I donate to St. Jude periodically throughout the year, but I’m loving their new initiative, This Shirt. All you have to do is sign up to donate $20 to St. Jude monthly, and you get this exclusive Tee that all your favorite country artists (and your favorite blogger!) are wearing. Because helping others is really the reason for the season.
FOR THE ETERNAL STUDENT
Alert, alert, self plug coming! Kristin Sweeting and I are headed to Portugal next July to teach the ultimate writing, photography, marketing and business workshop—and we’d love for you to join us! We’ve extended registrations through Dec. 31 and have a handful of spots left (and a really amazing group attending so far!). Come learn the ropes of the biz with us while surfing, roaming, doing yoga and exploring Lisbon’s charming surrounds with us in your downtime. Bring your significant other or business partner or come solo. Just think of it as continuing education, a tax write-off and a vacation all rolled into one! As a Christmas special, I’m including two one-hour coaching sessions for anyone who signs up by Dec. 15, one by Skype prior to the trip and one in Portugal.
FOR THE AT-HOME COOK
We’re always experimenting in the kitchen, and try to eat as clean (i.e. no processed food) as possible, meaning that adding herbs and spices is clutch for our style of dining. I’ve had a subscription to Raw Spice Bar for the past year, and I love that every three months, a collection of six individually packaged, freshly-ground, seasonal spices arrives in my mailbox and that I don’t have to commit to buying the entire spice jar before I know I like it. You can even customize your diet to Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, healthy or “eat anything” and, of course, buy more from the Raw Spice Bar shop if you like what you tried.
FOR THE HEALTHY DINER
I’m all about collecting cookbooks, even if SVV is technically the chef in our household. My current favorite is A Beautiful Mess Weekday Weekend, which just came out this month and compiles even more healthy, vegetarian recipes than Elsie and Emma post on their blog. If you already own ABM, may I suggest the following: Laura Lea Balanced, Body Love and Cravings (maybe technically not healthy, but who doesn’t want to look like Chrissy Teigen?!).
FOR THE NEW HOMEOWNER
Earlier this year, my interior designer friend Kendall Simmons and her husband Kane launched Salut Home, a thoughtfully curated collection of home goods and accents, and I drool over all their colorful offerings every time the email hits my inbox. My current obsession? Their new collection of Leah Singh pillows (all things Leah Singh, really)—they have 96 styles in stock! And bonus, they’re on sale for Black Friday (use the code LEAH20), or you can sign up for their newsletter and receive a promo code for 10 percent off.
FOR THE SHUTTERBUG
While I’ll never fully replace my DSLR, ever since my mom gave me the Canon G7X Mark II for Christmas last year, it’s replaced my Canon 6D in my purse as my daily camera. It’s still got the manual settings so I can play around with the exposure, but is small and compact and great for videos. (Check out the travel videos I’ve been making for evidence.)
FOR THE BIG KID IN YOUR LIFE
For SVV’s last birthday, I got him a Phantom 4 Pro+ drone, and he loves it. He was a former aviation tech in the Navy and daydreams about flying all the time. Coupled with his penchant for photography, it was the perfect gift (and has come in handy on many a work project for us, too!). I think the P4 Pro is great for someone who does photography professionally; however, if your loved one isn’t that well-versed in drones yet, I recommend a cheaper, lighter model like the DJI Spark as a starter drone. OR this quadcopter is an excellent budget version at $60 for those who just want to learn to fly and don’t care about the photography aspect.
FOR THE ADVENTURER
I’ve had five different GoPros since I got my first one seven years ago, and the quality has improved significantly. After watching some of my YouTubers film exclusively with the GoPro Hero 6, I’m adding the newest model to my wishlist for our upcoming ski adventures (and it finally comes equipped with an LCD screen, too—you used to have to buy those a la carte).
FOR THE DOG OWNER
I bought a pair of travel pillows from the entrepreneurs behind Doggie Duffel, and I’m intrigued by their latest (fully-funded) project that’s essentially an all-in-one travel kit for your pup. Ella doesn’t have one of these yet, but I think I know what she’ll be finding under the Christmas tree…
FOR THE ART LOVER
I’ve been a long-time fan (turned friend) of Leslee Mitchell’s, and every time her gorgeous photography pops into my feed, I mentally bookmark it for the next time I’m doing a room makeover. I recently snagged several of her toy car prints, and I’m absolutely in love! Any giftee would be lucky to own a series of prints from this talented artist.
FOR THE SPORTY GIRL
Pretty much all my travel apparel comes from Gap Fit or Athleta—after all, I’m a girl who places comfort above style, but with most athleisure, luckily you can have both!—and a few pieces I’m loving this winter are: this metallic sweatshirt, this jersey keyhole top, this pullover hoodie and these black, leopard-print leggings.
FOR THE VINTAGE LOVER
Wish you’d grown up in the 70s? (Me, too.) You can embrace a bygone era with this sleek record player in a portable brief case that doubles as a CD player and has USB ports. Bonus: It comes in five different colors!
FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO WORKS FROM HOME
You know that girl who works in her coziest pajamas and barely leaves her computer desk all day long, except to refill her coffee/water/bourbon glass? (AHEM.) Welllll, how much would she love to upgrade from her ratty old PJs to this amazing unicorn onesie? (Really bad, I’ll tell ya!) For one that’s a bit more subtle, Nordstrom currently has this beauty on sale.
Stocking Stuffers Under $50
- Savannah Bee Co. body products. I was stoked when I recently spotted Savannah Bee’s entire line, like this body butter, for sale at Target!
- Geometric rings. Psst, SVV, looking for something small to get me? Start here.
- Paddywax candle. My favorite candles are those that you can reuse the container as tabletop decor after it’s burned out.
- Herb mill and grinder. As someone who’s very lazy in the kitchen, I love any tool that does the hard work for me.
- S’well bottle. My cousins gave me one of these nifty canteens two years ago, and it’s been a game changer in my travels as I no longer have to abuse the planet by buying bottled water.
Stocking Stuffers Under $20
- Taylor Swift’s reputation album. The Old Taylor can’t come to the phone because she’s out there SLAYING it with her new album. Man, this one is going to rack up the awards, and it should be in any music lover’s repertoire of tunes.
- Flamingo ornament. I’m a sucker for all things flamingos and also ornaments, and Nordstrom at Home has a whole lot of cute, travel-themed ones, many of which are on sale.
- Vintage maps. SVV and I are map lovers to the core. We own more than 30 globes and a number of vintage maps, but those are tough to find, which is why I like this Etsy store, which has both domestic and international city prints.
- Monogrammed copper wine stopper. Because who doesn’t want their initial atop their vino?!
- Twist Magazine’s winter issue. Launched by my good friend Keryn, this new travel publication is a gorgeous glossy that’s the perfect stuffer for the family traveler.
- A taco holder. What taco lover doesn’t need this in their life?!
Stocking Stuffers Under $10
- Sheet masks. I’ve been addicted to sheet masking for a year now, and while the TonyMoly variety pack is my go-to order, I’m equally as obsessed with these reindeer and penguin masks from Target.
- eos holiday lip balm. I keep an eos in every bag I own, and I just popped this trio of holiday flavors (peppermint mocha, vanilla bean, ginger) into my shopping cart!
- A manatee tea infuser. Or if manatees aren’t your thing (you crazy), there’s also a sloth, shark or loch ness monster.
- iPhone charging cords in myriad colors. Show of hands if you, like me, are always on the hunt for that missing iPhone/USB/mini-USB cord?
- The Oregon Trail Card Came. Because kids these days don’t even know what it’s like to ford a river and then die of dysentery when you’re almost there.
- Pop socket. This little doodad changed my life—and made me stop dropping my iPhone altogether. I didn’t know how I’d feel about it, but I love it.
- Rare earth magnets. We bought these to tack things to our wall on our four-month RTW cruise, and they’ve been a game-changer on actually keeping all of our cards and photos up on the fridge. They never fall, like, ever.
Since it doesn’t feel like the holidays until I start giving away gifts, I’m giving away one big C&C stocking stuffer grab bag, full of some of my favorite things, including the Lynktec charging station, a selection of Raw Spice Bar spices, and plenty of other stocking stuffers for you to give your family and friends (or keep for yourself—I won’t judge!). The value of this box o’ fun is currently over $300—also brimming with music, beauty items, and other odds and ends I’ve purchased and wanted to share with you—though I’ll likely continue to add to that as I finish my Black Friday shopping.
All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite holiday tradition. Don’t have one? Tell me what’s the top of your Christmas wishlist! It’s that simple. Leave a comment below, and I’ll randomly choose a winner of this bag o’ fun on Dec. 1.