‘Tis the time in the season where we all hit gift gathering crunch time. Are you checking your lists and just now realizing there is nothing on there to “WOW” them? I mean, I know they really, really wanted that sweater and those boots, but will there be anything under the tree to surprise them and make them squeal “this is the best!”?
Are you thinking, “That’s a great point, but I’m also tallying up my credit card statement and there’s not a lot of ‘flow’ left to my cash.”
Well, delight can come cheap and easy, my friend. That “may” have not come out exactly as we intended, but with this list you can be a hero on par with Santa for not a lot of reindeer chow.
These right here are the entire reason this post was written. A friend told Ellen about them, and she was amazed! Every person Ellen has told about them has been amazed! Virtual reality for UNDER $10? It’s amazing!
So this is the world of Google Cardboard. You download the apps to your phone, pop it into this viewer, and you’re off to play games, explore ancient temples, or immerse yourself in the world of Star Wars. Just with this little thing. Really. These sturdy gems come fully assembled, and the only real complaint at this price point is that the cardboard hurts your nose. Some genius in the Amazon reviews discovered that slitting a Nerf dart along its length and slipping it over the cardboard edge provides the perfect cushion for your $8.99 wonder.
If you would like a bit more of a comfort upgrade, you can check out this plastic model. Still under $25!
Got a baseball player, tennis player, golf pro, or musician on your list? This fun little gadget can get them in tip-top shape in the most conversation-igniting way possible. You basically have to provide resistance against its spinning. It’s more addicting than it sounds. Trust us.
Never again get caught in the dark searching blindly through your handbag desperately trying to find your keys, cosmetics or other items that settle to the bottom of a cluttered purse. This little light is motion activated and turns off after a couple of seconds. Genius can be found in the simplest of ideas.
Speaking of losing things, we feel like we keep buying USB cables because we keep leaving them like breadcrumbs everywhere we go. Even if we have a plug or car charger available to us, we don’t have a cable. This beauty clips onto your purse or backpack to always be handy in a form meets function kind of situation. Works for Android and iPhone (there’s even a lightning cable).
Okay, maybe the last three gifts weren’t so much “wows” as much as they were “that’s pretty cool.” But seriously, just get the virtual reality glasses, be a hero, and call it a day.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wait, let me make that a little more accurate: It’s the most INSANE time of the year! Okay, now I feel like the Grinch. How about, it’s the most insanely wonderful, wonderfully insane time of the year? THAT feels right.
There is so much to do during the holidays that many of us try to pare down our to-do lists as much as possible. This can result in some great things for your well-being like booting the cookies from the roster that take 15 steps, a kajillion hours, and that special ginger picked by virgin elk herders in the Himalayas. However, it can also lead to some hasty decisions like cutting out your gift exchange with your girlfriends. While this may free up some minutes, it can also throw a sopping wet blanket on the spark of your joy.
Some of my best—fun, soul-nourishing, hilarious, sentimental—times are created during my gift exchanges with my friends, be they secret or open, local or spanning the country. So for me, the secret is not to slash my gift list, but to simplify . . . and to borrow a fantastic idea when I hear it. My friend, Andrea, hit on what could possible be the best gift exchange idea ever: SOCKS!
Hear me out. There are so many options, sizing isn’t stressful, they can be so thoughtfully personal, you can find FANTASTIC ones for under $10, Amazon is dripping with them (but you can also find great ones at Walmart and Target), and they don’t add to clutter. Socks are not just for girlfriends either; men, teens, and kids love them, too. This makes them a great gift exchange idea for extended family, the office, and school. See? Perfect. And whoever can find it in their being to complain about adding a pair of socks to their drawer really needs to be kicked out of your tribe. Look, either way, your gift list just got simplified.
So without further ado, here are my personal suggestions.
Oh my goodness these are cute. And it’s a set! You could take care of 5 friends in one click! You can get on Amazon and search your desired breed too. I may or may not have these puggle socks in my cart.
One final funny that doubles as pretty sound advice too.
I could go on forever with these, but that last pair seems like a good place to stop. Don’t see anything you like here? Get yourself over to Amazon and search out any interest under the sun. I guarantee there’s a sock for that.
Here’s a little something extra for that person in your life you REALLY like. They’re all cozy in their new socks, why not give them a good—no great—book to cuddle up with? My friend, Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts, wrote a book that makes a perfect gift for anyone in your life who is a parent. This hardcover book is gorgeous and substantial. It’s filled with humor, truth, and actual real-life advice such as this gem for how to sneak in a nap: “I tell my son that his brother is better at giving back rubs than him. Then I close my eyes and enjoy the competition.” Get your copy of “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting” here or fill out the form below to win one on us!
This giveaway is for one copy of The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting. Open only to residents of the continental United States. Winner will be notified by email at the end of the giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
You know what the second busiest time of the year for gift-giving is? Stop guessing, we’re all too busy for that. It’s May and June! Certain years—especially those packed to bursting with graduations—are a slippery slope of events and presents from Cinco de Mayo to Father’s Day. It can be forty-four straight days of “What should I get her/him/them??”
Now gift cards and cash are nice, but sometimes, often times, you want to show how much you really care. You want to honor history and good times together by telling a story, by wrapping them in memories.
We were lucky enough to have the ideal warm and cuddly gift fall into our laps. A puppy! Just kidding. Potty-training anything is NOT a gift. No, we’re talking about a Project Repat t-shirt quilt! It’s as perfect for your favorite graduate as your dear old dad.
Everyone gets the feels about old t-shirts or at least everyone who has a beating heart. Just pull out an old college t-shirt. It’s almost like time traveling because it’s not just a memento from your life’s journey, it’s a reminder of the past lives you have led. Seriously, even when they’re past threadbare (or appropriate) to wear, you can’t bear to part with them. So what do you do to show your appreciation for these relics? Um, if you’re like Erin you banish them to plastic storage bins in the basement to live out their days hoping to be something more.
I have been throwing old jerseys, team shirts, school club shirts, and every other shirt my kids outgrew but still loved with the red hot fire of childhood into storage bins for years. I was saving them for something, I swear. But I lack the crafting gene so I wasn’t quite sure what that something was . . . until Project Repat. A miracle that could clear out my basement, display my memories, show my high school graduate I love him, and give me an end product my void-of-Pinterest-soul could never pull off in a million years? Yes, please!
When my son, who is a freshman in college, went two hundred miles away to school, he barely took any pictures and he had no posters on his wall until one of his friends bought him one for Christmas. He’s not one to be overly sentimental about the things and people he left behind, but when he was home for spring break, his quilt arrived.
His reaction was better than I dreamed . . .
I mean, really, much, much better than I would have thought . . .
I loved it, because some of those shirts were from when he was just a little guy.
He LOVED it, especially because we were able to include super meaningful shirts like one of his travel soccer jerseys. . .
and his staff shirt from his first job. (Notice you can add polo type shirts!)
He had no trouble telling me how much he liked it.
In fact, he liked it so much, he even packed it up and took it with him. High praise indeed from someone with only one poster on his wall and an itty bitty suitcase.
Meanwhile in Ellen’s household . . .
When we signed on to work with Project Repat, my first thoughts were, “I have a daughter graduating from high school this year! A t-shirt quilt would be the perfect gift!”
What my second thought should have been was “I need to go through t-shirts during the one million hours she is gone from the house during the week.” What I actually did was start sorting through them during the only two hours she was home all weekend. By the way, people ask me to do A LOT of things, but throwing surprise parties is not one of them.
Daughter: “Whatcha doing going through my old (looks into box), really old clothes?”
Ellen: “Looking through your t-shirts to make a memory quilt out of them.” (If only I was in a profession that gave me the skill set to create stories to divert her attention.)
Ellen: “A t-shirt quilt. You go on Project Repat, pick out the size, pick out the color of Polartec backing you want, prep your t-shirts, mail them in, then get back a beautiful t-shirt quilt to literally wrap yourself up in your memories!”
Daughter: “Sounds cool, but I don’t get the name.”
Ellen: “‘Project Repat’ comes from all the textile jobs they have repatriated back to the United States. Another fun fact, the PolarTec ﬂeece is made out of recycled plastic bottles. In fact, each yard recycles twenty-three plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in landﬁlls. And, AND they use zero water in their production process. Even with all these responsible business practices, Project Repat offers the best price on the planet for this kind of product.”
Daughter: “We have got to make one of those for Dad!”
Ellen: “But I was making it for you! You’re graduating! I already watched this video (ten times) and got inspired (sobbed)!”
Daughter: “But it would be so awesome for Father’s Day! Dad has all of those old fraternity and concert shirts. He would love it. He is soooo hard to buy for. You can make one for me once I’m gone so it can be a surprise.”
Me: (Sniffle, sobby, sob) Whatever, look away!
I have to admit, the girl was right. This is going to be the most awesome Father’s Day gift. Look how delighted they are with it. These blankets are just as much a gift to the giver as the recipient.
And talk about cuddle value. It feels good knowing so many water bottles were kept out of landfills, but the PolarTec just plain feels good, no, GREAT!
We are beside ourselves with how wonderful our blankets turned out. So are you ready to upcycle your old memories into a memorable new gift? Because we have a gift for you!
One person who signs up will also be randomly chosen to receive a $75 voucher, which can be redeemed with Project Repat to purchase a 16-panel lap blanket at no charge!!
(Project Repat will contact you directly if you are chosen as the winner.)
Click here to get started! Once there, click on “Buy Now” to begin the selection process. Want to see how they do it first? Watch this behind-the-scenes video about the upcycling. Oh and while we still have your attention, Mother’s Day is also a gift giving occasion in May. Just putting it out there. (Wink.)
You can follow Project Repat on Facebook and check out some of their great t-shirt quilts on Instagram.
While we were compensated for this post, we truly cannot put a price on the joy these blankets brought. We absolutely love them.