With less than two months to go, it’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts. The earlier you decide, the more likely you’ll stick to your holiday budget, and you’ll find what you truly want to give.
In a few weeks we’ll chat about how to simplify the gift-giving process by creating a family protocol. Three gifts per kid? Gifts with different meanings (something to read, something to wear, and the like)? All great ideas.
And from November 29 to December 3, the entire Simple Living Media will host a fun week of giveaways, giving you a chance to win a great gift. Each item was hand selected and passes the test that we care so much about here — they reflect quality over quantity, they have a good design aesthetic, and they’re useful. I can’t wait to show you these amazing vendors and the gifts they want to give you.
But in the meantime, it’s time to start compiling your gift idea list. Here are some things I think would make great gifts for a simple home.
I love original artwork. I’d much rather have one piece of great art than 10 pieces of art from a big box store that everyone has.
20×200 sells limited-edition artwork commissioned by artists and printed for sale for a short amount of time. The pieces you see aren’t always available, so you need to grab them when you see one you love. They’ve got a fun curated gift section, too.
I love this particular one:
About Four Thirty + The Architects by William Wegman, image courtesy of the artist and 20×200
Keep Calm Gallery
This British-based shop exhibits posters that reflect great typography. You can buy both original art and prints, and they have a fantastic selection. Here are two I’m eyeing:
Etsy has a plethora of artists with fabulous stuff to sell, often at great prices. All these prints are saved in my favorites at Etsy:
| The Black Apple
| Orange Studio
|| Modern Pop
You can’t go wrong with books. They’re the perfect gift for me, anyway.
|Handmade Home, by Amanda Soule
My friend Amanda shares beautifully simple projects for you and your little ones to craft together.
|Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love, by Hillary Lang
I made one of Lang’s dolls for Tate last Christmas, and she still sleeps with it almost every night. They’re adorable.
|How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
An absolute classic, I use this cookbook several times a week. It’s a lifelong kitchen tool.
|Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver
We read this classic by Kingsolver a few years ago in our book club. This book will change the way you think about your food, and it’s incredibly entertaining.
|Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
This book is a must read if you want your children to grow up healthy and independent. It changed the way I parent.
For the Kids
Play kitchen and pretend food
Great for both genders and many ages, play cooking and restaurant is great for creativity. Opt for quality, long-lasting toys because you’ll need these for all your kids, and you can save these classic items even for your grandkids. I like this kitchen by Magic Cabin and this classic wooden food. I’ve also made felt food from the patterns at Ume Crafts.
Tea sets are also good — we have this ceramic one from Ikea, and it’s great.
Also a classic, wooden blocks encourage hours of open-ended play. Stick with simple shapes, and lots of them. They’ll last forever.
As an adult, I’d love to get a set of art supplies, so kids would definitely appreciate this gift of
creativity. Collect construction paper, quality markers, and pens and make a delightful gift basket. Playful Learning is also selling this amazing writing caddy I’m drooling over.
Tate also loves these alphabet stamps, and not only practices her spelling with them, she also likes to “write” letters and cards to her friends.
Quality, simple dolls will last a childhood and beyond, and there are so many that could qualify as art. I think this sweet doll from Warm Sugar is precious, and I’m making this doll for Reed this year. Paper dolls also encourage lots of quiet independent play.
Games are great for group fun and learning how to follow rules. Families should collect the classics like Jenga, Chutes and Ladders, Uno, Clue, and Monopoly. Our favorite modern-day games are Apples to Apples and Things.
These are great for the person who “has everything.” My absolute favorites are from Flip & Tumble — I love how I can wad them up into a ball in three seconds. These are the first I grab before I head out.
There’s really no other way to make a great cup of coffee, and French presses are inexpensive. Pair this with a bag of fresh coffee beans and a pair of mugs.
Scarves, mittens, and hats
Who’s the most difficult person to buy for on your list?