I love shopping online because I’m not a fan of crowds and of being overwhelmed by stuff—if I can’t see it, I don’t know what I’m missing (same goes for my kids, too). And I don’t really miss the decor and ambience because I make up for it ten-fold at home with lights, candles, and Pandora (or Spotify) in the background. Give me pajama pants and a laptop any day.
Unfortunate news—a lot of Etsy shops have stopped taking Christmas orders. Makes sense, since these are usually handmade products. Good news—there’s still plenty of time to shop Amazon in time for December 25.
If you don’t like stores, like me, or if you just don’t feel like fighting the crowds, traffic, and weather, here are some of my favorite gift ideas for Christmas, all on Amazon.
A note about Amazon Prime: If you sign up for Prime, you’ll enjoy free two-day shipping year-round… including Christmas. I also love it because we can instantly stream a lot of movies on Amazon for free, and as of recent, you can also borrow thousands of Kindle books. That’s right, there’s now an Amazon library! It’s $79 annually, and I renew every year. I think it’s worth it. Alright, moving on…
So here are some of my favorite gift ideas—along with a few new items I’m getting the family this year:
I’m a big Melissa & Doug fan… We got this car carrier for Reed last year, and he and Finn love it. It’s durable, it’s simple, and like most M&D toys, it’s wood. I’m a sucker for wooden toys.
Stacking Construction Vehicles
Also wooden, these are vehicles and puzzles, all in one—you build them by stacking the parts on a base. Also interchangeable, our kids have fun creating unusual vehicles. They come in a set of four, and there’s also a set of emergency vehicles.
If your little one likes fidgeting with latches and locks (and who doesn’t?), this board is perfect. It helps develop fine motor skills, and guess what? It’s made of wood.
LEGO Ultimate Building Set
My kids are just getting into LEGO (yep, the plural of LEGO is LEGO, in case you were wondering). This set includes 405 open-ended pieces for all sorts of creative play. Don’t write this off as a boy toy—my daughter loves them, too (though she’d probably swoon over this set).
Art Kits & Supplies
Any sort of art supply collection is a great gift idea for kids of all ages, but this one in particular is great for siblings. This kit unfolds to a two-sided easel and includes all sorts of supplies.
I first saw this microscope recommended on Facebook (Meredith telling Arianne, actually), and at $3, you can’t beat this stocking stuffer. This pocket microscope is great for any kid who likes to explore—just take it with you and whip out when the need arises (bugs, flowers, dirt… you name it).
You can’t go wrong with this classic toy that encourages hours of open-ended play. Building cities, castles, landscapes—our kids play with them daily.
Leapfrog Fridge Phonics
I admit—my kids learned their letters and sounds at an early age with help from this toy. It’s one of the few battery-operated toys in our home I’m thankful for.
How to Cook Everything
This is my main go-to cookbook—I use it several times a week. Mark Bittman has written a modern-day classic. A simple home doesn’t need many cookbooks, but I think this is one of them.
I love mine. I’m not big into gadgets that serve only one purpose, so this baby now holds a special place in my heart. Lots of you wanted one, and you can find all sizes and colors on Amazon.
We had a traditional coffee maker at the beginning of our marriage, but were soon converted to a French press. Simple, durable, minimalist, and in my opinion, makes better coffee, a French press is great for any coffee lover.
This was Kyle’s Father’s Day present this year, and we both love it. We mostly just drink bubbly water, but we also have a collection of syrups, so it’s fun to occasionally whip up an Italian soda. We’ve even made root beer!
Like everybody else, I jumped off the bridge this year, and I’m so glad I did. I adore my Kindle—perfect for cutting down on clutter and for travel (two things I’m passionate about). Our local library also started lending out digital books, so now I can sync my Kindle! Perfect.
Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker
Kyle got me this 2-quart Cuisinart for Christmas a few years ago, and I’m so glad he did. Enjoy ice cream without additives from store-bought. If you keep the bowl insert in the freezer, you’ll have ice cream ready to eat in 20 minutes.
This 7-part miniseries is required viewing for all Americans, in my opinion. Based on David McCullough’s book, it’s not only is it masterfully produced and brilliantly acted, but the story line must be told and remembered. I try and watch it at least once annually. (Note: It’s not for younger crowds.) A great, great series.
Yeah, so it might be strange to gift a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. But if you know someone who needs one, this is a great vacuum. Dyson gave this to me earlier this year when I tweeted that ours broke—it’s small but powerful, and I can switch from our wood floors to our rugs with the touch of a button. Our kids actually fight over who gets to vacuum.
C’mon, you know I had to mention my own book. Seriously, though, it’s a great gift for Christmas because a lot of people want to start the new year fresh—part one is my thesis of sorts as to why we don’t need so much stuff or to live in big houses, and part two is a 10-step process of how to declutter, clean, and organize. It’s on Kindle, too.
iTunes Gift Card
I know some people don’t like to give gift cards, but I like to receive them, so I figure some people must feel the same. iTunes is great because you can get so much there now—music, movies, TV shows, and audiobooks. (Psst—I asked on Twitter for good tween and teen gift ideas, and this was the number one response.)
Canon Powershot Digital Camera
We’ve bought this camera three times. The first one was lost in the airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; the second one was stolen on a ferryboat in Istanbul. Kyle’s ready to lose our current one so we can upgrade again.
If you’re like us and work from home, but in so small a place you don’t have a designated office, a laptop tray is the next best thing. This one is sturdy yet stylish.
The Game of Things
Playing this game, too, has become a recent ritual in our extended family. It’s sort-of like Balderdash, but with ideas instead of words. Hard to explain, but it’s a blast to play.
Everyone in the family is getting one of these in his or her stocking this year. Our kids love chopsticks, but let’s face it, there’s a learning curve. This will make Asian food even more fun.
Quite the old-school game, croquet is fun for all ages, and it gets the family outside. Bocce Ball‘s a good choice, too.
Harry Potter: Complete 8 Film Collection
As is usually the case, the books are much better. But the movies are fun, too (we tell Tate to close her eyes during scary parts), and now that the saga is complete on film, the box set is a great gift for any Hogwarts fan. The paperback box set of books is reasonably priced, too, for seven books.
We go to the movie theater maybe twice a year, tickets are so expensive. So it’s especially fun to get them as gifts. I love the gift of time, and it takes up much less space, too.
I’m happy to say that other than stocking stuffers, I’m done with gift shopping. That means this week I’ll be watching holiday movies, crafting with my kids, and enjoying what I love most about the season. If you’re ready to get there, too, I say skip the stores and jump online.
(Disclosure time: This post has some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on them and then buy something there, I’ll get a little percentage of that which helps me run SLM. Just wanted you to know that.)
Who’s the hardest person to shop for on your gift-giving list?