My 2014 Unique Gift Ideas list was a smashing success, and I had a TON of fun putting it together! I tend to shop for gifts year-round (to avoid the holiday crush), so I’m constantly on the lookout for cool and thoughtful gift ideas for, well, everyone on my list. Without further adieu, here are some unique gift ideas I’ve stumbled upon this year:
Kids At Heart
Okay, so this craze has continued to build over the last year, but I don’t think it’s plateaued just yet. In fact, I’m hoping to find this coloring book for me under the tree this year! I love Johanna Basford’s books: Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest & Lost Ocean.
What’s a coloring book without pencils and markers to color? Coloring’s not just for kids, and high-end coloring sets are a wonderful accompaniment for gifting an adult coloring book.
I debated whether to include these on my list for children, or my adult-centered list because I’m getting a set for my 3YO son this year (he loves to play with my Russian dolls, but specifically requested a set of his own). With the new Star Wars movie coming out, and the highly collectible nature of anything Star Wars, I think these nesting dolls from PPW toys are a great gift for adults as well. The hard part will be deciding which of the three sets to purchase…or just purchasing all of them!
Remember that scene in Big? The scene that had adults and kids wanting to take a trip to FAO Schwartz, or even have a piano mat of their own at home? You can recreate that famous scene and get exercise while you’re having fun with this electronic keyboard mat. The real question is whether this is a gift for your kids…or yourself!
I love gifts that provide a hint of nostalgia, and the ION iCade Arcade Bluetooth Cabinet for iPad doesn’t disappoint! I got one of these for my husband to enjoy his Atari games on his iPad — the perfect thing to destress after long work days!
Never get stranded with a dead battery! The SunJack Solar Charger is portable, and even better, uses solar power to charge your devices!
Stay on top of things with the Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet. No more worrying about lost pieces of paper — simply jot your thoughts or your lists down on this handy LCD tablet! Boogie Board makes a great product for kids, too – check out the Play N’ Trace listed in the kid gift idea section.
A friend of mine raved about her sunrise alarm clock and the fact that she loves no longer being jarred from her sleep to begin the day. Even better, this alarm clock with gently lull you to sleep as well.
Purchasing gadgets for techies can pose a challenge, especially when they buy things when they’re first released. Instead of a gadget, give the techie in your life the gift of organization with this Bamboo Charging Station from MobileVision.
HelloFresh is the perfect gift for people who love food, but may be too busy to meal plan. Each box comes with the items needed for the recipe cards, down to the tablespoons of olive oil! Not only are HelloFresh recipes and ingredients healthy and delicious, but most of the meals take little time to prepare.
I have the Architec Recipe Rock on my own Christmas list because a.) I don’t cook from cookbooks and b.) I don’t have a lot of space in my kitchen. When I’m looking for a recipe, I typically head to my computer, pin it and then write it down — the Recipe Rock is perfect for standing my recipe page while I follow along. Available in a myriad of colors, the Recipe Rock should be on your list if you have a cook in your life.
So, I’m embarrassed to admit that I just learned how to drink coffee this year. I got my first French Press last month, and my coffee drinking has never been the same. The beauty of the French Press is that you can elevate inexpensive coffee with this wonderful gadget, or go completely gourmet with specially roasted beans.
I visited Portland for the first time this fall (loved it!) and didn’t have a single cup of “bad” coffee. I’m a coffee drinker, as in a dedicated coffee drinker (I take mine black), so I’ve had my share of weak cups of coffee. Give the coffee drinker in your life a treat with Portland Roasting Company’s Organic Coffee Beans.
Fruit Infused Ice Molds – Ivation ice maker
Infused water is still popular, so why not switch things up and give someone an infused ice cube maker? Pair the mold with this Fruit Infused Water Recipe Book, and you’ve got the perfect hostess gift.
Sudara is working to turn tragic circumstances into success stories with their Punjammies. Beautiful pants crafted by women in India, providing them with a trade and income to overcome a life of poverty, or even worse, a life in the sex trade. The beautiful designs are inspired by the vibrant colors of Indian saris.
The Kiva Card wasn’t on my radar until I watched an excellent documentary called Living On One this past year. Three college students travel to rural Guatemala, attempting to live on $1 a day. In the end, they show the impact Kiva loans are making for people around the world. The best part? Your gift recipient can roll the funds into another Kiva Card once the original loan is paid off!
As a voracious reader, I know how difficult it is to shop for someone who devours books weekly. Instead of buying your favorite reader a gift card, or using the book list they give you, why not give them something book-inspired instead?
When you’re settling in with a good book, a hot beverage is just the thing to complete the picture. I received these for my birthday this year and absolutely love the idea! No need for chocolates to enjoy great quotes…
If you’re giving the gift of tea or coffee, you must give a mug. Forget about boring or cutesy mugs, give a clever Banned Books Mug, one with Shakespearean Insults or emblazoned with Great First Lines in Literature.
Out of Print Socks (or every other item they sell, to be honest)
This, my friends, is an unbelievably cool toy for kiddos! I stumbled across a press release for the Play N’ Trace this past summer, when researching toys for a Care.com roundup. I was unable to include the Play N’ Trace in that article because it was not yet available, but this super cool toy is ready for purchase!
Don’t ask me about the technology behind the Boogie Board Play N’ Trace, but I can tell you it functions much like their LED board…except it’s much, much cooler. Not only can kids have fun doodling and drawing, without going through reams of paper, but Boogie Board also sells Play N’ Trace Activity Packs — cards to place behind the board for your child to trace. With a three year old, I love the letter and number cards — they help build much needed fine motor skills as well as letter and number recognition. Check out my thoughts HERE.
Have you ever read/seen High Fidelity? Well, that was my husband — he spent the 80s working in a record store in D.C., attending shows and fine-tuning his taste in music. When I worked for Random House (before having my son), we published a book called The ABCs of Rock; knowing that we wanted to start a family, I gave my husband a copy for Christmas. My husband now shares The ABCs of Rock, and his love of music, with our son, and we just discovered a new book to aid in our son’s music education: What Is Punk?
Both my husband and son love What Is Punk?, and share raucous laughter and snippets of songs as they read through together. Not only is What Is Punk? a fun take on pop culture, it’s an accurate rendering of Punk rock and its key players (all modeled from clay). If you have a music lover in your midst, you definitely need to check out these books!
I stumbled across Re-Play while attending MommyCon this year, and fell in love with their dinnerware made from recycled milk jugs. I’m a fan of their Crayola line, with bold and bright primary colors, but they make items in more muted colors as well. Since they didn’t have their no-spill cups available for purchase at the convention, I bought a utensil set and headed to my local Whole Foods to pick up more cups…two times! (Apparently, I’m not the only fan of the no-spill cups — my Whole Foods has been sold out of them for weeks and I need to grab 2 more!) Out with the old and in with the…recycled new!
I stumbled upon this book last year, but only introduced into our own library recently. Yes, there are absolutely no pictures in this book, but you’ll share giggles with your little one as you read through. Warning: you must have a sense of humor [about yourself] to read this to your kiddo, and be prepared to be asked to read it again once you’ve finished — it’s that good!
An educational toy that’s fun? Say it ain’t so! Automoblox are high quality toys, made to challenge your little one’s mind as they put their vehicle together themselves (or with a little help from you). Available in a wide range of vehicles and colors (yes, they definitely have “girly” ones), your kiddo will have a ton of fun while challenging her mind and channeling her creativity!
This adorable (not scary) block set is 100% made in the USA from sustainable Michigan-grown basswood. Printed with child-safe, non-toxic inks, you can rest easy while your little one mixes and matches colors, shapes and prints to create her own monsters!
My niece made one of these for my son and they are incredibly adorable. Not only did she have fun crafting with her grandmother, but she was able to gift her cousin something she had made herself!
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