As is customary on my blog, I’m sharing what I gave everyone on my Christmas list this year. Unlike every other year, I have chosen to break up my post into a couple of installments in the interest of keeping my Christmas gift round-ups an enjoyable length. This first installment covers what I gave my family. Enjoy!
Peace Out Microneedling Dark Spot Brightening Dots – One of my favorite things to do is keep an eye out for gifts my loved one would never find or purchase for themselves. Case in point? These dark spot brightening dots from Sephora, which help lighten the appearance of dark spots to reveal clear and even-looking skin. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer and will (hopefully) help Diana get rid of her hyperpigmentation.
Peace Out Acne Healing Dots – Okay, before you call shade, this is another ingenious skin care product from the same brand – and does not mean Diana has an acne problem. It just struck me as a really useful product for when the need does arise, and it’s a Best of Beauty Allure 2019 winner.
J. Crew Gift Card – J. Crew is one of my sister’s favorite stores and it’s pretty pricey which is why I always like to gift her a gift card to them every year. (This year’s was $50.)
Dan + Shay Concert Tickets – EEEEH!! In September I bought my sister two tickets to Dan+Shay’s 2020 Arena Tour! We love them and we’ve never seen them perform live. I’m so excited to give this to her! I got really good seats (to the tune of $160) and I can’t wait to see her reaction.
Urban Outfitters Polaroid Hoodie Sweatshirt – Urban Outfitters had a rare 25% off site-wide flash sale and I picked my sister this hoodie. Not only did it feel very Diana in aesthetic, I also strategically coordinated this gift to fit with something else I got her.
Fujifilm Instax Mini Liplay Hybrid Instant Camera in Elegant Black – Instant cameras are such a great gift to give someone, especially because you can play with them right away and share photos with family. However, I didn’t want to give Diana another mediocre quality camera, which is why, after scouring the internet, I got her the Fujifilm Instax Mini Liplay. It shoots in higher quality (if the reviews I read prove accurate) and has a ton of features that truly make it a modern-day instant camera.
Yankees Dick’s Sporting Goods Yankee-Themed Gifts – I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and collected a variety of Yankees merchandise to create a fun gift package. Fun fact: Diana’s both a Yankees and a Mets fan.
BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone – My sister and I love karaoke and she’s been holding onto this dinky microphone that amplifies her voice for fun. Knowing this, I searched Amazon for a high-tech version and found this one for just $30. It can be paired with almost any smartphone and acts as a speaker, player, and recorder. It has a ton of multi-function buttons and built-in sound effects. She’s gonna love it!
Latt Liv Phone Stand – I found this phone stand at a new store at Queens Center Mall called Lätt Liv. Their aesthetic is inspired by the Scandinavian lifestyle and design and their store is full of beautifully crafted, affordable household items and gadgets. This was just $9 and it’s great to prop up your phone to watch videos or simply have a place for your phone to rest.
Aerie Socks and Undies – Christmas is always a good time to stock up on socks and undies, and for some reason Diana always seems to run out of them. I got her a wide variety including some festive seasonal ones.
Money – I did give my sister some money, so I’m just dropping this image here. (Card/money holders found at Marshalls.)
Multi Charger Cable 2Pack and Apple 12W USB Power Adapter – We have communal chargers at work that are made of these two parts and they work so well that that I decided to buy the exact same products for several people on my list, including my sister. They’re plain handy and dead useful in a pinch. The adapter ($14.99) charges your phone very quickly and the pack of cables comes two in a pack ($14.99 total), each equipped with four charging connectors (two iPhone and two Android).
Instax Mini 4×4 Gallery Picture Frame – This Urban Outfitters find is the perfect present to complement the OTHER present Diana doesn’t know she’s getting. However, it actually has pretty bad reviews (several customers have said that it’s hard to get the photos to stay in their respective frames). Still, I bought it to get that “aaah” reaction on Christmas with the reassurance that if it doesn’t work out, we can just take it back.
Felt Letter Board – This is the final home decor present for Diana from Urban Outfitters, and it’s this cool, quirky felt letter board. I really want to move out soon and I think when we do move out together, it would be an instant way to add personality to her space and be a fun decor piece.
Erin Condren Focused PetitePlanner Monthly Planner and Supplies – My love of Erin Condren products is well known, and I couldn’t resist adding in a stocking stuffer for Diana this year. I got her the pocket-sized PetitePlanner Monthly planner. It’s pared down and streamlined, sleek and portable, and best of all has a tiny sheet of stickers in the back pocket.
Because Nick knows himself far better than I could ever, I asked him to make a Christmas wishlist this year. It mostly consisted of kitchen appliances (go figure), so I added some gifts of my own. He was my *second* most gifted recipient this holiday season.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel – How glamorous is this 14-cup food processor from Cuisinart? I have no idea what this does, but it was expensive and I hope it serves him well.
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades – Next we have… a spice and coffee grinder. I don’t drink coffee or cook, so I’m in the dark as to how useful an appliance like this actually is, but I have to admit that it does look rather sleek.
Abercrombie Patterned Crewneck Sweater – This is a classic Christmas sweater from Abercrombie & Fitch that Nick requested as an offhand joke, but it actually looks great on him! It’s beautifully made and I endorse anything Abercrombie, it’s one of my favorite stores.
Multi Charger Cable 2Pack and Apple 12W USB Power Adapter – Nick is recipient #2 to receive the phone charging cable/adapter set. Like I said before, it’s just plain useful and his profession (IT) made this gift a shoe-in. If anyone would appreciate the beauty of this set, it’d be him.
The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small – This beautiful adventure travel book is easily one of the best gifts I’ve ever given Nick. It’s the perfect coffee table book, and comprises of an around-the-world, continent-by-continent listing of natural wonders to be seen, things to do, places to go, and sights to see. If he didn’t have wanderlust before, he will now. “With 1,000 adventures for all ages, it’s never too soon or too late to begin the things you’ve only dreamed of doing.”
Keto For Carb Lovers: 100+ Amazing Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes & 21-Day Meal Plan – Last Christmas, I made Nick a custom gift basket of Keto-friendly snacks (learn more about the diet here). This year I found a cookbook chock full of Keto-friendly recipes for carb lovers. Every meal looks delicious and there are a ton of ideas to keep him inspired throughout his Keto journey.
Juul- 5 4-Pack JuulPods – Nick has been vaping for the past few years and as a treat, I decided to pay for December’s monthly JuulPod subscription – to the tune of $80. Am I awesome or what?
A Man & His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories from the Men Who Wore Them – My dad is big into watches, so when I found this book on Anthropologie’s website, I knew I had to get it for him. It’s a gorgeous coffee table book that tells the stories behind the world’s most iconic watches and the men who wore them.
GAP Crewneck Sweater – My sister did the rest of the shopping for my dad and bought him a couple of sweaters from the GAP. This burgundy crewneck is a nice solid essential that suits his style.
Waffle Stitch Quarter-Zip Mockneck Sweater – The same goes for this one – a classic and timeless. Plus what guy doesn’t need a nice navy mockneck sweater in their wardrobe?
Trader Joe’s Chocolate – Trader Joe’s chocolate is a rare treat in my house so this year I thought I’d put one of their milk chocolate bars in his stocking as a stocking stuffer.
While my sister gave my dad a few other stocking stuffers (like candies from Target), that was it for the bulk gifts between the both of us. I really regret not buying him a $50 gift card (it was my sister’s responsibility and that’s all I’ll say).
While my sister does the main shopping for my dad, my forte is women’s gifts. My mom is quite a specific woman to shop for, but I think I did a rather good job considering her tastes and peculiarities.
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara – My mom doesn’t use much makeup, but what she does use is drugstore mascara. I thought I’d get her this set because she would actually use it and not complain that it’s too expensive (the biggest mistake I could make is to get her something luxury).
Abercrombie Sherpa Cardigan – Next, I picked up this super cozy, snuggly sherpa cardigan from Abercrombie & Fitch for my mom. For the price I got it at and the overall quality of the material and design, I’m very happy with it. It’s a flattering silhouette that will look great on her slim frame.
Simple Modern 16oz Provision Food Jar with Handle Lid – My mom isn’t one to eat out. That’s why I decided to get my mom this insulated tumbler from Simply Modern (a new find in 2019) because it’s the perfect vessel to keep her food warm when she transports meals form home to the office. Plus, it’s super sleek looking.
Money – Cash is king to my mom (“Vitamin M doesn’t grow on trees”) so I did give my mom some cash to round out her gifts.
Beauty Finds by Ulta Beauty Online Only Fragrance Crush Set – I love gifting value sets during the holidays, and I managed to score this *amazing* luxury fragrance set for my cousin for just $19.75. It contains six mini perfumes from Coach, Gucci, Juicy Couture, Marc Jacobs, Philosophy, and Viktor & Rolf, each which comes in its own individual box. It has a retail value of $64.
Money – I decided to restrain my urges to continue my usual bout of holiday shopping this year and decided to just give cash to supplement the rest of Christina’s gift. I know it seems impersonal, but who couldn’t use some extra $$$? In years past, I’ve given gift cards and maybe one extra gift, but this year I didn’t want to limit what that money could be used for, especially because she’s a mom. Enjoy, C!
J. Crew Cardholder & Bottle Opener and Money – I love gifting a touch of luxury during the holidays because everything is much more affordable, and J. Crew is one of those premium brands that has amazing men’s gifts and accessories. I gifted my cousin-in-law Hopeton an Italian leather card case, a bottle opener, and also money.
Multi Charger Cable 2Pack and Apple 12W USB Power Adapter – I also gave Hopeton the same charger combo I gave Nick and Diana. He and Christina can both use it to charge their phones, it charges Madison’s tablet, and if Diana and I are ever over to babysit, we can charge our iPhones too. Super convenient!
My grandma is tricky to shop for, because she is a very particular and picky person. Rather than try to guess at which clothes she might like (which if they’re not picked by her, they usually end up going straight back), this Christmas I went a different route and put together a giant gift bag of her favorite foods, a planted pot of orchids from Trader Joe’s (she loves flowers), and made her a photo album. She doesn’t have a cell phone and she always loves it when I come over and show her pictures taken of her, Madison, my dad, etc. Unfortunately I didn’t get to photograph any of these because her gifts came together last minute. 🙁
Card Case in Italian Leather and J. Crew Gift Card – Recognize this? It ended up being Hopeton’s gift too, but I actually bought this card holder earlier in the season for Wilson. Since I had the time to spare, I decided to go all the way with the gift and had it monogrammed with his initials. It’s such a polished touch and really made the gift special. I then tucked a $50 gift card into it.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera – And then, tada! An Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera for Wilson. I love instant cameras and I feel like they’re such a fun gift. He’s attending NYU now (*proud*) and he’s living his best college dorm life so I feel like he’ll get a lot of use out of this with his 3840248 friends. Thanks to my cousin Hannah who helped me take these photographs late on Christmas day.
Ulta Beauty Finds Skincare & Chill Set – This was one of my best finds this holiday season. It’s a skincare set from ULTA that is jam packed with skincare goodies. From moisturizers, to face masks, to pore strips, there’s a little of everything in this set. For the skincare enthusiast (which Hannah is), this is an excellent round-up of treats to covet.
I curated, assembled, and packaged a smorgasboard of delights for Hannah’s main gift all inside a *beautiful* gold, glittery gift box. Did I take a picture of my pride and joy this holiday 2019? No. Of course not. So let me break it down: inside, I included a $50 Madewell gift card ✔️ a set of nail polishes from Zoya ✔️ a ring from Mantra Band ✔️ an eyeliner/mascara duo from Stila ✔️ and an eyeshadow duo from Stila ✔️.
My sister did allll the holiday shopping for Madison this year. I was so busy running around during December that I again, sadly did not manage to take photos of these items. Here are the toys we bought her:
furReal Cubby, the Curious Bear Interactive Plush Toy by Hasbro – This was our big ticket item to Madison this year. It’s a giant interactive plush bear that responds with 100+ sound-and-motion combinations. He can move, talk, play music, you name it, and he’s incredibly lifelike. It’s like giving Maddie a cuddly new best friend. Such a sweet gift.
Frozen Advent Calendar – The last gift I found at Marshalls and I think it was around $12.99. It’s a Frozen Advent Calendar and inside each box is a Frozen-themed accessory, like a necklace, ring, hair tie, bow, etc. I wish I had photographed the back of the box where you go to see some of the things inside. I think it’ll be a lot of fun for her to open one-by-one.
Aunts and Uncles
Finally, I purchased gifts for my aunts and uncles. This is a first, as I’ve never given my aunts or uncles anything, not because I didn’t want to but I usually only had enough in my budget for their kids. This year, I wanted to give to everyone. I gave each of them a $25 Macy’s gift card.
And that’s it! This marks the end of my look back on the gifts I gave my family and Nick for 2019. Originally this was going to be my “What I Gave for Christmas” blog post, but I realized that I would need to create a separate post for friends and coworkers because this one is already long. Next year, I think I’m going to reign in my spending by setting a spending cap. I spent at least $1,000 this year, and I’m still feeling the consequences in January.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading this blog post! Stay tuned for my “What I got My Friends and Coworkers for Christmas 2019” post, as well as my, “What I Got For Christmas 2019” post. 🎄