This year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of separate gift guides based on age and interest, we’re doing one BIG gift guide with categories. No matter the format, we hope you’ll continue to find the perfect gift for your loved ones, friends, employees, etc.
Gifts For The Traveler
This year we’ve taken a few trips that were previously canceled due to the pandemic. From Greece to Italy to Alaska and a few places in between we discovered some must haves for those that love to travel.
SuitedNomad Compression Packing Cubes
No matter how much we try, we are not ‘light’ packers. So instead of trying to pack less, we now focus on packing more efficiently. The compression packing cubes from SuitedNomad are perfect for helping us cram everything into our suitcases. The founders of SuitedNomad used to be full time travelers and discovered packing cubes made everything a lot easier. I love that this is a family owned company that uses their passion for travel to design useful, well made products. We don’t leave home without our SuitedNomad compression cubes, even when taking short trips.
This was the year of lost luggage for airlines, but we had an unforced error of our own while in Italy. After we disembarked our cruise ship we met our ride and headed back to Rome with all of our bags. Except, one of our suitcases was an imposter. Twenty minutes from the cruise terminal, our phone rang with another cruiser telling us we’d mistakenly swapped bags. After apologies and figuring out logistics we were able to swap bags in Rome, after paying his driver for our error. So, yes air tags are a bit pricey, but so is grabbing the wrong suitcase.
Never wanting to make that mistake again, we now travel with Apple Air Tags. I place one in a pair of socks in each compression cube and then one in every checked bag. And, when we aren’t traveling I can use them for the dogs, in my husband’s wallet or the kid’s backpacks when they’re with their Dad. Love how easy they are to use and no longer worrying if we grabbed our bag or a look alike.
Long flights or walking miles, there’s nothing better than a good pair of compression socks to help with circulation. My legs and feet should have been screaming at me while we were averaging 5.5 miles a day on cobblestone streets in Europe, but I was wearing Vitalsox compression socks and Adidas Ultraboost shoes. They’re the easiest most comfortable compression socks I have tried, even my husband enjoys wearing them. And they help with his circulation issues.
The key to smooth travel starts with the right gear, and the star of the show is your bag/suitcase/backpack. Now that we have a teenager in the house, not only do we seem to pack more stuff, but she wants to bring more with her on the plane or in the car. We need a rugged/durable bag that holds a lot and is still manageable to carry. Cotopaxi makes several packs, bags and backpacks and clothing. Their Allpa 28L is perfect for a teen or adult-fits under the seat of an airplane, has a laptop/tablet pocket, comes in bright color patterns and is just an all around awesome brand.
One of our favorite features: the suitcase-style, full-wrap zipper opening on the main compartment. With the SuitedNomad compression cubes our daughter was able to carry a week’s worth of clothes, her headphones and tablet, and other items to keep herself entertained. It’s also perfect as a daypack. We used it to carry a change of clothes and snacks on our shore excursion in Malta. With its 840D ballistic nylon paneling it can handle the haphazard way teens handle bags as well as the abuse airlines put bags through if you were to check the bag.
And the icing on the cake, Cotopaxi dedicates at least 1% of their revenue to nonprofits that help communities experiencing poverty. Plus they stand behind their gear with their Guaranteed For Good warranty.
This summer as we finalized our travel plans to Europe, it became clear we needed to be proactive and protect our valuables from pick pockets. I mean we are obvious tourists with our phones out, t-shirts from Texas and sneakers. So, while researching bags and more we discovered Clothing Arts pick-pocket proof pants. We ordered a pair of men’s and ladies and wore them throughout our European adventures, and have worn them since returning home. They are lightweight, even in the smoldering Italian heat, comfortable and dry quickly (super important to me as I seem to always have things spilled on me when flying). Plus, perfect for any occasion, my husband wears his often because he loves having multiple pockets.
Description: The Nature-Like™ Nylon of the Men’s Adventure Pants makes for an amazingly versatile garment that can tour all hemispheres, through all four seasons! This quick-dry fabric makes for easy care: machine wash or hang-to-dry while on the road. 11 Total multi-secure pockets: 5 triple secure & 6 double secure
Gifts For The Home
Coravin Gemstone Collection Timeless Six+
When you’re the only wine drinker in your home, you either find yourself drinking less wine so you don’t waste a bottle, or drinking more so the bottle doesn’t go bad. We’re the perfect house for a Coravin, now I can open that bottle of red we brought back from Italy and know it will be preserved for months. Plus, the new Coravin gemstone collection is beautiful and looks great on a home bar.
Description: The new special-edition Coravin Gemstone Collection includes the perfect gift to accessorize your home and enhance your entertaining game. Tapping into the holiday’s rich color palette, the collection features its Timeless Six+ models in three distinct colors, all with striking gold accents: Anthracite, Deep Emerald and Dark Amethyst. The special-edition collection is an extension of Coravin’s popular Timeless Six+ wine by the glass line, which enables people to pour a glass a wine from any bottle, anytime, while preserving the remaining wine for months or even years. MSRP starting at $329. www.coravin.com
Whether you’re spending time with the family or entertaining guests, quality drinkware is important…specifically wine glasses that won’t break and are fun to look at like the Star Wars™ Helmet Hues stemless glasses from Joy Jolt. The heavy base of these glasses make them harder for the dogs or kids to accidentally knock over. And as a Star Wars fan I love the designs. They also have Disney glassware too, making happy hour even more fun. These glasses are great for anyone, even the non-drinkers.
Description: These Star Wars™ Helmet Hues stemless glasses feature the iconic helmets of R2D2™, Darth Vader™, Boba Fett™ and a stormtrooper with an artful twist.
With two kids and three dogs, good bedding is important for a good night’s sleep. We need sheets that are comfortable, hold up to washing, and wick moisture. I tend to be hot when I sleep and my hubby is cold, but the Cozy Earth bamboo sheets are the best sheets we’ve ever slept on. After a few nights sleeping on them, we realized we sleep better than ever. Even the kids love the softness and have tried to steal our pillowcases. These sheets are the perfect gift for your loved ones to pamper them. Plus, there’s a 100 night no risk sleep trial!
Description: Cozy Earth’s Bamboo Sheet Set is made of ultra-soft 100% premium viscose from bamboo fabric. Bamboo is cooling, moisture-wicking, and ethically produced. Incredibly soft, with a silky feel, and like our linen sheets, has temperature-regulating qualities.
Gifts For The Kids
Shopping for kids, no matter their age, is challenging, if you want to find them a gift that is used or played with long after the wrapping paper is gone and the newness has worn off. The GraviTrax set is one of those toys that both encourages problem solving, encourages creativity and teaches STEM elements. I love GraviTrax because it challenges both my 12 & 14 year old and offers hours of play, plus they have the ability to expand with additional sets.
Description: Players can now automate or program their marble runs with the introduction of electronic elements into the GraviTrax ecosystem. The GraviTrax POWER Starter Set Launch is a 124-piece set that includes both the new POWER Starter and POWER Finish elements that have the capacity to hold up to seven marbles. (Ages 8+ / $99.99 MSRP / Available exclusively at Target)
My teen loves spending her free time putting puzzles together. The difficult part is finding puzzles to engage her, she wants a minimum of 1,000 pieces and the subject matter has to be something she enjoys. With Ravensburger photo puzzles, you can create a custom photo puzzle, and what a great way to use a vacation picture!
Description: With almost 130 options to choose from, Ravensburger photo puzzles can be customized with a wide range of piece counts, layout options and packaging. The easy five-step process takes just minutes to complete, resulting in a Ravensburger quality puzzle that’s crafted to last. Each puzzle is printed to perfection on museum-grade paper with a crisp matte finish to reduce glare.
Price: $29.99-$59.99 MSRP (depending on piece count)
Piece Counts: Range from 24-2,000 pieces
Gifts For The Fun Ones
REEF x Tipsy Elves
Tired of getting or giving boring gifts, especially slippers? REEF has some fun options for you with their REEF x Tipsy Elves slippers and slides. Comfortable or cozy but more importantly they make wearing slippers or slides a little more fun! Great as a gift or stocking stuffer. Scout x Tipsy Elves ($55.00) REEF x Tipsy Elves Slippers ($60.00)
Description: REEF just launched its third collection with the hilarious, Tipsy Elves to kick off the holiday season. These men’s and women’s styles will keep you cozy throughout the coldest days while making you the life of the party with its cheeky designs. Give the gift of a comfortable slipper or slide to the funniest person you know!