Ahhh, the holidays. A time to deck the halls, trim the tree, and sip hot apple cider while watching a movie. NOT on my to-do list for the season is walking around the mall, saying “no, we don’t need a blow-up gorilla” thirty times and leaving the line I’ve been waiting in for 45 minutes because my little one is doing the potty dance.
If you like to keep things low stress and shop in your pj’s too, I’ve put together this 2019 gift guide for you. Some are past purchases that I’ve loved and/or given away, and some are on my wish list this year.
Gift Guide For Women
1. Alitura Night Cream – This cream was developed by an actor/model whose jaw was broken in five places when he was hit by a car. He formulated it to help his scars heal and it did an amazing job. (I met him at a biohacking conference.) It includes stem cells from the edelweiss plant and grass-fed colostrum, and it’s incredibly rich and luxurious. A little goes a long way, too.
2. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys Mug – For the houses that run on laughter, love, and coffee. This mug is lead-free, which is awesome because most mugs with this saying come with a Prop 65 warning that states “This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Yikes!
3. Jasmine Essential Oil Diffuser (Several colors available) – I love this one because it can be set to interval mode, where it diffuses for 10 minutes and then turns off for 20 minutes. This allows essential oils to be consistently diffused without becoming overwhelming. Also, it can run in interval mode for 21 hours, so it’s basically set-and-forget. This one is also beautiful and has an intermittent mode, too.
4. Beeswax Candles – Unlike paraffin candles – which release carcinogens like toluene and benzene into the air– beeswax candles burn clean and bright while releasing a faint honey scent. This candle is handmade with 100% beeswax and will burn for up to 45 hours.
5. LUNA Weighted Blanket – Research shows that weighted blankets calm our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) and increase parasympathetic activity (rest and recuperation mode). They can be used during the day to increase a sense of well-being or at night for better sleep.
Made with soft 100% Okeo Tex organic cotton and glass beads, LUNA blankets come in several sizes and weights for kids and adults. It’s well designed to fit with one of their organic cotton, removable (and therefore washable) duvet covers for easy cleaning. There are several other styles of weighted blanket duvet covers from other brands that will work with it, too. Click here to read more about the benefits of weighted blankets and how to choose a weight.
6. Adult Coloring Book – As you can tell by the 1500+ reviews for this book, coloring isn’t just for kids. In adults, it can help with relaxation and creativity. I also love this one that I posted on Instagram recently. Don’t forget to include some colored pencils. ?
7. Dry Skin Brush Trio – The benefits of dry brushing range from improved skin softness and texture (including decreased cellulite), to immune support, hormone balance and more. The set I use is well made and comes with a stiff brush and a softer one, both of which I love. It also comes with a face brush which I sometimes use and sometimes give to my preschooler so I can get a few minutes to myself.
8. Essential Oil Carrying Case – For longer trips, this essential oil carrying case is really useful. Depending on the destination it can be helpful to include oils for immune support, restful sleep (super helpful if jet lag is an issue), sunburns (which hopefully won’t be needed), etc.
9. Redmond Facial Mud – Perfect for all skin types, this mud deep cleanses pores and leaves skin refreshed. Follow with toner and a good moisturizer like the one above. ?
10. Basket Tea Infuser – For strong teas or herbal infusions I prefer a large basket tea infuser because it allows herbs to circulate better.
11. Cute Blue Light Blocking Glasses – I recently replaced a broken set of orange glasses with this pair, and they’re so fun to wear! Much better than my old orange safety glasses that made me look like I was about to perform a science experiment or solder some pipes together. (Also much more scratch resistant, too.) If you want to read up on them, here’s the science behind why orange glasses benefit sleep.
12. Essential Oil Tote – I keep this small tote in my purse for day-to-day use – the sides are linked with little pockets that hold essential oils bottles. It would pair perfectly with a car diffuser as a gift!
13. Stainless Steel Wine Glasses – I love that these are shatterproof so that I can relax when my kids unload the dishwasher. They’re perfect for serving wine (or mocktails or hot apple cider) at picnics, poolside parties, beach bonfires and camping trips. ALSO, if you haven’t checked them out yet, Dry Farm Wines is the healthiest and best collection of wines I’ve ever tasted.
14. Toups & Co Tallow Balm – Tallow is uniquely compatible with our skin’s biology, leaving it supple and nourished after use. My friend Emilie makes the best whipped tallow balm I’ve ever tried. It smells amazing, and she’s carefully formulated the essential oils in each blend to be safe for use on the face and with children. I’m using the Frankincense blend right now and I love it.
15. Celebrations Cookbook – This new book by Danielle Walker of Against All Grain includes grain-free, dairy-free recipes for every special occasion. We’re talking New Year’s Eve, Game Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and more.
16. Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate – I like these bars because they’re organic, fair trade and made without emulsifiers.
17. Diffuser Necklace From The Oily Amulet – Scents are deeply interconnected with our limbic system – the part of ourselves that connects, feels, experiences intuition, inspires and motivates. Essential oils can help to soothe and calm us, or invigorate us and lift our mood. Diffuser necklaces are a beautiful way to experience their benefits throughout our day. I have (and love) the Antique Silver Locket with Green Aventurine Beads, a Lava Bead Necklace, and a Lava Bracelet.
18. Joovv Go Portable Red Light Therapy Device – Red light therapy has been shown to be helpful for collagen production, improving skin clarity, optimizing hormone levels, facilitating muscle recovery and more. In this post I explain why it works, plus what to look for in a red light therapy device.
19. Minima Balance Double-Walled Tea Mug – I use this mug almost every day for my morning herbal tea. It holds 16 ounces, which is just right for me, but VIVA Scandinavia also makes some gorgeous single serving mugs. If you want one for your cup of tea, use coupon code MP10 at checkout for 10% off. (Also, when you checkout the total will be in Canadian dollars, so if you’re in the U.S. the prices are actually a little less than what is shown in the cart.)
20. Magnesium Lotion – Magnesium is often called the “magic mineral” due to its ability to relax achy muscles, mitigate the effects of stress, and calm the mind by supporting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. This study also suggests that magnesium may improve sleep quality by increasing melatonin levels and decreasing cortisol levels. Unfortunately for some people, magnesium oil can cause an itchy or uncomfortable sensation when applied in undiluted form. This magnesium lotion solves that by blending skin-calming ingredients like organic shea butter, argan seed oil, prickly pear seed oil with high potency transdermal magnesium.
21. Burlap Market Tote – Made from cotton and jute, this sturdy bag is super cute and can be used as a grocery bag, shopping tote, or carryall. I also love this heavy duty jute one.
22. Stainless Steel YETI Insulated Coffee Tumbler – This gorgeous mug keeps drinks hot or cold for hours and – unlike many tumblers – is dishwasher safe.
23. Jade Face Roller & Gua Sha Set – Face rolling promotes circulation for healthy-looking skin, releases muscle tension in the face, and supports lymphatic flow (which may reduce the appearance of puffiness). This set includes a jade roller which is mostly for circulation and lymph flow, and a gua sha stone for fascial release. There’s a video on the product page which explains how to use the roller.
24. Essential Oil Car Diffuser – Oh my goodness, this makes road trips and errand running so much easier with kids!
Gift Guide For Men
1. Eco-Friendly Leather Messenger/Laptop Bag – This bag is very sturdy and perfect for a laptop (15 inch or smaller) and a few books. It’s made with natural tanning techniques and is ethically crafted by an artisan community in the desert region of Rajasthan, India.
2. Shiatsu Foot Massager with Heat – I bought a heated shiatsu foot massager for my husband for his birthday and he LOVES it! I borrow it a lot, too. ?
3. Stainless Steel Manual Coffee Grinder – For camping and hiking. Because coffee.
4. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Powder – Infused with adaptogens that support brain function and help the body adapt to stress, this powdered coffee mix just needs to be mixed with water. My husband and I always keep a few stashed away in our bags (my purse, his satchel) for coffee emergencies. ?
5. Cedarwood Beard Oil – Smells awesome. Softens and tames beard scruff.
6. Tactical / Bug Out Backpack – This rugged, water-resistant backpack features 16 individual compartments, zippered fleece-lined eyewear pocket, and glove-friendly pull tabs. It’s perfect for outdoor hiking, trekking and camping, survival expedition, or regular daily use.
7. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter – For the man who likes to be prepared for anything. LifeStraw converts any water supply to clean, drinkable water without a long or complicated filtration process.
8. DefenderShield Phone Case – Independently tested by the FCC, this phone case uses conductive, non-conductive and advanced absorption shielding materials together to block, divert, and absorb EMFs, Radio Frequency (RF) and heat radiation.
9. Toups & Co. Frankincense Tallow Balm – Because men have skin, too ?
10. YETI Tumbler – We’ve had these for years and love how well they keep drinks hot/cold. They’re also extremely durable and dishwasher safe.
11. Leather Toiletry Case – Can be paired with the tallow balm or a collection of travel-sized essentials.
12. Portable Hammock – This strong, lightweight hammock is easy to setup and is perfect for beaches, camping, or relaxing in the backyard.
13. Blue Blocking Glasses – I’ll discuss these in more detail below but they are GREAT for guys.
14. Kindle Paperwhite – This e-reader is my husband’s favorite way to read. After hours on a computer, the Kindle offers convenience without the eyestrain of a computer screen. It’s smaller than a tablet and lights up in the dark so he can read without a flashlight. I like that he can add to his library often without us having to install extra bookshelves we don’t really have space for. (Fyi, he downloads books via wifi and then reads in airplane mode to keep the device low-EMF.)
15. Bulletproof Coffee – It’s processed and stored in a unique way that reduces mycotoxins, which many people react negatively to. Add in butter, Brain Octane or coconut oil, and grass-fed gelatin for a rich, creamy treat. My husband prefers to buy whole beans and grind his own, but they sell pre-ground, too. You’ll find both here.
16. Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat – We have one of these and it’s amazing for working on the neck, shoulders, lower back, thighs and calves.
Gift Guide For People Who Love Good Food
This section is perfect for people who love food, or who want to eat healthier, or who want to save time in the kitchen. So basically people.
1. Heat-Resistant Glass Storage Containers – These storage containers are made from borosicilate glass, which is what the original Pyrex dishes were made of. It’s a much more thermally robust material than the cheaper stuff that most baking dishes are made of, which is important to me because I often use these dishes to warm up food in the oven. (The lid is not heat resistant, of course. It’s just for keeping food fresh in storage.)
2. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker – If you’re not familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s basically a programmable pressure cooker, crockpot/slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one. Unlike other products with iffy glazes or non-stick surfaces, the inside of the InstantPot is stainless steel. (Phew!)
3. Four Sigmatic Organic Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix – This powdered mix has two variations: A “Chill Out” version with reishi mushrooms, and a “Recharge one with ginger cordyceps mushrooms. Both types of mushrooms are adaptogens that help with stress.
4. Air Fryer – Most air fryer companies say that air frying is healthier because it uses less oil. We don’t worry about oil consumption in our home because we cook with healthy oils like avocado and coconut oil, but the air fryer dramatically reduces the amount of oil required, which saves a lot of money because healthier oils are pricey.
I’m sharing two options this year, so you can choose based on your family’s needs. The Cuisinart TOA-60 is a full-sized toaster oven with built-in air fryer. It wins the award for best multipurpose air fryer. You can bake a 4lb chicken, bake a 12-inch pizza, or air fry up to 3 pounds chicken wings or french fries using little to no oil.
The more compact Cuisinart AFR-25 fits easily on any kitchen countertop and fries up to 2.5 lbs of food. Includes a stainless steel basket and a drip pan for easy cleaning. See gift idea #7 for a cookbook idea.
5. Keto Cooking with Your Instant Pot – Also written by Dr. Lee – author of the Instant Pot Chicken Soup recipe you guys love – this book is a great companion guide for the IP.
6. Thrive Market Membership – Members save 25-55% on organic groceries and natural products that are delivered directly to their door. I order most of my staples through them and it saves me money and time.
7. Paleo Cooking with Your Air Fryer: 80+ Recipes for Healthier Fried Food in Less Time – Written by Dr. Karen Lee, who has also tackled the Instant Pot and shared her recipes with us before, this looks like a delicious introduction to using an air fryer.
8. Real Plans Membership – Know anyone who could use a personal assistant in the kitchen? Real Plans is way more than a meal generator or menu planner, it’s a personalized experience that takes your schedule into account, knows your dietary quirks, and even delivers a shopping list to your phone so you never forget anything. Did I say you? I meant your gift recipient. Or you, if you need an assistant, too!
9. Colorful Insulated Glasses With Lids – Although I think they’re intended for use at the beach or pool, these colorful stainless steel tumblers are on my wish list for anytime use. They’re perfect for iced herbal tea, cherry limeade in the summer, and wine.
10. Chemex Glass Coffee Maker – This year I retired my French press after tasting coffee made with the Chemex. As I shared in my post on why I switched, it’s much less acidic and more smooth, and there’s literally no plastic involved. Don’t forget filters!
11. Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator – For making jerky, fruit roll-ups and yogurt, and also drying fruits and herbs.
12. Wine Bottle Stopper – For keeping wine fresh to enjoy later.
13. Veggie Spiralizer – For making zucchini pasta and other veggie pastas.
14. Dry Farm Wines – This is hands down the healthiest and best collection of wines I’ve ever tasted. Every wine they make is grown with organic practices and doesn’t contain added sulfites or other ingredients that are commonly used (like sawdust and food coloring, ewww!), and each batch is virtually sugar-free, containing less than 1g/L of total sugars (including fructose and glucose). Click here to send a gift box of delicious artisanal wine.
Gift Guide For People Who Love Sleep
In this section you’ll find ideas for new parents – or really all parents – teens, sisters, husbands and besties . . . who DOESN’T love sleep?
1. Somniresonance – This is probably going to sound weird at first, but stay with me for a moment. My husband is a light sleeper, and if anything wakes him up in the middle of the night he finds it very difficult to get back to sleep. That’s why I bought him this FDA-cleared device that has been approved by Underwriters Laboratories for safety.
As I’ve written about here, while you’re reading this there are billions of neurons in your brain firing electrical signals. These pulses create wave-like patterns that move at different speeds and can be measured with external sensors. We call them brainwaves. Somniresonance works by mimicking the brain’s own delta sleep waves (deep sleep) to gently encourage the brain to fall asleep . . . or in my husband’s case to get back to sleep if awakened. We haven’t had it long but I’ve noticed that he’s still in bed a lot more mornings when I wake up than he used to be.
Get 5% off your purchase with discount code MPSLEEP.
2. Intellibed Mattress or Topper– My husband and I love our Intellibed – read about what makes them different here. We had friends visit for Thanksgiving and after one night on an Intellibed they’re ready to buy one!
3. Sleep Care Tincture – This blend of valerian root (sometimes called Nature’s Valium), wild lettuce, blue vervain and hops is awesome for helping with relaxation and sleep.
4. Blue Blocking Glasses – Computer screens, TV’s, phones and even regular light bulbs emit blue light, which the body perceives as sunlight. Blue light exposure after sundown can suppresses the release of melatonin, which disrupts our bodies process of preparing for sleep at night. My husband I and both wear these glasses at night – they’ve definitely helped us fall asleep easier and improved our overall sleep quality. The Swanwicks are more expensive but also very popular.
5. LUNA Weighted Blanket or YnM Weighted Blanket – As mentioned the in gift ideas for women above, research shows that weighted blankets calm our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) and increase parasympathetic activity (rest and recuperation mode). They can be used in the daytime to create a sense of well-being or at night for better sleep.
I have and love the LUNA Weighted Blanket, but the YnM Weighted Blanket is also made with 100% cotton and glass beads and has some additional weight options that could be helpful when shopping for kids. For example, they have a seven pound blanket when many other brands go straight from five to ten. They also make washable duvet covers in a wide variety of colors and prints. You can see them all here.
6. Wakeup Light – Our circadian rhythms – which orchestrate the ebb and flow of cortisol and melatonin – are tied to light and darkness. This wakeup light simulates sunrise in your bedroom, which helps your body synchronize it’s internal clock (which is often dysregulated due to blue light at night, etc.) so that it know when to produce the hormones which produce energy, and when to make the ones that help us drift off to sleep.
7. Blackout Curtains – In order to avoid the problems associated with too much blue light at night, we need to do more than cover our eyes. We now know that our skin senses light in ways we used to think only the eye could, so light can disrupt our circadian rhythm even when we’re wearing a mask. Blackout curtains are a much better option, and they come in lots of colors – even white. Shop All Blackout Curtains Here.
8. 100% Silk Pillowcase – Cotton and polyester pillowcases create more friction on skin and hair than silk, which some people say contributes to morning puffiness and more frizzy hair for people with wavy or curly hair. Cotton also tends to absorb oil and bacteria, which may lead to breakouts for some people. Silk tends to absorb less, which is why some dermatologists recommend it for acne-prone or sensitive skin.
Gift Guide For Teens
1. Amazon Gift Card – Because Amazon has just about everything.
2. Dead Sea Mud Soap With Activated Charcoal – Very helpful for teens with acne prone skin.
3. Manuka Honey – As I wrote about in this post on using honey as a cleanser, manuka honey is amazing for all skin types. It also works really well as a clarifying and moisturizing mask for acne-prone skin. Just apply to moist skin and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
4. Pre-Diluted Frankincense Essential Oil Roll-On – Helpful for emotional grounding and immune support. I also use it as a perfume.
5. Dead Sea Mud Mask – This mask combines Dead Sea clay and kaolin clay with skin soothing herbs. It’s perfect a weekly deep cleansing session.
6. Wreck This Journal – When our kids are little we teach them how to color inside the lines. It helps them develop patience and excellence, but it can also create anxiety about making “mistakes.” Wreck This Journal is about helping kids find their creative voice and redefining mistakes as opportunities for growth, at least that’s the gist of what the 2,600 five stars review on Amazon say.
Gifts for Babies & Pregnant Mamas
1. Hope & Henry Organic Baby Sweater – My husband introduced me to Hope & Henry organic cotton clothing recently and I pretty much love ALLLLL of the baby stuff. This is exhibit A. ?
2. Hope & Henry Organic Romper – 100% organic cotton except for the trim. Completely adorable.
3. Organic Love To Dream Swaddle – This blanket soothes babies while allowing them to sleep with their hands up around their head instead of tight by their side. I’ve heard great things about it from several moms, and it gets rave reviews online, too. Here’s one:
“We are third time parents, and we’ve never been good at swaddling. And, who are we kidding?, at Bleery-eye o’clock in the morning, who really wants to try to origami baby back into a bundle after that extreme diaper blowout? Enter Love to Dream! We looooove this swaddle! Our 5-week-old daughter has taken to it like a dream. We ordered the smaller size, and it fit all 10lbs 1.7 oz, 22 inches of her newborn self! I was put at ease knowing she wasn’t in danger of smothering like she would be with a blanket (even if it were tucked per safety recommendations, I always worry about blankets around my babies. Always.). She was cozy and comfortable. With a quick unzip from her feet up, we are able to keep her pretty cozy while changing her, so mid-nap or midnight changes haven’t been rude awakenings for her. I definitely recommend these, and will be buying more for her as she grows!”
4. NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator – Okay, the whole idea behind this thing is kind of gross, but it’s one of those practical gifts that can be a lifesaver when a mama has a congested baby and can’t wait two days for one to be delivered. Congested babies who don’t sleep well lead to mamas who don’t sleep well, and babies and mamas need sleep, you know?
5. EMF Blanket from Defendershield – Made with organic bamboo, this blanket is a great option for pregnant mamas who need to be near a computer often throughout the day.
6. The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth – I love this book so much I wrote an entire post about it. It’s beautifully illustrated and written with real mamas in mind. Genevieve literally had me crying in the opening pages as she talked about her own birth experiences, and the whole book feels like a fascinating conversation instead of a list of do’s and don’ts. (Weird fact, Genevieve and I birthed our babies within 24 hours of each other, and then three years later we did it again.)
Gift Guide For Kids
1. Indoor Tent – My kids love to “camp,” so a family friend made them a beautiful tent using fabric and wood. This store-bought option uses cotton canvas (with no flame retardants), and includes pockets underneath the window for storage and a carrying case. This one is lovely, too.
2. Life On Earth Memory Matching Game – This is the game we knew as “Memory” growing up, only with gorgeous, vibrant colors and nature-inspired scenes.
3. Lewo Wooden Stacking Game – It’s like Jenga, only with vibrant colored pieces. Also, you roll dice to determine which color to remove.
4. Big Life Journal: A Growth Mindset Journal For Children – I bought this for my oldest and it’s wonderful! It’s a guided journal that uses stories, quotes, writing prompts and illustrations to help children “learn to embrace challenges, to persevere, and how to grow from feedback. Through stories children will get inspired by failures and successes of people like Elon Musk, J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney, and others.”
5. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – My daughter loves this nail polish It’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone.
6. Edible Organic Gourmet Mushroom Growing Kit – The kids get a fascinating look at the natural world, and you get edible mushrooms. Win win!
7. Lil Mo’ Maggie Magnesium Lotion – Specially formulated for kids and people with sensitive skin, this “magic mineral” infused lotion is great for easing achy muscles and sleep. (It’s really helpful for easing growing pains, too!)
8. KiwiCo Crates – These award-winning crates empower kids to create, experiment and learn with hands-on kits delivered monthly. My kids cheered just a few days ago when their box arrived (and I cheered inside because I know they’re going to learn something new while I have a quiet afternoon). KiwiCo makes several kits that you can buy individually, or you can have them shipped automatically to you every month.
9. Salt Lamp Night Light – I love that these give off warm light instead of blue light, which can disrupt melatonin production and keep kids awake.
10. Chronicles of Narnia Audiobook – I love this series so much I actually talked my boyfriend-now-husband into reading it for the first time in college. Of course I also wanted to share it with my littles, so I bought an audio version to listen to on long care rides and as they fall asleep (after I read to them). They LOVE it and have listened to it countless times.
11. Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course for Kids – Last year I read a book called Playborhood, which is all about creating opportunities for play in front and backyards. This obstacle course looks like a great way to do that, and based on the rave reviews kids love it. I’m planning to buy it for my littles this year.
12. Buddha Board – This is basically a “Zen Etch-A-Sketch” that allows you to paint and then watch your art fade away like disappearing ink. My daughter selected this as her souvenir on a trip and it was such a hit.
13. Newtons Laws STEM Construction Kit – Kids learn all about Newton’s Laws of Motion by building working models like a catapult, a drag racer, a balloon powered plane, and more.
14. Catch and Release Aquarium – One day at the beach my family made friends with a family that was playing with this aquarium. All the kids had so much fun we got one of our own, and my littles have use it to catch minnows, crabs, frogs, lizards and more. You’ll need a net to go with it – we use this one.
15. Beeswax Crayons – These crayons come in a thick version (for little hands) and a thin version for older kids. They’re made with 100% beeswax and non-toxic pigments.
16. Small Glass Perfume Spray Bottles – My daughter uses these to make her own “perfumes.” Basically you just pour in a 50/50 mixture of water and vodka, then add in a few drops of kid-safe essential oils.
17. Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet – I like this one more than others because the oil is on the outside of the bracelet rather than touching the skin.
18. Blue Blocking Glasses For Kids – When we wind down a busy day with a movie, I make sure my littles wear blue blocking glasses so that the blue light from the t.v. doesn’t make it difficult for them to fall asleep. I want them to be able to fall asleep easily because it’s good for them . . and good for me. ?
19. Balance Bike – Training wheels were the norm for most of us, but these days many parents opt for balance bikes, which are easy to ride and help kids develop the balance, coordination, strength and fine motor skills needed to transition to a regular bike.
20. Rory’s Story Cubes – The ability to connect seemingly unrelated dots helps with creative problem solving. These cubes are a fun way to nurture that ability. You roll the dice, then create a story inspired by the images you land on, often finding it necessary to weave together seemingly unrelated objects.
21. Herb Growing Kit – Kids feel the pride and joy involved in helping something grow. You get fresh basil, cilantro, chives and parsley.
22. Magna Tiles – These were more of an investment but my boys love them and play with them for hours on end each week. Because of their simplicity and ease of use, these were the first building blocks all three kids enjoyed together.
23. Perplexus – This 3D marble maze puzzle challenges children to use spatial reasoning, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. My son discovered it at a friend’s house and couldn’t put it down!
24. Primary Clothing Basics – If you follow me in IG, you’ve probably seen at least one of my kids wearing Primary clothing. (Like this photo I snapped on my front porch, or this one at the beach, or this one of them in their Christmas PJ’s.)
They make 100% cotton, OKEO-Tex certified clothing basics at an affordable price. The sweatshirt pictured above is their cozy zip hoodie.
25. Pajama Top – Every year I buy my kids a new pair of 100% cotton, OKEO-Tex certified pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve . . . and throughout the remaining 364 days until the next year. They’re super cute for photos, durable, and comfy.
26. Pajama Bottom – To go with the top. ?
27. Cozy Tunic Sweatshirt – I love all the different colors available in this french terry, 95% cotton / 5% spandex, OEKO-Tex Standard 100 certified fabric.
28. Hope & Henry Girls Cable Knit Pullover Sweater – Made with 100% organic cotton except for the trim.
29. Hope & Henry Organic Sweater Cape – Also made with 100% organic cotton except for the trim, this cape is super cute. I wish they made one in my size, haha!
30. Hope & Henry Organic Sweater – This organic cotton sweater comes in several colors and reminds me of the ones my boys wore in some of my favorite early photos of them.
31. Hope & Henry Organic Sweater – This is the same sweater as the one above, just with a different pattern.
32. What happens to your food? – My kid love this colorful flap book about the “food tube” (aka the digestive tract).
33. Q&A a Day – Ask your kids one fun question every day for a year and write down their responses. Then the next year, you ask them all the same questions and see how their responses change as they grow.
34. Herbal Adventures: Backyard Excursions and Kitchen Creations for Kids and Their Families – If you have any interest in herbalism and want your kids to discover the edible and medicinal plants growing just beyond your front door, this is an amazing book! They’ll discover how to make homemade elderflower soda, itch-fix balm, nature’s paintbrushes, tummy tea and more. Some recipes call for fresh herbs, but it’s also possible to skip the foraging and dive into making the recipes with purchased, dried herbs.
35. Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play – 25 Projects that spark curiosity and adventure – On my list for this year!
36. The Kings Equal – This is one of my favorite fairy tales, because there’s a twist at the end that reveals a different kind of beauty and wealth.
37. Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide For Little Inventors – I bought this book for my kids several years ago. It’s more than a project book – though it does contain a lot of fun ideas. It’s a guide to creating an atmosphere that encourages creativity, exploration, and innovation. It doesn’t provide a lot of picture-perfect “final” shots that will leave kids insecure if theirs don’t look the same. There is gorgeous photography for sure, but most of it focuses on enjoyment of the process.
38. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? – This book explains that each person – whether grandparent, friend, sibling, etc. – has a bucket in which they hold good thoughts and feelings. It talks about how to be a BUCKET FILLER and discusses “bucket dipping” – or trying to fill our buckets by making others feel bad – and why it doesn’t work long term. Such a simple concept but I know it’s going to help my kids “get it” at a deeper level.
Active Lifestyle Gifts
My husband started doing crossfit-style workouts a couple of years ago, and I joined him this year. Here are some things we’ve loved this year.
MyoBuddy – This myofascial release massager is helpful for people who tend to carry a lot of muscle tension, are athletes, or deal with chronic pain. It does all types of massage: Relaxation, Trigger Point, Deep Tissue, Recovery, Sports, Circulatory, Friction, Percussion, and Mobility.
NoBull Training Shoes – My husband bought these at the recommendation of his trainer a year ago, and he loves them. They allow feet to move in a similar way to being barefoot (toes are able to spread out to increase stability, flexible soles without tons of excess foam, etc.) while protecting from the elements. NoBull makes trainers for women, too.
Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Muscle Knots, and Yoga Therapy – To use these, you just place the ball on the area with muscle tension and then lean your weight onto it. Super easy and so helpful!
Know someone who might find this list helpful?
Please share it with them! ?