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My annual eclectic Christmas gifts and ideas

Some of this is a repost from last year, but has been updated with new things I have fallen in love with over the last year.

Heads up, there are plenty of affiliate links in this post, but all links are things I truly love myself and would gift to my own friends.  Well, not my friends because none of them would love this shit, but you get the idea.

Also, if you don’t want any of this stuff, but still order on Amazon, if you click any of the links below and order what you were going to order anyway, I still get a little kick back.  Pretty sweet!

Need gifts for the hippy or nerd in your life?  Don’t worry, your Fairy Dorkmother (me) is here to help.

Inexpensive – under $30

  • Microplane grater.  I use this thing weekly and love it!
  • Bowl lids for your Kitchen Aid mixer.  Love this product!  And even better, it comes with two lids, so you can share one with a friend.  Unless you have two mixers, in which case, I want to be your friend.
  • Lamb.  This book about the “real” story of Jesus Christ, as told by his best friend Biff, made me almost pee my pants.
  • At Home.  This book makes dorks so very happy.  It sounds lame, but it is fascinating.  It’s the history of how every room in a house came to be.  I know, boring right?  NOPE.  So good.
  • Cowboy and Octopus.  Hands down, one of the weirdest kids books ever.  Troy and I fight to read this one to Jack.
  • DIY kid’s food pouches.  We fill this with applesauce for church.  Pouring applesquish in my kid’s food hole keeps him occupied and quiet.
  • The Homemade Pantry.  Love this cookbook so hard.
  • Press Here.  This kids book is so fun!
  • Apple peeler/corer thing-a-ma-jing.  Makes processing 2 or 200 apples a cinch.
  • Magnetic knife bar.  Totally transformed the look of my countertop.  Anyone who has read this blog for longer than 10 minutes, knows how much I hate clutter.  This got one more thing off of my counter,
  • Darth Vader and Son.  For all the nerds out there, this is the book to read with your kids.  They have one for girls too!
  • The Interrupting Chicken.  Wonderful kids book!
  • The Day the Crayons Quit.  My friend Mary recommended this to me, and it’s been one of our go to birthday gifts ever since.  And the sequel The Day the Crayons Came Home.
  • Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.  I love his books and I am always so sad when I finish one of them.
  • Winter of the World, also by Ken Follett.  It’s the sequel to the one above and is fabulous.
  • And if you like the first two books of the trilogy, there is a third one called Edge of Eternity!
  • Boys in the Boat made me stand up and cheer.  A fascinating book that looks at the University of Washington’s male rowing team and their epic quest for the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics.  And it’s a local book, which makes it even better!
  • Lodge cast iron skillet.  If you don’t want to rescue one from a thrift store, buying new works too.  Something I use almost daily in my house.
  • I love love love my cast iron bread pans.  They make bread crust so chewy and perfect.
  • Sweet Almond Oil.  I use this to wash my face, make chapstick and lotion bars, and to deeply moisturize my hands at the end of the day.  One bottle lasts me about three years.
  • Japanese Madolin Vegetable Slicer.  Sharp as hell (watch out), but is amazing for making pickles, homemade french fries, and other uses where you want an uniform slice.
  • 9 in stainless steel skillet.  No need for non-stick in our house!  This skillet is a freaking workhorse in the kitchen, and I use it when I am not using my cast iron.
  • Butter crock. We use this to safely keep butter at room temp on the counter.  Spreadable butter year round? Yes please!
  • Melissa and Doug Lace and Trace Farm.  I love that this is a non-electronic kid classic gift.
  • Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards.  I’m not sure what it is about this gift, but it’s freaking kid crack.  We’ve taken them to church before, and kids from two to twelve flocked to these things.  So low-tech, and yet they get played with for an hour.
  • If you have chickens, or other early morning outside chores, I love this headlamp for hands-free tasks.  I use it from October-March for taking the chicken food out in the morning and changing their water.
  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup.  This stuff isn’t well-known in the states, but it’s heaven.  I tried to describe it to my friends, and all I could come up with was “real quality maple syrup had sex with a stick of butter”.  Right?  I used it for homemade pecan pie at Thanksgiving, and you can use it in lieu of corn syrup in recipes.  It’s delicious.
  • Yumbox lunchbox.  Looks expensive on initial glance, but it has lasted us 1.5 school years, looks brand new, and nary a plastic baggie has been tossed in the garbage.
  • Where’s the Dragon.  A super fun kid’s book that has a great story, and raised pictures so kids can find hidden dragons in the illustrations.
  • Backyard Roots.  This is a fun book showing how 35 urban farmers around the country make their small set up work for them.
  • Metal widemouth funnel.  I put so many things in mason jars for storage, and this helps keep me from spilling three pounds of dried beans all over my kitchen floor.  Not that I’ve done that or anything…
  • The Junior Bender series is some of the best stuff I have read in years.  Crashed, Little Elvises, The Fame Thief, and Herbie’s Game are so SO good.
  • Coconut coir brick.  This is something garden nerds will LOVE.  It’s a compressed brick made from the byproduct of coconut processing, and is an amazing substitution for peat moss in homemade potting soil.  Peat moss is not a renewable resource, but coconut is!  Yay, go earth.
  • Doug and Melissa felt food set.  I’ve gifted this for a few birthdays, and it has always been a hit with little and older kiddos alike.
  • Want a stainless steel waterbottle made in the US?  It used to be “good freaking luck”, but Liberty Bottleworks (a Washington State company that hires discharged military veterans- woot woot!) makes some gorgeous bottles in Central Washington for the same price as fancier bottles sold elsewhere.  We got this one for Jack for Christmas.
  • This wall calendar.  I HATE that it is a called a Mom’s calendar, because it’s useful for so many things.  Lots of slots for information, and it isn’t hideous, cartoonish, or tasteless.  I’ve ordered one for the last four years running.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer.  This 6 pack will last year two years.  I love the smell, love that it isn’t drying and isn’t full of alcohol.  Please read this post for a back story about why peppermint oil hand sanitizer is not good when sprayed near your Britney).
  • Acure Brightening Facial Scrub.  I love this stuff, and it leaves me skin super soft without being harsh.
  • Maple Holistic Winter Blend Shampoo and Conditioner.  Smells amazing, makes me hair look and feel amazing and the ingredients aren’t creepy or scary in any way.
  • Goldie Blocks.  This is my go-to gift for girls I don’t know really well.  They’re engineering sets designed for girls, and come with a story and plans for building amazing feats of engineering.

Medium priced – $30 ish

Eh, starting to make my wallet sweat – under $100

  • Dutch oven.  You NEED one.  I can’t remember my life before Dutchie and Little Sprout came in to my kitchen.
  • Good knives.  We got a set similar to this for our wedding over 9 years ago, and I use them daily.  Thanks Auntie Lulu and Uncle John!
  • My pressure canner! It expanded my canning potential so much.  Which of course makes me both love and hate it.
  • Kitchen comfort mat.  This makes canning almost tolerable.  Almost.

Ack, my mother-in-law is a hag and I’m desperate for her approval, so I’m willing to spend the money (PS: My MIL is not a hag.  I actually love her dearly):

  • Grain mill.  Expensive upfront costs that pays for itself fairly quickly.
  • Shark Lift Away vacuum.  Oh how I love this vacuum and wish it would just have one more perk – that it would operate itself.  Sigh.  It’s amazing for carpet and the best you will find for wood floors!
  • Roku player.  We also received this for Christmas three years ago and it rocks!!  Streams all our favorite stuff directly to our TV, without having to hook up our laptops (first world problems, right???) using a HDMI cable.
  • Mixer.  My life was incomplete without her in it.
  • Brother sewing machine.  It’s a nice basic machine that has always served me well for my little projects.
  • Food processor.  So many of my “make it yourself” recipes start with this bad boy.
  • Vitamix.  I never in my life thought I would spend money like this for a freaking blender.  I saved for a year and got mine during a great sale at Costco, and I love it.  But it is spendy as hell.
  • Wusthof Classic knife.  I received this as a gift four years ago, and holy smokes, I love it intensely!


What is on your Christmas list this year?

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13 comments on “My annual eclectic Christmas gifts and ideas”

  1. Which pressure canner do you use? LOL….it’s the only link you didn’t provide!

    • That’s what I get for eating dessert while writing a blog post. LOL, it’s linked now.

      • Hahaha!

        Thanks for this. Does it have enough capacity for you? I’m still deciding if it’s worthwhile.

      • It does. They say it holds 7 quarts, but I typically only do 6 at a time. I could get 7 in there, but am fine processing 6 at a time. I love it for the ability to can broth. I only use it as a pressure canner for broth and tomatoes; everything else I use it as a water bath canner. And the huge depth/capacity was amazing for simmering the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving to make broth.

      • I’d like it for soups and stews, so the kids can heat up quick dinners if I don’t quite make it home before they have to leave for sports practices. I do tons of canning and freezing, but I haven’t ventured into pressure canning. I’m just deciding if the amount of work it may take is worth it!

      • I was scared of it at first, but it has worked out great and not ever made me feel like it is dangerous. Are you referring to canning soups and stews that the kids can open and heat, or the kids actually using it to heat up meals? If it is the first one, I say go for it (using a trusted recipe of course). If it is the kids using it to heat up meals, it would not be worth the hassle.

      • Oh no, I mean to can foods the kids can open and then heat up….LOL! I can just imagine my 11 year old scientist having access to a pressure canner! YIKES.

        The older two are learning how to water bath can, but I still wouldn’t trust either of them with a pressure canner when I myself am a bit scared of it! 😉

        I’m in Canada though, and this same canner is listed at $390. I’m in Vancouver, so nipping down to Bellingham to make a purchase like this may be worth it, but I’ll need to figure out the difference in USD first. Our dollar is so low right now I may need to find a way to trade poutine for it!!

  2. THANK YOU! I love the Children’s books! Fantastic ideas. I needed this!! ps I love your blog.

  3. I asked for new wooden cutting boards (mine have all cracked and split). I should have asked for a treadmill, but it’s a little out of our Christmas budget :0)

    We buy the big desk calendars, punch holes in the top, then use the 3M hooks to hang them. After a year, we flip the pages over, trace the new year on the backs, and I get two years for the price of one!

    We may be in the market for a new vacuum with our next move. I’ll keep the Shark in mind.

    Another great book suggestion for the kids are the Piggie and Gerald books by Mo Willems. So. Freaking. Hilarious. They are also fantastic for kids learning to read.

    We have a Vitamix and I’m thinking of selling it (doesn’t deserve a gender designation) to the lowest bidder. We bought it refurbished, and we’ve had to send it in twice. It won’t make a smoothie unless I massively water it down, no matter how much I beat the stuff up with the plunger thing. I’m kinda over it. I’m currently drooling over the Ninja Professional blender set. Do you have the dry canister for your Vitamix? If not, do you want one?

    • I LOVE my bamboo cutting boards! No idea what the brand is though; I found them at TJ Maxx.

      Never heard of those books. Off to the library!

      Oh no, sorry to hear about your Vitamix. That is why I was nervous about looking at the refurbished ones. We had a Ninja and I was not impressed. We don’t have the dry canister. What is it for?

  4. Jack would love the book That’s Disgusting.

  5. My mummy in-law scored me a better bell crock at a thrift store for $1. No one there knew what it was. I used to use one of those old school potted cheese crocks for my butter but after a bit of time it would sour. I now use the Bell and it works sooo well! No more ripped toast from cold butter or wondering if that butter as supposed to be that tangy. Only criticism is it only holds 1/2 lb of butter. But we can’t all be perfect.