2016 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide (For Everyone On Your List!)

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I don’t know about you, but this time of year can be a little hectic for me! With multiple holidays in a row and a lot of family birthdays, there is a lot to plan and a lot of gifts to wrap. We try to stick to experiences instead of stuff as much as possible (here are some of my best ideas), especially with our own kids, but also usually get one gift per family member.

Also, for extended family and close friends that we don’t live close enough to share experiences with, we send small gifts as well. I know it seems early, but I try to get my shopping done now so that I can savor and enjoy the coming weeks and months while knowing gifts are already wrapped!

This gift guide is a compilation of the best gifts we’ve ever received and the ones that are favorites to give. As much as possible, these gifts are eco-friendly and limit plastic. They are also natural, organic and health-promoting.

My Natural + Eco-Friendly Gift Giving Guide!

I’ve included my favorite gifts for every family member, age group and interest level, so keep scrolling if you need ideas for a specific family member. The go in rough age order (adults down to babies) and then special interest gift ideas are below that (for the chef, the grandparents, white elephant gifts, etc).

Important: Please note that many of the links in this guide are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through these links, the price will be the same for you and I’ll receive a small commission that helps support my blog and my family. Many thanks!

Gifts for Mom (that She Won’t Just Pretend She Loves)

As a kid, we always got my mom new kitchen gear and equipment as gifts. I remember feeling a little guilty because my brother and I got toys and fun gifts, and I always thought she got the short end of the stick just getting kitchen gear. Then, I became a mom myself and developed a love for cooking, and now I get just as excited about new kitchen essentials. This list includes some of the best practical gifts for moms, as well as some pampering and relaxing ones!

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  1. Amazon Prime Membership – Get free 2-day shipping on many items, plus free streaming music and movies.
  2. or Real Plans Membership- My biggest time saver- this plans all of my meals and shopping lists and can handle allergies, bulk prep day and more!
  3. Shiatsu Massage Pillow -Seriously rivals an actual massage for half the price!
  4. Hydroflask Water Bottle – The water bottle I use that keeps water cool (or hot) for days!
  5. Royally Flawless Facial Moisturizer – Amazing facial oil with the highest quality ingredients and no junk!
  6. RTIC Tumbler -Great for hot or cold drinks.
  7. Wake-up Light Gentle Alarm Clock – Wake up gently to gradual light and sound
  8. Himalayan Salt Lamp – Soothing warm orange glow at night from these beautiful lamps.
  9. Blue Blocker Glasses – I wear these after dark for better sleep (some studies show that avoiding blue light after dark helps melatonin levels).
  10. Sleep Master Sleep Mask – Great for travel- a sleep mask that is actually comfortable!
  11. 10,000 Lux Happy Light – Feel blue in the winter? I use this super-bright light to keep my cortisol levels healty.
  12. Anything Le Creuset – Incredible (but pricey) dishes. I’ve been collecting a few pieces over the years and resisting the urge to buy it all!
  13. Microwaveable Slippers – Does someone you love always get cold? These slippers have microwaveable pads that stay warm.
  14. Dry Brush -Brushing isn’t just for hair and teeth. Brushing skin can help it stay smooth, supple and may improve collagen.
  15. Low EMF Hair Dryer– Did you know that hairdryers product a LOT of EMFs?
  16. French Press Coffee Maker – Make wonderful coffee with this classic method.
  17. Instant Pot – Revolutionize dinner! This electric pressure cooker makes roasts in about an hour and turns tough cuts of meat into deliciously tender meals.
  18. Grown-up Coloring Book and Markers- Coloring isn’t for kids anymore and studies show it may reduce stress levels. Try a “grown up coloring book.”
  19. Kokomo Cream Organic Deodorant– This natural deodorant smells like the tropics and last for months.
  20. The Wellness Mama Cookbook – Ok, I’m biased, but my new cookbook is filled with 200 delicious recipes that our family loves (and I know yours will too!)
  21. Blackout Curtains – Even a little light can interfere with sleep quality. We use blackout curtains to keep our room really dark.
  22. Wine Bottle Tiki Torch – Upcycle old wine bottle with these adorable tiki-torch kits.

Gifts for Dad (No Ties or PJs on This List)

I’ve always had the most difficult time finding good gifts for the men in my life, especially my husband. He has incredibly high standards for products and prefers really high quality items that last forever. These have been some of his favorite gifts in recent years and they might be perfect for the guys on your list too… (Also, check the lists below for more specific ideas for dads who travel a lot or who love the outdoors!)

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  1. Magnetic wrist band – Holds nails and screws for the handyman!
  2. Fire starter kit – Useful tool to start fires without matches or a lighter.
  3. Blue Blocking Glasses -These glasses help reduce eye fatigue from computers and reduce blue light for better sleep.
  4. Lifestraw or Sawyer water filter– Survival water filter that fits in your pocket.
  5. Comfy Slippers – My husband loves these slippers he got a couple of years ago.
  6. Heat Proof BBQ Gloves – For the man who likes to grill, these gloves will protect his hands.
  7. Smart Wool Socks – Warm but not sweaty and they keep feet dry. Great for hiking or everyday use.
  8. Surefire Flashlight – High quality and super bright pocket flashlight.
  9. Wine Aerator – Pour wine through this to improve flavor.
  10. 30-day Lantern for Camping – A really long lasting lantern for the outdoorsman who loves to camp.
  11. Esse 3 Knife – Really high quality multi-use knife.
  12. Saddleback Leather Wallet – This wallet has a 100 year warranty!! (yes, really!)
  13. Quality Shaving Kit OR Beard Oil– Great options for the clean-shaven or bearded guy in your life!
  14. RTIC Insulated Tumbler – This insulated large mug keeps things cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12.
  15. Hydroflask Insulated Water Bottle– Insulated water bottle that keeps water cold for days.
  16. Backjoy Seat -Does your guy sit a lot? This may help improve posture and alleviate tension in the back.
  17. Defender Pad – Protect his lap from EMFs when he uses the laptop.
  18. Tactical Pen – More than just a pen, it works in all conditions and can break a car window if a person is trapped.
  19. ENO Hammock – Portable hammock that fits in a small bag and is great for travel and camping.
  20. Tactical Backpack– For the outdoorsman, this bag holds everything he could need.
  21. Tool Pen– Available in hex and mini-tools for easy use.
  22. Whiskey Stones – Freeze these rocks to use in place of ice in drinks “on the rocks.”

Gifts for Older Kids & Teens

My older kids have gotten harder to shop for, but these gifts all got their seal of approval!

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  1. Buddah Board– A relaxing way to paint with just water (it evaporates and you can paint again).
  2. Leather Journal– A beautiful leather journal for sketching or journaling.
  3. Japanese Puzzle Box– These beautiful puzzle boxes are a unique way for older kids to keep valuable items safe and fun to learn.
  4. Rubix Cube (or Giant Rubix Cube)- The 1980s called, but we told it we are keeping the Rubix Cube. Older kids love learning to solve this.
  5. Star Wars Legos– Popular among big kids and teens with dozens to choose from.
  6. Build Your Own Programmable Robot Kit– A favorite with my oldest. Build a robot and program it!
  7. Grown-Up Coloring Books– Coloring isn’t just for little kids anymore. These “adult coloring books” are very detailed and studies show that coloring is relaxing.
  8. Boogie Board– Reusable board that encourages doodling and drawing.
  9. Kindle Fire– An affordable tablet with a lot of capabilities.
  10. Runaway Alarm Clock– Does your teen have trouble waking up? This alarm clock runs away and keeps making noise until caught!
  11. Natural Makeup Brushes– If your teen is old enough to wear makeup, these natural brushes are great!
  12. Power Cube Wall Adapter– Surge protector and charges multiple devices at once.
  13. Collapsible Duffel Bag– Great bag for short trips that collapses to a tiny size.
  14. Minnetonka Chrissy Boots (for teenage girls)- Super comfy boots!
  15. Cash inside a Money Maze Puzzle Box– Give money so they can get what they like, but make it fun by hiding it inside this puzzle cube.
  16. No Crease Ponytail Holders– These are really popular right now. They are gentle on hair and don’t leave a crease!
  17. Travel Hammock– Have an outdoorsy teen? These travel hammocks collapse small and are awesome.
  18. Pocket Strings Guitar– A fun way to learn guitar! Fits easily in a backpack.

Gift Ideas for Younger Kids

There are certainly the most options to choose from when looking for gifts for children, but I’ve found that many are lower-quality plastic items that break easily and release harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals into the home or that only facilitate one activity. These are a few of the gifts I’ve found in recent years that have survived the durability test of our house and that the children have enjoyed the most:

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  1. Gorilla Gym– Our kids’ favorite Christmas gift of all time. It is a gym that mounts in a door frame and they use it every day.
  2. Snap Circuits– Really neat kit that lets kids learn about electricity by building different types of basic machines like a fan, a radio, etc.
  3. Art Kit– A favorite among our girls. This kit contains markers, paints, colored pencils and more.
  4. Seedling Wooden People kit– Kids can create mini wooden people.
  5. Mini Trampoline for Indoor Play– We’ve had a trampoline in our house for years and it is great for cold or rainy days. Rebounding (bouncing) is also great for adults!
  6. Wooden twig colored pencils– Wooden colored pencils made from twigs. Good size for younger kids just learning to write and draw.
  7. Wooden people and craft supplies– Our kids loved making their own little wooden dolls with these.
  8. Plasma car– Our little kids love these and they are great for kids of all sizes.
  9. Natural Paints– Made from fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices.
  10. Design Your Own Superhero Cape– A fun activity that encourages creativity and is great for imaginative play.
  11. Microscope Kit– My oldest loved looking at hair, dirt, and all kind of other things in this microscope.
  12. Crayon rocks– Portable and fun for littles who still have trouble with regular crayons.
  13. Or Beeswax crayons– Triangular crayons made of natural beeswax.
  14. Doll House– Fits Barbie size dolls and other smaller dolls.
  15. Stainless Steel Play Kitchen Pots and Pans–
  16. Beginner Piano Keyboard (and free Hoffman Academy Lessons)-
  17. Boogie Board– A reusable writing tablet that encourages creativity.
  18. Sun Art– Fun educational craft idea that kids love.
  19. Kendama Game– Fun interactive game that encourages movement.

Gifts for Babies (and Expecting Parents)

There are literally thousands of options for gifts for babies, but many of them contain endocrine disrupting plastics or will just never get used. With over a decade of parenting and six kids, these are the gifts, toys and gear that made the cut for us.

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  1. Pregnancy Affirmation Cards – I love these sweet cards that encourage pregnant moms!
  2. Organic Mattress Cover– Protect baby from mold and allergens in mattresses.
  3. Organic Cotton Crib Sheet – Soft organic sheet for crib.
  4. Organic Muslin Swaddling Blankets- My favorite blankets that are perfect for swaddling or nursing.
  5. Snot Sucker -Not as gross and it sounds and a lifesaver if baby is sick!
  6. Baby bouncer -This bouncer that actually bounces can be bounced with a foot to keep baby asleep.
  7. Food grade silicone fruit  teethers– A favorite with my 9 month old right now!
  8. Hape Wooden Toys – I love these high quality wooden toys!
  9. Ergo Organic Baby Carrier – A great organic baby carrier that is comfortable for mom or dad too!
  10. Sophie the Giraffe– This teething toy has a passionate following with the under-one-year crowd!
  11. Fleece Newborn Booties – Babies always manage to lose socks, but these stay on and keep toes warm!
  12. Manhattan Toys Rattle and Clutching Toy– Little ones love this engaging wooden toy.
  13. Natural Rubber Orthodontic Pacifier – For babies who like a pacified, try this natural rubber option.
  14. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace– May help sooth teething pain.
  15. Manhattan Toys Circle Toy – A beautiful and fun toy that baby love to play with.
  16. Natural Rubber Teething Toy – The only toy my baby prefers to my finger when teething gets bad.
  17. Organic Cotton Teether– An organic cotton and wood teething toy option.
  18. Shea Moisture Baby Wash and Lotion – Fabulous smelling baby wash and lotion without the junk!
  19. Animalz Wooden Animal Toys – Adorable and durable wooden animal toys.

Gifts for the Chef or Foodie

Does someone in your life love to cook (or eat)? These gifts make spending time in the kitchen so much fun!

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  1. Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator– No plastic, no junk, just awesome coffee that stays warm for hours in this all-stainless percolator.
  2. Blendtec or Vitamix– both are awesome blenders!
  3. Stainless Steel Immersion Blender– Great for sauces, smoothies, blending things in a pot or pan and so much more.
  4. Yogurt Maker– Homemade yogurt tastes so much better than store bought and is simple to make.
  5. Ice Cream Maker– Make any kind of ice cream: dairy-free, sugar-free, etc.
  6. Lead-free Crock Pot– A great slow cooker with a lead free crock.
  7. Instant Pot– This electric pressure cooker has almost replaced our slowcooker and I use it at least three times a week.
  8. Crinkle cutter– So the kids can help cut food for meals.
  9. Stainless steel bowls– Great for mixing, serving, and storage.
  10. Spiral Slicer– Make vegetables into noodles with this spiral slicer.
  11. Stainless Steel Straws– Replace disposable straws forever with these steel straws.
  12. Huck towels– Similar to the towels they use in emergency rooms… these towels are super absorbant, great for cleaning and easy to wash.
  13. Mason Jars + Cuppow Lids + Sprouting Lids– Use mason jars for cups and the opportunities are endless.
  14. Kombucha Brewing Supplies– Do you drink Kombucha? If so, do you make your own? It is so much better and the flavors are endless.
  15. Dehydrator– Preserve foods with a stainless steel dehydrator.
  16. Xtrema Cookware– Scratch proof ceramic pans.
  17. Bamboo Utensils– These inexpensive bamboo utensils are great for cooking.
  18. Stainless Steel Large Baking Dish–
  19. Glass electric tea kettle– Make tea in seconds with this glass electric tea kettle.
  20. Salt Block for Cooking– I love cooking fish, meat and even baked goods on a salt block for amazing flavor.
  21. Premium Milk Frother – If you want to spring for an unusual (and more pricey) gift, this milk frother makes coffee shop worthy froth for coffee.

Gift Ideas for the Grandparents

Our parents both live nearby and are involved in our kids lives. I always struggle with what to get them that somehow says “thanks for everything you did for me all of those year and thanks for being just as awesome with my kids.” We usually give them something handmade from the grandkids, but these are some other ideas that have been a hit. (Some of these are also ideas for this year, so mom- if you are reading this… don’t read past here).

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  1. Amazon Prime Membership– What my parents are getting this year (don’t tell them!). This gives them free 2-day shipping on many items and free streaming of many movie and music.
  2. Photo Frame– This photo frame was a hit a few years ago with our parents. No fancy motion detectors, wi-fi, bluetooth or anything else that can stop working.
  3. Kindle Fire– My brother got my mom a Kindle a couple of years ago and she use it quite a bit.
  4. Terracotta Plant Waterer– Perhaps not the most fancy of gifts,  but very practical for anyone with house plants (I just ordered some). It upcycles a glass bottle to water a plant for weeks.
  5. Wine Subscription– If your parents are wine-drinkers, they will love this wine subscription box  of organic biodynamic wines.
  6. Royally Flawless Face Oil– Ditch all the overpriced anti-aging creams out there. This oil uses high-quality ingredients for real results.
  7. Shiatsu Massage Pillow– I got this for my mom last Christmas and she uses it all the time.
  8. Glass Electric Tea Kettle– For tea-drinkers, this electric glass tea kettle makes tea available almost on demand.
  9. Instant Pot– The grandparents love it for all the reasons we love it- faster and more nutritious meals!
  10. The Grandparent Book Journal– A sweet way to encourage kids and grandparents to spend time together and a beautiful keepsake of family history.
  11. Or anything on the lists above that they will love!

Dirty Santa & White Elephant Gifts

Every year, we get invited to parties where guests play Dirty Santa or need last minute gifts to have on hand when someone drops by. This year, I’m being prepared and stocking up on some inexpensive (and some funny) gifts to have on hand:

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“Just in Case”:

These inexpensive gifts are great to have on hand for when someone drops by with a gift or to take to party hosts. I keep several of these wrapped to give when someone brings a gift by unexpectedly.

  1. Electric Wine Bottle Opener–
  2. RTIC Tumbler–
  3. Bottle of wine-
  4. Grocery Bag Carrying Handles–
  5. Bag of Organic Coffee–
  6. Silicone Muffin Cups–
  7. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Iced Coffee Pot/Maker–
  8. Car Diffuser–
  9. Mason Jar Solar Light–
  10. Mason Jar with Drinking Lid–

Funny Gifts for Dirty Santa and Gift Exchanges:

These are some of my favorite funny gift ideas for dirty santa or white elephant gift exchanges. Sure to get lots of laughs!

funny-dirty-santa-and-white-elephant-gifts

  1. Toilet Light–
  2. Nap Sack Prank Box–
  3. Prank Pack Crib Dribbler–
  4. iDrive Prank Pack–
  5. “You Parked Like An Idiot” Cards-
  6. Slipper Genie Mopping Slipper–
  7. The Obsessive Chef Cutting Board–
  8. Talking Toilet Paper Holder–
  9. Banana Slicer–
  10. Cards Against Humanity–
  11. Maybe Swearing Will Help Coloring Book and Markers–

Handmade & DIY Gifts

DIY gifts

I love receiving homemade gifts and making them for others. I have hundreds of DIY recipes and tutorials on this website, but the ones on this list make the best gifts:

If you aren’t into the DIY options, here are some great store bought alternatives:

What is on your Christmas list this year? What are you getting for friends and family?

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