Every single fall I make the same vow: I will have the holidays mapped out, planned for, and my shopping done by the time I am picking out a Thanksgiving turkey. Since I am usually running around town the day before Thanksgiving in search of the last organic, free-range, had-such-a-happy-life-they-gave-it-a-name turkey, you can guess what
usually always happens. If you said wrapping a mountain of gifts on the floor of my closet while drinking a glass of wine on December 23 you are a winner!
This of course dovetails into my second annual vow, which is to take the money and go to Hawaii where we all enjoy each other’s presence instead of presents.Have you ever tried this? If not, here’s a pro-tip: don’t. Because as much as you fight it, you’ll cave the moment your child wonders why there are no gifts under the Christmas tree, succumb to the usual holiday madness, overspend out of guilt, and develop an eye twitch in Maui any time someone orders a $15 grilled cheese, poolside.
Because we are committed to organizing all of you here at PlanHero, our ultimate holiday gift guide 2017 will help take the sting out of wondering how you’re going to pull it all off, yet again. So close your browser on that Pinterest page, (and put that hot glue gun away; no one will notice if you use last year’s wreath, we promise) and get ready to knock out some holiday shopping. No eye twitches!
For Your Daughter
I bought these last year for our daughters, both of whom are in college. It was a hit (and bonus, their roommates loved it, too). But word to the wise, these sell out fast. This is also a great gift for a niece, babysitter, or yourself. I like to think it’s irresponsible to send a fabulous gift I haven’t tried. Because I am a giver, and the holidays are all about generosity. Without further ado, I give you the world’s best advent calendar. Sephora has several, but I am in love with this new offering from L’Occitane. 24 days of L’Occitane’s most luxurious offerings practically guarantee she’ll be glam all season long.
For the Philanthropist
Do you have someone in your life who would rather be in a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve? A friend with more than a few t-shirts from their Habitat for Humanity build? Or that one person who derives the most joy out of giving back to others? The indomitable Ali McGraw (who appears to have only gotten better with age) has collaborated with Ibu, a collection of designs thoughtfully sourced from 71 female-centric artisan groups from 34 countries. Their selection of handmade items, ranging from tapestries to jewelry is sublime.
Or, you can give a life-changing gift to a family in need with Heifer International, They will create a custom card for the person or group who has inspired your donation, whether it be clean water for a village, sheep for a family, or help launching a small business for a woman living in poverty.
For Your Kid’s Teacher
The Education Market Association estimates the average American school teacher spends over $500 a year of her own money for supplies, with one out of ten spending $1,000 or more. Let the teachers in your life know you appreciate their sacrifices with something special. I love gifts from the heart, and homemade ones are especially dear to me. So if your child is moved to creating something wonderful, by all means encourage it. Just make sure to add a little extra something-something to honor the person who spends so much time educating your little one.
Gift cards are easily tucked into a hand-written card, and my unofficial polling over the years reveals that Target and Amazon are some of the most popular choices. Of course, if you can’t decide, you can always make it a prepaid Visa, Mastercard, or American Express gift card. Bonus? If you’re scrambling last minute, most of these merchants offer e-cards for on-the-spot giving.
My husband likes to look sharp for work and he just looooves to shop. Haha! See, I can keep my sense of humor, even with the holidays barreling down on us. Okay, he really does like dressing well, but he will wear a dress shirt to near-tatters rather than step foot into a department store. Enter the good people at Trunk Club, a Nordstrom company with all the benefits of Nordies, without having to actually walk into one.
Seriously, it’s so easy even the most shopping averse will be pleased (I tried it myself, because you know, research). A few simple questions about fit, style, and budget and you’re on your way. You can chat with a stylist in real time, either on the phone or in their messenger app. When your trunk is ready, they send a digital preview and within days you have a personalized trunk filled with clothes on your doorstep.
Dad bonus? Free shipping. Double dad bonus? There are no fees, save for a refundable $25 styling fee that is waived with a Nordstrom account or applied toward your purchase. Returns or exchanges are simple, so no more tattered dress shirts for
Robots are awesome and this one teaches kids 8-11 to program. It encourages careful measurement, trial and error, and problem solving – your kids will be impressed by the fact that this robot can be sent to another room with instructions to
spy on their brother record sounds. Rover is pre-assembled and the clear instruction manual walks you through programming. Full disclosure: We are HUGE STEM fans and support inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers.
Take your game of hot lava to the extreme with this portable, easy to set-up and take-down obstacle course with 10 included obstacles. Once their ninja skills are perfected, you can purchase additional add-ons, like the Ninja Cargo Net. Seriously, I think I need this.
What do you love about your family? What are your favorite memories? Ask each member of your family to write their answers on the colorfully designed paper circles. Then, follow the instructions to easily glue them all together into one beautiful bowl.
A unique disk that’s made for play. Senses come alive with the popping sounds from the suction cups as kids find themselves teetering on the brink of perfect physical play. Teeter Popper improves core strength, stability, leg strength, balance, coordination and gross-motor skills. It also keeps them busy while you’re throwing away all the wrapping paper.
This is genius. Want to feed two birds with one seed? Point your kid in the direction of your most egregious junk drawer and give them this book. Throughout this detailed instruction and idea book, you’ll find an exciting variety of hands-on projects that will challenge you to come up with your own unique solutions to all kinds of exciting design problems. And one less drawer to clean out, hopefully.
Really, this is the coolest hybrid of old school meets tech. Powerup brings paper airplanes into the futureby adding next generation mobile controls. Loop, flip, and barrel roll with tiny smart paper airplanes designed to do a variety of mind-blowing aerobatics. I need this.
For the Gadget Lover
I just love paying an arm and a leg for my internet service, only to be relegated to three rooms in the house when I want to get online because the signal is too weak everywhere else. If this isn’t your idea of awesome, either, the techie in your life needs AmpliFi.
*Insert deep announcer voice* But wait! There’s more! AmpliFi not only boosts your WiFi strength, it can help you keep track of and manage your kids’ screen time (drops mic). Yeah, that’s kind of handy. But don’t take our word for it. Read what the good women over at Cool Mom Tech have to say about AmpliFi in their comprehensive review. And while you’re at it, see what else they’ve discovered for the gadget lover on your holiday list.
For Your Gamer
Okay, your kid already has an Xbox you say. At least that was my argument when my son dropped his hundredth “hint” about the newest, soon-to-be-released Xbox One X (I know. It’s either catchy or a tongue twister, depending on your age). It’s available for pre-order now, something I know because my 15 year-old has been sending me subtle texts for the past few weeks. He keeps it low key, only sending me one or eleven a day.
According to my son, parents who truly love their children will appreciate the fact that this is a better, different, so-good-he-will-die-without-it upgrade. It boasts the “world’s most powerful console” and offers an immersive, true 4-K gaming experience, with smoother game play, real world detail, and 12 GB GDDR5 more memory. Wired UK says the XBox One X is “Microsoft’s loveletter to gamers.” After I watched the video, I admit I think it seems pretty darn snazzy. And I haven’t played video games since Pac Man was ruling the world.
For the Person Who has Everything