This year, there’s really no excuse for being unprepared for Christmas. Let’s face it, our social lives have been seriously truncated by COVID-19. We’re not traveling much, or throwing big dinner or office parties, and sporting activities are generally solitary affairs. We’ve grown accustomed to shopping online for all manner of items (let’s not forget the toilet paper shortage back in the spring). So in-between Zooms, use our unique holiday gift guide below to start checking those peeps off your list.
We know there are myriad holiday shopping guides out there; ours is reflective of who we are and what we stand for. We divided our unique holiday gift guide into four sections:
- Do Good: Items or services that when purchased make someone’s life a little better
- Be Organized and Save Time: Items or services that will make you more organized and save you time
- Encourage STEM Pursuits in Youth: STEM careers pay better than most careers, and women and minorities are underrepresented in them. Let’s change that…and change lives at the same time.
Start making a difference with gifts that make a social impact.
Jewelry is always on a loved one’s Holiday list. The Giving Keys makes beautiful, personalized pieces that make a wonderful addition to any jewelry collection, as well as, having a life-saving, social impact. The Giving Keys mission is to aid others in their transition out of homelessness. They have created over a hundred jobs for people transitioning and continue to grow their impact with each purchase.
Like music, paying it forward goes well with every season. The House of Marley portable speaker allows you to take Holiday music wherever you go. Not only are the speakers made with sustainable materials, but your purchase also aids global reforestation and ocean preservation. The House of Marley actively supports One Tree Planted and Surfrider Foundation.
In the wake of the pandemic, cooking at home has become a necessity. The Always Pan by Our Place is a versatile pan that combines your frying pan, nonstick pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, spatula and spoon rest. Proceeds support communities in need through their partnership with Feeding America, donating over 200,000 meals. Our Place has also partnered with Los Angeles Food Policy Council to bring fresh and healthy food to South Los Angeles communities.
Need a new winter beanie? Get winter ready with Love Your Melon. Love Your Melon is an apparel company that gives 50% of their profit to the fight against pediatric cancer. They are dedicated to giving a hat to every child facing this battle. Love Your Melon sells an assortment of winter accessories, including beanies and blankets.
The element of surprise might just be the best part of any gift. With a subscription box, you never know what you are going to get. Plus, it is a gift that keeps on giving. The Arise Box is seasonal subscription that features ethical, sustainable, and fair trade goods, while also fighting against human trafficking. Ten percent of every subscription helps build care packages for human trafficking survivors.
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.
BE ORGANIZED AND SAVE TIME
Whether you are a natural born organizer or someone who is simply trying to tidy your daily mess, organizational tools can be helpful to almost anyone.
Stop spending time searching for lost items. Tiles are a perfect solution. Attach these to your keys, wallet, or phone and locate your valued items with ease. Just download the Tile app and follow the in-app instructions to activate. These tiles will save you time and also give you some peace of mind.
Every organizer knows the importance of labels. You can label everything from your photos, to your folders, or even your pantry. There are numerous label makers on the market today, some ideas are: Versatile Label Maker, Cube Wireless Label Maker, or Personal Label Maker. Another label option would be to purchase pre-made labels like these from Etsy.
Working from home has become the new norm. While at home, there is constantly something to do and keeping track of everything can be overwhelming. An acrylic dry erase board can help make your home life more organized and less taxing. This board is easily accessible and can help track your grocery list, daily tasks, appointments, or your child’s remote learning schedule.
The pandemic has made us all become cooks whether we like it or not. Recipe organization is not for the faint of heart and grocery shopping has only become more and more like the Hunger Games. Paprika is an app that helps you save and organize recipes, use them to plan weekly menus, and create shopping lists based on those menus. Use a recipe manager to make your life easier.
Anyone else have a jumbled mess of wires and charging cords? With all the electronics we use these days, cable storage and organization has become a need not a want. One easy solution would be to have a Leather Charger Roll Up cord organizer, which is perfect for keeping cables organized while on-the-go. Another more permanent solution would be to have Charging Station to help you keep everything in place while you charge devices.
Everyone needs a multipurpose organizer, whether it is for the car, for under the kitchen sink, for cleaning supplies, or for snacks at the park. Use a Caddy Organizer for a convenient and stylish carry-all.
ENCOURAGE STEM PURSUITS IN YOUTH
Robots are awesome and this one teaches kids 8+ 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 and record sounds. Mio is a buildable, programmable robot full of fascinating abilities and the clear instruction manual walks you through programming. Full disclosure: We are HUGE STEM fans and support inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers.
Science can be fabulous and fun. This kit includes step-by-step instructions to make it easy for young chemists to make, mix, and experiment with their own custom lip balms, complete with fruity flavors, shimmering glitter, and even UV protection.
They bring out the creativity in children of all ages. Children can build almost anything they imagine with their magnetic tiles. Meanwhile, little do young builders know, there are loads of educational lessons happening right beneath their fingers. Tiles encourage fine motor skills, visual-spatial skills, creativity, and heightened math skills.
Other STEM gift ideas…
Anatomy is a great subject for experiential science learning for little ones. It takes something that they have, literally, and reveals all the hidden wonder that’s underneath the surface. The Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Play Set lets kids mix and match the 24 included pieces to learn about different systems in the body. This body puzzle set helps children visualize the body’s systems and organs, and inspires their inner doctor. It also promotes hand-eye coordination, creative expression, and imaginative play.
Really, this is the coolest hybrid of old school meets tech. Powerup brings paper airplanes into the future by adding next generation mobile controls. The PowerUp Remote Control Paper Airplane can loop, flip, and barrel roll and is designed to do a variety of mind-blowing aerobatics. We want this for our office!
With virtual learning and parents trying to work from home, children have been logging more and more hours in front of a screen. The Turing Tumble provides a way for kids to learn about programming, but without a computer. It is a puzzle game, which players solve by building a path of components between the marble release mechanisms at the top of the board, and the levers at the bottom that then activate the marble release mechanisms. Puzzles continue to increase in difficulty, making this a gift that will continue to challenge your little Einstein.
One of my favorite activities growing up was building a fort. No fort was ever the same, which made it all the more fun. Couch cushion, pillow, and blanket forts are great, but this fort glows in the dark. Need I say more? Fun Forts Glow Kids Tent allows kids to build and imagine while mastering basic engineering skills; plus, this kit includes a building guide to ignite creativity.
I’m sure everyone, especially children, has experienced boredom during this pandemic. KiwiCo can help mix up a child’s daily routine and inspire creativity. The monthly subscription service delivers hands-on science and craft projects for kids ages 0 to 16. Each box—or “crate”—contains all of the supplies needed to create a unique STEM-based project. Trust us, your children will much prefer a monthly activity designed just for them, over yet another ugly sweater from Aunt Karen.
Earth science often takes a backseat to other STEM subjects, however, it is just as important. It is closely related to a child’s natural surroundings and offers children subject matter which has direct application to their lives and the world around them. National Geographic Earth Science Kit has more than 15 experiment activities including dueling water tornadoes, building an erupting volcano, growing a crystal, and more. This kit has a detailed learning guide that teaches the science at work in the experiments, allowing your child to develop a deep and lasting appreciation for a variety of earth sciences. There’s lots to learn about our little ball in the universe!
What about you? Do you have any unique gift ideas that do good, get people organized and save time, or inspire kids to engage in STEM topics?