A Christmas Gift Guide For The Whole Family

+J.M.J.+

I am all for less-is-more with gifts. I’d rather find one or two quality items or experiences that actually bring joy or function to the recipient, rather than buying a bunch of random junk so there is “stuff” to unwrap.

I’m sharing some ideas below for different people in your life that may be just the perfect thing.

Babies and Toddlers

Here are a few ideas for the tiny new ones in your life:

  • A Baby’s First Christmas ornament – My sweet mother-in-law is giving this keepsake ornament to Felicity this year.
  • Shaker eggs – They’re light-weight so babies can lift them, and they make that fun sound. We shake them to music, roll them down the slide, play grocery shopping with them and more.

If you’re needing a budget friendly option you can get this big plastic set.

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I love this natural wood option out there now, which I didn’t see when I originally got ours!

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  • Stainless steel mixing bowls with lids found here. It may sound silly, but babies love things that feel real. They can put other items (like those shaker eggs!) into the bowls, and the bowls can be stacked when their lids are on them. We’ve had this set for years and they’ve been a favorite toy.
  • These large silk scarves from Simply Sweet Fabric found here on Amazon have been used almost daily in our home for the last 2.5 years. They are fun to play peek a boo with babies with, to stuff into an old tissue box for them to pull out, and the uses continue through childhood as costumes, play picnic blankets, and more. They are incredibly high quality and have held up amazingly.

Kids

Before I get to physical items, don’t forget about looking into any experiences local to the child you’re shopping for! Think:

  • Passes for ice skating
  • Tickets to a matinee, play, or music performance
  • A day or season pass to a zoo, aquarium, or children’s museum
  • A special date going to pick out a new book at the bookstore than enjoying it with homemade hot chocolate
  • This kinetic sand is an addicting to play with, moldable product that feels almost exactly like working with wet sand. My girls will literally sit with it uninterrupted for 30 – 60 minutes at a time, easy. It cleans up so easily that we use it in the house all the time.
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  • A fun Catholic sewing project for an older child would be picking out one of these Sew A Saint dolls from Faith and Fabric. I haven’t ordered one of these yet – I’ll wait until Philomena is a bit older and can actually use a needle and work with me on it – but I’ve seen so many people on social media enjoying these!
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Image courtesy of the Faith and Fabric tutorial page found here
  • If you have a little girl obsessed with babies like our oldest daughter, the ultimate gift is this weighted silicon dolly that we got Philomena for her birthday last June.

The investment meant we had to go in on it with both sets of grandparents, but trust me, she didn’t complain about not getting anything else because she was *obsessed* with this dolly. It is made entirely of squishy silicon and weighs almost 5 pounds, so it really looks and feels like a real baby. She has even fooled adults after Mass who thought it was real. This is by far the most played with toy in our home, and well worth the investment for the incessant use it gets!

She insisted on holding the dolly for our family photos this summer!
  • Our favorite little kid board game is definitely good old Candy Land! My girls play it almost every day and its just a great quick game to enjoy all together.
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  • Magnetic tiles aren’t anything new these days, but we really like this style from Amazon. We’ve had them a couple years and the quality is excellent – not a single one has broken yet. These are a bit more affordable than the solid ones, and we think its a bit more fun to create things with them!
  • Another fun lacing option is this other lacing set that uses beads instead of boards. I like these beads because they’re bigger than the other sets I’ve seen, so they don’t seem like a choking hazard if there are baby siblings around. Zelie uses these a lot with us at the table while I am doing Kindergarten with Philomena.
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  • Water Wow! Books are a fantastic, non-messy activity for waiting at appointments, on long car rides and plane trips, and just for fun around the house. You fill the pen with a little water and it colors the beautiful pages. Once the water dries the pages are ready to be colored again, able to be reused countless times!
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  • Angel In the Waters is a book that tells the beautiful story of a baby in the womb talking to it’s guardian angel about what is to come. It’s such a sweet perspective seeing everything from the baby’s point of view, and really special for kids to be able to know about how they grew written with grace by a Catholic author. (This is especially great for pregnant mothers to share with their children anticipating a new baby’s arrival!)
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  • Another all-time favorite book for my girls is Steam Train, Dream Train. This is such a fun book to read with a great cadence to the rhymes and adorable illustrations of animals loading up a train with all kinds of fun cargo. I’m actually giving Zelie a new copy because the one I was given at Philomena’s baby shower is literally falling apart from hundreds of readings over the last four years!
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  • If you’d like a Christmas book, our favorite is Twas The Evening of Christmas, which sets the nativity story to the poem Twas the Night Before Christmas. It’s so cute and my girls loved it last Christmas!
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  • My mother sent the girls a copy of the new book The Spider Who Saved Christmas which Sophia Institute Press released this year. It tells the legend of the spider who made a web over the cave where the Holy Family hid while trying to escape King Herod. They have had me read this intriguing tale countless times for the last few weeks!

If you want more ideas for toys I have a whole post about our toy setup here that has other ideas.

Adults

I find adults are often times much more difficult to shop for than children. Same as with my experience ideas for kids, check and see what events in your area might be coming to give an experience to your recipient. Another idea is to offer babysitting so they can go to an event if childcare is something they could use.

This is delicious, properly prepared bread that the body can usually very easily digest because the fermentation process actually eliminates most of the gluten. Sourdough 101 teaches the beginner to make and care for your starter and bake delicious sourdough bread, pizza dough, bagels, rolls, pretzels and more. You get to join a Facebook group with your fellow classmates and the master bakers at Sourdough Schoolhouse and access your classes and recipes forever! Use my code “TNCM25for a 25% discount at checkout!

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  • Sacrifice beads are a wonderful way of setting a goal of making 10 sacrifices or good deeds a day for love of God, reparation for sin, and the salvation of souls. I was recently gifted a set of these gorgeous sacrifice beads from Happy Nest Home Goods which I have been eying for two years! The high quality beads are held snugly with the string that will let you keep track of where you are in your sacrifices for the day.

She was so kind as to give my readers 10% off any order over $35 through the end of the year. Use coupon code “NCM2020” and get the discount on all items in her shop, including her embroidery kits , essential oil diffuser necklaces, and peg dolls! (Discount should automatically apply using that link!)

  • Flexi Clips from Lila Rose are my favorite hair accessories. They stay put all day, don’t pull hair or leave indentations like elastics do, and they make a basic pony or half up hairstyle look extra special and pretty. I’ve owned some of these for years – I even wore one on my wedding day! I have a little Lila Rose party link I’m hosting with Rosie from “A Blog For My Mom” that you can shop by clicking here for these super long lasting, sturdy, beautiful hair clips that come in a ton of styles.
  • If you have a coffee or tea drinker in your life, these auto seal spout stainless steel to-go mugs from Contigo are my favorite for taking hot and cold beverages on the go. (Or to keep my coffee hot throughout the morning around the house!) They seriously don’t leak and they hold their temperature for hours.
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  • This St. Benedict Medal Tie Bar from Georgiana Baker on Etsy would be a really thoughtful and useful gift for the gentleman in your life.
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  • Buying for an avid reader? One of my favorite novels is “In This House of Brede” by Rumor Godden. It’s a classic originally published in 1969 that tells the story of a powerful British executive who leaves it all behind to join a convent. With a tragic past slowly revealed alongside the fascinating inner-workings of a cloister, this story is really hard to put down!
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  • Organic lip balm is a wonderful stocking stuffer. Our favorite is this set from Cliganic which is silky smooth, doesn’t have any junk in it, and all of the flavors smell amazing.
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  • Bend Soap is a lovely family business out of Bend Oregon who makes the most hydrating, luxurious goat milk soap products. We love their bar soap and goat milk baths. They have a ton of different products that are naturally scented via essential oils that smell amazing and have totally clean ingredients. Some items from them would be a great little gift or stocking stuffer.
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  • Quality, 100% beeswax candle tapers like these would be a wonderful, non-toxic gift with a sweet smell for the hostess in your life! I have used these myself and they’re so sweet smelling and slow burning.
  • For really really hard to shop for people like grandparents that often seem to have just everything, I love doing a custom calendar with special photos from the last year. Calendars and other custom photo gifts are something nice for dad’s office, too!
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  • Don’t forget the beauty of spiritual bouquets! Having Masses offered, or offering Rosaries and special prayers or holy hours for those you love are a beautiful gift you can give! I like to give a little bouquet of actual flowers or a pretty plant in addition to writing down the contents of the spiritual bouquet on pretty cardstock.

I hope this gave you some ideas for gifts and experiences that will bring joy and function to those you love this Christmas season.

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