It’s that time of year! It’s time to shop for our favorite people (and the deals are starting to heat up… you can find the stuff you wamt
Our Favorite Five Gift Ideas For Family and Friends in 2023
1. Nintendo Switch Games
Detective Pikachu Returns– An unbelievably popular character is back with all new adventures, following Tim Goodman and the wise-cracking Detective Pikachu as they try to solve the mystery of Tim’s missing father. Pokémon games are always a hit with kids, and this new game for the Nintendo Switch™ system traverses across Ryme City to find a jewel thief and Tim’s dad Harry via clues that require you to use your detective skills of investigation and deduction to help solve the crime. We were sent a copy of Detective Pikachu Returns and Super Mario Brothers Wonder to review and LOVE them.
Super Mario Brothers Wonder– The game of the year? Maybe, because this 3D Nintendo Switch game with lots of adventures, unique challenges, incredible graphics, and awesome new characters is off-the-charts. Between singing chorus of pirhana plants and other completely new characters, and engaging challenges unseen before in Super Mario World, it’s amazingly fun and my sons can’t get enough of it. They keep recruiting my husband and I to be third and fourth players and we can literally play together for hours. Not only is this a great gift for your kids, but I’ve been gifting them to all their friends for their birthdays, so they can all play together and expand their gaming universe (friend-bonding and I’m generally a fan of video games and their ability to teach kids critical thinking skills, strategizing, collaboration, and problem solving, so the more, the merrier!)
2. grace & stella mud face mask and rainbow bath bomb ♥︎ Winter skin got you down? This mud mask from grace & stella may be what you’re looking for to make your skin look fresh and hydrated, with healthy color and glowing skin. My skin tends to look sallow and dull during the cold months, and this really added come vibrance, lifting away all the dry skin and uncovering the smoother skin underneath. I am picking one up for my mom and sister too… they could use a fun beauty treat in their Christmas stocking too!
The rainbow bath bomb is such a fun splurge, so I am picking these up for all the boys’ teachers to enjoy a treat after a long day at work. It’s scented with lavender for relaxation and a rainbow of vibrant colors pours out of a moisturizing cloud-shaped bath bomb… very cool! Gifting it as a set is a great way to cheer up anyone for the holidays.
3. Books I love books, but some recent books are off the charts. Since when did children’s interactive pop up books become so educational and fun? How is that possible? Some are so great that I wanted to name them individually in this round up:
– The Sun and the Planets by Patricia Geis (a 3-D Solar System pop up book)- this is a very elegant, educational graphic pop-up book that is just stunning. It explains the different parts of our solar system, our own planet, and the purpose of the International Space Station in a way that inspires further interest in astronomy, and it’s just gorgeous to keep on a coffee table (guests love to peruse it)… love this book!
– The Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe includes 26 original poems alongside beautiful illustrations by David Miles. This gorgeous book is a wonderful way to introduce the imaginative, unique, and sometimes melancholy works of Edgar Allen Poe to children (or adults… this is another amazing coffee table book). The poems have not been changed, and there are sidebars on many pages with definitions for difficult words and talking points to help the reader think a little deeper about certain points. It’s fabulous, a wonderful gift idea!
– My First Book of Mandarin by Timothy Tsai is a book that caught my attention because while we are multilingual in this home, Mandarin is not one of the languages we know (or even closely related to any dialect of language we know). I thought it would be fabulous to learn and it’s an option at my sons’ high school, but I worried that it may be too difficult. Instead, my younger son picked it up to take to his room, and about an hour later he came out to teach me how “ma”, depending on what tones you use (how you emphasize the letters and how sharply you say them), could me five different things (anything from “mom” or “horse” to a question or scolding rebuke). It’s fascinating, challenging, and my son is all in… if you are considering introducing your kids to the Mandarin language, this is a great way to start.
– Scientists of Faith by Christy Monson tells the true stories of 28 innovative and world-changing scientists who were strong believers of G-d. They are so inspiring, and learning about the lives of amazing humans who excelled in the areas of physics, math, chemistry, astronomy, and more, all while pursuing knowledge about the beautiful creation of a Grand Designer are so beautiful. I never understood contradictory beliefs that there can’t be a master planner in the form of G-d who created the ultimate, intricate, stunning mastery that is everything, and I love reading about scientists with faith whose love of His works made them want to delve very deeply into the genius of it all.
– Nana and Me by Jane Yolen is a book of poems about grandmothers and grandkids using the term for grandmother from 13 different countries. The pictures are so lovely and endearing, and this is such a sweet book to gift as a way to encourage time between Nana and the grandkids, reading together at bedtime or a cozy evening and snuggling.
– The Learning Game by Ana Lorena Fábrega is a book for parents who are looking for a way to make learning fun for kids… hint: video games are not the enemy; in fact, video games may hold the key to inspiring huge motivation for kids to learn more about anything that interests them in a way that doesn’t micromanage them or grade them. There are a lot of great tips in this book (pick it up, parents!) but I loved this one so much I wanted to share it. It’s a great, different perspective on how to encourage kids to pursue their real passions and be unafraid to make mistakes while they learn.
4. Workman Publishing Calendars Whether page a day- learn about great moments in history or play a sudoku game each day- or monthly calendars, these calendars are stunning. I love the beautiful graphics and designs, especially the calendars with whimsical watercolor paintings, and I’m looking forward to learning about some of the most impactful moments throughout history with the page-a-day New York Times Headlines desktop calendar. The Richard Scarry 17 month calendar is great for academic planners and anyone who needs to see way more than a year into the future (I’m a planner, that’s me!) and the stickers, pocket, and Richard Scarry Busytown neighborhood artwork is so fun to look at every day as I plan our family’s lives by the month. My sons love this calendar that it’s now on their wall for them to see their daily activies at a glance each morning. The weekly Kitchen Companion magnetic calendar for weekly meal planners is now on my fridge, letting me look at the week ahead and also plan meals for the week and write up a market list of what I need (a list is on the right that can be cut off when the week is done and torn away) as well as kitchen tips that are helpful for home cooks. They are all so charming! These calendars from Workman Publishing would also be great to give to teachers or neighbors as part of their gifts. Find the entire of 2024 calendars collection here.
5. Ashley Black ProNugget – for self care fanatics, there is no better tool for pressure point massage, fascia work, and more in depth adhesion work for those who have plateaued with earlier fascia tools from Ashley Black. This is the best tool I’ve found so far! I bought it for my dad with the sore muscles, my sister with plantar fascitis, and myself… it’s addictive and I want to take long hot showers every day just to have an excuse to massage my biceps and back and feel the endorphin release and mood elevation from this tool. The tips are pointier than Ashley Black’s traditional fascia clawed tools for fascia and muscle work, but not painful at all, and so much more effective. If you have sore muscles and love how you feel after a great massage, this tool may be the answer for you. They have a Black Friday special sale for $99 for a limited time.
Thanksgiving is here, Black Friday shopping is upon us (all of these items can be found online if you’re as scared of holiday shopping mobs and crowded parking lots as I am), and Christmas is right around the corner… you still have time to get your beloved family and friends these great gifts to make them feel super happy and appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!!!