I know many of you are shopping this weekend for last minute gifts before Christmas. I’m there right with you. In fact, I haven’t even started. However, I wanted to share with you a few stocking stuffer ideas of things I actually own and absolutely love. My friends and family will tell you that I prefer practical and functional over fashionable or trendy. If you’re shopping for someone with similar tastes, here are a few ideas to inspire you in all price ranges.
1. Plastic Tumblers with Lids and Straw - I own several of these tumblers and I cannot get enough. The first one I ever purchased was the venti size one from Starbucks. They are clear with hard green or red & white striped plastic straws. They are awesome! I take them everywhere I go and always have one filled in the car with water. I see them everywhere for sale. I own three Starbucks ones and I know they carry it it in-store. I also purchased less expensive ones from Cost Plus World Market (in-store) for around $7 in different jewel tones for my kids as shown in the picture. Cost: $7-$15.
2. Mini 8″ Silicone Spatulas -I picked up several of these small spatulas while vacationing in Seaside. I use them everyday and I prefer them over medium and larger ones because they are so much easier to work with. The handle comfortably fits in the palm of my hand and takes up less space in my utensil drawer. $3-$10/each depending on where you can find one.
3. Gift Cards – I love giving and receiving gift cards. The trick to buying gift cards is making sure you buy one from a store or online company the recipient loves. My favorite places to receive gift cards are from Starbucks, Target, independent bookstores, Amazon, and Walmart. The great thing about gift cards is that most grocery stores sell them. DO NOT…. I repeat… DO NOT BUY A GIFT CARD FOR A PLACE THE RECIPIENT DOESN’T LOVE. Otherwise there is a probably chance they will not redeem the card, which is unfortunate if the card must be used within a given time frame.
4. Quality Head Phones - For my birthday, my husband bought me a nice pair of head phones because he knows how much I enjoy listening to music and podcasts. I like ear buds too, but when I’m at home, I prefer actual head phones because sometimes my ears will hurt with buds. I’ve always owned cheap head phone sets but the quality has always been less than desirable. A few months ago my husband surprised me with these Bose headphones. Although they aren’t very cheap, the sound is amazing. Bose isn’t the only brand which is known for quality, but they are the only ones I own now. There are several good head phones on the market for much less expensive.
5. JBuds – I love JBuds! For under $10, these ear buds have always received good reviews. I’ve owned several pairs without regret. I wear them at the gym and do not worry if they get lost because they are so cheap to replace. They come with three different sizes of rubber rings depending on the size of the ear opening. However, even the smallest ring is too big for both Abbi and Mimi. $8.
6. Aerial Sound Disk Beanie w/Built in Headphones - This beanie is really cool. Not only because it has two built in flat disk speakers in the hat, it also has a microphone for using with an iPhone or Blackberry. I own the iPhone 4 and my husband owns a Blackberry. This hat was sent to me by Aerial and initially I was skeptical on why anyone would ever need a beanie with built in speakers but as I would quickly learn, we needed one for the kids. Traditional ear buds are not made to fit kids ears, we’ve found it difficult to find a head set specifically for kids which stayed on their heads and didn’t hurt. However, this beanie not only fits the girls’ head, I can put it on Eli (2 years old) and have him listen to music from my iPhone with no problems. For this reason alone it makes a great gift for kids. The sound quality is excellent and I love having Eli wear this hat during the winter while we go on walks outside. $49
7. FLIP HD Video Camera - This little video camera is so ridiculously easy to use. We take it everywhere we go, especially when the kids are playing sports or on family vacations. Even the kids know how to operate it, including Eli! I love how it can easily fit in my jacket pocket. I can’t say enough about how awesome FLIPS are. $150
8. iGo Charger - At a recent conference I attended, I became so frustrated with my iPhone battery dying and unable to charge it during sessions. I was sitting next to a friend who offered me her iGo. You plug your phone into it and it acts like a portable battery charger anywhere you are without the need for a power outlet. Fortunately, iGo was nice enough to send me one to thoroughly test for myself. My husband and I love it! It is a a must have for anyone who travels. $40.
9. Brookstone Key Finder - I lose my keys almost everyday. The frustration and energy I expend is ridiculous. My husband bought me this key finder device which came with two key chains which have embedded sensors. We attached one to my wallet and the other to my keys. When I’m in a hurry and can’t find either, I press the corresponding button on the receiver. My keys or wallet start beeping and I find it very quickly. It’s been very helpful around here. Should have bought one years ago. $49
10. AAA Membership – We’ve been AAA members for a very long time. During the summer I had an incident where a conference attendee accidentally walked off with my bag with my wallet and keys inside. To make a long story short, I had to have my car towed home. I was so happy to have AAA come out very quickly, hitch my car to a tow truck, and drive me home. We’ve also enjoyed receiving discounts at hotels with our AAA membership. We’ve gifted this membership over the years to other family members who always appreciate it. Basic membership: $56
11. House Cleaning - I would never turn down the opportunity to have someone clean my house. This gift is especially more wonderful if given to a new mom who is occupied by a new baby. Prices will vary.
12. World Concern Gift Guide and One Days Wages - If you want to give one less gift to help fight global poverty, consider buying a goat or solar cooking kid from the World Concern gift giving guide or support my One Days Wages Holiday Campaign. With you donation, your gifts will change the lives of many.
For one SSL reader, I’m giving away an iGo charger. All you need to do is share your favorite stocking stuffer idea. Contest is open to US and Canadian mailing addresses. Contest will close Monday, December 20, 2010 at 9 pm PST. Winner will be chosen by random.org and updated here. Merry Christmas! Contest is now closed. Congrats Sara!