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Yankee Swap: Cool Holiday Gifts
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Nov 26th 2006 edited

This is inspired by Jenna/Pam's latest blog on MySpace; she has a whole list of neat gift ideas for the holidays, and I thought, why not transport that idea over here for the duration of the holiday season?

So I was at my local Hallmark store today, and found the coolest thing! This is for candle lovers (I suggest we bold who the gift would suit); it is a candle made by a company called WoodWick. The wick is made of wood (so it's not just a clever name!), and when you burn it, it sounds like a crackling fire. Mine is burning right now, and it totally lives up to its claim! And it smells nice, too...

Nov 26th 2006

Office DVDs

for anyone, natch.

Nov 26th 2006 edited

Thanks whatevs! Love the topic and the candle tip. I'll check those out.

For those of you who haven't yet discovered red envelope, I will offer it as my suggestion for holiday gifts. Each gift comes with a story about it and they have beautiful things. Find it here
Edited to add:For some reason I can't get that link to work. It's www.redenvelope.com

Nov 26th 2006

Oooh - I love this topic! I am a HUGE fan of online gift certificates. Mostly because I'm bad at getting my act together and sending birthday gifts in a timely manner, and these are, literally, instant gifts, so it makes it look like I had my A game with me all along. I just got one for my sister-in-law from bathandbodyworks.com (today is her birthday, and I actually spoke to her earlier and did not even mention her birthday while I was on the phone with her because I forgot what date it was. I am not a bad person, I swear). So, thank God for online gift certificates. I also love eBay gift certificates. And I don't think gift certificates are impersonal at all, especially when you take the time to choose the specific place for the gift certificates. My SIL loves Bath and Body Works. It's not like I got her a gift certificate to Home Depot or something.

Nov 26th 2006 edited

LT--no need to justify yourself. (It sounded like you are trying to make yourself feel better.) I am right there with you. I love gift cards and when someone is difficult to buy for, I'd rather them purchase what they want than have to return a wrong item poorly chosen by me.
For the past several years, I have done the majority of my Christmas shopping online and for a while felt like I wasn't being personal enough because I wasn't going to a store and chosing the items by hand. Phooey! I don't feel that way any longer--I am more relaxed and take more time purchasing the right gift because I don't fight parking, other people and don't have a two-year-old on the edge of breaking down in a stroller loaded with bags.

On that note I will also recommend this site and this site for finding good online deals.

Edited to add: I don't know what I am doing wrong with markdown tonight. I have posted many links before! Anyway, it's www.smartbargains.com and www.overstock.com

Nov 26th 2006

LT--no need to justify yourself. (It sounded like you are trying to make yourself feel better.)

Oh, I definitely was. Besides the fact that I felt crappy for forgetting my SIL's birthday today (she always remembers birthdays, sends gifts, etc.), my husband and I have an ongoing debate about gift cards being "impersonal." I like receiving gift cards, and I think that if you're a high-maintenance, picky, hard-to-shop-for person (and my husband is), you should be happy that someone got you a gift card at all. The gift-giver could have just thought, "Well, he's a pain in the ass who is never happy with what I get him, so I won't get him anything." He thinks a gift card means that absolutely no thought went into the gift at all. I obviously don't agree.

Nov 26th 2006 edited

I love gift cards and when someone is difficult to buy for, I'd rather them purchase what they want than have to return a wrong item poorly chosen by me.

Flonkkerton,

I am a total convert to gift cards. I was always judgemental about them, in a very snobby way. I always thought they were impersonal and a cop-out. I was very full of myself two years ago, because I managed to knit a hat or scarf for every member of my extended family; we're talking 22 pieces, people!

Then, last year (what I dub "the year from hell"; long story), I had NO time, so I did the "lazy" thing and got everyone $15 dollar gift certificates to a nation-wide book store. It was extremely convenient; I don't live anywhere near any of my family, and because the cards are easily transported (I just threw them in with the Xmas cards), I didn't have to deal with shipping, boxes, packing, etc.

Turns out, everyone loved that gift! And, grown-ups and kids alike got to get their read-on without me dictating what I thought they should be reading. So, win-win.

PS Glad y'all like the topic!

Edit: PPS, whichever Mod is responsible for re-naming this thread, YAY for you! "Yankee Swap" is much better than "Temporary Topic"; thanks!

Nov 26th 2006 edited

On the gift card debate: I know maybe not everyone will look at it this way, but I LOVE getting gift cards as presents b/c shopping is one of my most favorite past times, so if I get a gift card, it is 2 presents in 1. The gift card plus the time it allows me to shop without (as I rationalize it in my head) spending real money! So, don't feel bad about giving cards :)

Nov 26th 2006

For shopping online enthusiasts, I always thought photostamps (photostamps.com) would be fun to get. Use a picture of you and the recipient, or the recipient's pets, or anything personal. They are consumable and totally useful, and probably completely unexpected. AND cheap to ship.

Nov 26th 2006

At mybambino.com, they have personalized piggy banks in several different sizes and dozens of design ideas. This is my "go to" baby gift for new little ones, since my kids love theirs and they last well past the baby/toddler stage, unlike lots of new baby gifts. Plus, they'd be cute for any kid for Christmas, too. And they have fast shipping. I've sent a couple from this web site, and although I know there must be others that offer this same thing, I can vouch for the customer service and shipping from this site in particular.

Nov 26th 2006

It's so funny that you started this thread, whatevs, because I read Jenna's blog yesterday and decided to do my own myspace blog of gift suggestions.

You can find it here

Nov 26th 2006 edited

I'm pretty sure it's been brought up on this board before at some point, but Threadless has great t-shirts. They range from weird to artsy to funny to cute, and right now almost all of them are on sale for $10. Plus, right now they are releasing 2 new shirts every day. I know I sound like a commercial, but I just ordered a small stash of shirts, they are great, and a nice inexpensive gift that's a little more personal than a gift card, if you're not into that kind of thing.
Also, for the purse/tote bag lover in your life, bags by Queen Bee are great. They can get a little pricey, however.
And for other girly stuff, Patina Stores has lots of cute jewelry as well as fancy candles and other nifty gifty things.
Edit: my links weren't working!

Nov 26th 2006

whatevs, don't you mean win-win-win? ;-)

Nov 26th 2006

Flonkkerton,

I DID think "win-win-win", but there were only two "wins" in my post.

Sigh. No flies on any of my NA peeps...good call, Flonk!

Nov 26th 2006

I wish TWOP's Now Or Never sale wasnt so damn small.

I mean, Jello Stapler t-shirt!

Nov 26th 2006

Just be aware that Threadless takes a long time to process your order--along the lines of five to eight days before sending it in the mail. You can choose different speeds for mail, too. Also be aware (I learned this the hard way, like I learn everything else) that popular sizes disappear fast, at least for men. I've spent many an hour choosing the perfect shirt only to find they are all out of the size I want. You can do a browse by size first, which cuts a lot of frustration.

The other gift I have in my head for men is some black and decker (I think) wrench that has a battery and automatically adjusts itself. I saw it advertised on TV back in July, before it was quite on the market so i couldn't get it then but I am looking for it now. It's about $30, but very handy.

Nov 26th 2006

Just for the record, if someone gave me a wrench for Channukah or Xmas or what have you, the only thing I would be able to do with it is somehow hurt myself. So, a warning: Make sure the man in question is handy before giving him a tool.

This message was brought to you by the number 9, the letter Q, and the Council for the Declaration of the Obvious.

Nov 26th 2006

KarenM, sorry you had a rough time with Threadless. I ordered 4 shirts about 2 weeks ago, and they arrived this past Tuesday. I picked the standard shipping option (slowest), and I think they arrived 8 days after ordering. Maybe location has something to do with it? Anyway, I thought of another Christmas shopping link....Etsy is another fun site. They have lots of fun tshirts, bags, jewelry, etc, and all of it is handmade. This is particularly fun for the crafter on your list.

Nov 26th 2006

Although I have yet to actually receive the product, I don't think I've had a rough time with them. Just warning people--so many sites are so good about processing orders quickly that I was surprised myself how long they advertisted they take to send an order out.

THought of another good gift source: Omaha Steaks. We've sent some nice dinners out. Good gifts for families or entertainers.

Nov 27th 2006

I don't know what I am doing wrong with markdown tonight. I have posted many links before!

flonkkerton, I think you have to include the http:// and all that for it to work right.

Nov 27th 2006 edited

Nathan's pulling graveyard tonight. 1 am moderator tips. You get paid OT?

edit: OT used to mean something else.

Nov 27th 2006 edited

You bet. We also go into the archives and fix grammar and punctuation errors. Like the cobbler and the elves. And the pay's double what we usually get.

OK, bed.

Nov 27th 2006

Thanks Nathan...you rock.

Nov 27th 2006

We're actually doing this at my softball team's yearly Christmas party. I'd never heard it called Yankee Swap before watching the Office.

http://www.80stees.com/products/The-Office-Dunder-Paper-T-shirt.asp

That would be a great gift for me if I hadn't already bought one.

Nov 27th 2006

I wish that one came in white...and in a woman's t-shirt. Men's t-shirts fit badly on women.

Nov 28th 2006 edited

What I great idea! Stella I would totally recommend threadless too, although typically they do take a bit longer than you may normally expect on shipping as discussed here. However, great prices for unique shirts. I would also recommend Gig Posters, if you like bands, you can find some beautiful and unique SilkScreen Posters (not always on site but they direct you to the artist's home page where you can purchase) of great bands. I have quiet a collection from Tara McPherson myself.

I love CB2, it's modern catalogue run by Crate and Barrel. Even if modern is not your style, there are still some really interesting and inexpensive gifts available. For example this Spoon Coffee Mug is only $3.95! I bought some for the girls I work with. Going to fill it with a packet or two of gourmet hot chocolate and I managed to stick to our $5 spending limit.

If you have a bit more money to spend on someone who is hard to buy for I love Chiasso! Ton of fun things there like these Clothspin Chopsticks for $18 or this Cubist Notepad for $22.

I don't have an ex, but I did ask my boyfriend for this Knife Set from Overstock.com.

Good Luck on all your holiday shopping!

Nov 28th 2006

I love Restoration Hardware. They have small gifts (or stocking stuffers) for everyone in the family (including friends). For the kid at heart (or kid) they have travel "retro" games like etcha sketch/rubics cube. For the traveler they have power adapters and cashmere travel "sets." For the brainiac they have electronic sodoku/crossword puzzles and trivia card sets. They even have a breathalizer test for the partier.

www.restorationhardware.com

Nov 28th 2006

This site always posts cool stuff that they find around the internets:

Awesome

Nov 28th 2006 edited

Awesome site, awesome links. Bookmarked. Thanks for that one, CZ-J.

Bookmarked Gig Posters too... nice, stillme.

Nov 28th 2006 edited

Wow, I'm loving all of these new sites! I adore Anne Taintor's pithy and quirky magnets. The only downside is a minimum $20 purchase if you're ordering online.

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