Guess what? It’s October 7th as I type this my Christmas shopping is done! Now that I’ve wrapped that up, I thought I’d share some great gift ideas for those who have a hard time coming up with something useful to give friends and loved ones at Christmas.
“Useful? Who said a gift had to be useful?” Well it doesn’t, of course, but if I spend money on someone I would rather it be something that will come in handy for them or improve their life in some small way. I’m just not big on buying things that collect dust and I really prefer receiving utilitarian gifts, so that is what I like to give as well.
I realize that as the years go by it becomes harder and harder to come up with ideas, so I thought I would share a few things that I’ve purchased for those on my list this year in hopes that you might find some ideas for folks on your list. Note: I own every single item on this list and purchased it for myself and in many cases, others. These gifts are not gender specific. You’ll find these ideas can work for yourself, your spouse, parents, children, friends, neighbors, and even grandchildren here.
These are budget friendly ideas for the special folks in your life, all of them under $40, with many of them costing less than $20.
To see any items below on Amazon, simply click on the photograph or the title
MacGyer was onto something! For a few decades now, I’ve rarely been without my trusty swiss army knife. These things come in handy and are packed with as many or as few features you like. My favorite includes scissors, a sawblade, phillips, and flat screwdrivers, and knife blades. Of course all models have your trusty toothpick and tweezers in the end. I usually have one of these in my pocket or purse and have even donated a few to TSA over the years ~winks~.
This is the original writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which she tried to get published but the manuscript was rejected. Instead, she took out shorter stories from the book and sometimes had to ficionalize them a bit in order to get them published. If you want the real, full picture of Laura’s life as she originally wrote it, this book is an absolute treasure. To make the book even more of a gem, annotations are added to help you understand her writings in context. For example, when she talks about a big snow, there is a photo of a train that is all but buried in it along with news stories and clippings of just how big and devastating the snow was.
This book is HUGE and is hardback. Remember the size of telephone books back in the day? That is what this one reminds me of. This book is put out by the South Dakota Historical Society. The first printing was in November of last year and for only 15,000 copies, which sold out within a week. Another 15,000 were immediately ordered and by the time those were in Amazon alone had over 30,000 orders. Many of those were not filled until another (and larger) print run in March of this year. The books are now available for immediate ordering (and fulfillment at the time of this post’s publishing) on Amazon, thank goodness!
♥Perfect for any Little House fan, avid reader, or history buff.
Back in my younger days I held many jobs: Checking out groceries at Winn Dixie, making sandwiches at Subway, selling Hardware at Sears, Selling handbags at McRae’s, and even selling jewelry (again, at Sears). When I was working the jewelry counter, the items we sold the most were watches. We also replaced batteries for folks. Out of all the fancy brands avaialable, the one brand I kept seeing sold the most that never needed anything other than a new battery from time to time was Timex. I would have people come in with watches that were older than me to get new batteries, and the watches were still going strong. You just can’t beat a good Timex watch, in my opinion.
An added benefit that a lot of folks don’t think about (especially younger people) is that wearing a watch drastically extends the battery life of your cell phone. Have you noticed how many times a day you check the time on your phone? I started wearing a watch again a few years back and on one trip with my husband my phone (an identical model to his) lasted twice as long as his. He was skeptical when I told him it was due to my wearing a watch, until he got one!
This is a great model of Timex called “The Weekender”. J. Crew sells a similar (almost identical) Timex watch for $96 with the same interchangeable band. You can just buy your watch from Amazon for $20-$40 and purchase bands from either JCrew, Ebay, or Amazon for about $10 each. Click here to see the bands on Amazon.
They’re also indiglo, so you can easily tell time in the dark.
♥Perfect for anyone who needs/likes/wants to know what time it is and has a wrist handy.
Until a few months ago, my family had no idea that technology like this existed and now we own three pairs! Our son plays snare drum and these are invaluable to him. When you put these headphones on and turn them on (they run on AA batteries) you can hear conversations amplified but loud noises (drums, shots, etc) are completely muffled to the extent that they sounds like a pencil tapping on a table. I use them at the range and my son uses them when playing drums.
♥Perfect for percussionists, firearm enthusiasts, hunters, or anyone else who is around loud noises on a regular basis.
This little thing is amazing. I’ve had this one for about three years (I think) and it’s still going strong, I just change out the batteries from time to time (it uses AA) and run the end under warm water as soon as I’m done using it, then store it in my cabinet until I want a latte again!
♥Perfect for coffee lovers, Starbucks addicts looking to save a ridiculous amount of money, and pretty much anyone who likes a convenient DIY fix without having to buy crazy expensive machines.
Ever find yourself out and about with very little juice left in your phone? This handy little device is one that I keep in my purse at all times. When my phone runs low, I just plug it up and stick it back in my purse or pocket while it charges. Everyone in my family owns one of these and my son puts his in his pocket each morning. Adults and kids alike (grandkids, too!) will love the convenience. We’ve had this particular brand for a few years and they still perform really well. The small one will fully charge a phone so you can go about your business while your battery goes up rather than down. Excellent stocking stuffers.
Note: Works with any phone as the port is just a USB port and you plug in your own charging cable.
♥Great for anyone who uses a phone and doesn’t sit by an electrical outlet all day.
I love flashlights, just ask my husband. I am always, always, always on the lookout for my next great flashlight. I’ve even dubbed the one I carry in my purse “my precious baby“. It is a whopping 800 lumens with striker face and one of my prized possessions (seriously, I’m that into flashlights). This spotlight cost a lot less than “precious baby” and runs on AA batteries so they are easy to have handy. I’ve had one of these hanging in my kitchen for a few years now and have only changed out the batteries once. I use this when I take my dogs out at night or if I hear something in the yard and need to check it out. It is powerful enough that I can even shine it through the windows and see well into the corners of my yard. I found it so useful for this purpose that I also purchased one as a gift to my sweet next door neighbors.
♥Great for ANYONE, especially homeowners, those with dogs, or senior citizens who may be concerned and want to check out their yard in the night without having to go outside.
I love this kit. I actually travel with it, everywhere I go! I know that seems crazy but keep in mind that there are times when I’m on the road for weeks. This is a little cook pot and inside are two very durable coffee cups that nest into each other. I pack those cups with my favorite coffee (my favorite instant, at least), tea bags, sweetener, and creamer and no matter where I am or how long ago I’ve exhausted that pitiful coffee supply in my hotel room, I can have a hot cup of something good. I keep one of these in my duffel and one in a backpack in my car, both fully stocked. Of course, the cook pot is a great thing as well, for camping and such. The handle locks the lid in place so everything stays handy and neatly put in the one little cylinder.
♥Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, backpackers, scouts, or just folks who travel a lot!
In this digital age, a well made, hardcover clothbound classic book is more valuable than ever. I dedicated this year in my life to adding to my collection of actual books, rather than electronic versions. These are the books I hope my grandchildren will someday read. Make it even more special by writing a heartfelt note to the recipient on the cover page.