by Ashley Fagan
Step 1: Use the stickers and marker to personalize your gift tags. Depending on the age of your child, you may or may not need to help out.
Step 2: Scoop 1/2 cup of trail mix into each bag and secure with a twist tie.
Step 3: Tie the gift tags to each bag.
THAT'S IT! YOU'RE DONE!
And in the words of my idol Ina Garten, "How easy was that?!"
by Stephanie Spickler
photo credit Rachel Nourse Photography
The end of the year always seems so busy, with or without kids. We tend to stack our expectations and raise our standards with every passing year. We also indulge, in eating cookies, we splurge on ourselves and pamper our souls, we gather with family and friends. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
We decorate our homes and warm up those cold, blustery days with home baked goods. We strategically place decadent smelling (and way overpriced, yet completely necessary) Yankee candles. We brighten our homes with freshly cut Evergreen trees, wrapped in dozens of glowing lights. The tree can be so tedious to decorate, but the gorgeous glow is so mesmerizing, the magic of Christmas comes alive.
Most of us run around, handpicking the most perfect gifts for loved ones, putting extra special thought into every detail. It’s the time of year that we handpick gifts to treat ourselves too! We go to the fancy malls and walk store to store, stacking the bags until our arms can’t carry anymore. Some of us spend late night hours or lunch breaks during work scouring the internet, Etsy and Amazon narrowing down the endless possibilities of the perfect gift. We put so much time and effort into making others happy, seeing others smile and light up with joy!
It’s the time of year we remember to splurge on ourselves too! Indulge in an overly relaxing pedicure, try the newest holiday flavor coffee at Starbucks that you’ve been drooling over, invest in that property or stock you have been eyeing up...soak in a hot bath and browse the online retailers for some new pieces for your wardrobe. Whatever it is, do something for yourself.
We wrap gifts for loved ones with care and love, because we want those people to know how much they mean to us. We want to see their eyes brighten when they see the sparkly ribbon perfectly tied. We choose wrapping paper by carefully assessing which one the person receiving the gift, would most enjoy.
It’s the season for family and friends to gather to celebrate together - some of us travel by plane, car, bus and trains to be with loved ones. To hug and chat and laugh about the year in review. We prepare a decadent dinner for all to enjoy, set the table with our best china and bust out the bubbly and the eggnog!
Some of us are extravagant, over the top and work hard to go all out when it comes to the cost of the season. We remind ourselves the real meaning of the Holidays - Though we get caught up in the glitz and glam of the season, there is deeper meaning. And we all know that. So we open our hearts and give all the love we possibly can to our friends and families, we’re extra nice to strangers...Except when driving, because its a well known fact everyone is a bad, angry, driver during the holiday - kidding, totally kidding!
All the running around from store to store, all the concentration we use planning the perfect holiday meal, all the physical labor we put into our meals and cookies, all of the love we put into wrapping, all of the decor - all of the time we spend designing the perfect holiday “look”. All of the Hustle. All of the Bustle. Is it worth it? YES!!! It’s all so worth it!
But seriously … don’t forget to treat yourself & give yourself as much love as you give others this season.
by The Kitchen Coma Team
Tis the season to be Merry! The holiday shopping season is upon us which means so is the stress of buying all those gifts! We've got you covered with our favorite finds for everyone on your list this year, all while staying under $25! So, stop stressing, pour yourself a drink and take a peak at our top holiday gifts .....and maybe pick something up for yourself while your at it.
Ashley's Top Gifts Under $25
I just love this idea! A great unisex gift for the traveler in your life. This interactive scratch map lets you track your destinations with the nostalgic coin scratch off method. The more you scratch, the prettier it becomes! It's not just an interactive gift, its a piece of meaningful art as well! You can find it at here for only $19.95! It comes in a cute little cardboard tube for easy wrapping! Just add a bow and voila! You've got yourself a pretty cool gift!
Super cozy throw? Yes, please! Who doesn’t like to snuggle up with a soft cozy blanket? This gift is perfect for the snuggler in your life! Plenty of colors and cute fringe detail make this blanket the perfect addition to any room. West Elm is featuring lots of cozy blankets for the Holiday season starting at just $19! What a steal! I’m planning on snagging one of these for myself! Find your cozy blanket here.
I’m a big fan of gifts that keep on giving which is why I wanted to include a cookbook. Perfect for the person in your life who loves spending time in the kitchen and equally perfect for someone who wants to learn more about cooking. I am absolutely in love with Joshua McFadden’s book, Six Seasons. Its a practical approach to cooking every vegetable you could possibly imagine and is broken down into 6 seasonal categories so you know what to cook depending on the time of year. The book itself is beautiful and the recipes are outstanding! You can find it on Amazon for only $21.94 if your a Prime Member! You can find the link to purchase here.
I’m totally obsessed with Jelly Cat stuffed animal! They have a wide range of cute and quirky characters to choose from, all of which are super soft and cuddly! This London based company is a favorite among many children, including Princess Charlotte who totes around their adorable fuddlewuddle pig! If you're looking for a reasonably priced children’s gift, look no further! You’re sure to find a perfect match for the kid in your life. You can find them here for under $25!
Leah’s Top Gifts Under $25
It’s always difficult shopping for a teenage girl because of all the changing trends. I’ve always loved gifts that i could incorporate in my room. I found this charming little cactus growing kit which is a plant very in trend right now. Whether you have a green thumb or not this is a great gift for someone to not only use as decor in their room but, something they can nurture and watch grow. It’s only 16$ on Urban Outfitters!
Flowers are a pleasant surprise anytime of the year. Why not add a little extra to it with a pretty vase. You can buy one white rose from the grocery store or local florist and even cut a little branch of your christmas tree to make it look holiday ready. This is also a great gift for the host of the holiday party you are attending. They can use this as part of their decor on the food table. Simple little touches go a long way. I found this small, modern, gold vase that would look beautiful in any home. Plus its only $16 from Anthropologie.
I really love a personalized gift. To me it shows there was a lot of effort put into to it. This is a gift for your friend who is always the bartender at each party. This small cutting board is perfect for cutting up fruit for your bartender’s delicious mixology skills. You can engrave this adorable cutting board to their name or nickname for only $9.99!
Andrea's Top Gifts Under $25
Give some honey, honey! These days, a spoonful of honey does way more than make the medicine go down. It is pure heaven and I love gifts that have a hint of luxury, without requiring crystals. With a little research, you might be able to find an amazing raw honey produced locally in your hometown. If you don’t have time to shop the farmers markets, at $19.95, Beekeeper’s Naturals Wildflower Raw Honey is a worthy selection. It might seem pricey compared to the average grocery store buy, but this sustainably sourced raw honey has a note of floral to round out its light sweetness. Beekeeper’s Naturals also partners with scientists at The University of California Davis Honey Bee Research Facility and the Canadian Bee Research Fund, leaders in research to support pollinator protection.
The British might have alienated us to the point of Boston Tea Party level of “You’re not on the list” thanks to the tea tariffs a few centuries ago, but our former colonial benefactors across the Atlantic definitely know their tea. My relations with Great Britain has led me to believe one thing, I always want “a cuppa.” Yum. And, it turns out, not all vessels are created equal. The simple design of Sophie Allport’s fine bone china Speckled Maran hen mug is dishwasher safe and will delight any tea drinker - and maybe garner some converts - with the perfect tea drinking experience. The designs are various so, though I am a HUGE fan of chickens, there are also dinosaurs, holly, vegetables and others. The size large mug can be purchased online for £14 plus shipping (that is approximately $18) plus shipping.
Accent socks! I think that there is never a bad time to endow a man or soon-to-be with tasteful, conversation dress socks. This design, created after “William” the unofficial mascot at The Met, features the favorite hippopotamus statuette molded out of ceramic material made out of ground quartz. Since arriving at the museum in 1917, William has been a visitor favorite. The critical analysis sites that the design by the Egyptian artist (ca. 1961-1878 BC) demonstrates the artist’s appreciation of the natural world. I, in turn, really appreciate these socks. At $18, they are a gift-worthy foot covering, and can be purchased online or at their retail store.
For the record, I am a huge critic of a lot of the crafting sets that are out there - especially if it is marked “for kids.” A prime example of the worst thing you could buy is one of the “Paint your Own Disney Princess Glitter Dome” box sets. Now, if you are a talented painter and have your own high quality brushes that can get to that level of detail - eyes and lips in particular - then you have no reason to be buying this even if you can paint it, because they are not water tight in my experience. But wow, this is a gift GUIDE not a cautionary tale. There is a new paint-by-number in town and it uses stickers! I had an afternoon making a beautiful succulent with a friend who had a package that came with six or so 5x7 cards to make your own mosaic sticker-by-number. And boy am I glad I couldn’t find the admittedly lovely southwest cards because I found this: Paint by Sticker: Music Icons. YES, PLEASE! You can pick these up at both Target and Barnes & Noble for a similar price, or order it online and have it delivered for just under 20 bucks.
Fact: if you like this hand candy, buy them now. I ordered my cousin a pair of these WARMEN Nappa Leather text-friendly gloves last year in fuschia (a color I don’t see available) but this year, the VIOLET is totally warming my heart, but it puts you 99 cents over budget. I won’t tell if you don’t. These gloves are lined with a cashmere and wool blend that is just heaven and provide an amazing accent color for winter warriors and those of us who wear a whole lot of black. The price range is $22.99-$25.99 on Amazon with free Amazon Prime shipping.
Stephanie's Top Gifts Under $25
Knock Me Out Tea by New Moon
The Knock Me Out Tea is a personal favorite! The hand blended ingredients are traditionally used in herbal medicine as a natural sleep aid. Its aromatic and dreamy smells will help your brain unwind and relax quickly. It’s not just for bedtime either, drink a cup to ease stress at work or when you want to relax and refocus, like when the kiddos are rambunctious and you need to calm down from the mom-hype you feel. No matter your reason for wanting to relax, a hot cup of this ultra smooth Knock Me Out Tea will have you sweet dreaming in no time. If this isn’t on your wishlist, it should be!
Knock Me Out Tea - Link to Purchase
Enviro - Gift
THIS is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving! If you’re shopping for a planet lover, or someone that enjoys gardening this is the perfect stocking stuffer. These Bee-Bombs are filled with seeds that you can place in your yard, garden or landscaping that will grow into gorgeous bee friendly flowers. The seed bombs are created to include a mix that will attract and benefit the insect population. If you love the planet and enjoy doing tiny gestures to keep it alive, then this is the gift for you! They come in a variety of flowers and brands, but this particular favorite can be found here on Etsy.
Bee Bombs - WIldflower seed bombs & pollinators
For The Guys
This is an organizational, functional, aesthetically awesome gift and it’s my Guy Gift pick this year. Whether you place it in your foyer or mudroom, or have it sitting on your kitchen counter. This gift is like a sic in one deal. There is a place for a wallet, keys, phone, earbuds, watch, bracelets AND you can personalize it, which makes it meaningful - not just functional. It’s amazing that this is under $25.00! If you’re looking for something unique, practical AND sentimental, you’ve found it. This particular piece can be found and ordered through Etsy.
You can purchse the un-personalized for $19.98 and the personalized for only $22.79.