What a year right? Like you we've spent so much time at home this year so the things that get used and played with all.the.time have become even more evident.
Of course some of the fun Christmas traditions we look forward to will be different this year (or canceled all together) but one thing that will remain the same is a fun Christmas morning.
I love spoiling my favorite people (playing Santa is literally my favorite thing) and I'm always curious about what others are loving, so I've updated our favorite things to include new favorites and a few items on our lists this year (that I've already bought).
And you can grab my free printable holiday gift & budget planner to make sure you buy with intention!
I've broken down our favorite things into 3 categories:
In each section you'll find…
- A shopable image grid (just click the image to go to the product source)
- More detailed information about each item. Why we love it and why it works for us so you can get a good idea if it's right for you. (Click the text link in the descriptions to go to the product source.)
A Few Of My Favorite Things: Gift Ideas For Her
I'll admit, I'm a bit hard to shop for. I'm definitely of the less is more mentality, but when I find something I love, I tell everyone about it.
These are a few of my absolute favorite things. Things I use often, that have lasted, and I would buy again and again.
Click any image below to be taken to the product source
Someday we'll get to travel again and this jewelry holder is going to be a lifesaver. I can't even tell you how jumbled up my jewelry gets in this little travel pouch I've been using for years. I spotted this jewelry holder at Target and love that it has a place for every type of jewelry and a little section you can lift up to put bigger items. So it's on my list this year.
I'm definitely a minimalist when it comes to jewelry. I like simple pieces which is why when I do get a little fancy, my go to bracelet is this modern gold bracelet.
It's just sparkly enough without being too much and it doesn't make noise! It's just the perfect accessory to jazz up a black top, and jeans or really any outfit for that matter.
I'm not one to buy a name brand just for the sake of having the logo on my shorts. Actually I usually cheap out on things like this and shop at Target for exercise clothes but after hearing so many of my friends rave about these Lululemon running shorts, I had to try them…
...and 2 years later I still wear them and now have a few pair cause they are so good! - This year I added both the black and green camo to my wardrobe.
My favorite thing about these running shorts is the wide waist band that isn't too tight, doesn't cause the dreaded muffin top, and never rolls down! They're the perfect length (they come in a few lengths), don't ride up between your legs, and have a small zipper pocket on the waist band in the back perfect for your keys and I.D.
I'm pretty much the last person to adopt new technology but I have to say I LOVE THESE THINGS!
I use them almost every day on my walks or while watching my kids play sports to listen to music or my favorite podcasts. Not having a wire dangling around is a really great thing. I keep them in my purse at all times and love that they get recharged in their case. And I only have to charge the case itself every few weeks. AirPods for the win!
I've owned this sweatshirt for over a year and wear it all the time! Whether I'm in running shorts or a cute pair of skinny jeans this sweatshirt is cute and comfortable and hasn't faded a bit. If you've got a cute sweatshirt lover in your life, they need this sweatshirt!
My T-Shirt says "Vacay" but it's the same colors and made from a really soft material that doesn't lose its shape. I've worn the heck out of this graphic t-shirt and love it. My husband started calling it my uniform cause I wear it so much!
Yes, I'm a proud owner of a fanny pack
My kids and husband make fun of me for this one but guess what? I don't care cause I love this thing!
I love to hike, walk, bike ride, and go to places like the zoo, but I hate having to carry things! This fanny pack is just the right size for my phone, credit cards, keys, and can even fit a bottle of water or sun screen so I can do the things I love hands free!
This fanny pack isn't bulky and even my daughter says it's way less embarrassing than a lot of the fanny packs she sees out there. I usually wear it buckled in the front with the pouch in the back. It forces me to pack light for things so we can enjoy more.
Is that title a sure sign that I'm getting older? - hahaha. But really, I've tried a lot of pillows and would always wake up feeling like I'd tossed and turned all night and like the muscles in my neck and shoulders were tight. Until I found this pillow.
Inside it has a bunch of chopped up pieces of memory foam they call "Umph". It's suggested that for the first few nights you sleep on it the way it comes, then you can take out some "umph" or add more (it comes with extra for you to add) until you get the exact right fit.
In less than a week, I'd found my perfect amount of "umph" and can actually feel myself relaxing into my pillow at night and wake up feeling awesome!
One of the things we did as a family this year was cut our use of single use plastic down to almost zero. - Seriously I'm so proud of my kids for sticking to this plan.
One thing that made a huge impact is investing in a quality water canteen for each person in our family. We don't leave the house without them filled with water and ice.
I have this large 32 oz. Hydroflask and my kids have a smaller 16 oz. one that they take to school everyday. We love them because they keep our water cold all day, which means we drink more water - and don't have anything to add to the landfill at the end of the day.
They come in lots of fun colors, don't leak, and the flip-to-sip top makes it easy for my kids.
I originally bought these turkish towels in a few colors to add a pop of color to my decor and to use as light throws in the warmer months but since then, I've found so many more uses for them!
Yes, I still love them as an inexpensive way to add color and style to the family room, living room, bedroom or bathroom, but I love taking them to concerts in the park, to the beach, or tossing in our suitcase when we go on vacation.
They get softer as you wash them and have become a staple in our household.
I'm horrible at keeping plants alive but I LOVE the way plants make a space feel.
Not only does this faux fiddle leaf fig tree look amazing, it adds a ton of height to my family room and has become my go-to big statement piece for any space.
My go-to entertaining favorites
Rarely a week goes by that we don't have people over for dinner or drinks so these appetizer plates and wine glasses get a ton of use.
I registered for a set of these small square appetizer plates and got them for our wedding 13 years ago, and they look the same as the day we got them. They're affordable, useful, dishwasher safe, and keep with our goal of using less plastic.
Speaking of my wedding registry, I was astonished to find out that a single wine glass could cost so much! - It seems crazy to me to spend a lot on wine glasses since they are the things that seem to break the most around here. One little tip over and they're toast.
But it's way more fun to have a glass of wine out of a nice thin rimmed wine glass too, which is why, when I discovered these stylish wine glasses, I bought 10! At about $3 each, I don't have to cry every time one breaks which means they get used all the time - never saved for a special occasion.
It's the little things that make things special, and these pop corn bowls do just that.
I remember eyeing these popcorn bowls for awhile. When I finally bought them I remember thinking that it was a bit more frivolous of a purchase than I typically make. - Practicality is usually high on my list and let's be real, you can eat popcorn out of any bowl.
But I LOVE THESE POPCORN BOWLS! We use them all the time and they make our movie nights extra special. Family time is so incredibly important so anything that adds to the memories and fun together is a win in my book.
We have 4 of the small ones, and one bag of microwave popcorn fills all 4 perfectly.
His Favorite Things: Gift Ideas For Him
Why are men so hard to shop for? It's hard to find the perfect gift for the man in your life because sometimes practicality gets in the way. Well, even some practical things should be extra special.
Here are some practical things, and a few fun ones my husband loves and uses again and again.
Click any image below to be taken to the product source.
So I was excited when the weather cooled down so I could wear my favorite PJs but the hubs couldn't wait to wear his favorite slippers around the house!
He got his first pair of Ugg slippers from my grandmother probably 15 years ago. That year she got all the men in the family a pair and they were all hooked. Men in this family don't usually spend this kind of money on slippers but since then every single one of them have gone back for another pair. The first ones lasted almost a decade!
My husband loves these slippers because they're warm and cozy but they also have a sole. Which means if he walks outside it's no big deal. - He and my brother may even be known to wear them out to dinner…shhhh.
If you're looking to treat the man in your life with something special they wouldn't buy for themselves, these slippers are perfect.
My husband has an active job that doesn't allow him to wear a metal wedding ring so he wears this silicone wedding band and loves it so much, he wears it exclusively.
We found out about these from my cousin and her husband who also only wear these now. They're perfect for anyone who does a lot of biking, swimming, sports, or who has a job that doesn't allow for a metal wedding band. - Could have saved money on the wedding band I put on his finger at our wedding if I'd known about these 🙂
Even we adults like new toys but to go out and drop a couple hundred dollars on one can be difficult. This drone is well under that price tag and has been really fun!
We've taken it on hikes since it's easy to pack up and carry in this carrier and have been able to take family photos up on boulders from above. It's like a modern day version of an RC helicopter and he loves it.
Okay, I thought he was crazy when he bought a sous vide but we have never had more perfectly cooked meat and we are hooked! We use this thing a few times per week!
The best part about the sous vide is that he is more involved in cooking dinner, and since you can set it and sort of forget it, we have amazing meals waiting for us on nights we get home late from soccer practice. - Way better than a crockpot.
We love days at the bay. We don't love to store big things in the garage. So this blow up kayak is perfect because it folds up into about 2 square feet of space and can be blown up in about 10 minutes. - We actually have 2 of these so all 4 of us can paddle around the San Diego bay.
I know it seems weird to have an inflatable kayak but I'm telling you, they blow up easily with a pump (that comes with the kayak) and are firm, steady, and easy to paddle.
The kids even go out a little ways on their own without any tipping or anything. - So much fun!
Things My Kids Love: Best Gifts For Kids
Buying gifts for kids is easy. But finding things they'll use for a long time is harder. We've owned a lot of toys over the years but I came up with a short list of favorites that have gotten a ton of use and I would recommend. My kids are now 8 and 10 years old but this list includes some items they've loved in the past with a few new favorites this year.
Click any image below to be taken to the product source.
We've spent a lot of time together this year so we had to keep things interesting. So we do a few of these question cards with the kids usually at Sunday dinner and the fun discussions and ideas that have come out of them has been amazing!
We have the family topics but there are a lot of categories to pick from in the Table Topics store. Everything from kids to girls night out!
My little guy just turned 8 and got this trick scooter for his birthday - if he could sleep with it he would. He had a scooter before but this one is soooo incredibly smooth and sturdy, even grandpa rode it with no problem!My cousin's kids have had this brand of scooter for years and they are still going strong.
Both my kids skate and we love to hit the skate parks around town. But when I was trying to find them a skateboard, it was hard to find one that wasn't too big.
Then I found this company Skate XS and not only are the boards perfect for young kids but the designs are appropriate and you get to customize the color of the wheels and grip tape and can have your kid's name put on the board too!
I also love to support fellow entrepreneurs and love this guy's story. He's a local San Diegan that crafts each one of these boards out of his home.
This is by far the most used toy around here. My son loves to hit balls in the backyard but fetching them from the neighbors yard when they go over the fence, which is often, is not so fun.
So we got him this hitting net and it's a favorite. The kids hit baseballs and wiffle balls into it and they even practice shooting soccer goals with it.
If you have a kid into sports in your life, this hitting net is a sure thing.
This has been a favorite for years. We got our first stomp rocket when we were going camping with friends and it kept the kids entertained for hours. Since then we pull it out every time we go camping, we play with it in the backyard, and take it up to the park.
It's one of those toys that brings a group of kids who don't know each other together and is really fun for kids of different ages. - The look on their faces when they stomp, and the rocket flies up never gets old (and even the adults love it!)
My kids love their lava lamps. My daughter has a pink and purple one and my son has a blue and green one plus we've bought countless lava lamps in all sorts of colors as gifts for cousins and friends because they're a hit!
These don't get too hot, so I don't worry too much if they get left on and the glow they have at night makes their room really cool.
This is one of those things my parents had, then I had, and now my kids have, which is really fun.
I couldn't make this list without mentioning magna-tiles. My kids have played with these for years and what they can do with them creatively has been amazing. They've created scenes for their army men, ramps for their hotwheels, and castles for their princess dolls.
Yes there are cheaper versions of this toy, but this one lasts and the magnets actually work which makes playing with them really fun cause your creation doesn't fall apart.
My daughter got this enamel pin kit as a gift for her birthday a couple years ago and it was a huge hit. She and her friends would sit and make pins for their backpacks.
We've since bought this many times as birthday gifts for her friends and every time I hear from the mom how perfect it is.
Some of the art kits out there are complicated, but this one is simple and kids create something they can put on their backpack to personalize it!
Part of my kid's homework is to read each night and let's be real, sometimes it's a struggle. But this reading timer has helped a ton and taken the responsibility off me to keep track of their reading logs.
They can set their timer for as many minutes as they want each night or they can set a goal for the week. It will tick down as they read each night, which I love because it teaches them to work ahead so they can have a night off if they want.
They come in lots of colors and it's simple enough that even young readers can use it.
And that's a wrap!
I hope this helps you show your love this holiday season!