Thursday, December 14, 2017

Practical Gifts That Are Still, Well, Gifts


Nowhere should a vacuum cleaner be a gift. I'd rather have no gift than someone buying me a vacuum and calling it a gift. Even if I say, " I need a new vacuum," please dear loved ones, don't go there. Often DH and I will reduce, or keep gift giving simple so we can put the money towards a needed item. That I'm perfectly OK with. Anything cleaning related, while definitely will get used, all my insecurities about my horrendous house keeping skills shine through.

Other small appliances though, I have less angst about giving or receiving. In fact, many practical gifts, are wonderful to receive, particularly when they are given with thought to the recipient and the why of the gift.Here are a few of my favorite practical gifts I've received over the years.

My Cuisinart and Keurig Coffee maker. I've been limping along since the Cuisinart sprung a leak, but the Keurig is still going strong. Both were DH gifts. He knows I love my coffee. I need to start my days with a  hot cup. For the coffee lover, a coffee maker is a swell practical gift.I'm still on the hunt for the perfect replacement.  Elizabeth at, Reviews.Com sent me a link months ago for their review of coffee makers. Check out reviews.com here. This isn't a sponsored post-just passing along for those in the market. Most of the makers reviewed exceeded my budget, but might be a purchase you  splurge on. 

A good immersion/single serving blender. I just got a new one from my sister-in-law for my birthday. We had been talking earlier in the summer about smoothies and frozen cocktails. I love them them both, but my big ninja is pain for just a one time use. Low and behold, a nice smaller number was gifted to me, very practical and appreciated.  

I have a tea kettle just like this, a gift from my niece that drew my name for Christmas one year. She added a box of tea and a coffee mug. Second to my love of coffee is my love of tea. Yes, a tea kettle in the time of microwaves or with the plug in electric models is not a necessity, but is practical if the power goes out as this could be used on my gas grill. Plus, you don't get that endearing whistle from the zapper or the electric model.

Perhaps I'm weird, but I love getting new socks as gifts. I personally am happy with any new socks-we are a family of sock losers and having new, matched, ready in my drawer alone is a treat. My favorites are themed socks, as they remind me of my mom and all her holiday socks. I don't know if my recipients love them like I do, but I've been on a hunt in stores looking at the clearance for the really nice thick boot socks. At full price, these are very expensive, and living in the north, a necessity. 

Add to this list are mittens (not gloves), hats, and scarves. If you have the talent to make these, even better loved and appreciated. While not quite as bad as socks, I have a habit of leaving things behind. Sometimes they show up, and sometimes not. New soft, comfy, and warm outer wear accessories feel like a hug from the gift giver. 

I keep referencing useful things for cold winters, but it is a reality. At my house, we are fortunate to lose power rarely and it seems to come back on in short order. We have a power company though in  Minnesota that will remain nameless (and we don't use) that seems to take hours to restore power whenever an outage occurs. Candles, pretty ones like this, or the battery operated ones, are useful, and gift worthy. The candle at the top is a citronella one, which adds a little light and perhaps a little bug deterrence so we can enjoy the yard and deck a bit longer once the sun goes down. 

Deep conditioning hand cream and lip balms. I have my generic go to's, but it is nice to have upgraded, gift quality items. Yes, I can buy my own and I do sometimes, but given in a pretty wrapped package, taking them out and using them feels like a bit of a spa day. Again, a must in the harsh winter climate. 

Perhaps not the most inspirational gift guide, but items I know I would like and I think my friends and family would be happy to receive. Shh, don't tell anyone, but most of these are on my giving list this year. What's your favorite, yet practical gift you've ever received?

16 comments:

  1. These are great! We pretty much don't exchange with any adults any more, so the need for gift options is small. Now, 10 & 11 year old boys are also hard to shop for! Beyond the toy range, but not quite into older gifts, and electronics are pretty much not desired (by the parents) & out of the budget. ;-)

    However, I thought of you with our adult "gift exchange" that we do on Christmas Eve. There are about 10 of us, and now the kids have asked to be included. Everyone shops for the most hilarious pair of socks, and then we do a white elephant, but with socks. It keeps the cost totally reasonable, is actually hilarious to see what people come up with, and no garbage to take home. Because. . . socks? You can always wear them, even if you aren't a fan of the style. We've had chicken socks (truly, looks like Chicken legs), this year I have Pokemon socks that are amazing, Nick picked out Superman socks that have a cape on them, awkward cat socks, etc. It's really fun & low cost, while still being festive.

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    1. I wish we could get beyond gift giving for adults-it seems sort of artificial to me, but not something I want to rock the boat on. When DH and I were first together, everyone gave everyone-at least now we draw names. We draw on my side as well. Socks, mittens, and scarves are my favorite to receive though.

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  2. I love receiving consumables...candles, stationery, specialty baking items like dark cocoa. I also like anything that enhances my hobbies of cooking, baking, quilting and stamping. I think gifts like that are thoughtful--they show you have taken the recipient's interests into account. I give things like favorite pens, socks and shampoo to my kids for gifts. (That Crew hair care stuff is a pretty penny.)I don't like to give gift cards, but the kids like to receive them. Now that eldest drives, they can go off with him and use them, which they LOVE to do. DD gets them to clothing stores she likes. I give the boys cards to food places like Subway and I-Hop. I'd rather they roam about with gift cards than cash. Unlike most, I truly dislike receiving, and giving, electronics. I regard those as you do a vacuum cleaner. I can think of nothing more thoughtless or impersonal than receiving a laptop, phone, etc. DH learned his lesson when in three successive years, his gift of a laptop, I-pod and Kindle went back the very next day. Blech. Kid don't get stuff like that either.

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    1. I have a post ready to go on consumable gifts-with thought, really great gifts.I received a no thrills Nook five years ago for my birthday. I loved it because I was traveling a lot for work and could download a wide variety of reading materials. I still use for vacations, so that was great electronic gift, still going strong, but no extra bells and whistles.

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  3. I love getting consumable gifts. However, I think my favorite practical gift to receive is fuzzy socks. The last few winters I am always cold and I love the feel of thick fuzzy socks to wear. I also love getting gift cards to restaurants-- both fast food and sit down places.

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    1. The ones with the grippers on the bottom are really loved by me-we have hard wood floors and laminate planking in the family room. It helps the slips when I try to move to fast.

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  4. Liquor is always appreciated, lol, especially here in Canada where it costs so bloody much due to the "sin" tax on it. I love getting Candles, scented ones especially. Food is good too. I've asked for small appliances in other years and received them. Actually I dislike the whole gift process though, I hate telling anyone what I want as I really want for nothing.

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    1. DH is giving my brother in law Baileys, coffee, stir sticks, and a couple Christmas mugs ( my sister said a few of their Christmas mugs last year). My niece said it will be a hit. Few of us in the west want for anything-I'm putting together more consumable, and generic giftable items for family service for those that truly do have needs and deserve a few wants and wishes filled.

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  5. I love gloves and scarves. Cards to my favorite food places are good, too.

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    1. Isn't it nice being treated to a meal out, knowing someone thought of you when giving the gift card? I try to remember the meal was a gift and make sure to enjoy it and the company.

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  6. Oh this is so true, a vacuum is never a gift! I'm not too comfortable with the whole receiving gift thing and like buying for others, but I love all your gift ideas, socks are always welcome here, as are scarves with matching gloves, any alcohol and sweets, especially jelly babies!

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    1. My youngest loves Jelly Babies-we brought back 15 or so bags form the UK, some for her stash, but most to give to friends and family. With your trips around the countryside, I bet the warn socks, mittens, scarves and hats are really appreciated.

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  7. I also love socks, and candles. But a good vacuum is very understated.

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    1. I love a good vacuum cleaner-so much, I'll buy my own.

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  8. On my birthday my colleague handed me a really pretty caramel tin (I collect them to give my cookies and cakes away or store my quilting necessities). I was so happy to receive it BUT inside (although it looked like a tin of toffees) she had put two pretty fat quarters for quilting. Now that was a much appreciated gift. Anna

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    1. I don't know what fat quarters are, not being a quilter, but how special that she 1) knew your hobby, and 2) specifically thought of you and said hobby! I have really great colleagues right now-all try to really know each other and it makes life at work so much more rewarding.

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