“Happiness is there for the taking, and the making.” -Oprah Winfrey
Another year, another holiday season. I adore the holidays and the festivities, traditions, joy and family time that go with them. This year will be different for many people, but human resilience is amazing. A Sharp Eye wishes you happy holidays in whatever form they take for you. If you exchange presents, here are some ideas.
Everyone loves puzzles, especially in the winter during a pandemic. The New York Puzzle Company has a great selection of puzzles, and many humorous New Yorker cover puzzles. They have puzzle sizes from 24-piece floor puzzles to 2000-piece puzzles. They have puzzles for kids and adults. Prices range from $14.95 – $20.95.
The Disen Forehead No Contact thermometer is a popular COVID accessory these days. It is battery operated and with infrared can detect the temperature in the range of a little over an inch. It is both accurate and fast, detecting the infrared heat emitted from a forehead within one second. You can also store its readings to track an illness. It can be used for all ages. $25.95.
For the artist on your list, these Bianyo Markers are alcohol based permanent markers that are blendable, like watercolors. They have dual tips – fat and point. You can outline something precisely or blend them together to create a softer watercolor effect. This is a travel set with 72 markers. $32.00.
Do you have an Indian food lover on your list? Diaspora is a high-quality purveyor of Indian spices. The Masala Dabba is a brass container filled with jars of turmeric harvested by fourth-generation farmers, cardamom grown organically in the woods of Kerala, and black mustard from a tribe near the Bay of Bengal, among others. All the spices come in their signature glass jars. Is your mouth watering yet? This is a special gift for a special person at $200.00.
These 100% cotton rope coasters, handmade in Maine, are gorgeous but also up to the job of protecting your wood furniture from moisture. They are 4.5″ diameter and there are four coasters in a set. They make great presents. Available for $45.00 from The Good Supply, an online shop you’ll love to browse.
I LOVE Everlane’s Cashmere Bandana. It is much easier to wear than a long scarf wrapped around your neck and can be stowed in a pocket when not being worn. It is machine washable and dried flat or dry cleaned. It is 30 ¼” square. It comes in 6 colors and is $50.00.
For the handyman in the house – a telescoping ladder. It goes from 2.9′ to 12.5′ and is lightweight and easy to store. It has one button retraction which makes returning it to its smallest size a snap. It can hold 330 lbs., has non-slip end caps, extra-wide steps and is very sturdy. $117.99. There is also one that will extend to 15′.
Choose among twenty-one breeds to find the perfect doggy Christmas stocking for the canine lover. Sizes vary according to the breed. Prices range from $32.00 – $40.00.
James Niehues has painted aerial views of over 200 ski resorts in many states and countries, as well as four national parks. His book The Man Behind The Maps is beautiful and if you like maps, fascinating. This is a perfect gift to either an avid skier or a ‘cartophile’ (a map lover). Prints of the maps are also available on his website. The book is $90.00. The website is
Soxfords has loads of great looking socks at $24.00 each, as well as ties and bow ties for $54.00 each, and various other accessories.
Musical teenagers might like the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator synthesizers. Around $50-$60 each, they are battery operated. The most popular ones are PO12, PO14 and PO16. There are sounds and effect buttons that change the sounds. They’re fun to play with!
Overview videos to get acquainted.
This 2.5” cube has five charging ports including quick charge, USB and Type C with surge protection. It has a skid protection surface on the bottom, so it stays in place on my desk. I bought just one, and now I have them everywhere we charge devices. Multi-Port Charging Cube. $26.99
See more tech gadgets in the ASE article ‘Conquering My Desktop Technology Clutter’
Is there someone on your list who can’t bear to be ‘unplugged’ for even a second? This waterproof screen holder shower curtain liner has 4 touch-sensitive pockets for their laptop, iPhone and iPad or baby monitor. The devices are fully functional while in their pockets. The curtain measures 32″ x 72″ so it will not cover the full shower curtain as a liner. $19.99.
Design these face masks for your gift recipients. You can choose nautical charts, graphics of your choosing or road maps – whatever is personal to each recipient. I have placed an order and received a personal response from the company founder (!) making sure they had understood my precise customization correctly. I was impressed. $29.00.
The same company, bowtie.com, also offers bow ties, suspenders or neckties with the location of your choosing.
I love these art-inspired socks from Hyperallergic.com. They are 80% cotton and are for men and women. I especially love the Paul Klee and the Egon Schiele. All socks are $14.00 a pair.
Dean’s Sweets is a Portland, ME company that tries to use as many Maine-made products in their chocolates as possible. These local ingredients include maple syrup, butter, cream, coffee and many more. Give someone a gift of a chocolate subscription. I personally can’t think of anything better. Chocolate subscriptions are either monthly or seasonal. For monthly, choose 3, 6,or 12 month. Each month your recipient will receive 2 – 4 chocolate items matched to the month and season. Shipping is included in the price. Here are some examples:
- January: Double dark hot chocolate – real chocolate (70%) and cocoa, with just the right amount of organic vanilla, plus Dean’s house made marshmallows
- February: Dean’s Sweets top-selling truffles, caramels, & buttercreams in a heart-shaped box
- May: A bouquet of dozen chocolate flowers in milk, dark, and white chocolate
- July: Dean’s award-winning Maine sea salt caramel sauce and hot fudge sauces
- October: Dark & milk chocolate pumpkins plus a bonus box of pumpkin truffles with all the spices of pumpkin pie
- December: Dark and white peppermint bark plus Dean’s Sweets 8pc Top-Seller assortment
- A three-month subscription is $115.00, a six month is $209.00 and a 12 month is $395.00. A seasonal subscription (4 boxes a year) is $195.00.
These Trailblazer Tee shirts for kids have been hot! Many sites are sold out. These are tees and sweatshirts illustrated by well-known female artists from around the world. The illustrations are of female visionaries, leaders and pioneers in their fields. I have been pleased to see that both boys and girls are wearing them. There are about 35 women trailblazers in all fields featured. You can choose from Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Eleanor Roosevelt, Billie Jean King, Wilma Rudolph, and many more! The tees, both short and long sleeve are $28.00.
Hive is a game for only two players and is appropriate for ages 9 and up. It involves soldier ants, grasshoppers and bees. The objective is to use the hexagonal tiles to surround the opponent’s queen bee. It is a game of strategy, easy to learn but complex to play. It is rated highly with many excellent recommendations. Board games for only 2 players are difficult to find, and with the pandemic preventing us from being with friends, two players might just be all there are. $25.21.
Help the young child in your life learn colors and shapes with the Our Colors with Elmo set. These Magna-Tiles build STEAM skills and are appropriate for ages 3+. The tiles are double-sided and scratch-resistant. $39.95
For someone on your list who needs guidance when brushing their teeth, try the Hum by Colgate. It has an app to guide you and track the frequency, duration and coverage of your brushing, multiple brushing modes to choose from, smart toothbrush technology to target spots that need extra care, and an ergonomic handle. There are three colors to choose from The battery-operated model is $50.00 and the rechargeable electric is $70.00.
Drunk Elephant skin care products aim at eliminating the six skin product ingredients they believe cause all skin problems – essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dye, and sodium lauryl sulfate. They offer four kits – Firmy The Day Kit, Glowy The Night Kit, The Good & Ready Kit and Dewy The Polypeptide Kit to refresh and restore your skin’s health. $72.00 – $98.00 each.
These beeswax candles are hand poured and finished in small batches in upstate New York using sustainably sourced beeswax. The glass containers are 2.5″ x 8″. There are three designs to choose from – Clear, Floral Heaven and Moon Mama. Beeswax candles are hypoallergenic and cleanse the air. From $39.00.