practical holiday gifts 2017
*Updated December 2020 for additions

There is still time to order…

Practical gifts

A better match – light fires, candles and stoves. Plug into USB to recharge. No Butane, no flame. Black $18.99.

Personalized stationery from Minted. Lots of choices.

The card with gold foil lines shown above is 25 cards for $68.
The white card with rounded edges is 15 cards for $35.
Hint: Daily discounts on the website will bring your cost down.

Gifts which will bring a smile, Ho Ho Ho!

Liberty Puzzles makes high quality jigsaw puzzles in Boulder on ¼” plywood with vivid printing. Puzzles include ‘whimsy’ pieces which are characters, animals and geometric designs appropriate to the puzzle theme. Lots to choose from. Liberty Puzzles with about 475 pieces are $95.

Cheer up long winter evenings by decorating with twinkle. I love these little lights, strung on a green wire. Powered by six AA batteries. Waterproof. The timer can be set so that they come on for the same six hours each day. Micro LED 60 Super Bright Warm White Color Indoor and Outdoor String Lights Battery Operated on 6 Ft Long Green Color Ultra-Thin String Wire with Automatic Timer. Eight settings from blinking to solid. $19.95.

Practical gifts

This little Spalding High-bounce Ball will take the recipients from their stockings right back to their childhood playgrounds. 2.5” diameter. $5.95

holiday front door mat

This Where Treetops Glisten makes me smile. 30” x 48”. Natural coir extracted from coconut husks. $129. (on sale now $59.95)

Treat gift recipients to some luxury pampering.

Harper+Ari Exfoliating Sugar Cubes. Mild, fresh scents, no oil – just exfoliated, nourished, smooth skin. Coconut, peach, lemon, tangerine, apricot, and blue raspberry. One cube will exfoliate your gift recipient’s body in the tub or the shower. $22 for 20 cubes.

Balance Shampoo. I have just returned from the Christmas Stroll in Nantucket and my hostess marched us to a store called Follain (healthy, luxury, non-toxic beauty products) just to get this shampoo and conditioner. It is all-natural and leaves your hair and scalp feeling like you’ve been to the spa – get rid of dandruff and irritated spots. Josh Rosebrook Balance Shampoo and Conditioner for normal to oily hair, 8 ounces each. A luxury at $60 for the two.

Hydrating Facial Masks. I travel with a Korean friend who surprises us with hydration masks, just as our faces look tired from planes and temperature changes. I tried them at home with my extended family on a dry winter day. We had 20 minutes of fun as we wore the masks – and then days of smooth, hydrated faces. No parabens, Sulfates or Phthalates. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution. $6 per mask.

Lip Balm. All premium organic ingredients, Hurraw! Lip balm is made in Whitefish, MT. Also in grapefruit, coconut, black cherry and vanilla bean.

Mint Lip Balm for daytime. $7.39.
Blue Chamomile and Vanilla (with avocado oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Argan Oil) for nighttime. $7.39. Tangerine, Chamomile with SPF 15. $8.30.

This Chanel two-part lip gloss is new to me and I love it. Apply the color first, wait a minute and finish with a clear, high shine gloss top coat from the other end of the wand. Designed to last 12 hours. Sixteen colors. Chanel ROUGE DOUBLE INTENSITÉ, Ultra Wear Lip Colour. $37.

Health and fitness gifts – for those who take care of themselves.

Quip is the new ‘hipster’ electric toothbrush – and I love it for travel. My dentist and his hygienist recommend electric toothbrushes and they hear good things about Quip – which is created by a collaboration between dentists and top product designers. There are two models, plastic ($25 in green and blue) and metal ($40+ in silver, slate, copper, and gold). I bought the plastic model and it is both light and appealing to hold. When you buy a Quip, you also sign up to get a replacement brush head delivered to you every three months; $5 each, including shipping. The bristles are soft and the vibration is mild and quiet – just enough. There is a slight pause every 30 seconds to guide you to two minutes of brushing. The entire brush is waterproof, so you can rinse it thoroughly. Travel case is included. Quip will send a new brush head every three months ($5 each time they send a new head). Quip electric toothbrush.

*2020 Update Quip has expanded its products to include; floss, toothpaste and a Smart brush with its own app.

This Marvis Mint Toothpaste in a 1.3 oz. travel size was the luxury feature in my posh London hotel. I love it. 1.3 oz. for $6. 3.8 oz. for $10.50.

Paincakes reusable adhesive cold packs are better than a bag of frozen peas. Relief for bumps, bruises, breastfeeding, swelling, wisdom teeth, and swollen eyes $12.95 each.

These are re-usable Mini Paincakes for big pains in a small spot – also perfect for small children with ‘owies’. Recommended for migraine pain. 2-pack for $10.99.


Moji Foot Massager. This small, solid, foot massager is flying off the shelf at our local running shop. Stretch and massage your foot. Treat or avoid plantar fasciitis. Hint: put it in the freezer to add cooling to the treatment. $39.99 each.

Gifts for those who make dinner

Field Cast Iron Skillet. A new, lighter, smoother cast iron pan. Two brothers in Maine inherited one, perfect cast iron pan. Instead of fighting over it, they figured out how to make it for all of us. Last year it was available only in a kick-starter campaign. Now you can give one for Christmas. Pre-seasoned, made in USA of 75-90% recycled iron. It works on all cooktops including gas range, induction, and electric. Oven and fire pit-friendly. Ergonomic Handle. 10 1⁄4″ top diameter, 8 3⁄4″ cooking surface diameter, 2″ high, 4.5 lbs. Field Cast Iron Skillet #8. $125.

Tasty One Top is a new, simple, countertop induction cooker from Buzz Feed Product Labs and GE – with a ‘phone to table’ app giving instructions for perfect cooking outcomes for everything from steak, stir fry, and sous vide to slow cooking. You can put it on the table and produce fondue and Shabu-shabu. This is highly rated by the beta testers, but it is so new that I haven’t been able to try it out. Shipping for Christmas.

Does it require special pans? Here is what Tasty One says…

“The One Top works with all induction compatible pots and pans. Don’t know if your pans are induction compatible? Put a magnet (a refrigerator magnet will do) on the bottom of the pan and shake your pan. If it sticks, you’re good to go. If it slides off easily, your pan may not work. Wondering if cast iron works? Hell yeah it does.”

The One Top measures the temperature of the cooking surface and the food. It automatically adjusts the power setting to match the recipe you’ve chosen on the One Top app on your phone (1700+ recipes). The One Top app is available for Apple iOS, free.

One Top induction cooktop. $149 plus free shipping.

YouTube video of the Tasty One Top.

Silicone Frywall splatter guard. 10” guard $17.95.

Comfort clothes and shoes

Allbirds shoes are made of sustainable wool from New Zealand Lambs. They regulate foot temperature, wick moisture, minimize odor, can be washed – and they are unbelievably comfortable. These are the uniform for Silicon Valley. Allbirds for men and women. $95.

*2020 Update; Allbirds have added to their product line with water repellant shoes, high tops, and apparel, something for everyone!

Johnnie-O, with its surfer logo, describes it clothes as ‘West Coast Prep’. Guys in my life especially like the ‘prep-formance’ shirts which are moisture-wicking, machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, and travel friendly. Spandex.

Johnnie-O shirt. 36% Bamboo / 36% Polyester / 26% Nylon / 2%. $125.

Sully ¼ Zip Pullover in ten colors. 55% cotton / 40% modal / 5% polyester $125.

Peter Millar Men’s Captain Performance Tattersall Sport Shirt. Stretch for mobility and comfort. 94% nylon / 6% spandex. Machine wash and dry. Three color choices. $135.

Peter Millar Men’s Crown Comfort Quarter-Zip. Men’s 55% cotton / 40% modal / 5% polyester double-faced interlock pullover. Banded cuffs and waist. Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry for best results. Ten Color choices. $125.


Need a few more ideas? We’ve got them!

2017 Holiday Gifts