Can you believe it’s actually November? 2021 has been the slowest, yet fastest, year ever. And while I’m really ready for things to go back to “normal”, I also want to savor the holidays in a simple way. For us, that means spending time with family, eating good food, and exchanging just a few gifts. This 2021 holiday gift guide is pretty short, but packed full of goodness!
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The simplest gift of all
Gathering together as a family will be tricky this year. If you are able to be with your family, savor it. Savor the togetherness that we haven’t had the luxury of experiencing this year. The most simple gift of all is your time.
Spend an evening with your loved ones. Spend time making, baking, or writing something to give them. Be creative with how you use your time to show how much you love and appreciate them. Because that’s all that matters.
Even if you can’t be together, make the time to call and chat with your family and close friends.
2021 Holiday Gift Guide
I like start with the “for adults” category of gifts. These gifts are for any adult (or even college student) on your list. We’ll get to the kiddos a little later on. This 2021 holiday gift guide is full of actually useful things in a variety of price points! But let’s be real – we’re all on a budget… so this is definitely budget friendly!
I am not going to list experience gifts (example: movie tickets, concert experiences, theme park passes, etc.) because I don’t want you to go out and unknowingly expose yourself to Covid-19. I don’t think we’ll be back to normal activities with large crowds for some time.
That being said, try to recreate these at home! Stream a concert online, snuggle in for a movie night, cook a gourmet meal for your spouse. To gift these experiences to your loved one, create a “ticket” for it and put it in a card. Even better, attach it to a small gift that is related to the experience.
Don’t want to make your own “at home experience tickets”? I’ve got you covered! You can download them in my resources library! >>>> Go to the free library!
Our favorite date night at home is playing board games with an adult beverage! We have a good size collection of board games now that are go beyond your basic Scrabble or Mancala.
Our favorite board games include:
- Pandemic (timely, I know)
- Ticket to Ride
- Ticket to Ride Europe
- Terraforming Mars
- Letter Tycoon
All of these games are suitable for just two players, but of course can have more. Watch Amazon for price drops on these games leading up to Black Friday and Christmas. When I checked prices (first week of November), most of the games were discounted!
Darn Tough Socks
Socks are socks, right? WRONG.
Darn Tough socks are a family favorite around here. My husband adores his Darn Tough socks so they just had to make it onto this 2021 holiday gift guide. The sticker shock might be tough to get past because “it’s just socks”. But let me tell you that they are worth it.
D is rough on socks. Hiking, fishing, disc golf, yard work, wear them all the time – rough on socks. These socks hold up to just about anything! They’re also pretty darn comfy. 🙂
No-show men’s (pictured, right) >>> here
Crew cushion (pictured, left) >>> here
Forever will I be a pen-and-paper person. Lucky for me, the women in my family are, too! These perfectly sized notebooks (A5 paper) are making my gift list this year. These notebooks from Emerging Green are made from recycled paper and the pages are smooth. And I’m pretty picky about paper texture!
The pages are just the right thickness so pens don’t bleed through. Spiral bound with a kraft paper cover, this notebook is durable enough to take with me wherever I go. Each order comes with THREE notebooks. So you can keep one for yourself, and gift two! (or keep all three, I’m not judging).
I’m just as snobby about pens as I am about notebooks (mostly joking). I’ve used micro-line pens for a few years now and much prefer them to ball-point pens. These pens last for a long time and don’t dry out (as long as you remember to put the cap back on!).
This package of mirco-line pens has a huge variety of colors which make them perfect for note taking or for planning. Or just sprucing up your work to-do list!
Sturdy To-Go Cup
Tervis tumblers are the sturdiest to-go cups I’ve ever owned. Ditch those cheesey holiday tumblers from the Target Dollar Spot, and give (or get yourself) one of these instead!
I’ve had my tumbler for almost EIGHT years. I bought it at the beginning of 2013 when I started my first full time job. It was then I realized how expensive buying bottled water several times a day actually cost. Yikes! This has been with me to and from work, on vacations, running errands, dropped countless times, and used every single day for the last eight years.
Worth it? Yes.
You can’t have a sturdy tumbler without some great reusable straws!
By now you may be sensing a common theme on this 2021 holiday gift guide… All of these things are meant to be used again and again! I’m a huge fan of long lasting gifts OR consumable gifts like bread, soap, or wine.
Sturdy plastic straws (like these) will last a very, very long time. I run mine through the dish washer and get out any junk with a straw brush. There are also “bendy” straws made from silicon that are easy to stow in a purse, backpack, or pocket to “refuse” the disposable straw while out and about.
Fancy coffee or tea… or alcohol
It’s a treat to make a gourmet drink at home. Fancy coffee, tea, or whatever your recipient likes to drink… is an excellent consumable gift that they’ll be able to enjoy for the next few weeks or months.
Just remember their “level of fancy”. For me, I don’t drink coffee fancier than Dunkin’ Donuts or alcohol fancier than Jack. Don’t go overboard buying something expensive when the person you’re giving it to may not enjoy it as much as the price tag.
Plastic free shower time
Help family and friends ditch bulky plastic shampoo and body wash bottles in favor of bars. I will never go back to bottled body wash! A good bar of soap will last weeks and make their skin feel so much better.
Find a local soap maker at craft shows this season or on Etsy. Finding a locally made product that will reduce the amount of plastic in the landfill is a double win!
Baked goods and other foodie things
We love baking around here and it’s never fancy! A fresh loaf of bread or a batch of cookies can be a wonderful gift. Quick peanut butter cookies are a hit with our family. Here’s the recipe!
- 1 Cup Peanut Butter
- 1 Cup Sugar + 2TBSP (for the top)
- Single Egg
- Heat Oven to 350F
- Combine all ingredients until smooth
- Scoop by the tablespoon onto the cookie sheet. Press fork across the top to make a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle the remaining sugar onto the top of the cookie.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until edges set.
Easiest cookie recipe EVER! Thanks Mom for the recipe 🙂
Kids’ 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
I confess: I love surprising my son with new things. But recently, I’ve had to find another way to do it. Mostly, it’s been introducing new crafts and books. But for Christmas we’ve purchased most things secondhand. I encourage you to do the same! Secondhand shopping for the holidays isn’t unheard of. Plus, it will save you money and help you focus on what you really want to buy for your kiddos.
It’s also okay for you to gift your kids things they need. Things like toothbrushes, undies, school uniforms, etc. are totally perfect to wrap up!
I hear nothing but good things about Picasso Tiles! They’re easy for kiddos to play with and create anything they want. Similar to blocks, Picasso Tiles have endless variations of what can be built.
Paint or sticker by number
Take the coloring book up a level with a paint by number or sticker by number. Yeah, sticker by number! I would have been all over that growing up!
This is a great option for kids that are “too old” for regular character coloring books but still want to have a similar experience. There are so many cute options on Amazon that are all under $10.
Woodend blocks are a classic kids’ toy! And with blocks, even baby can play with them. The possibilities are endless as your kids grow and continue to play with them. The best part is that blocks are affordable and quite durable.
One of they few things I bought this year for my son was a new Play-Doh set! He loves rolling it out and squishing it. Adding in a few molds and cutters will expand the play possibilities. Play-Doh is always an affordable option!
This list isn’t meant for you to go out and buy everything. This gift guide is here to give you inspiration and help you thoughtfully gift to others this holiday season.