2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted on November 27, 2021. Last updated on November 27, 2021
Alyssa a registered dietitian
Written by Alyssa

I love gift giving, like a lot. Kids have made it MUCH harder for me to find time to THINK. I was going to add to that sentence but in reality that’s the truth – it’s harder to think.

Which means it’s harder to think of gifts for people I love. But it’s important to me that they feel seen, understood and valued and sometimes just the right gift to fit their personality can do just that.

So I wanted to share a unique gift guide for those people in your life that you’re wanting to make feel all those warm and fuzzy things! Although I will link some items here I also want to share with you a winning formula for how to come up with the most perfect gift for your situation.

Start with who they are to you. Then add who they are in general, what do they spend their time doing, what problems do they have, what would help them save time or energy, what do they talk about, what do they get EXCITED about, what do they complain about?

What is their life like? Are they busy? Are they a mom? Do they have space in their home? Are they travelers, homebodies, extroverts, introverts etc etc. Then I ask what do they LOVE like really love. What do they talk about? What do they deeply care about? Is it their dog, the environment, their car, their health etc etc.

Then I ask what have we talked about recently? Did they express a recent need or want to me? Even if it was big like “I’m so tired, I need a week of sleep” how can you turn that into a gift? Like maybe you get them one night stay in a local hotel and watch the kids overnight. Or maybe it’s just a sleep mask and some lavender bath salts. Or you could get them a new pillow that’s ergonomically designed for better sleep. People will often tell you what’s important to them, what they need or want – but it may not be clear. We might have to do a little decoding. I know this isn’t everyone’s gift but thought I would clue you in to how I think through it (when I have the brain strength haha! When I don’t I use gift guides!)

PS I wrote a great gift guide last year and I really want you to check it out because honestly I still stand by it. I’ll link it here.

Alright now onto the fun part…. the guides:

For the kids:

We’re all about open ended toys so top of our list has got to be our magnatiles. They play with these for hours no problem. Followed closely by everything and anything we’ve gotten from Melig especially this camping set!

Next up this ice cream play set. Never gets old. Really all toy food but this is a fave for sure. These sensory tools are used for EVERYTHING in our home. Bath toys, sensory bins, bug catching etc etc they would be great stocking stuffers.

Also halloween costumes have been such a hit that we have been wearing them nonstop. This firefighter one from amazon and these dresses from target are on repeat at our home.

Want to be a favorite? Get these stomp rockets. I can’t promise they won’t end up on the roof but dang they’re fun!

Ok and our favorite gifts that top the list are annual passes to local educational places like the zoo, history museum, aquarium etc etc! Especially if it’s paired with a specific trip on the books!

For the overworked and under appreciated:

A gift card or pre-paid trip to the spa. Particularly a massage – don’t forget to add some cash to the gift card for the tip. Plus it’s extra special if you arrange child care for them and even schedule the appointment for a time you think might work (might take some guessing but they can always reschedule).

A wrap around or weighted sleep mask. These are game changers for my sleep along with my Hatch alarm clock. They make a great bundle or on their own – throw in a few shower steamers (lavender scent) for an added bonus!

For someone you want an extra special meaningful gift for:

We recently got my parents a watercolor painting of our old family home and it’s a treasure. We ordered it custom after I found this account on instagram. I am not sure how long the customs take but trust me they’re worth the wait.

Maybe something a little smaller more your style? These custom wristlet keychains have been so helpful when your hands are full of #momessentials

For the Christian in your life:

I’ve been loving this anxiety bible study. I’ve done it a few time and every time it brings me more peace. My favorite bible here; it’s beautiful and inviting.

I love this planner. It’s a planner for a to-do list lover and a devotional all wrapped up into one.

I’ve heard great things about the dwell app and this is on my list for this year!

For the kitchen dweller:

I am in love with my air fryer. It’s incredible the ONLY thing I wish I did was get a bigger size or one of the two slotted ones like this one. We use it multiple times per week and I am not a fan of whole kitchen appliances usually but this was a great investment!

These cookie scoops are a game changer. The same size matters when you’re baking! They all come out the same doneness. Feels small but it’s not.

These oven mitts are incredible and I’ve yet to meet someone that couldn’t go for an upgrade on their current ones. Pair with a few baking tools and Joanna Gaine’s cookbook and it’s a nice little bundle!

The father in law who just buys himself what he wants when he wants it and doesn’t care much for stuff:

Ok if this is weirdly specific it’s because thats my father in law! A GREAT gift for this one is an electronic picture frame like this one that we LOVE. Bonus points if you add pictures BEFORE he opens it.

A yeti or travel cooler is always a good idea. Whether it’s camping, lake days or simply tailgating this is a fave for sure.

For the traveler:

These customizable maps that you can make to remember favorite trips are so fun! Plus this same duo has a cool app for travelers to find killer deals on flights. Check it out here. You can get a yearly pass for $49.

For the health nut:

I love a good product for health. Problem is there’s a lot of products out there that make your stress go UP while promising to help you with your health. I dislike that way too much. Here are a few health related products that actually help with health!

This alarm clock has been a game changer in my bedtime routine and getting me more sleep and waking up more cheerfully! This company also makes our favorite sound machine for kids.

For the bookworm or podcast lover:

This is one of my favorite books, all about slowing down and putting presence over perfection. It truly is a book I will return to over and over and shaped how I live my life.

The silent patient was excellent and highly recommended by you guys! I also recently read Local Woman Missing and it was good too! Both suspense thriller books. Currently reading this book and so far it’s goooooood.

I also love any audible credits so that’s always a good one!

For the teacher or neighbor in your life:

I honestly think homemade gifts and/or gift cards are best here. Some of my favorites to make are a homemade sugar scrub, homemade vanilla extract or some sort of dessert in a jar situation. Pair with a gift card to target, starbucks, or a local shop and it’s a great gift.

Some other options we love are a tumbler like this one filled with chocolates. Or some beautiful stationary, this is one of my favorite journals that was gifted to me. Or even better – personalize it!

Homeschool gift guide:

These gathre mat seat cushions. We’ve been LOVING these for homeschool. When I read the kids grab their cushions and stay on their “dot spot” they work so well I just ordered one for myself. Pro tip get a dark color so you don’t freak with the kids color on them with marker. They do wipe up well but still. Also I would 100% have gotten the knoll color! We have raven and fog! Raven was a great choice, fog was a little light for my toddler’s heavy marker hand!

This book is incredible. So educational and fun! It all folds out to one long page showing layer by layer what’s beneath our feet! So clever! This reading set has already been a game changer for an early reader! One side is for the adult to read and the other for the child plus puzzles at the end for comprehension! I got this one for my son for Christmas and I cannot wait – he is going to love it. It’s a great way for them to learn about and exercise choice!

This sight word game has been truly instrumental in my son learning sight words! And this game which was just for fun but has taught my son so many critical thinking skills, ohhhh and catan for kids has helped with strategy which has been great!

We don’t have this… yet but a friend does and it looks like so much fun and very educational. Maybe santa will bring this this year?

Some favorites I’ve been loving lately:

Most these weren’t gifts given to me. Most were bought for myself by myself but I LOVE them and I think they’d make excellent gifts for other people in your life, to add to your list or just get for yourself because you deserve it.

This bag from one of my all time favorite brands. I recently got this and it’s everything I hoped it would be. It’s structured and just the right size for diapers and wipes or snacks or my makeup. Plus the zipper is a goooood zipper. You know what I mean? There’s crappy rip up your knuckles zippers and then there’s smooth unsnagging zippers. This is the good kind.

This kalimba for my kids. I got it for my sister in law and immediately bought one for ourselves too. It’s soft and easy to listen to even when my kids are bad at it!

This speaker is incredible. It’s water proof – like throw it into a pool waterproof. I use it in the shower or bath to listen to my podcasts and it’s got incredible sound for the price – way better than one you may see all over IG on paid ads. My very musically inclined husband is so impressed with quality for the price point.

One of my favorite zipper hoodies is from Herself Podcast shop. Check it out here! I have not stopped wearing mine since the day it came in! So cozy and it’s nice and long. Perfect for pairing with leggings!

I live in these slippers and I am PICKY about slippers. They are hard soled but flexible, warm but not HOT and not bad to look at either. I would by lying if I said I haven’t worn these into a store or two either – I think they can pass as real shoes!

This customizable makeup/toiletry bag Josh got me last year is so good I went back and bought another one to house my podcasting gear. It works for anything. I love it!

Whew ok that’s all for now. If you found this helpful please share with a friend! Merry Christmas!

PS Some links are affiliate links which mean I make a small commission if you buy directly from those links, the price does not change for you. I appreciate you using these links if you decide to buy. Also some links are not affiliate links. I am just excited to bring you my most favorite ideas!

Alyssa Miller picky eating dietitian
Hi there! My name is Alyssa

I'm a registered dietitian and picky eating specialist with nearly a decade of experience, mom of three, and the founder of Nutrition for Littles. I'm dedicated to making mealtimes enjoyable and nutritious for families.

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