Are you ready for the good stuff? I am! I get it, you've been exceptionally patient with all of the words and assessments and guides...you're just ready for the gift ideas! So, over the next few days I'll share a Gift Guide with a different theme! Today, we're starting with the original. THIS is the list that got me thinking about putting together a gift guide in the first place. Personally, these are a few of my favorite gems from the last year (or so), and I want to shout from the mountaintops about how exciting and colorful and useful and beautiful these tiny little things are (and most fit within the bounds of the Manual for Meaningful Giving. Let's get started...
The goal of this gift is fun and useful gifts for people you love AND they all can serve in a pinch when you need to gift something spirited (an actual thing) to another person. Consider this your easy access guide to all things good. Bonus points, all of these gifts range from $4.50 to $36! One of the main things folks on the Fierce Practice Tiny Letter said is that shopping in real life (like getting in and out of a car and driving all over and parking and schlepping bags and small children) is a total pain. The short way of saying is that ALL of these items are available online - INCLUDING beautiful handmade items crafted by super talented artistic folks across the country. (So, my note to you on that is...THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE who also want to make time for a holiday - SO THE EARLIER YOU ORDER THE BETTER!)
Here's a little bit of a deeper dive:
- Wheel Thrown Mugs ($35) by Toast Ceramics. I am a firm believer that sprinkling little pieces of functional art throughout your day is the best way to stay close to beauty. In my opinion, Jackie Matelski of Toast makes the perfect items to add that dash of joy throughout the day. I am also a firm believer that any person who drinks a warm beverage in the morning will have a better day if sipping from something special. Be it a mug, a pour over set, or one of the fantastically clever bowls, these truly are "Considerate Objects to Punctuate Everyday Life".
- Flower Bulbs and Seeds. These are Paperwhite bulbs for forcing from American Meadows ($6.50 for a bag of 4), but any bulbs (amaryllis, daffodil, hyacinth and more) will add fresh color and glorious scents in the middle of (depending where you live) a slightly gray winter season. Blubs and seeds bring with them the potential of growth, and hope for the warmer seasons ahead.
- Wisconsin Charcoal & Mint Soap ($6.50) by Madison Soap Company . Sure, I called out this midwesternly magical moisturizing body soap from Madison Soap Company, but frankly - any of these responsibly hand crafted gems is the perfect gift. The best part about gifting soap and other small self-care products? These are the things we often forgo for ourselves, so consider it a way to give others a smidge of extra luxury and care. EVEN BETTER, you can shop for everyone on your list with one purchase when it comes to small items like soap and lip gloss - just find a different fragrance, shade or flavor for each giftee on your list.
- Don't laugh, but I can't not put a Milk Frother (Target, $8) on this list. Two years ago one of my oldest and dearest pals introduced me to this tiny and cheap little gadget, which truly does add a flurry of fancy to warm dairy products. This gift doesn't really fit all the criteria of the Meaningful Gift Manual (it's not handmade, it's surely stuff, it may not be useful to everyone) but it's fun potential is high up there, and it's easy to give away if someone isn't sold on the concept. (Also, frother is a really funny word. Frother. Frother. Frother.)
- Stationery is a go to gift for me. Whether you're gifting to a inveterate letter writer or someone who begrudges the thought of even having to write a thank you note - it's always handy to have some kind of stationery on hand. This Social Preparedness Kit from Egg Press ($32) is like a Swiss-Army knife of good correspondence (and you make it easy for that thank you note to go in the mail!)
- Don't forget the stamps! The most thoughtful addition to any correspondence gift is a handful of postage stamps. Did you know you can purchase stamps through the mail from USPS? It's the best way to get a prime selection, like this "Protect Pollinator" series Forever stamps.
- Did you know it's possible to send warm hugs, beautiful art, and a heartfelt card all at one time in one, flat envelope? It's true! Letterpress Cards, like this Dare to Dally hand designed and pressed piece from Squeezebox Press can serve all your gift giving needs. A) For those of us testing the limits of less, consider using one of these beautiful cards to write a personal letter as a gift to a dear pal. Yes to your thoughtful words, AND the card can be framed as a small piece of wall art too! B) If you're pals with inveterate letter writings who appreciate beautiful stationery, a handful of these blank cards is a gift that can be opened so many times.
- These Weapon of Choice Pencils ($7.50 for a 5 pack) by Holly Oddly are sure to bring joy to anyone with the need to pick up a writing implement (which is pretty much everyone, right?) Holly's shop is chock full of small gifts the we may or may not know we need, but can be integrated into any life. (P.S. I conjured one of her "Bad Decisions Brought Me Here" motel keychains earlier this year and it brings me so much joy.) Yes, the Gift Guide is all about giving less stuff, but clever crafts by witty artisans who are real people making things doesn't really fall into the stuff category.
- After the lengthy conversation on the TinyLetter about getting more sleep and the importance of real pajamas, it seemed like a good idea to include some sleepwear here. This is a fun All You Need Is Sleep Tee ($38.50) from Alphabet Bags. J.Crew and Lake come highly recommended in the PJs department too, but don't quite fit in the "under $36" category.
- Sassy Patches like this from Meriwether of Montana ($6) may not be perfect for everyone, but it's a great example of a tiny, thoughtful gesture that bring quite a laugh (and not take up too much space). Bonus points, it's iron-on, so no one has to worry about sewing anything (but maybe you do have to worry about finding the iron). I found this little patch of joy at a local art and card shop in town. So, now it's possible to shop your local shops AND find adorable crafty goodies supporting artists across the country.
- SOCKS! SOCKS! SOCKS! I can not tell a lie: hearty, well-made, long-lasting socks are my most favorite gift to receive. Both Smartwool and Duluth Trading Company make excellent, long lasting socks for everyone, but really hot the mark for us folks who live in colder climates. This is the exact kind of little luxury that I can rarely justify purchasing for myself ($10-$29) and always cross my fingers they show up in a Christmas stocking. The main challenge here is picking up the best options (there are SO MANY!), but Duluth Trading Company has a well-curated and manageable selection for easy shopping, (and, they are on sale right now)!