I don’t have separate kids and adults gifts this year – my kids are all officially old, and their Christmas requests span the spectrum from I-like-surprises (not helpful) to detailed lists with hyperlinks to specific items, size and color noted (easy).
It’s not like the old days, when I’d be sifting through the toy world for four kids and nine cousins, looking for inexpensive amusements for stockings or gems of lasting value. I’m glad to be entering a new phase – after 17 years, this elf is tired (though the archives are always here for you).
Books are always the last on my buy list, because they don’t sell out. I’m working on a favorite book list for you too. Hope to get that out in the next few days.
But for now…my gift ideas for you this year, for big kids of all ages.
HP Sprocket mini photo printer
I get the cute retro appeal of Instax cameras, but the image quality is awful. For the money, I’d rather have the pocketable HP Sprocket printer, which spits out cute 2×3-inch prints of any photos you want to send over via Bluetooth from your phone, tablet or computer.
The image quality of any smartphone camera beats an Instax, the print quality of the Sprocket is far better, and you’ll have the digital files too. Ink is built into the photo paper, so there are no ink cartridges to buy. And – bonus! – each photo is a sticker with a peel-off back.
The Sprocket is $100 on Amazon, and packs of photo paper generally amount to $0.50 per print (Instax film is more like $1 per print). Hot tip: Amazon has a deal right now for 20 sheets for only $5, which is half the normal price.
Marquee light box
An amusing novelty for a bedroom or dorm room, these mini-marquees are both an invitation and challenge for concise creative expression. You won’t always get words out of older kids, but you may get flashes of insight from what gets displayed on their light boxes. Versions of these are sold in places from Walmart to Urban Outfitters. I like this one from Amazon ($25), because it comes with a generous 200 letters.
Floss Like a Boss tee
Wearing this shirt is like waving a Fortnite flag to every other game addict in the vicinity. Don’t be surprised if they spontaneously bust out in a stiff-armed, hip shaking dance in solidarity. Floss Like a Boss tee ($15) on Amazon, comes in a variety of colors.
Boys of a certain age will find this shirt hilarious. To the rest of us, it might as well be a foreign language. I’m already laughing thinking about the mixed reactions on Christmas morning. YEET! Yeet tee on Amazon ($17).
LED color changing cat light
No one really needs an LED cat light. But who wouldn’t welcome this soft, nonsensical, color-changing friend? It comes with a remote control so you can choose from its 9 colors or let it cycle soothingly through them all. There are a bunch of versions on Amazon, but I am partial to the face on this one ($19).
Fjallraven Kanken backpack
First introduced 40 years ago, this classically simple Swedish backpack is having a moment. You can find it in a rainbow of colors at Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Amazon. It’s $80 everywhere and rarely discounted. Be wary of fakes from China on Amazon selling for less.
Silk pillowcase for hair/skin
Curly girls swear by silk pillowcases, finding their hair smoother, less dry and more manageable in the morning. Many fans find it gentler on delicate face skin as well. The standard bearer is the Slip silk pillowcase ($80), though there are less expensive versions on Amazon ($20).
Fleece pajama pants
Everyone in my family loves fleece pajama pants for lounging around the house on a weekend. Kohl’s sells an inexpensive, highly-rated version in a number of plaids and patterns, which retails for $20 but I’ve purchased for as little as $9 on sale.
Paper Mate Ink Joy gel pens
My girls love the bright color and consistency of these Paper Mate Ink Joy gel pens for both doodling and school work (12 for $14 or 14 for $19 on Amazon). I like Christmas gifts that give people an absorbing activity after the gift-opening excitement is over.
Personalized gifts from Etsy
I admire all the crafty makers on Etsy, and there’s still a short window to order personalized gifts for the holidays. My niece is going to love this personalized cheer pillow ($17), customized for her school colors. The seller has other cheer- and sports-themed pillows; last day for Christmas ordering is December 16.
Have you seen these cityscape rings on Etsy? Skylines of cities in America and around the world – a nostalgic reminder of someone’s hometown or favorite place in their heart. NYC, Rome and Paris would all be tops for me. $38 on Etsy, available in sterling silver, 18K gold or rose gold; custom cities on request. (Note 20% off sale ends today, December 8.)
The idea of this is so whimsical – portraits of people represented by their favorite drink. Your squad will love recognizing themselves as prosecco, Bombay Sapphire, Aperol spritz or Corona. The anthropomorphic bottles are charmingly rendered, but I have to admit the smiling cup of tea is all me. Personalized drink portrait, $22 on Etsy for an unframed A4 print.
Brixton Fiddler cap
I’m slightly obsessed with these English-inspired hats, made by a young company in southern California. Classic designs with a fresh fit and feel, equally cute on guys and girls. Nice to have for a bad hair day or when you simply need a little extra in your ensemble. Find them at Urban Outfitters ($42) or on Amazon or more on Amazon.
Need more ideas? I have loads for you in gift lists from past years. Happy hunting!