Tag Archives: christmas gifts

Better Early Than Never!

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Better Early Than Never!

Hello!!! Question: How early is too early to be thinking about Christmas?! If the answer is the first week of September, then WHOOPS because I have already started my Christmas shopping lol. With over fifteen people that I need to buy prezzies for, I always like to get a jump on my shopping so I am not stuck with one huge bill come December. It is also so nice to be done with holiday shopping early because then I can just sit back and enjoy the season. 🙂

Are you looking to get a head start on your holiday shopping too? Then follow these tips:

Make A List:

I always suggest this but it is so true! I would be nowhere without my “to buy” list and have a Word document that I consult while I online shop. On my list, I name off everyone to shop for with multiple gift ideas per person. Once I have bought the presents for someone on my list, I simply delete their space and there is nothing more satisfying than that! Not only does my list keep me organized but it also assists me with budgeting to help me stay in my comfort zone.

Better Early Than Never:

This is probably the earliest I have ever began my shopping and I’m glad for it. Due to the pandemic, there is no telling how long certain items will take to ship and I like knowing that I will have everything ready to go come Christmas day. There is nothing worse than the anxiety of if something will show up before the holiday and early shopping helps nip that fear in the bud.

If you are planning a customized or commissioned present for someone, I can’t recommend consulting with the business now enough. Local artists and Etsy shops are going to be slammed during the holiday season and they might not have the time to create your gift if you wait too long.

Get Inspired:

When I lack inspiration for gift ideas, I like to think back to what hobbies the person has and what they might need to enjoy it even more. For example, one of my giftees is a grill master so I purchased a wood smoking kit for him to experiment with. Do you know someone with a green thumb? A raised planter box is a great idea so they have even more space to garden with. Is there a coffee enthusiast in your life? How about a customized mug?

I love giving hobby specific gifts because I know that my giftee is going to be able to use it. Once you start thinking in terms of what they like to do in their free time, the present possibilities are endless!

Plan Accordingly:

Getting your holiday shopping done early is great. However, it is smart to look into the return and exchange policies of where you are buying from. If your giftee happens to not like their present, you might not be able to do anything about it once the holiday is over. If the website you’re purchasing from has a return policy that won’t work a couple of months away, try finding the item in store instead. Create a back up plan too in case you can’t find it in store and it gets sold out online.

Also, don’t forget to keep your receipts and gift receipts in a safe space and especially don’t forget where you put them! 😀

It’s not even close to Halloween yet but that doesn’t mean that you can’t think a couple of holidays ahead! Follow the tips above to get an awesome head start on your holiday shopping. 🙂

Are you an early or last minute holiday shopper? What is your favorite holiday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

Hello and welcome to the final Holiday Haul post from this past Christmas! I am so in love with everything that I received and I am already putting all of my gifts to great use. I have had such fun finding special homes for my presents, testing out products, and basically living in my new robe and slippers when I am at my apartment! This Christmas was a bright light at the end of the tunnel of an awful year and I look back on it fondly. I also can’t help but smile every time I see these sweet gifts from those who I consider my “second family”. Check it out:

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In case you can’t tell, Johnny and I are HUGE fans of the Harry Potter books and movies so we just feel spoiled rotten with these gifts. Like Johnny’s parents, my second family had the thoughtful idea to gift us with ornaments for our tree next year and I am so happy with how our collection is already shaping up. Johnny and I are both particularly fond of the one with Harry on his broom. His lil face and scar are just so cute!

During this pandemic, I have enjoyed working on puzzles at my parent’s house and with all of my clients. Unfortunately, Johnny and I just have no space in our apartment to work on a puzzle so I can’t wait until we move somewhere bigger. One of my first orders of business will be placing a small table in the game room we would like to set up so I can get my puzzle on. I think I will start with the one I was gifted with this Christmas first. 🙂

The piece de resistance of this haul was definitely the Hagrid’s Hut LEGO set. Johnny and I made quick work of it the day after I brought these presents home and it turned out SO cool. We haven’t gotten a new Harry Potter LEGO set in forever and Hagrid’s Hut has been on my list for quite some time as I would like to expand the Hogwarts grounds. Johnny and I are planning on getting the Quidditch Pitch, the Whomping Willow, and the Divination Tower sets throughout this year to keep growing our LEGO world. For pics of the completed Hagrid’s Hut set, be sure to tune in tomorrow!

My second family knows me like the back of their hands and Johnny and I could not be more thankful for these amazing Harry Potter themed gifts! I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas more traditionally with them next year and feel so grateful to have such wonderful friends looking out for me. ❤

Have you built a LEGO set recently? Which one? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

Hello! The day after Christmas, Johnny and I visited his parents and it was so nice. Due to COVID, I have not seen them in forever and I was really happy to safely spend time with them. We opened gifts, caught up, and watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as per their family tradition. I feel lucky that this was my second viewing with them and I can’t wait for many more. Johnny and I were gifted with such beautiful presents and I am so tickled that they even got me a stocking for their mantel! Check it out:

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^^^ The adorable “Our First Pandemic” ornament is from Johnny! 🙂

I love all of the gifts from Johnny’s parents so much and I love that many of them are from local businesses in our area even more. The unique earrings came from a local boutique as well as the bar soap and delicious smelling Gingerbread Caramel lotion, which was from Hope Soap. They have a store in downtown Cuyahoga Falls and I have always wanted to check it out so I’m really eager to try their products. And, don’t even get me started on the popcorn from Amaize because it is the BEST. Johnny and I were gifted with a huge sampler of their different flavors last year on our birthdays and we made very quick work of it!

Johnny’s parents also gave us several different ornaments, which was so thoughtful because despite not having a Christmas tree in our apartment this year, we will definitely want one for next Christmas when we are in a bigger place. It will be so much fun to collect ornaments for our own tree and we already have a nice start! I particularly love the middle ornament in the picture above – it is so pretty. 🙂

Being able to spend time with Johnny’s family was the best gift of all. I miss them so and I can’t wait until things are significantly less crazy so we can see them more often. ❤

Do you have an ornament collection? What is your favorite ornament or holiday decoration? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Boyfriend Edition

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Holiday Haul: Boyfriend Edition

Hello! I am so happy that I got to celebrate another Christmas with my boyfriend, Johnny. He means the absolute world to me and I love him so much. After months of asking him if I could tell him what I got him for Christmas, we finally made a deal to open our presents to each other on the afternoon of the 24th. So, you could imagine my surprise when he came home from work on the 22nd and said we should open our gifts now!

Not only is he getting me a new game for the Nintendo Switch as well as a year’s subscription to Duolingo Plus, he also treated me to the following:

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As soon as I opened my guillotine earrings, I gasped because I have had my eye on them for forever. In fact, I have at least five screenshots saved to remind myself to purchase them whenever they show up on my Facebook newsfeed. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “how did you know?!” because I can’t remember ever telling Johnny how much I liked them. He told me when he saw it on his Facebook he knew that I would love them and that made this gift as well as the matching necklace even more special. He knows me like the back of his hand. ❤

I am so excited to pick out a new game to play on the Switch because I have already beaten the Paper Mario game that Johnny got me for our one year anniversary. I will have to do some browsing before I make my choice but I am definitely thinking more Mario! And, finally, the subscription to Duolingo Plus really takes the cake because for one full year I won’t have to worry about running out of hearts while I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech. It will be so handy and SO freaking appreciated and I plan on starting a new language to learn since I’ll have the extra cushion of unlimited hearts. I am currently debating between Swedish, Latin, or Greek!

My Johnny knows how to spoil me and I feel like the luckiest girl ever. Duolingo Plus is exactly what I wanted and a new game and jewelry are exactly what I needed even though I didn’t know it yet! Is he the best boyfriend ever or what? ❤

How do you and your SO celebrate the holidays? What is your favorite game for the Switch? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Surprise Gift Edition

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Holiday Haul: Surprise Gift Edition

Hello!! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl” job is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. I am proud to say that I have worked throughout the entirety of this pandemic and I am even prouder of my county’s board of Developmental Disabilities for taking such good care of all of their employees. From care packages filled with PPE as well as wonderful donations of games and crafting supplies to help keep our clients entertained, we have not been without during the pandemic and it is SO, so, so appreciated.

As if all of the supplies and encouraging emails weren’t enough, my county’s DD board provided us providers with a special gift for the holidays. I was so surprised by this generosity and I am in love with my prezzies picked out just for us. Check it out:

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For my surprise gift, I received a beautiful travel mug filled with caramel and chocolate covered popcorn. I also got the most comfortable pair of socks I have ever owned with “Making A Difference” on one foot and “It’s What I Do!” on the other. How awesome is that?! This gift absolutely touched me and not only did I feel appreciated for the work that I do but it put me in the best mood all day. I was so eager for Johnny to come home from work to show off my spoils and the discovery that my new socks are perfect for sliding around on our hard wood floors!

I love my job so much and would never expect anything in return and I think that’s why these presents mean so much to me. I can’t wait to fill up my travel mug with hot coffee in the morning because I already know it will put a smile on my face. How can the sweet messages printed on the front and back not?!

What makes you feel appreciated? How has your job changed throughout the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: My Friend Edition

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Holiday Haul: My Friend Edition

Hello! It is a very rare thing for me to take time off from work. Mainly because I love my job but also having no paid time off, lol. However, I have taken two weeks off so I can safely celebrate Christmas with my family. I have had such fun enjoying the holiday season with my clients. From online shopping for the perfect presents for each of them to decking out their homes with Christmas decor – it really doesn’t get much better than that!

On my last week of work before my holiday vacation, one of my dear friends who I have the joy of working with bestowed these beautiful gifts onto me. Check it out:

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My pal and I love to color together and I am tickled that he selected a coloring book and colored pencils just for me. I am so excited to bring the Buggie Buddies book with me the next time I watch my niece because she loves stickers and creating masterpieces with crayons. The Malley’s Chocolates are delicious and tastes like a fancy Heath Bar, which is perfect because that’s one of my favorite candies. I also love the Christmas card that came with my gifts – it is absolutely adorable!

Nothing is more special to me than the gifts that my sweet friends have chosen. Honestly, the selection above is already my favorite gift and it isn’t even Christmas yet. I know how much thought and care went into picking these gifts out – from the carefully wrapped package to the contents inside that are filled with such happy memories. I know my friend is going to love the present I got for him and I cannot wait to call him on Christmas day when he opens it! ❤

What is one of your favorite gifts that you have received? Is there a gift that you’re really excited about giving this year? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

2020 Approved Christmas Gift Ideas

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2020 Approved Christmas Gift Ideas

Hello! 2020 has been a crazy year, to say the least. And, until the COVID-19 pandemic gets under control, things are going to remain crazy. The coronavirus may have put a damper on your upcoming holiday plans. However, you can still be the best gifter of the bunch with these totally approved for 2020 gift ideas. Check it out:

Streaming Subscription:

If one of your giftees doesn’t have a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Shudder, or Amazon Prime, then this would be the perfect time to introduce them. Buy a subscription for them for a couple of months or, heck, the entire year! The gift of entertainment will certainly go a long way right now and it will give you someone new to talk about all of your favorite shows with.

Gift Cards:

To some, gift cards might feel like a cop out gift. I have never been under that impression and am never opposed to gift cards – especially right now! Gift cards are great because you can use them during online shopping so no visits to the store are required and your giftee can pick out exactly what they want. Safe, smart, and so simple.

Date Night In:

Staying in is the best thing you can do right now so why not create a date night in for your favorite couple? Try sending them a box from Blue Apron or Hello Fresh so that they can prepare a meal together and a new board game for the evening’s entertainment. The wine is optional but would not go unappreciated… For me, at least! 😀

Craft Kits:

Another fun idea for creating entertainment at home for your giftee is assembling a craft kit for them. Whether that be a wooden bird box and some paint for a nature lover, beautiful beads for a friend who makes jewelry, or a sketch pad and colored pencils for your favorite artist a craft kit is thoughtful and sure to be a success for your artistically inclined giftees.

2020 Care Package:

Honestly, everyone can use some help right now and a 2020 care package could be the biggest crowd pleaser of all. Fill a basket with hand made cloth masks from a local business, Purell, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. Is it the most fun? No. Is it the most useful? Absolutely! It’s just like getting socks for Christmas – no one necessarily loves it but they are always needed! 🙂

If you are struggling with coming up with gifts for everyone on your list, use the tips above for the ultimate 2020 approved ideas!

Are you all done holiday shopping? What are some of your best gift ideas for 2020? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Stuck On Early Holiday Shopping? Have Some Ideas!

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Stuck On Early Holiday Shopping? Have Some Ideas!

Hello!! Yes, yes, roll your eyes all you want to my last minute holiday shoppers but Lil Red is over halfway done with her Christmas shopping! In case you haven’t noticed, I absolutely love gift giving and because I have so many people to shop for – the earlier I can get done the better for me. A stress free December where all I have to do is wrap up prezzies is the goal.

However, my drive to complete my holiday shopping doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten stuck on gifts to purchase. In fact, it’s been difficult this year because I feel like I’ve used up all of my best ideas before. Lol, so I had to get creative and if you got gifter’s block like me, you might appreciate these ideas:

Insect Condos:

I have quite a few giftees with a positively green thumb and gifts for the garden always go over well for them. This year, I was very interested in insect condos to help promote healthy garden growth as well as our bee population. These little “houses” feature all of the materials that handy insects like lady bugs, bees, butterflies (the list goes on) love like sawdust, bamboo, and cedar wood.

I thought these insect condos would be a perfect addition to the gardens that my giftees tend so lovingly and you can find tons of amazing homemade ones on Etsy or there are plenty on Amazon. I also had to snag a butterfly feeder for my dad (He doesn’t read my blog so I can post this, I swear!) because him and his granddaughter love watching the butterflies in his garden together. I know they will both be happy with it!

Baking Boxes:

This year, I wanted to get something different for the families I work with as opposed to the normal holiday decor, chocolates, or ornaments. So, I found some baking boxes through King Arthur Flour to gift them with. These boxes come with all of the ingredients to make a delicious dessert and I thought it would be a fun activity that all of them could bake and enjoy together.

There is nothing better for baking than products from King Arthur Flour and I was happy to be able to get such nice gifts for a price I was comfortable with. In fact, I plan on purchasing more as it gets closer to Christmas to have shipped to other loved ones on my list.

Willow Tree Figures:

I have always been fond of gifting the beautiful Willow Tree figurines to people because they are sentimental and simple decor and it’s easy to find one that applies to wherever your giftee is in life. For example, last year when my mom and dad became grandparents, I gifted my mom a statue to represent that, as it was a grandma holding her sweet grandbaby.

From celebrating your pets and relationships to saying thank you by purchasing a Willow figure holding a bouquet of flowers, you are surely to find the right one for your giftee!

Stocking Stuffers:

Stocking stuffers are great if you need a little something extra for a gift or you want to do an entire goodie basket. Winter accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves are a great place to start if you’re doing a gift exchange in your friend group. Cozy blankets, a decadent box of chocolates, and bottles of wine always go over well too! Still stuck? Candles, bath and body care, gift cards, your favorite book, and even socks (I like getting them!) are all crowd pleasers.

Take some of the stress out of your holiday preparations with the gift ideas above. Happy shopping!

When do you normally start holiday shopping? Who is the most difficult person on your list to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Early Christmas Shopping Edition

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Monday Update: Early Christmas Shopping Edition

Hellooo everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! The holidays are approaching quickly and because I’m a big fan of planning ahead, I’ve been doing a lot of my holiday shopping nice and early. I made my list of what to by and who to by for, checked it twice, and crossed off three people on my list already this past week! Let’s discuss:

Last year I did all of my shopping on Amazon and I plan on doing a vast majority of it on there again this year. However, thanks to some wonderful coupons and gift cards from Kohl’s and TJMaxx, I was able to knock out gifts for my sister and best friend. I can’t post what I got for them in case they read it, of course, but I can say that for both of them I purchased a gorgeous cloth decorative basket to fill with some of their favorite things. I’m excited to give my gifts to them because this year I went with items that I knew for a fact that both of them would love so there’s absolutely no way that they’re going to dislike anything and deem me a horrible gift giver!

It’s always fun to shop around and try something new that you think someone might like but it just causes so much anxiety! This year, I’m going for gifts that I’m 100% sure are going to be used and enjoyed by the people who I’m buying for. Believe me, the last thing that I want to do when Christmas rolls around is retreat back to the stores to return or exchange gifts that I went out on a limb to purchase with a hope that the receiver just might like it. This rings especially true for my sister, who is literally the hardest person ever to shop for! It’s not that she’s picky, she just knows what she likes and what she doesn’t so it was especially important to go with tried and true favorites for her!

I mentioned above that I did some shopping at Kohl’s and TJMaxx but I also did some purchasing at a few small businesses in Kent, as well. I think that it’s so very important to shop local when you can during the holiday season and in general so I was really pleased that I was able to find some nice presents from some fantastic little boutiques that are relatively close to me. Thanks to the fun downtown shopping area in Kent, which is close to where I coach figure skating for the Special Olympics, I was able to buy an add on to my sister’s gift basket and an amazing gift for my boyfriend. I wish that I could tell you what I got him so badly because it’s seriously the best gift ever and I got it for the best deal ever, as well – which you know is something that I always look out for! #ballinonabudget

I’m really glad that I knocked out some shopping last week because now I only have four people left to shop for and to me, that is so relieving! For these last few gifts I’ll probably stick with Amazon and other online shopping sites because I already have items from there in mind. Another big relief is that I won’t have to venture out into the craziness that is the mall or other shopping centers during the next few weeks because it’s much too overwhelming for me. When I went to Kohl’s and TJs they were both fairly crowded already but the local shops that I hit up were nice and vacant for the most part which made shopping so much more enjoyable…another benefit of shopping local!

As far as any hardcore Black Friday shopping goes this week, it’s strictly out of the question…sort of, anyways. The past two years my mom and I have went to the mall probably an hour or so before they close up for the day, and each year it’s been quite empty – so fingers crossed that it’s like that again this year for a threepeat! We go to the mall with one store to go to and one store only…The Body Shop! Each year TBS runs their three for thirty sale as well as an awesome gift for a great price that you can purchase, which is typically a cute tote filled with one hundred or more dollars worth of product. During the three for thirty sale we stock up on our more expensive necessities and end up saving a small fortune! It’s seriously the best, but if we don’t make it out to the mall this Friday then it’s okay because the deal runs throughout the entire holiday season. Our yearly tradition is fun though, so I hope that it will happen again this Black Friday!

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^^^ Lololololol, so true!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Early Christmas Shopping Edition! Who has gotten some holiday shopping done already? Who plans on going Black Friday shopping this week? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah