Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

Now that we have crossed the threshold into the month of November (cue the Christmas Pandora station!), it is time to start planning and thinking of a practical approach for gift giving. I have a very type-A personality (just ask my family! haha!), so I tend to have my gifts purchased and wrapped by December. Not only does it put my crazy mind at ease, but it is so wonderful to have wrapped gifts under the tree for the month of December.

Our tiny tree, last year, right before Thanksgiving ;-) and decking the drums!

Here are some gift suggestions and ideas for the most important people in your life.

Let's face it, your mom deserves something luxurious. This monogrammed bathrobe from Mark and Graham will be a delight for your mom.

Additionally, as a stocking stuffer, this kitchen hand towel is probably my mom's favorite gift she has ever received from me. It reads, "OMG my mother was right about everything!" (She loves referencing THE towel!).

Another idea would be these darling idiom tote bags from The Initial Co. If your mom is anything like mine, she loves to use reusable totes for any shopping. Check out the cute sayings on these. Major bonus: two Saint Mary's College graduates (sisters!) created this company! I love to support my fellow Belles! Use code: BELLEONTREND for 15% your Initial Co. purchase until November 10! The website is FULL of fantastic gift ideas and SMC-related finds. LOVE!

Nora Fleming makes beautiful serving dishes that can be changed up every season with these little "doo-dads" (below) called minis. You buy a dish or serving platter, and you then can use the platters through all occasions and seasons by interchanging the minis. 
Each mini has a little tube-like structure that fits into a hole on the dishes. You could start a collection for your mom (or mother-in-law!)

Dad: It is fun for our dads to be able to recollect on their towns and where they grew up. These personalized map coasters from Uncommon Goods allow dads to reflect on their hometowns (or any location you choose) as they sip their drinks and think of what a good daughter or son they have ;-)

Additionally, any "fill-in" books for your father are really unique. This book would be something he would cherish forever!

Mothers and fathers-in-law:
It can be a little more difficult to shop for your in-laws because you likely do not know them as well as you know your parents and siblings. However, you always want to purchase memorable and thoughtful gifts for them! Here are some suggestions for the in-laws in your life.

Mark and Graham has some of most unique monogrammed and personalized items. These are ideal housewarming gifts, too, as they are made specifically for your recipient. This personalized wood tray is so fun for entertaining.
In addition, I am loving letter ornaments. To me, ornaments are a gift that "keeps on giving" as you can display them from year to year. It's so fun to take our ornaments out of storage each Christmas season and remember fondly who got us which ornaments. These whimsical letter ornaments are from Anthropologie's website. An idea would be to get the first letter of each child's name, grandchild and maybe even the first letter of the family's last name.

Siblings/ Brothers and Sisters-in-Law
I am lucky enough to have gained 4 brothers and 2 sisters through my sister's marriage and my own. For your "bonus" siblings, here are some fun ideas for Christmas gifts.

Sisters/Sisters-in-law: Alex and Ani bracelets (first, find out if she wears more gold or silver, and proceed from there). You can add to her collection or start one for her.  Each bracelet is so meaningful, and she will always think of you when she wears it! It is a stackable bracelet, so you can add to her collection with each holiday.

As another idea, this monogrammed tote bag makes trips to Jewel so much more glam! I love this for your sisters, particularly if they have acquired a new last name. Again, The Initial Co. just rocks for gifts! You'll want to buy yourself one, too!

Finally, this Kate Spade coffee table book is a new release.  You simply cannot go wrong with her darling book! It has cute etiquette tips and party-planning advice, and possesses the overall Kate Spade charm that we all know and love.

Brothers/ Brothers-in-law: Personalized beer mugs from The Initial Co.  The personalization of these mugs make them even more thoughtful.  Pair the mugs with a six-pack of beer from a local craft brewery. You'll be the favorite sister-in-law in no time! ;-)

Significant Other

Of course these will vary by person, but it is best to listen for hints throughout the months leading up to Christmas. If you live with your significant other, this is typically a simple task! Just keep your ears open. However, if you do not live together, or it's a newer relationship, sometimes the task of buying the perfect gift can be daunting. Tailor the gift to what your significant other really adores (aside from you, of course!). Perhaps his alma mater is very important to him. Scope the university book store's website if that is the case. Maybe she has recently gotten serious about exercising. If that is the case, what is better than fashionable workout gear?

A nice 1/4 zip pullover from your man's college is a great place to start.

I love the idea of planning a future event, too.  A craft beer fest or whiskey tasting in your town would be an exciting future gift to give (you could print out the ticket to the event or concert and wrap that). Then, Christmas doesn't have to end on the 25th!

There's nothing quite like seeing your man in a crisp new collared shirt, am I right, ladies? Look no further than this Vineyard Vines Oxford for a tailored look for your hottie.

This Lilly Pulitzer scarf would be perfect for anyone who calls Chicagoland her home! (There are designs of all things Chicago on the scarf!)
Tory Burch just came out with a line of workout clothing. How fabulous would your girlfriend/fiance/wife look in these spandex leggings?

It is fun to receive gifts that you wouldn't want to buy yourself.  I often tell Mike if he is stuck on a gift, I would love more Pure Barre classes!

Again, this will vary significantly by age, but I can provide some ballpark ideas (based on the ages of my adorable nieces and nephews and Goddaughter).

What little girls don't love glitter? Sparkly Toms are a great option for mini gals. Your niece or Goddaughter will think of her very cool aunt or Godmother each times she glitters around in these Toms!

Any Star Wars toys like this Star Wars Sorry board game. The new Star Wars movie comes out on December 18, so it is just in time to get the boys in your life excited! (And also the adult boys in your life, too!).

Tiny tots:
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers or Press Here by Herve Tullet. These three books have been huge hits with the tiniest people in our life!
The Book with No Pictures creates so many laughs with your littlest family members. Check out B.J. Novak reading the book to kids! It's hilarious.

Gal Pals:

I have purchased this gift for two of my besties in the past, and they absolutely loved it. These latitude and longitude coordinate necklaces are so thoughtful and special. I met my bestie, Caitlin, at Notre Dame, so I used the coordinates of the University of ND on her necklace. I grew up with my bestie, Megan, so I used Boardman, Ohio as the coordinates for her necklace. This Etsy seller was prompt and wonderful to work with; I highly recommend this gift as a personalized piece for your girls!

Another fun gift for your girlfriends would be this Love state tee by the Initial Co. My college and high school girlfriends reside all over the country, and it would be so fun to celebrate their current or home state with this tee shirt! Always a conversation starter-- don't forget your roots this Christmas! 

Don't let the holidays be a time of stress for you! All you should be worrying about this holiday season is spending time with the people who are most important to you and thanking God for having those people in your life.  Embrace the idea of shopping early, leisurely and maybe even online! Alleviate any unnecessary hassles.  Use these ideas to get started!

Don't forget: shop The Initial Co. from now until November 10 with the code BELLEONTREND to receive 15% off your next purchase!  So happy to support my fellow Smicks!


  1. Thanks for the Initial Co. recommendation! Such cute stuff and I love supporting my fellow Belles!

    1. You are so welcome! They're the best! Thanks for reading! :):):) xxoo