wrapping paper plus boxes - 4 secrets to getting it right

When I asked about your thoughts on gift guides a few weeks ago, there were several requests for miscellaneous categories — co-worker gifts, neighbor gifts, teacher or coach gifts, white elephant and silly gifts — stuff like that. So today’s list covers all that, plus includes a few ideas that are perfect for family gifts (items the whole family would enjoy). Oh, and a full half of the ideas are $15 and under, with a whole bunch under $10 too.

I hope this guide is helpful! As usual, please share your own gift ideas in the comments. And you can find all the gift guides from this year here — the Teen Guide was by far the most popular!

Casa Tissue Box Cover. We were gifted one of these many years ago and we’ve kept it on our living room coffee table all this time. It’s still the cutest tissue box ever.

Mini Cast Iron Skillet. Talk about a bargain. This 6.5″ skillet is both adorable and totally functional. Related, you can get it even smaller at 3.5 inches for fifty cents less — could be a fun stocking stuffer. I also saw these mini cast iron skillet cookie sets that are designed for gifting.

Atlas Obscura Book. This book has wide appeal for anyone interested in random stuff about the world, and for anyone who has a longing for adventure.

Wooden Spoon Set. Even the most well-stocked kitchen can always use new wooden spoons. Tied with a big bow, these make a handsome set and would work well as a hostess gift.

Octopus Kite. This one is somewhere between silly and cool. It’s inexpensive, but interesting and would very likely get used. It comes in several different colors.

Mini BlueTooth Speaker. This has amazing reviews, comes in 5 great colors, and would work for anyone who has a cell phone and likes music or podcasts (which is pretty much everyone).

Retro Uno Cards. It’s just Uno, but it looks so cool with the retro packaging. And who doesn’t love Uno? Another easy stocking stuffer.

Marble Coasters. This set of 4 is handsome and sturdy, and neutral enough to work in many different styles of homes.

Thumb Drive. Silly! But functional. Stocking stuffer for a teen, or a fun white elephant option.

Hot Sauce Challenge Book. This seems like a perfect co-worker gift, right? Or maybe for a brother-in-law? Or teenager? I can picture lots of laughs as someone tries out the challenges with their family or friends over the holiday break.

Mixed Pets Socks. A five pack of cute socks. It’s a safe, happy gift.

Magnetic Bottle Opener. This would make a good-looking addition to the fridge.

Set of 24 Cactus Bottle Openers. Another bottle opener option. You have to buy 24 of these, but they’re great-looking and come to less than $3 each. Give one to every house in the neighborhood, or put one on every co-worker’s desk. They come individually boxed for gifting.

Bush Craft 101 Field Guide. This is another book with wide-appeal for anyone that seems even mildly interested in the great outdoors.

Cat Lunchbag. Weird, or awesome? My tween (almost teen!) Oscar uses this as his lunchbag.

Galaxy Fanny Pack. Could be perfect for a white elephant exchange. Or, could be perfect as a teen gift with no irony intended.

Unicorn Headband. Are you sick of unicorn stuff already? It’s everywhere. This one-size-fits-all headband is great looking and fun for all ages. You can get 1 for $9 or 2 for $11.

Marimekko Book. A design book that I don’t see everyday. The Finnish brand, Marimekko is one of my favorites.

Honeypot with Dipper. I think of this as a neutral kitchen accessory. It’s charming and useable, and most people don’t have their own little honey pot with a dipper.


I made a whole category of magazine subscriptions because they are one of my favorite things to gift. All you need is someone’s mailing address, and you can gift them something they’ll personally love and that will last all year.

Usually, I order the subscription online, and then pick up a current copy of the magazine at a newsstand. I roll up the magazine, tie a bow around it, and tada!: An easy, affordable, thoughtful gift. It’s also great for last-minute-picking-up-at-the-grocery-store-gift on the way to a party.

And there are so many different magazines!! It’s easy to find one that will fit anyone’s interests. Here are 5 I highly recommend:

Atlantic Magazine. Thoughtful long form essays on current events.

Bon Appétit Magazine. For foodies. And what a great price!

Sunset Magazine. This one is ideal for anyone living in Western States (or for anyone who wishes they were).

The New Yorker Magazine. You always feel smarter when a issue of The New Yorker shows up in your mailbox.

Magnolia Journal. Know a Fixer Upper lover? This subscription will make their day.


Here’s another mini-category within this miscellaneous gift guide. These options are great as family gifts (though really, they work as individual gifts too).

Fontanini Nativity Set. I’m a big Fontanini fan. Our very first Christmas, my mother gifted us this simple nativity set, and we’ve added pieces over the years. Wisemen, shepherds, an angel, a stable, sheep, a donkey, camels… There are 2 or three different sizes. I collect the 3.5 inch figures — which I think are the smallest.

Other things I like about Fontanini: They are hand-painted and sophisticated looking, but they’re made of resin, so they’re not breakable. Which means my kids have always played with them and it’s never stressful. Also, they are great as add-on gifts — you start with one item, and then add something new each year. And the options for new additions are pretty much endless. You can basically create the whole town of Bethlehem in Fontanini figures. : )

Retro Series Board Games. There are a ton of options in this retro line. You can gift one box, or a few to make a set.

Rainbow Sport Kite. I listed a silly kite above, and this one is more substantial and better quality. Kite-flying is a super fun family activity.

1000 Piece Puzzle of Bestseller Covers. We love doing a puzzle together on Christmas Day in the afternoon. This one seems awesome because there are so many conversations you could have about all those books!

Oversize Connect 4. This one has a higher price tag, but wow, what an impact it would make on Christmas morning. It’s four feet wide! What an awesome addition this would be to a family room or play room.


Okay. That’s it for this list. And that’s it for my official 2017 gift guides! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do these gifts spark any ideas for you? Feel free to share links in the comments.

P.S. — More gift ideas in The Shop.