2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1: For Everyone

I am brimming with gift ideas this year for some reason so thought I'd share some so you can be a little ahead of the game. (It's really easy to find gifts that you can't afford - the challenge is finding gifts that are special and within non-celebrity budgets!)

1. Penguin Cloth-bound Classics, $13.-20., amazon.com

2. St. Lucia Snowflake set, $20., anthropologie.com

3. Down East Breakfast Giftbox, $39.95 (5% proceeds go to various AIDS organizations), stonewallkitchen.com
Actually, all of their gift baskets are fantastic and within all price ranges.

4. Slatkin Candles in "Fireside", $19.50-25.00, bathandbodyworks.com
I am addicted to these and they make the whole house smell as if you have a crackling fireplace
(for those of us who don't!).


5. 180s, $16.99, amazon.com
I give these to at least one person every year. They look kind of weird but, A. they don't mess up your hair, B. they tuck under a hat for those forward-facing, ear-numbing Boston gusts, C. they have a version that you can slip earphones/buds into.

6. Make a book on Blurb. $12.95-74.95, blurb.com
Affordable way to make a really unique gift for individuals or entire families.
It doesn't have to be just a photo album, make it a story about a trip you all took together.

7. Pantone Mugs, set of 10, $110., uncommongoods.com
I got a few of these as a gift and I can attest to the appeal to design geeks. You can break this set up
into multiple gifts! They have a set for tea lovers also (on right).

8. Envirosax, $8.50, envirosax.com
 Another of my favorite go-to gifts. These are by far the prettiest of the eco-friendly
reusable bags out there. (And the handles do fit over your shoulder)

9. Museum Memberships, starting at $75,
This is a great group family gift that continues to add value all-year long, is tax-deductable and supports the arts and sciences in your community. Honestly, you'd spend much more on sweaters anyway!

10. Movie passes from fandango.com 
You can send them by email or by mail and also design your own. Fandango is great because it can apply to any theater. Make it more personal and make plans to go see a movie with the person.
I've given these in popcorn boxes before or you can also add some movie candies to the gift.

11. Magazine Subscriptions, like Real Simple.
I've given Real Simple as a gift more times than I can remember. It's beautiful, useful, and has great recipes. Magazines are like 12 little gifts all year and are incredibly affordable. I usually buy the current issue on the stand and wrap that up.
Another great one is National Geographic Traveler.

12. Your time and skills
The holidays can be very tough in an economy like this, but the most personal, inspired gifts can come from your own ingenuity and creative thinking. For example, if you are an amazing cook, include some recipes and a certificate for a "night of Tuscan cooking lessons"; or sewing/knitting lessons; babysitting is worth gold I hear, so give a couple of nights of babysitting so frazzled parents can go out on a date; dog walking and dog sitting is also a great gift; giving professional time works too, just be sure to be clear about how many hours you are giving as the gift; do you know wines? are you a bartender? offer to bartend at a friend's holiday party for an evening, etc.

Give your "certificates" in personalized gift envelopes that you can create with materials from any art supply store, craft store, or my favorite, Papersource:

13. Sketchbooks from Moleskine

Write a personal message on the inside first page. Their categories are: creating, drawing, exploring, organizing, painting, recording, sharing, traveling, writing—so there is bound to be something for everyone.

14. Beautiful city guides. Give one or multiples in sets.

from Moleskine:

 from Wallpaper Magazine: $8.95-$49.75

from Louis Vuitton: $34.00-$130.00

Next installments: Host/Hostess Gifts, Creative Gifts, Mid-Century Modern Gifts & more.