2018 Christmas Gifts

Gifts I Got for Christmas 2018

As you might recall, I shared what I got for Christmas this time last year and I really enjoyed creating the post!  So, I decided to share my Christmas gifts this year, too.

Like I said a year ago, I do this to share my gratitude for the wonderful people who gave me these. Hopefully, it will inspire a few gifts for you to get for loved ones, too. Spread the love!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Clothes & Accessories

Pajamas

If you read my Blogmas post about Christmas traditions, you’ll know about our annual Christmas Eve jammies! This year’s featured some adorable llamas–matching for me, Rachel, and Mom! Mom got the sleep shirt while Rachel and I got the top/pants set in the same design.

llama pajamas

Fuzzy socks

Something you should know about me if you don’t already: I’m nearly always cold!  The past few months, cold feet have been a particular annoyance (don’t tell my future husband!). So, I’ve been wearing fuzzy socks as much as possible.  These were a great trio to add to my collection!

Llama keychain

If you haven’t caught on yet: Hi, I’m Jules. I adore llamas (also, alpacas). That being said, this little fuzzball (in my favourite colour) was a perfect gift!

llama keychain

Necklace

While my mom doesn’t actively sell Paparazzi jewellery any longer, she still purchases some from time to time.  When she gave me this necklace, she prefaced it with “I thought of you when I saw this because it seems very Victorian.” She isn’t wrong and I love it! The green stones are the perfect touch.

victorian-style necklace

Beauty

Wet n Wild

Having gotten much more into makeup this year (thanks, RachhLoves, I entirely blame you for my obsession–in the best way possible!), one of the top items on my Christmas list this year was this holiday zodiac-themed set from Wet n Wild. I’m a Scorpio (and a very stereotypical Scorpio more often than not!) and I knew the gorgeous blue-toned shades in the Water set would go beautifully with my eyes. I’d already fallen in love with the lip shades, so this was a must-have!

Mom was wonderful enough to find me the set!  And, soon enough, our local Walmart had the whole series (all four elements) on sale. I picked up the others to use as some goal incentives for 2019–I can’t have them until I’ve paid off a certain amount of my credit cards!–and as a gift for my sister who, despite being a fellow Scorpio, was mildly obsessed with the Fire set.

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen that I’m on a bit of a search regarding that Fire set. Ours came with a smashed compact mirror which, the bad juju notwithstanding, was so disappointing to my sister.  I contacted Walmart and Wet n Wild, who each told me to contact the other, so no luck there.  So, if you or someone you know has the Fire set and would be willing to part with the compact to make a sad teenager’s day, I’d be eternally grateful!

I also got a few other makeup goodies from my mom and my grandparents! I’m especially excited to test out the blush–I had some bad experiences with blush years ago (the colours I had were all wrong for me and looked horrid!), so I haven’t tested it out in years. I’m excited to play with it once again!

wetnwild water

Haircare tools

Another thoughtful gift from my grandparents was this stunning champagne/rose gold set of brushes and other haircare tools. The colour is absolutely perfect and I was desperately in need of a new brush!

haircare & makeup gifts

Electronics

Headphones

I work in transcription when I’m not blogging or writing, and all those hours with $10 Walmart headphones pressed to my ears weren’t doing me any favours, neither for my consistent migraines or my ability to work in anything but absolute silence.  Mom found an amazing deal on some Beats headphones* and it has made such a difference!

beats headphones

Webcam

You might remember me mentioning several times that I’ve been preparing a Youtube channel for For the Sake of Good Taste. It’s definitely been pushed to the backburner over time, but it’s definitely something I hope to incorporate at least a bit in 2019 (perhaps videos once a month or so?).  With that in mind, Mom picked up this webcam* that I’d had on my wishlist and actually forgotten about!

This is going to get its first use with an interview I’m doing soon on the poetry side of my life (learn more about my writing at my writing site, if you’re interested!).  From there, I’m hoping to get a space together to start vlogging! I’d love any tips you’d like to share so feel free to reach out in the comments or on social media if you’ve got any experience or tips for new vloggers!

HP Sprocket*

This was definitely the most surprising of my gifts! I’m in quite a few bullet journalling groups on Facebook and the HP sprocket (and similar products) are constantly appearing as favourite items. I’ve always thought they were neat, but I never in a million years thought I would have one of my own. Between the relatively high price point (at least for my personal budget) and needing to buy paper going forward, I had resigned myself to never testing out instant prints in my bujo.

Well, Mom listened to my thoughts on this more than I had. She found a great deal on the 2-in-1 sprocket*, which actually takes photos as well! I haven’t played around with all of its features yet, but I have printed out some cute photos of Fitz because priorities.

sprocket

Stationery

Harry Potter stationery & wand pen

One of my best friends, Monica, goes to visit her sister in Ireland regularly (one of these days I’ll follow her!).  On a recent trip, she picked up this gorgeous Harry Potter stationery and wand pen for me for Christmas!  I’ve already told her that we *will* be writing letters now.

harry potter stationery

Dot grid journals

Back to my bullet journal obsession, Mom got me two of my favourite dot grid journals from Michael’s, which should keep me going bujo-wise for at least half this year!

Stay tuned for a look at my 2019 bullet journal next week! 

dot grid journals

Pens

I adore Papermate flair pens* and these were the perfect addition to my collection!  Apparently my parents’ dog agrees, though . . . if you look closely, two of the caps have been attacked!

papermate flair

Recollections Creative Year Planner Books

While I keep lots (and lots and lots) of collections in my bullet journal, there are a few things that I’d love to have a pre-set layout for (and maybe transition into my bullet journal eventually).  These little booklets are perfect!  I’ve already been making huge strides towards my 2019 goals (posts on those coming soon!) with the Goals book!  In total, I got the menu planning*, goals*, important info, and bucket list books.

recollections creative year

Letterhead

In probably the most touching of my individual Christmas gifts, Mom had some letterhead made for my brand-new literary magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, which I’m thrilled to say has taken off beautifully so far! I haven’t decided just yet as to what I’ll be using this for, but I can’t even tell you how much it means to me that she thought to do this.

nightingale & sparrow letterhead

Bullet Journal Organiser

While we’re already on a sappy note, I’ve got to share this organiser that Mom put together for me.  I’ve been saying for ages that I need to find a better organisation system for my bullet journal supplies. While this won’t hold all of my goodies, it’s absolutely perfect for holding my most-used items!  She included my bullet journal supplies, letterhead, and other goodies in this with a note reminding me to follow my dreams.  I’m tearing up again just writing this!

bullet journal organiser
Of course, it’s storing some other Christmas goodies in this photo while I work on my bujo!

Books

Cookbook

For weeks, my sister has been pointing to a Harry Potter-wrapped package under the tree and reminding me that it’s the gift she’s picked out especially for me. It turns out that that packaged housed this lovely vegan cookbook*!  I’m looking forward to playing around with some of these recipes!

Whiskey in a Teacup

I’m a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon (to the point that I’ve written a micropoem titled “In which I am played by Reese Witherspoon,” which will hopefully be published soon!). This book* has been on my TBR since months before its release.  Once I get caught up on some of the pieces I’m reviewing & blurbing, this is next up!

whiskey in a teacup - reese witherspoon

Bonnies Crew Anthology

While not technically a Christmas gift, I won a giveaway for a copy of this lovely little poetry anthology. It arrived just before Christmas, so I think it still counts!

Misc.

Kuchi Kopi blanket

Like last year, I got a few Bob’s Burgers gifts!  This hooded Kuchi Kopi blanket* is a personal favourite–he’s my favourite character from the show!

kuchi kopi blanket
I had the flu while finishing up photos for this post, so no selfies with Kuchi Kopi just yet–keep an eye on Instagram for some future shots!

Sheep finger puppet

My friend B is going to school back in England and sent me this adorable finger puppet of a sheep. While we were both living there, she got used to me getting excited each time we came across a field of sheep (which was, thankfully, quite often). This was the perfect reminder!

Burger pillow*

Mom loved the irony of buying this for her vegan daughter. But, I could definitely replicate it as a vegan burger!  It’s also the perfect amount of fluffy.

burger pillow - fitz
Fitz agrees.

Wand

Another gift from my wonderful friend B! This personalised wand is meant to be a reminder of my being “badass.” She knows about my struggles with mental health, so this was, again, a perfect gift!

Fish ornament

Back to the earlier topic of Christmas traditions, this was the first year that we received a special ornament as part of our Christmas Eve gift. My sister, a lifelong proponent of Chinese food, got a little soy sauce bottle, while I got this beautiful goldfish! Mom and I have referred to each other as “fishy” for years now, so it was the perfect touch.

Like in years past, I’m blown away at my friends’ and family’s talents at giving the perfect gift.  What Christmas gifts were your favourite to give or to get this year?

2018 Christmas Gifts

Last-minute Gifts from Amazon

Last-Minute Gifts You Can Get On Amazon (Blogmas 2018, Day Nineteen)

Are you in need of some last-minute gifts as Christmas grows nearer and nearer? If you have Prime shipping (or can use someones), you’re in luck.  We’ve spent far too much time on Amazon’s Gifts for Everyone page, filtered it to items under $20 (last-minute Secret Santa gifts? We’ve got you covered), and compiled dozens of our favourite last-minute gift ideas.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

If you don’t shop on Amazon for whatever reason, feel free to use this list as inspiration for items to buy elsewhere.

Bluetooth Shower Speaker*

Take their shower sing-along sessions to the next level.

Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet*

For all the times I’ve heard glowing reviews of cast iron pans, I’ve yet to get one myself!

Draw 50 Animals*

Have a budding artist on your hands? Give them a headstart with these tutorials for drawing 50 different animals.

Essential Oil Diffuser*

Perhaps so you can diffuse some of our favourite festive scents?

Wonder Woman Blanket with Sleeves*

My mom would love this! Stay cosy while saving the world.

French Press*

You cannot go wrong with coffee–it’s a scientific fact.

Wine Tumblers*

Wine sippy cups? Yes, please!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories*

This includes one of my favourite Christmas songs!

Water Colour Pocket Box*

Everything’s better in miniature!

Selfie Ring Light*

These are good for more than selfies!  I’ve used them to snap shots for Instagram, too.

Do One Thing Every Day That Inspires You*

This book is part of a series, too!

Wooden Book Box*

A book-shaped box to keep your valuables safe!  Books really can do anything.

Sudoku Puzzle Book*

500+ sudoku puzzles!

Turquoise Teakettle*

Does this scream Pam and Jim to anyone else?

Favourite Child Mug*

The perfect mug for the coffee (or tea!) -loving parent with a sense of humour.

Herb Garden Seed Kit*

I absolutely love the idea of having fresh herbs on hand.  A set like this is the perfect way to start off!

Plush Penguin*

You are never too old for a stuffed penguin friend, but this would be great for a kid, too.

But I Could Never Go Vegan! *

While you wait for us to launch our veganism course, try out some painless vegan recipes from this book!

The Writer’s Toolbox*

This looks like the perfect gift for the writer in your life!

The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook *

Harry Potter fan?  Insult those foul, loathsome, evil little cockroaches appropriately.

Disney Songs for Ukulele*

I don’t think I’ve met a ukuleleist who isn’t also a Disney fan!

I Like His Beard, I Like Her Butt mugs*

A cute, funny gift for your best couple friends!

Pastry/Ravioli Wheel*

Grab this one for your Italian friend who’ll only eat homemade pasta or cannoli.

Pusheen Weekly Planner Desk Pad*

Does your friend like cute animals, like the iconic Pusheen? Does s/he like to stay organised? Here’s a great gift!

Garden Gloves with Claws*

Make sure your favourite green thumb can really dig into their gardening this year.

I Love You Like a Hobbit. . . mug*

I’ve only seen the LOTR movies once (I know, I know), but even I know the magnitude of appreciation for second breakfast.

Bucket Makeup Bag*

This seems like such a cute, yet functional way to take your makeup on the go!

Brief History of Art Mug*

Obviously, I am a big fan of mugs as gifts. But I’m also a casual art history nerd!  I’m far from being very knowledgeable in the subject, but I can get by in museums and I actually love learning more about it!

Hans Zimmer Collection for Piano and Voice*

I adore Hans Zimmer’s work and, especially when I was actively music-ing, would love sheet music as a gift!

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings*

We actually had an Inklings group in college! I joined for a short time, despite having read precious little Tolkien and Lewis.  I’ve since tried to improve my knowledge of the original Inklings and would love to learn even more–this book seems like a great start!

Organic Tea Mini Sampler*

A tiny pack of teas to try is a great way for your recipient to find out if they like a certain brand or type of tea!

Once*

This is one of my favourite films, ever.  I’ve run into few people that know it (I torment one friend by texting him every time the soundtrack is stuck in my head [often] or I see a reference to it online solely because he’s the only person I know who appreciates it too–sorry, Hugh.), but those who do really seem to enjoy it.

My Bucket List Prompt Journal*

This is such a neat idea!  I’ve been slowly creating a bucket list in my bullet journal, but I always seem to forget my grand plans when it comes to writing them down.  This sort of notebook might just do the trick!

You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats*

This is the second cat-inspired advice book on this list.  Clearly, I’m on to something here!

Christmas Washi Tape Set*

Have a bullet journaler on your gift list?  They probably need some more washi!

The RBG Workout*

Does your feminist friend want to get stronger to really take down the patriarchy? Who better to inspire her workout routine than RBG?

Animal Tea Infuser Set*

I have similar squirrel and strawberry diffusers that I absolutely love!

Last-minute Gifts from Amazon

Are you in the midst of a frantic search for last-minute gifts? Let us know if our list helped you out!

Happy Blogmas

Spoonie Stocking Stuffers

Spoonie Stocking Stuffers: Gift Ideas for Your Friends with Chronic Illness (Blogmas 2018, Day Twelve)

While many of these items could be used in anyone’s stocking, I wanted to create a list of spoonie stocking stuffers others who live with chronic illnesses.  These small gifts could make a huge difference in the life of your loved one!

Read more about the spoon theory here.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Lip balm

I’m absolutely lost without a lip balm on hand.  Not only is it a soothing product in general, but it makes a big difference with anxiety, for me.

Try Eco Lips 3-Pack*

Snacks

Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to cook a legitimate meal.  A healthy snack is a great way to make sure I’m still getting the necessary nutrients!

Try Rob’s Variety Pack (Gluten-Free & Vegan)*

Essential oils

They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but if your loved one would appreciate some essential oils, the would make a great stocking stuffer!

Try this ECO best-selling trio*

Gift cards

This one’s not only fairly easy, but it’s incredibly versatile! Whether it’s for Amazon, their favourite coffee shop, or a well-deserved massage, you could go so many routes with this gift.

Try this Amazon Holiday gift card*

Jewellery

This doesn’t need to be something fancy, but a piece of jewellery that they can wear to feel close to you is a great gift!  I have a few pieces of jewellery that I’ve received from friends and family over the years that instantly remind me that they care.

Try this personalized name necklace*

Tea

Bonus points if it’s a tea they particularly like or one that will especially help them with a symptom.  I’m a fan of Yogi’s teas for the latter.

Try this Yogi tea sampler pack*

PopSocket

I got my current pop socket while working with Her Campus and it’s seriously been a lifesaver.  I can’t tell you how many times I would have dropped my phone (or wouldn’t have been able to use it) without the pop socket holding it up!

Try this black marble PopSocket*

Puzzle books

I find sudoku, crosswords, or word searches to be especially nice!  They serve as an excellent distraction from pain or other symptoms while not wearing me out in the process.

Try this variety puzzle book*

Muscle rub

A muscle rub or other sort of pain relief cream is a welcome addition to most spoonies’ arsenals.  Just be sure that they aren’t allergic to an ingredient!

Try this Icy Hot cream*

Headphones

Sometimes blocking out the world is a necessity.  Headphones or earbuds are a great way to do just that!

Try these Bose SoundLink*

Fuzzy socks

My feet are almost always cold (as I write this, I’m wearing fuzzy socks under an electric blanket and my toes still aren’t quite warm!), so I can’t have enough fuzzy socks, especially in the winter.  But they’re also just a great comfort!

Try this 6-pack*

Coffee

When I’m up all night from nightmares or painsomnia, coffee is a must-have.  Because of this, I like to keep a good coffee on hand!

Try this from Seattle’s Best*

Scarves

When my symptoms flare up but I still need to be a person, scarves become my best friend.  In the wintertime, cosy blanket scarves are perfect, but lighter scarves can work year-round!

Try this plaid blanket scarf*

Eye mask

Not only are these wonderful gifts for anyone who just wants a good night’s sleep, but you can also get versions that are infused with calming oils or that can be heated or cooled for ultimate soothing ability.

Try this 3 pack*

Cooling/heating products

Ice packs, a microwavable plush, a heating pad. . . there are countless options available to help your loved one to be more comfortable.

Try this reusable hot/cold pack*

Lotion

Lotion can help as a comforting item and to soothe the skin.  Just be careful or any sensitivities to scents or ingredients!

Try this from The Lotion Company*

Mugs

This is especially good if you’ve already got the coffee and/or tea from earlier in the list! Still, even on its own, I will never turn down a nice mug.

Try this gorgeous marble mug*

Craft supplies

Whether it’s some new tools for my bullet journal or something like a new embroidery set, craft supplies are another great pastime–and an effective distraction from troublesome symptoms.

Try this watercolour paint set*

Handheld games

I recently found my old Nintendo DS and have been reminiscing over Nintendogs and Zoo Tycoon 2.  Games like this are a great distraction, and a pretty easy stocking stuffer if your recipient has a gaming system already.  Plus, they can work in bed or on the go!

Try this tiny retro-style game*

Fidget toy

Teenagers may have over-popularised fidget spinners and their counterparts, but these tools really do have benefits.  I like fidget cubes and Tangle toys, myself, but there are so many options!

Try this 3-pack of TANGLE toys*

Water bottle

Are you at all surprised that I consider hydration to be crucial? A water bottle with a built-in filter makes it even easier to stay hydrated.

Try this one, with time markers*

Chargers

This would be especially great with the extra-long cords you can buy!  When I’m stuck in bed, my phone and other electronics keep me at least somewhat connected to the outside world.  With an extra-long phone charger, it’s even easier to stay connected!

Try this 10-foot iPhone cord*

Pill organiser

If your loved one takes any kind of medication for their chronic illness, a new pill organiser could be a welcome gift!

Try this twice-a-day daily pill organiser*

Prints or photos

If your recipient is often stuck in bed or on the couch, a nice print or some beloved photos can be a wonderful touch to brighten their worst sick days!

Try this upcycled dictionary art print*

Spoonie Stocking Stuffers

Are you buying any of these spoonie stocking stuffers this year?

Happy Blogmas

Tips for Gift-Giving

Tips for Gift-Giving This Holiday Season (Blogmas 2018, Day Seven)

I’ve always considered myself to be pretty darn good at gift-giving.  I love putting extra thought into a present to make it as special as possible–because I probably think the recipient is pretty darn special.  That being said, today I’m sharing some of my favourite tips for gift-giving to inspire you this holiday season!

It’s the thought that counts

It’s a cliche for a reason!  A gift doesn’t need to be huge or expensive to mean a lot.  Not only does the very effort of giving a gift at all mean a lot, but putting some extra thought into it means even more.

Consider allergies

This is especially important if you might not know the recipient very well.  Your favourite fancy chocolate bar might be an awesome gift for most people, but it could create an awkward situation if the person you give it to has a dairy allergy (been there, done that).  A good rule of thumb:  if you don’t know that the person doesn’t have an allergy to something, avoid food items.

Look at gift guides

If your loved one has an interest or other unique quality that you don’t share, a gift guide could be a great help!  Even better?  We bloggers LOVE to make gift guides!  You can find everything from gift guides for bookworms to gift guides for people with chronic illnesses.  A quick Google/Pinterest search will bring you all the inspiration you could ever need!

We don’t have many gift guides on For the Sake of Good Taste just yet, but stay tuned!  

Consider gifting an experience

Some people really like stuff and that’s totally okay.  But for others, an experience like a spa day, trip, or dinner date could be the perfect gift!

Make the experience part of the gift

If you still want to get them a tangible something special, you could try incorporating an experience into the gift, like a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt (like Gabe from The Office (US), though hopefully a bit less . . . Gabe.).  Even just an extra fun sort of wrapping can be an all new experience!

Reference something from your relationship

Whether they mentioned their favourite snack one time and you took note or you know they loved watching that one movie with you that time, incorporate a memory into your gift!  They’ll be touched you remembered.  Don’t believe me?  Look to the teapot from The Office (US)–there are clearly excellent examples of gift-giving in this show; just don’t try to be extra-cool with a new iPod.

Start a new tradition

If this person is someone who’ll likely be in your life for a while, starting a new tradition can set you up for future gifts, too!  For example, my mom gets us a set of “Christmas jammies” each year that we wear on Christmas Eve each year.  At 23, they’re still one of my favourite parts of the holidays!

Creep a little

Now, I in no way promote stalking your recipient.  That’s the bad kind of creepy.  But looking out for little things like what kind of coffee they prefer or taking a quick scroll through their Facebook feed or Pinterest boards for inspiration is a better kind of “creepy” (I’ve always said you can get to know me best by looking through what I’ve pinned on Pinterest!).  Just don’t be genuinely creepy about it.

Pick something unique

One of my biggest anxiety-induced fears when giving gifts is that I’ll get something the person already has and doesn’t want to replace any time soon.  Unique or one-of-a-kind gifts are a great solution, if only because your loved one is less likely to have it already.

A sub-tip to consider:  refer back to our very first tip and remember that this person will probably love the gift anyway.

Make it personal

This goes both ways!  Make your gift especially unique by personalising it with the person’s name, monogram, or another distinguishing factor.  Or, make it personal from your end, like a DIY gift you’ve made just for them.

Enjoy giving the gift

I genuinely really enjoy giving gifts to the people I love, to the point that I’ll show up with one on a birthday or holiday and the person later says how bad they felt that they didn’t do the same for me (I’m working on it–but I also truly believe that giving a gift to them is gift enough for me!).

Personal anecdote aside, enjoying the gift-giving experience will truly make it a better experience for both of you!  Whatever the gift, it’s easy to tell when someone is proud of the gift they’re giving–and happy to be giving it.

Tips for Gift-Giving

What are your best tips for gift-giving?  Share in the comments!

Happy Blogmas