It’s only two days until Black Friday, and I still haven’t fully planned out my shopping trip. Most of that will come tomorrow, after Thanksgiving dinner and dessert, as we peruse the newspaper ads. But I was lucky enough to work with some great brands that sent me some gifts for TJ so I could share information about them with you, dear readers, and I decided I’d throw in a few things we’re buying ourselves since they were what TJ Really Wanted this year. (As an Amazon affiliate, I get a small commission if you buy from them using my links. Thank you!)
Gifts for Kids
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
If your kids are anything like mine, they love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We ordered the latest book in the series, Hard Luck, with his Scholastic book order in class, so TJ got it on release day at school. He walked in the door with his nose in the book, having started reading it on the bus, and he was on his second read-through by bedtime! The lovely folks who represent the Wimpy Kid brand sent me a gift package for TJ that includes a blank journal, a 3-pack of paperback notebooks, a mini notebook, and a magnetic pad. TJ is going to flip when he sees his very own Wimpy Kid journal!
For the artistic child – and most of them are, to some extent – let me introduce you to SuperCool Art Kits. I was unfamiliar with the brand until they reached out to me and offered to send me the Day at the Zoo Medium Painting Kit. It arrived in very sturdy packaging, and it’s full of art supplies that will ensure a few messy but creative days over winter vacation. The stencil will help create recognizable people and animals on the canvas that was included in the kit, along with tempera paints, palettes, brushes, and other fun stuff. Only one canvas is included in the kit, but we can always pick up more at the craft store.
Design Masters Auto Sketchbooks
I don’t know any little boys who don’t love playing with cars. For that matter, I know little girls who like to play with cars, too. TJ is still at the age where he plays with his Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and he loves thinking up new cool things he’d like them to do. The Design Masters line of sketchbooks lets kids trace and customize their own custom cars with stencils, stickers, and color instructions. The sketchbook they sent for TJ is one of the Lamborghini sketchbooks, but they also offer a Ford GT sketchbook and several other models of cars. I’m a little wary that this could be above TJ’s current skill level, but I think he’ll have a blast even if his final designs end up looking a little bizarre to adult eyes. Maybe the stencils and the tracing will help him focus on those fine motor skills at last!
Pokemon X & Y for Nintendo 3DS
Here’s one we went out and spent our own money on, because it’s pretty much the only thing TJ really wants this Christmas. He is pretty obsessed with Pokemon. Thankfully, Tom likes Pokemon, too. So we already have hidden a copy of both Pokémon X and Pokémon Y – one for TJ, one for Daddy, so they can trade. Of course, in order for TJ to be able to play, he needs a Nintendo 3DS. His current DS will not support the new game. Because we can afford it this year, we went ahead and got him the Nintendo Pokemon X & Y Limited Edition 3 DS XL (Blue). We’re going to make sure he opens these things last, because there will be much squealing and jumping up and down, and we don’t want him to ignore his other presents, which are plenty cool in their own right.
Gifts for Grown Ups
SOL REPUBLIC Tracks On-Ear Headphones
I don’t find ear-buds to be comfortable, so I prefer headphones that are on-ear. A representative from SOL REPUBLIC contacted me about some of their latest audio products, and they sent me some SOL REPUBLIC Tracks On-Ear Headphones to check out. They’re cushioned both over the ears and on the top of the head, so they’ll be more comfortable when worn for an extended period of time. I got the white ones, but the headbands are completely interchangeable, so you can get different colors to fit your changing moods. The headband is very flexible, making it hard to destroy – which is really important when you have kids, or just happen to be hard on your electronics. Some of the remote and mic features are only compatible with Apple products, but I’ve found the sound quality to be really great on my Windows laptop!
Shark Sonic Duo
So you probably don’t want to give an appliance – especially one used for cleaning – as a gift unless you know the recipient really wants it. But you can always ask for one, or get one for yourself as a gift. I was contacted to try out (at no cost to me) the Shark Sonic Duo, a floor cleaner that works on both carpet and hard floors. I’d mistakenly believed that this could be used in place of a regular vacuum cleaner, but instead, it’s something you use in addition to your regular vacuum cleaner. As our carpets are old and rather disgusting, the Shark Sonic Duo was a welcome addition to our home for spot cleaning and generally making the floors look a little better.
I love independent artists, and there are so many talented people out there! I was contacted by a lovely woman named HANNI, who created beautiful sterling silver jewelry in her Etsy shop. She asked me to pick out a piece of jewelry I liked so she could send it to me for review, but I couldn’t decide, so I gave her a list of my top three choices and told her to pick one for me. She had been reading my blog and decided that I should have a necklace with the pendant that says MAKE EACH MOMENT COUNT on one side and EXPECT WONDERFUL THINGS on the other. It’s a wonderful piece, and I’ve worn it many times since receiving it. Hanni has many other inspirational jewelry designs available in her shop, so I encourage you to support independent artists this holiday season and check out what she has to offer!
Family Tree Maker
I’ve been on quite a genealogy kick, and I’ve had a lack of interest in asking for books and movies as gifts since we started utilizing our local library more often, so I decided to ask for Ancestry.com’s Family Tree Maker this year. My Ancestry.com membership subscription will be ending in January – I suppose a gift subscription would be welcome, too! – and when your subscription lapses, you lose access to all the documents and records you added to your tree. With the Family Tree Maker software, however, you can save copies of all of those records to your computer, so you never lose them. It seems like a bit of a racket to me, but it’s going to help me preserve my family research, and so I thank my mother-in-law for telling me this would be her gift to me. 🙂 I think I’m going to use a gift card I received for my birthday to transfer my data from 23andMe to Family Tree DNA, as well, to continue my genetic genealogy research!