Like Santa, we here at financefoodie.com have been making a list and checking it twice, but also have been looking to make holiday shopping as easy as possible. By no means is this considered a complete guide to shopping made easy, but there are always a few classics that you can purchase in multiples instead of roaming from store to store or website to website. Here are a bunch of gifts we (or relative/friend/little sibling have tested under our careful supervision!) that came out with rave reviews for holiday giving.
ULTIMATE CROWD PLEASER $20 GIFT FOR ANY ADULT: A $10 Starbucks card and a $9.99 half pound of their special Christmas Blend 2011 (available in both ground and whole bean). We can't think of too many people who don't like coffee or who don't like to take their laptops into Starbuck's for some free wifi and to get away from a noisy apartment or office and get some work done. Of course, there are great eats (especially sweets) at Starbuck's this time of year, and anyone getting gifted with a gift card for Christmas can use it for one of Starbuck's best kept secrets--the great items that go on sale after the 25th!
FOR THE DO-IT-YOURSELF FROM THE BOX COOK: We love Sodastream here at financefoodie.com--not only does it save a busy New Yorker / grad student time and energy lugging home bottles of soda from the supermarket, but each bottle of Sodastream flavoring makes about 40 thirty-two ounce bottles of soda. New to the SodaStream product lineup this year is The Fizz (yep - we are due for an upgrade). The new model features the interactive Fizz Chip™ digital screen, which displays the amount of CO2 remaining in the carbonator (which powers the home soda maker) and also shows the strength of carbonation -- or "fizz" -- in the drink (light, medium or strong).
Duncan Hines dessert mixes to the rescue! With easy-to-use mixes and fillings at your fingertips, you can challenge your inner baker to (easily) create something that defies the traditional (that only requires a box, Land O'Lakes eggs, oil, and water). Our favorite? The Apple Caramel Cake from DH's newest Decadent product line -- we totally fooled our friends into thinking these were made from scratch!
FOR KIDS BELOW 6: Barney & Friends, Angelina Ballerina and Thomas & Friends videos work well for both sexes under 6. There are three fabulous 3 DVD boxed sets from Lionsgate Home Entertainment at a bargain price for the holidays that we can't recommend highly enough: Barney Holiday Favorites, Angelina Ballerina Holiday Gift Set and Thomas & Friends Holiday Favorites. Available at amazon.com for $11.99 as opposed to full retail price of $19.98 as we go to press!
FOR KIDS BELOW 10: Activision has the most adorable Nintendo DS games, and Lalapoosy, Squinkies 2 Adventure Mall Surprize and Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo are flying off the shelves. Let's not forget Wappy Dog, which is great for the K through 1st grade set! You get not only the game, but also a dog that responds to you touching it. We love when he whimpers and lies down like a real pooch. The little white electronic pooch also reacts to how well or not you're playing the Wappy Dog Nintendo DS game! All games are prices at $29.99 while Wappy Dog is priced at $49.99 and everything's available at amazon.com.
BEST FANCY GIFT FOR ANY KID AGES 6 to 12: the Rockboard Scooter featuring the patented advanced Rockboard Propulsion Technology that incorporates a revolutionary power drive chain that puts kids in shape and tears up the road with every up-and-down propel! The faster kids rock up and down, the faster it goes! The Original Rockboard Scooter can hold up to 200 lbs. and comes in White, Orange, Blue and Pink finishes. Built for an exciting ride just like the Original, the Mini is the scaled-down version with the same kick scooter capabilities and advanced Rockboard Propulsion Technology. The Mini can hold kids up to 90 lbs. and is available in white, blue and pink finishes. Both models are available at target.com (for $179.99 and $199.99, respectively).
THE MOST CLASSIC CHRISTMAS TOY EVER: Legos, Legos and more Legos. Our current favorite and it's a set we can actually put together in our old age despite the fact it is intended for the 7 to 14 set is the Harry Potter Hagrid's Hut. The most perfect Lego set for the toddler set (ages 2 to 5) is the Lego Duplo My First Zoo. The pieces are formed perfectly for little hands but trust us when we say that we play this at our desks when we are procrastinating on writing stories! Hagrid's Hut is prices at $69.95 and Lego Duplo Zoo is priced at $49.99 at amazon.com.
BEST FOOD GIFT THAT MAKES YOUR HOLIDAY DESSERT TABLE "POP": Divine Delights Christmas Petit Fours. We have loved thee little 'n pretty bites for years an often wished that we could go to the Divine Delights headquarters in Petaluma, CA and see these beauties made one by one up-close and personal. These artisan petit fours include some of the best buttercream and fruit fillings you will find anywhere and many of the little cakes seem to be blessed with just the right amount of almond flavor. Let's just say that when you open the box, you never know what you are going to get but that it's always a pleasant surprise...and we fantasize about their Chocolate Creme Rudolph The Reindeer and Triple Chocolate Snowflakes little cakes all year round. We also adore the Christmas Package Collection, which is a petit four collection of (you guessed it) mini Christmas packages. A 35-count box will set you back $69.95 but these people don't joke when they say that their petit fours are the stuff dreams are made of!
FOR THE COMPUTER WHIZ/SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICT: I've found the best keyboard ever to replace my too-small one that came with my iMac: the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750. Why do I love it so much? Not only is it solar powered but the keys seem to have much more "depth" than those on the keyboards that come with iMacs. It just feels great to an oldie like myself who got used to typewriter keys for so many years. The K750 features sleek lines and a slim profile at just 1/3" thick. It affords you extra workspace while lending a streamlined presence on your desk. And yes, it also works with Windows based PCs and is available for only $54.99 on target.com as we go to press.
FOR THE LADY IN YOUR LIFE: We love the Kim Kardashian triple fragrance gift set called The Love Collection, which is exclusively at Macy's for only $55 (it's a $104 retail value) -- last time we checked, they had a hard time keeping it in stock. And to go along with the lady like scent, may we suggest a handbag from the Vietafashion.com? Their purple hobo bag got us up in arms with love!
Revitalash and Revitabrow because they are the original eyelash and brow enhancing products and they really work! This advanced RevitaLash formula contains a proprietary blend of proven functional cosmetic ingredients, combined with an infusion of powerful peptides and soothing botanicals, designed to both beautify and nourish the eyelashes and eyebrows.(both products cost around $110 but can be gotten at a great discount on amazon.com this time of year).
PeppermintPark.com is a must! Peppermint Park, a membership-based fashion and luxury brands e-tailer, is totally the "sweetest" (literally) of all shopping experiences. Offering discounts on designer clothing and accessories (from the super high end like Armani, Prada to your everyday wear labels like Karen Kane) at prices up to 80% off retail, Peppermint Park is where high fashion is highly affordable -- and with this economy, pennies need to be pinched!
Shiseido Honey Cake soaps, which are available in two beautiful jewel-toned shades, ruby red and green. They have done wonders for all skin types since their invention in 1956, and are available in department stores worldwide for only $7.50. Just add a bow and you’re good to go!
FOR THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE: The Power By 50 Cent fragrance gift set features 3.4 ounces each of the woodsy and citrus Power EDP and After Shave and is a real bargain at only $35.67 on amazon.com.
Nuvo L'Espirit De Paris ($29.99 at liquor stores everywhere for the 750 ml bottle) and you'll make his Christmas bright! He'll want to save the ultra-sophisticated oddly shaped yellow bottle as well! Or if you are feeling classy, a bottle of Freixenet Sparkling Wine from Spain (served in Freixenet champagne glasses, natch) should do the trick -- we love the crispy, clean, and citrusy Cordon Negro Brut aka the "Black Bottle Bubbly"-- Olé!
Financefoodie.com wants to spread the holiday cheer to our readers with OUR BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER! Six (6) lucky readers will win one item each -- the question is, will it be you???
1st Prize:3 month supply of RevitaLash and RevitaBrow (ARV $170)
2nd Prize:$100 gift card to PeppermintPark.com (ARV $100)
1. (2) bars of Shiseido Honey Cake Soaps (ARV $15)
2. $10 Starbucks Giftcard (ARV $10)
CONGRATS Danny P!
CONGRATS Danny P!
3. Freixenet Champagne Glass Set (6 flutes) and Social Etiquette Handbook (ARV $35)
There are THREE ways to enter
1. REQUIRED: In my comments section, tell me what is your favorite holiday tradition (mine is Christmas Lunch in Texas!). Also please include your email address so I can contact you if you win!
2. Follow Finance Foodie on Twitter (leave separate comment telling me this)
3. Reblog / Retweet this giveaway (leave separate comment telling me this)
Contest ends Friday, December 16, 2011 at 5pm EST. Winners will be chosen via random integer generator on random.org announced on the financefoodie.com site shortly afterwards that night!
Full Disclosure: Promotional considerations provided by Sodastream, Shiseido, Starbucks, RevitaLash, Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Duncan Hines, PeppermintPark.com and Friexenet. I was not monetarily compensated for this post.