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It's the most wonderful time of the year, coupled with the most stressful. If shipping delays, price increases and the thought of setting foot in the mall have you wishing you could turn the calendar to January, you're not alone.
Traveling for the holidays may mean seeing people you don't normally see, visiting family you haven't seen in two years and buying presents for people who are hard to shop for. Here are 22 gift ideas for those people in your life.
Gifts for Your Bestie
Succulent gift box
Not everyone is cut out to be a plant person, but for the person in your life who would love to showcase some succulents, this Succulents Box gift box could be a great solution. Help your friend add a splash of green, even if they don't have a green thumb.
Socks & Underwear
Hard-to-shop-for people still need socks and underwear, but you can make it fun and surprising. Stance offers monthly subscription boxes of socks or underwear, with an option for everyone. For $19, you can choose between a monthly or quarterly subscription. You also can snag some fun holiday options without a subscription while ramping up your sock and underwear game.
This handmade jewelry from Honey Bea Hive can both make a statement all on its own and about how well you know the person for whom you're shopping. Which set looks the most like something they would love? With plenty of options, this military-spouse and minority-owned brand has been featured in BuzzFeed.
Aaptiv Gift Membership
Athletes and gym rats love new ways to work out and stay motivated. For the person constantly on the move, an Aaptiv membership will help keep them sweating. Unlimited access to more than 6,000 workouts across 15 categories are available on your smartphone for $50 for the year. The app works with Android and iPhones.
Copper Cow Coffee
Fancy coffees are fun, and even funner when you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost. Copper Cow Coffee offers single-serve, pour-over coffees that are sustainably sourced and customizable. They come in a variety of flavors -- including peppermint mocha and churro -- and can be paired with natural creamers. Variety packs and teas also are available from this female-owned company.
Gifts for Extended Family
Ticket to Ride Board Game
Board games are the perfect gift for the whole family. They promote spending time together and avoid the pressure of buying a gift for every person in that family. You also don't have to remember exact ages, just a range for your second cousin's kids. One great idea is Ticket to Ride, a strategic game where players connect cities on the map with trains. It's also educational. There's a variety of options, including Europe, Asia and a junior version for those families with younger kids. The game is available on Amazon.
Put a twist on the puzzle-giving experience by upping your game from "dogs playing poker" to the Magic Puzzle. These 1,000-piece puzzles have games within games. Build the puzzle, which has more than four corners; go on a hunt for all the cool items on the list; and then prepare for your mind to be blown when you open the secret envelope at the end. It's a wonderful family activity that may just save the day.
Grandma may have taught you to play Canasta, but now it's your turn to teach her something fun. Beyond Uno Attack and Phase 10, there are the next-level card games that even those hard-to-please teenagers will enjoy. Options like Exploding Kittens, Unstable Unicorns, Taco vs Burrito and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza are guaranteed to have everyone laughing as they learn to play. These games are available at Amazon.
Silly Scrolls Coloring Sheets
If small talk is something your family struggles with, consider a colorful distraction. These five-foot-long coloring pages are perfect for a lazy afternoon with family. Drawn by military spouse Tori Butler, prints are just $15 with free shipping. Custom orders are also available for $50. See what's available and place your order through her Instagram page.
Gifts for Tweens & Teens
'Game of Phones'
No, we don't really want them on their phones all the time, but if they're going to be anyway, let's make the best of it. This game brings teens and their phones -- and maybe parents, too -- together for a scavenger hunt. And one of the cards tells you to "text your parent," so this may be a winner.
Portable hammocks are all the rage, and you might like this easy-to-use ENO hammock so much you get one for yourself, too. The hammock paired with the straps is a quick setup virtually anywhere. From hanging out at cross-country races to use at the campground, these hammocks take a beating and are easy to pack and store. See the full setup on Amazon.
Self-Cleaning Water Bottle
It's cool to drink water and put stickers on your water bottles -- another thing we did as kids that they don't want to hear about. But it's less cool when you find their water bottle collection under the bed. Prevent the grimy grossness by getting them one of these self-cleaning water bottles. The UV-C LED lights clean the bottle inside and out, and the bottle keeps drinks warm for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24. They'll love it, and you'll love it. It's available in several colors.
Ideas for the Office Gift Exchange
We're all about "working smarter, not harder," and everyone can use a smart plug to add to their collection. Ranging in cost from $10 for the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini to the $40 Eve Energy Smart Plug & Power Meter, everything from the television to the bedside lamp can become voice activated through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. A variety of smart plugs are available on Amazon.
Tea Mug & Infuser
A beautiful and practical gift, the Sweese tea mug and infuser is great for the winter gift-giving season. The handle stays cool to the touch while the tea steeps, and it's dishwasher safe. It comes in a variety of colors -- check out the red or navy -- and you can pair it with some loose-leaf tea for the perfect gift.
Desktop Vacuum Cleaner
This small desktop vacuum will become the most favored gadget in the office. It's quiet and charges via USB cable. It's perfect for getting the crumbs out of your keyboard or some quick cleaning at the end of the day.
Makeup Brush Cleaner
Did you know that cleaning makeup brushes is something you should do? Here's an option for the office party: the automatic brush cleaner and dryer from Senbowe. Plus, it has storage. An easy-peasy, practical and thoughtful gift. Clean makeup brushes are a must.
Shop Small with Military Spouse-Owned Businesses
A Little Bit of Everything
If you're just looking for ideas and don't know just what to look for, Spouse-ly is a great place to start. Launched in January 2020, Spouse-ly is milspouse-owned and -operated. The platform gives you a one-stop shop for the best military gifts, including art, apparel and jewelry. All of the companies featured on the platform are owned by military spouses and/or veterans.
This is another annual favorite. If you live near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, you can shop in person. If not, you can see all the goodness that Pressed, A Creative Space has to offer online. From graphic tees and sweatshirts to stickers and planners, there are many great military gifts to choose from.
Hope Design's custom military jewelry is a favorite among many military spouses with one-of-a-kind brooches utilizing vintage military insignia and inspiration and a variety of other collections featuring necklaces and bracelets.
High-Quality Canvas and Leather
Another regular favorite, R.Riveter features handmade butter-soft leather and canvas wallets and handbags for men and women. These high-quality pieces hold up over time and get better with age.
Handbags and Accessories
Made with women of color in mind, Mygani trolley bags, handbags, mugs, throws and accessories make a statement while providing practicality and function. And with a gift section featuring items $30 and under, there are options for every budget.
Unique Art for the Home
Relocation is the name of the game in military life, but this license plate art from Unique Pl8z gives a thoughtful way to remember duty stations past. Pick a standard product or design your own.
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