In 2005, I created a list of original gift ideas and popular 2005 gift items. I thought it would be helpful to create an entry of this sort without a year tacked on. So I’ve combined web sites mentioned in the past and will continuously add to the list. Of course, no gift beats one from the heart — writing a note by hand. This list will grow as I add more categories. Of course, gadgets and geeky stuff is included!
DailyCandy provides the scoop on what’s hot, new, and undiscovered from fashion to gadgets. It has nine daily email newsletter editions covering eight cities and one “everywhere” so you can get ideas for the next time you’re reminded it’s someone’s birthday, anniversary, or job promotion.
Old-fashioned gifts (Read: no batteries required!)
Books are almost always a winner. You can check my reviews on Amazon to see what I liked and didn’t like. Or just go through the reviews here. A little self-promotion here, but my story is only one of 100 stories in Stories of Strength — I don’t get a penny as all of the proceeds go to charity.
My son’s school is having its twice yearly book fair this week and I always know I’m in trouble when that time comes. He wanted a building cards that builds castles from Klutz. I asked if he would really use it. He started building a tower before bed time in my room. Taking a look at it, I ended up building a full castle. This set comes with 150 pieces and you can buy more (of course) so you can build the giant castles shown in the booklet. One problem — Klutz doesn’t include a container to keep the puzzles in. The pieces come in plastic that you have to cut open and can’t be reused. Of course, a year later — the cards are buried somewhere in the junkyard… known as the game room.
I like to play these occasionally or my family does: Tri-Ominos, Cribbage, and Life. We play many others. It’s unbelievable how many games are getting a make over with cartoon characters. Operation with Homer Simpson (though this needs batteries, I’d say it’s a classic), Dora the Explorer Candy Land (my son’s favorite cartoon), and Clue with Disney’s Haunted Mansion. You get the idea.
Newer games worth checking out: 20 Questions Handheld Game (Okay, so it needs batteries, but it’s an old-fashioned game that allows you to play by yourself), Carcassonne (we have this, but have yet to play it), Settlers of Catan Board Game (ditto), and Fib or Not? (we’ve played this one and it’s a blast).
Got Cranium Hullabaloo, a cross between Twister and musical chairs. My six-year-old liked it. The 2 1/2-year-old can’t follow the directions, but he played with the set. Join the kids and get some energy.
My middle child and I played Guess Who? At first, I thought this game was a blow off and too easy for an adult to win. But then we played it a few more times and I finally saw how it could go either way for either adult or child. If you ask, “Does your person have blonde hair?”, you either get to put down a lot of characters or only a couple of them depending on the answer. A good one to play with kids around 1st grade.
Front Porch Classics believes games should be showcased instead of hidden behind closet or cabinet doors.
Gamesake lets you create a game about the recipient. It’s ideal for parties, showers, and group gatherings.
Players aim to lose all 10 of their inalienable rights in the Feel Safe Game of Homeland Security.
GiftTRAP takes a creative approach where players receive cards with different gifts. They have to decide what they think their friends would want to receive. Like other social games, this starts conversations so whip it out at the start of the party and avoid that awkward period.
Jewelry: Silver Jewelry Club has free jewelry where you only pay $5.99 per item for shipping. I’ve gotten stuff from the site and my daughter likes them. She thought they were fancy (for an 11-year-old). For me, I could get some specific colored jewelry and stones like Garnet and London Blue Topaz (no Sapphire here). I am stocking up on nice ones to give as gifts to girls. One item is on display for 15 minutes or until it’s sold out.
Just Ask Leslie is a blog that spots jewelry, provides tips and suggests jewelry gift ideas.
Watches still make great gifts. I miss wearing a watch, but it got annoying to have my medical ID bracelet clashing with it. The Watch Report watches watches.
Original and Unique Gifts: For the person who has everything or you’re out of ideas, sometimes going the original or unique route does the trick.
Second Term Edition Bush Cards are a cross between a book and a game. They’re targeted toward non-fans of Bush, but they are funny enough that even Bush fans with a sense of humor could enjoy them. Even cabinet members that are subjects on the cards buy them.
While on political satire, a great gift for political fans are CDs from Capital Steps. I’ve heard they’re a riot (no pun intended).
Know a Howard Hughes or Adrian Monk? Perfect gift: VIOlight VS100 Toothbrush Sanitizer and Storage System.
Chick-fil-A had an adorably clever calendar in 2005 displaying 12 months of cows in shining armor. Who can resist the fun the company is having with this? “From out of the mists of history come 12 heroes and heroines of cowdom from ages long past. They fought the forces of burgers with courage, cunning and cud.” Okay, maybe PETA wouldn’t like this. The company is having fun with its marketing and it’s working as a bunch of us parents (our school partners with a nearby restaurant for spirit night) bought the $5 calendar. Every year the theme changes and 2007 it’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Hairy.” You can watch the commercial for the 2005 calendar.
Whoopass Enterprises creates custom bobbleheads that can look like the recipient or an animal.
Self-contained fish bowl requires no feeding, no filters and best of all, no water changes!
Then these funky shirts from Sharp as Toast have funny political cartoons, sayings and other non-political stuff.
Running out of time? Know someone who gets bored at work and can play games at lunch? Old-fashioned PC games from Big Fish Games where you won’t find violent or mega-games. Instead, it has family games like FizzBall, Cake Mania, and Haiku Journey.
They’re getting cheaper and bigger in capacity every minute. flash drives a.k.a. thumb drives and USB drives make great gifts as they’re portable making it easy to move or carry files with you.
Get a second monitor or even a third and the recipient will love you for it. When I first started working with dual monitors, I found it weird and annoying. Now I can’t stand being without them! I’ll have to write up something about it in the future. All you need is a video card that can handle dual monitors like VisionTek VTKRAD7K64P Dual Monitor 7K 64MB Ddr Pci and a second monitor. I think I’m in love…
DocuPen scans a whole page and works with Windows and Mac systems. Oooh.
href="http://www.fossil.com/shopping/search/searchresultsmain.jsp?fresh=1&searchType=advanced&iMainCat=0&iSubCat=0&attribute14=0&attribute15=0&attribute16=0&RS=1&keyword=atari">Fossil Atari Watches. The games aren’t playable, but they’re animated. Perfect for the ’80s game fan. Comes with choices of Asteroids, Centipede, and Breakout.
Migo has a USB thumb drive for taking your data with you including Outlook, emails, contacts, and other stuff. Four versions available.
Gadgets for women at Popgadget. Must.Stay.Away.
Give Your iPod Character
Prefer fur? Try
href="http://www.fluffpod.com/fluffer.html">Fluffpod. Not into
dressing up objects? Maybe babies?
Rather just have something simple like href="http://www.pixelgirlshop.com/gallery.php?cat=ipod">stars or
lines? Sporty folks can make the iPod look sporty with a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0008JEVA8/gadgetmadne04-20/002-6509447-4264815?creative=327641">hoody.
These stores sell the kind of things you don’t find everywhere. They may also have a unique theme.
eLuxury sells designer stuff that isn’t sold anywhere else online. Just like its name, the things it sells are expensive.
Poketo! finds art that you can use everyday in your home, on you (apparel), and stationery.
Alphabetsync has an assortment of classic toys from the ’50s and ’60s along with new items on the market including t-shirts, fine gifts, jewelry, wacky cards, and everything in between.
I loved playing sports while growing up. It was my “thing,” where I spent all my free time outside of school. Girls’ sports has grown and places like Just for Girls Sports let us show off how proud we are to be athletes.
Woozie Wear: Clothes for dogs.
Punkster: Funky tees for babies.
Shop Composition and The Guild are all about design and style. It sounds like this site prescribes to Donald A. Norman’s Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. To see the different items, click the box NEXT to Select a Vendor. Took me a minute to figure out.
Art lovers will love artnet, a resource for serious art buyers to buy, sell, and research fine art online.
Car collectors, check out Hemmings, which claims to be the largest collector car marketplace.
Sporting Reviews blog provides ideas for the sports fan like my dad.
Someone on her second, third or fourth child? She might have all she needs by way of hand-me-downs, so get ideas from Babygadget. With three kids of my own, people surprised me with something different — just make sure it’s usable.
Ah, food is a popular choice. Though you can find plenty of good eatin’s in your area, there are some delightful items you can get online.
Dale and Thomas Popcorn gave away free popcorn and became overwhelmed with free order requests. But the move paid off. The popcorn was SOOOO good that I didn’t share (I think I’m good about sharing). I keep the company info handy as I do want to shop there when the right opportunity comes.
Know a foodie? Someone who loves to watch Food Network? The Original Food Lover’s Trivia sounds like a winner.
I’ve been sending gift baskets and towers from Wine Country Gift Baskets as thank yous and they’re always a hit. They have great prices.
Can’t beat a food blog from Paris. Chocolate & Zucchini shares thoughts, recipes and cooking tools.
Thanks to WSJ article on shopping by blog for some of these resources.
Updated: December 13, 2006