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Ask the Edit: Gift Guide Edition

After posting our holiday gift guides, Kyle and I received a few gifting related questions.  We decided to answer them with a post, instead of in the comments or via e-mail, in case others had the same questions.  Happy gifting!

What do you buy for your grandparents?  Mine live in a care facility, and swear they don’t need anything, but I’d like to buy them something.

When my PaVern moved into assisted living, we were encouraged to buy him warm clothing, blankets, and other useful items for keeping warm as the building was often cold.  One of the tips was to buy warm slippers, but to make sure they had a good tread on the bottom to prevent falls.  So I bought him these Ugg slippers in leather.

A few years prior, my family purchased a digital photo frame that was big hit.  We would upload new photos to it regularly so he would always have fresh pictures of his family.  This one allows you to upload the images via the cloud.

Lastly, this year, I’m buying my Nana stationery.  She likes to send me cards throughout the year.  So I bought her and I matching stationery sets so we can send letters to each other.

I need a gift for a new Mom.  My niece is 7-months, and I want to get my sister something she can use.  Any suggestions?

Several new Mamas rave about Yeti coffee mugs.  Apparently they never get to drink coffee while it’s still hot, so an insulated mug buys them some time to enjoy their morning cup.

Beyond that, if I were in your shoes, I’d just ask myself what I would have bought her before the baby came.  Many people buy new Moms gifts that are really baby gifts or are mementos of the baby (personalized jewelry, etc.).  And I think it might be nice to have a gift that is just for the Mom.

I’m finishing up my gift list, but I need to find a few beauty gifts for Tween girls.  I have boys, so I’m clueless here.  The last thing I want is to give something uncool to my nieces or give something their parents find inappropriate.

If the concern is what’s appropriate, I would probably skip makeup and go for skincare.  This Glow Recipe kit is fun.  Even just a selection of fun face masks from Ulta could be a cute gift.  This illuminating mask and rubber smoothing mask are great.

I’m told by my resident in-the-know 12-year-old that Glossier is the coveted brand among her friends.  This makeup set has a Boy Brow, a Cloud Paint and a mascara.  There are also their skincare essentials and a Balm Dotcom Trio.

Another option would be nail polish.  This Lippmann kit is filled with cool metallic hues.  This Zoya set is all moody dark hues.  Also, these $10 Play by Sephora kits are a good stocking stuffer.  They have a mix of makeup and skincare samples.

Excellent suggestions as always, Kyle! In the golf vein and in addition to the shoes, do you have recommendations for a pull cart? Trying to encourage walking the course!

This made me laugh because all of my golf friends have gone through this exact transition. A pull cart has to be light, it has to fold up into a size that’s reasonable, and it can’t feel or look cheap (the golf course is one of the more vain places men find themselves visiting).

The Bag Boy line excels in all categories, the multi breakpoints and swivel front wheel are major assets. This isn’t a purchase you want to save money on. You want them to use it and good pushcarts last for years, so I recommend this one.

Bonus points — Buying a cooler golf cart replacement makes you the winner of all Christmases ever.                                                                                                        

Thank you, Kyle! Do you have a well-made golf belt to recommend?

Friends don’t let friends wear white belts. I’ll say this again unless you are a single-digit handicap, don’t do it.

Bright colors are great.  Black is great. A modest buckle is great.  I’m here for all of it. But you’re not Ricky Fowler and your playing partners are cracking jokes while you’re in the woods looking for your ball and they can still see that white Puma belt from the fairway.

This Travis Mathew reversible belt is basic black on one side, palm tree print on the other.  There’s also this Tiger Woods GFlex golf belt (buy the black). This Nike belt in navy or dark green is also worth a look.

Thanks, Kyle!! Any suggestions for a button-down shirt that isn’t plaid? Maybe a nice warm one that isn’t too boxy?

I talked a bit about this last year. Off the rack men’s shirts are probably going to be box.  It’s our fault, we’ve been lazy, and most guys are just walking in and buying the M, L, or XL in a pattern that matches their blue slacks or khakis and brown shoes. They don’t care about fit or tailoring.

If your SO wears button up on the daily. Make them be an adult, get measured and start shopping by shirt size, neck size, and sleeve length.  If that’s just impossible, Hugh & Crye is a D.C. company that offers more tailored shirts.

Now, one off the rack brand that has started to offer a couple of fit options is Untuckit. I own a couple of these and they hold up. (They are long enough to tuck in if need be). You can’t go wrong with a basic blue shirt or their classic chambray.

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  1. Shannon says:

    I have a 12-month-old, and the best gifts are those that don’t take up space (baby homes are super cluttered already), are easy to use, and make my life simpler. Grubhub gift cards, stylish stud earrings (babies yank dangly earrings), sleek loungewear I could wear in public.I mention this a lot, but I love having a little tabletop fridge in the nursery for bottles for the baby, and drinks and snacks for me. I bet lots of moms would love to get one for Christmas. The best gift would be a cleaning service for the afternoon.

    The worst gifts are those that come with a homework assignment. Who has the energy? I was given a baby scrapbook, but I don’t have it in me to fill out a bunch of information, get photos printed, etc. If it had already been filled out, I would have loved it,

    I always see gift certificates for the spa suggested for new moms, but that involves a sitter, making appointments, traffic, etc. It would sit in a drawer. If you’ve got spa money, seriously, send a housekeeper. There’s nothing more luxurious than someone else to scrub your toilet.

    December 11, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      These are great. Thank you!

      December 11, 2019/Reply
      • Shannon says:

        You’re welcome!

        For older family members, I usually box up and ship some homemade jam or sweet relish.

        Some years I ask relatives to send a favorite recipe, along with stories to go along with the recipes. So maybe a recipe for “Aunt Jen’s sugar cookies” along with the story of a disastrous holiday party where the cookies were served. Then my husband does some fun illustrations, I put all the stories, drawings and recipes together into a PDF, and we email it out as a family cookbook/history project. Older family members in particular love it.

        December 11, 2019/Reply
  2. Kate says:

    One of the best gifts I got as a new mom was a Contigo Autoseal water bottle that I could use one handed and kept water cold for hours but didn’t leak. The second was a great travel mug— what’s clutch about it was that the spout was covered so it didn’t spill when I was walking around holding it and my baby, or spill when it was in the stroller caddy.

    December 11, 2019/Reply
  3. Emily says:

    For the question for grandparents, I make a calendar every year and it’s a big hit! It’s a gift they can enjoy all year long and I usually find great deals on Vistaprint or Shutterfly. I usually include photos of me and my brother with our grandparents (if available – we live on opposite coasts), their other grandchildren, other family members, and tbh I pull some from Facebook because they have a fairly active social life with their community and love to post about it.

    December 11, 2019/Reply
    • Kate says:

      I second this. You can also put people’s photos on their birthday date if your family is into birthdays. This is a HUGE hit with my family and costs about $14 if you get a good shutterfly coupon, which they always have. It takes some time to gather the photos and birth dates, but once you do it for one year, it is easy to edit the calendar the next year to update it. I even grab photos from other family members from social media.

      RE: Abra’s suggestion of stationery, an add on to consider is a book of stamps. My grandmother sent me a letter every week growing up and would always receive stamps in her stocking. The cost of stamps can add up and its a sweet and useful gift.

      December 16, 2019/Reply
  4. Rachel says:

    My friends and I just did a round of second births. Where the first time around we focused gifts on the baby–this time we focused on Mom gifts. For one I got a s’well bottle with sport cap (so its one handed) and another I got one of the non-subscription specialty birchboxes because she really wants to try beauty products but never does.

    While I agree with Belle that people do get gifts that a baby related too often, I just got a necklace with my 2 boys names and I its really meaningful to have a physical manifestation of them with me all the time. Mine are from Tiny Tags.

    December 11, 2019/Reply
  5. Jennifer says:

    I gifted a 2nd-time mom with a L’Occitane bath and body set (soap, shower gel, lotion, etc.) and she loved it. Said it was the only gift that she received that was for her and not the baby.

    December 12, 2019/Reply
  6. TheLOOP says:

    A few mom gifts I have loved getting and giving:
    1. Orla Kiely backpacks and totes in fun designs. As you move past the infant stage, I don’t necessarily need a diaper bag with so many pockets that I forget what I put where. I love the OK bags because they are so easy to clean and don’t scream “mom-bag.”
    2. In that same vein, nice cross-body bags are great so you can have your hands free. They shouldn’t be too tiny, big enough to stash a snack.
    3. A gift certificate for a family photoshoot. I find this to be easier to use than spa certificates which require a sitter.

    December 12, 2019/Reply