Friday, November 09, 2007

Gift Ideas

Thanks to, I'm halfway through my Christmas shopping. I am always on the lookout for unique and quality gift ideas and have accumulated a list of favorite stores and websites that I think everyone should know about. So here there are:

Red Envelope
This is a great place for high-quality, sophisticated, and unique gifts. I often get ideas from this site and then find or make a less expensive version. If you do purchase from them the packaging really makes a statement. I especially love the "Shop by recipient" feature of the website. They also have a catalog. Some friends and I recently figured out how to make our own $10 version of a $100 Famly Tree display that they sell. I'll post a picture of my tree as soon as it's complete.

The Land of Nod
I first found this store at the University Village Shopping Center in Seattle. They have a unique collection of old fashioned toys, books, furniture, and decor items that you don't see everyday. Again, you can get great ideas here and then find or make it for less.

Constructive Playthings
A friend just turned me on to this site. Toys for kids that actually require imagination and activity. I found some reasonably priced items and some over-priced ideas. My favorite section is "creativity" (from the left hand list on the home page). I want to get the Monet Art Activity Pack Item #: CHR-35L and the Masterpiece Board Books Item #: CHR-4L. I haven't ordered from them yet so I can't speak to quality.

Discount School Supply
I found this site while looking for art supplies. They have a broad and deep selection of anything and everything you might find in a classroom. And I think their prices are phenomenal. They offer free shipping on orders over $79. I once placed a large order that included lots of heavy items and didn't pay a cent in shipping. I was very happy with the quality too. Get a group of friends together and place one order to get the free shipping deal. Love their catalog too.

Dover Publications
Fantastic collection of classic books for all ages and interests. My favorites are the Dover Thrift titles that sell for as little as $1 each. We often give "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens instead of candy and cookies to friends and acquaintances at Christmas time. Thanks for the idea Alyson and Steve! I also love their art activity books and coloring books for kids. And to avoid shipping, ask your favorite bookstore to special order any title you want. They'll call you when it comes in and you go to the store and pay for it there.
Did you know amazon sells more than books? My husband loves the electronics selection. This is where I go to actually purchase many of the ideas I get from other places. I almost always find the lowest price on books here. With free shipping on orders over $25 it’s a no-brainer. We are also big fans of the site’s wish list feature. We keep an amazon wish list for each member of our family. Anyone who knows our names can find our wish lists and it’s a fun place to dream. There are some pretty preposterous things on my husband’s wish list. Check mine out if you’re curious:

One of the best received gifts we found here was the annual Mathematics Calendar by Theoni Pappas. Every day on the calendar poses a math problem whose answer is the day’s date. It’s a unique but not too personal gift for the math geek in your life. I’m surrounded by engineers and finance guys so I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this one.

Creative Custom Lettering
If you're remotely crafty and want to give an inexpensive, personal gift this site has some great ideas. They specialize in custom vinyl lettering that you can apply to nearly anything. Last year I made and gave a couple family name signs like this:

Lillian Vernon
This site reminds me of Red Envelope, but a little more focused on items for the home. I often see items I like from this site listed in Real Simple magazine. Great ideas and they have great sales too.

So I've shared my list, will you share yours? What are the best gifts you've given or recieved and what are your sources? I'm always looking for good ideas...

UPDATE: A couple friends have emailed their ideas to me:

- homemade jam (made in the summer) for neighbor gifts
- they sell "brainy toys for kids of all ages." Looks great. I'm excited to explore this one
- this looks like a collection of educational stuff (books, workbooks, science kits, toys, games etc.) I was especially interested in their Holiday and Gift Section, then within that, the stocking stuffers.


Lance and Kathleen said...

Great ideas Jen
I love the idea of the learning toys web site I'm definately going to check that out.

Jennifer said...

Kaz, how about your favorite ideas? I really do want them...

Jennifer said...

A friend just responded in email with a good idea so I'll post it here: She made jam this summer for neighbhor gifts. Love that idea. Thoughtful, simple, and inexpensive.

Brent and AmberLee's Family said...

Ooh, Jen, I knew I would find good stuff like this on your blog. I love the Land of Nod. Isn't it fantastic? Thanks for the links.

Jennifer said...

Amber, I'm glad you found something worthwhile on my blog. Land of Nod is awesome.

Sarah Osburn from good ol' Campbell has a great blog that you might enjoy too: