best gifts

You are looking for good gift ideas…here is the best one yet – Christmas in the City

Christmas In The CityChristmas in the City is going on now – Sunday, December 18. You can still make a donation here.

Today I started to read the Globe as I do each morning, and was brought up short. Brian McGrory’s column on Christmas In The City made me fly into action mode (those who know me knows that means to stand back). Here I am, writing about great gifts to buy for your father or father-in-law (admittedly, no small feat) and there is something much more pressing at hand. Go read about it here, I will wait.

You’re back? Good. All money raised goes to the event which is a winter wonderland for homeless children and their families and it is run entirely by volunteers. This is an amazing undertaking that should have huge corporate sponsors. Target? Martha Stewart? Macy’s?

So,Dad/Papa,  you are buying a toy for a homeless child for Christmas. You are welcome. I know you don’t really need a putter or another scarf or something gadget-y. You are all set. So I am taking what I would have spent on your gift  (Mom’s too) and spending it here at Christmas In The City. I’ll make you a certificate.

You want to help, too?

There are several ways to donate toys, online or at one of our drop-off locations.

To purchase toys online, click here to view Christmas in the City’s Wishlist at Amazon.com
Purchases on our Amazon wishlist will automatically be shipped to our headquarters.

Click here to view Christmas in the City’s official Suggested Toy List for 2011

If you would like to personally drop off your gift, please visit one of our drop-off locations:

Headquarters
Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy
45 Franklin Street
Boston
617-542-6611

Seaport Hotel – free valet service
Seaport District

Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy Braintree
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Braintree
781-848-7300

Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy Needham
150 A Street
Needham
781-444-1644

Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy Watertown
311 Arsenal  Street
Watertown
617-924-5100

Kennedy Brothers Physical Therapy Cohasset/Scituate
828 Chief Justice Cushing Highway
Cohasset
781-383-8001

Stevie’s Eatery – Marlborough
222 L. East Main Street
Post Road Plaza
508-460-3352

 

Back to Basics – Day 6 of the 12 Days of Shopping – Going Low Tech

It has been a long two weeks. I have been stashing catalogs where ever I could hide them before my husband throws them out. I wanted them for this series of posts and my own personal use… Hmmm…perhaps that explains the immediacy with which these are normally dispatched into the recycling bin.

Alphabet Pillow from Uncommon Goods on Capability Mom blog's 12 days of shopping
Alphabet Pillow from Uncommon Goods

My assignment, go low-tech (Pragmatic Mom has the high tech gifts covered). These are my favorite low, and I mean low, tech gifts (thus the old school catalog finds).

I love the Uncommon Goods catalog – super cute and cool gifts in a great range of prices. Anything from Periodic Table of Elements Blocks for your budding science genius to door mats made out of flip flops or lobster rope.

Arts and Letters:

 

Paper Source's Unravels Pencils

For all ages:  Art Supplies like paper and colored pencils or journal and nice pen, books, wooden toys (yes, for all ages).

Green Planet Kids is a Newton store with a great selection of back-to-basic toys and there are these oh-so cool stocking stuffers from Paper Source (love these peel-y pencils).

Back to Basics: Homemade treats, prettily packaged, with recipe attached, maybe some clove fruit from Pragmatic Mom, little handmade lavender sachets (you can buy lavender in bulk and fill fabric squares with it, so nice), special keepsake ornaments (we give my mom one every year) or a The Hanukah Candle Kit.

Love You More Pillow - Paper Source

 

Cozy Comforts:


Cashmere socks, scarves or sweater, mittens, a favorite team sweatshirt or baseball cap, yoga or fitness gear, fleece from Northface for that particular teen, a Snuggie (I caved and bought these last year!)

 

C is for Chocolate – always! Get some sweet Lindt truffles and put them in a pretty container. Last year I found a template on Martha Stewart’s site for turning a candy bar into a Santa.

Books are a basic and always welcome (even if you know only one book the child has liked, a good bookstore or librarian can give you many more suggestions).

If you are looking for year round reading for kids, I really like the publications from Cricket MagazineMuse for ages 9-14 years and Babybug, Ladybug, and  Cricket for younger children. I also love Stone Soup for the tween age, too.

Upcycled Pom Hat
Upcycled Pom Hat - Uncommon Goods

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

 Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

 Dec 9: Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies Personalized Holiday Tags

Gifts for tutors and teachers – What to give? Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

First, find out school policy and abide by the rules. What, I am bossy? Yeah, that’s news. Really, figure out (ask other parents in the school) what is customary and either follow it or if, for some reason, it doesn’t seem enough to you… get creative and come up with some new ideas.

Many districts have also have programs in place to help you, like Honor Thy Teacher  run by the Newton Schools Foundation where you can make a donation in a teacher’s name.  Some schools let you buy books (at a PTO run Book Fair) or donate a book to the school library in the name of the teacher.
There is no shortage of great gifts (books) and you can grab a gift card to a local book store (more books) or coffee shop. Have your children make the card – it is always appreciated. Maybe you can organize a Teacher Appreciation Coffee before the holidays. Get the PTO involved and start a new tradition – maybe you can give everyone a goodie bag or, I don’t know, a book?

So, what to give? Is handwritten card and cookies enough or do you slip a gift card inside? If you do, try Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or iTunes.  Sometimes a group gift is in order. so pony up and be the one that collects the money and buys the gift, assign someone else the task of getting the card signed by all of the students. More work for you but you will make some teacher’s day.

What else to give?  Always welcome gifts :  hand-knitted or commercially made scarves, sweaters, gloves, socks which also all fit the not too personal rule (include a gift receipt to be extra nice). What else? Holiday decorations (Hanukah or Christmas) and candles, anything homemade (see Friday’s post),  notecards or plantable paper from Botanical PaperWorks. How about a magazine subscription? I like Uncommon Goods for really different but reasonable gifts like this Stackable Lunch Pot Set.

The new Flour Bakery cookbook (add some sweet wooden spoons or a whisk and a pretty dishtowel and put them in a mixing bowl). You could also make your favorite recipe from the cookbook and include the baked goods with the book.


Penzey’s is a great stop – the catalog is great but the store is even better (in Arlington, MA).  They also have the best packaging for the spices; whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves are placed between the bottles in many of their gift boxes. You can put together your own, too.  Pretty and sweet or savory.

Don’t forget plants.  Sure, a poinsettia or a white amaryllis or some sweet paper whites. Sounds boring? Not this time of year in New England! Go get a nice orchid (Trader Joe’s has them, as does Whole Foods) or a big gorgeous flowering tropical house plant (just be sure to cover it well when you run it outside). Nearby garden centers will have a nice selection and you will get a much needed dose of green while you shop. Usually know for their more expensive arrangements,  Winston Flowers has some less expensive choices that are lovely, too. I have also had great luck at the Waban 1-800-Flowers store. Great selection and great customer service, too.

The most important thing is to thank the teachers and let them know they are appreciated. Happy Holidays and head over to Pragmatic Mom for super Tutor Gift Ideas.

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

 Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

 Dec 8: Sanitation EngineersMail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

 Dec 9Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ’Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies Personalized Holiday Tags


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