A Grinch’s 2020 Gift Guide

Our family stopped exchanging Christmas gifts years ago, about the same time every store cranked up its mechanical Santa, swinging his hips to Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, in October. I snapped. Christmas made me cranky instead of merry. This year, however, I’m making an exception. Because, man, if we ever needed a little Christmas cheer, it’s 2020. And get this — not only am I giving gifts, I finished shopping before Thanksgiving. It’s a pre-Christmas miracle!

So what, you ask, are my loved ones unwrapping this year? I can’t wait to show you! (Spoiler alert: if any of said loved ones are reading this, stop right there. Go back to Twitter or TikTok and save the surprise.) I’ve assembled small baskets, with gifts that fall into four categories: fun, cozy, yummy, and inspirational. Need ideas? Check out this Grinch’s 2020 Gift Guide, filled with my favorite finds.

Fun

Table-top hockey game

This table-top hockey game looks like great fun for kids and adults! It’s a smaller version of air hockey, where each side tries to get their puck through a small hole in the center. It comes in two sizes, and I ordered the bigger one. I predict outrageous tournament competition with this one!

This Deer Pong game promises hilarity! Bucky the Stag “talks” during the competition, spouting off with jokes and cheeky comments! Sure to be a hit with grade-school kids, but adults will like it more than they care to admit!

What better way to commemorate an unforgettably wretched year than decking the tree with a masked Dr. Fauci ornament? Not only does this gift pay homage to the Man of the Year, it also supports a small business entrepreneur. Etsy for the win!

Cozy

Thanksgiving is our big holiday, when the whole family gets together. Every year the grandkids get matching Gymboree Christmas jammies, and they are just so stinkin’ cute! Alas, no Thanksgiving this year, but of course the Christmas jammie tradition must continue. Target has cute jammies this year, too, but I love the quality of Gymboree, so I stuck with my brand. I did make one exception…Target has matching pet jammies, so a certain granddog will be included in the fun! I hope to see them all Christmas morning on Zoom.

I know socks are a much-maligned Christmas gift, but once you reach a certain age, you can actually appreciate a nice pair of socks. Especially if they’re Smartwool socks. So many styles, colors, designs…I had a hard time choosing. I hope my outdoor-adventure-loving kids get excited when they see them!

Now, I’ll admit this one is a bit random, but have you seen Teema towels? They are made of Turkish cotton, so they are very soft and extremely absorbent. Travelers love them because they are lightweight and quick drying, and you can use them as a scarf, a light blanket or a towel. Versatile and beautiful! I love the ethic of this new company. Their towels are crafted by a network of weavers in a small mountain town in Southwestern Turkey. These artisans learned their craft as it was passed down through generations, and many of the looms have been in the family for decades. I’m pretty excited about this one!

Yummy

Way back forever ago when I was a working woman, one of our business partners sent a giant box of Enstrom toffee to our office every Christmas. Oh, my! Let’s call the feeding frenzy “unseemly,” which is the mother of all understatements. We chowed down, Baby! And now Enstrom is my favorite way to send a little love at Christmas. Plus, I love supporting this fourth generation Colorado family business.

It just isn’t Christmas without hot chocolate, right? I know it’s ridiculously overpriced, but I love Williams Sonoma for the pretty tin. And those luscious marshmallows? So fun!

Pottery Barn Christmas Character Mugs

Hot chocolate just tastes better in a fun mug. How cute are these little numbers from Pottery Barn? Of course, they found their way into my basket.

Inspirational

One silver lining of this pandemic has been more time to read. Two of my favorite reads this year found me at just the right moment. Have a reader on your list who needs some encouragement? I recommend enjoying these books slowly, maybe keeping them on your nightstand and reading a chapter every night at bedtime. They are rich and deep, best to be savored.

Gentle & Lowly: the Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund illuminates the love of Jesus through Biblical texts and the writings of several Puritan theologians. It’s a scholarly book, so beautifully written it doesn’t feel like one.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson explores fifteen of the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) to discover truths about the life of faith. Written forty years ago by the man who gave us The Message Bible paraphrase, this book is timeless and true.

Of course, you can easily get both books on Amazon, but maybe try your local bookseller first? Whenever possible, I try to shop local and/or support small businesses.

I’ll make one more stop before I finish my baskets, and that will be to my local farmer’s market. I’m sure to find local honey, handmade soaps, infused salts, or any number of other fun items to tuck into my baskets. In this year of isolation, a visit to the local farmer’s market to buy my neighbor’s goods feels positively Christmasy!

I have one more gift to share, and this is one I’m buying for myself! Roger and I long ago reached that “buy-yourself-something-nice-for-Christmas” stage of marriage, and I must admit, I like it! I have fallen in love with the work of Montana artist Carol Hagan, and I’ve decided to collect a few of her pieces for my {someday} Wyoming cabin. This summer, my kids gave me the buffalo print, so I’m adding the bear print this Christmas. These vibrant translations of Carol’s originals are done on metal, and the colors are rich and luminous. What do you think? Be sure to check out Carol’s amazing work!

Carol Hagan’s Starry, Starry Night
Carol Hagan’s Bear Breath and Snowflakes

I hope my Gift Guide has given you ideas to ease your shopping. Whatever your plans this Christmas season, here’s wishing you peace and joy in your celebration. At the end of a difficult year, I pray we cherish each other and find a deep and abiding contentment in the gift of life.

ComeOnAileen

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8 Comments

    1. Thank you, Gina! Yes, isn’t Carol Hagan amazing? Hope you get to have some good family time over the holidays.

  1. That was a fun read! I need to take gift-giving lessons from you. You’re so creative! Puts me in a cheerful holiday mood. 😊

    1. Ah, thanks Kim! I just really needed a little Christmas this year, so I started early. We will sure miss our traditional Thanksgiving celebration with you guys this year. I hope you and the girls make some good memories together.

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