What We Gave

I debated whether or not to contribute my own Christmas shopping guide last month, but I didn’t feel like a gift goddess–all knowing in what to give people–nor did I want to give away what we would be giving to family members. Sooo, I decided that quite simply I would show you guys what we ended up giving this holiday season to inspire you for a year’s worth of birthdays and eventually another holiday season.

Now before I launch into this, allow me to say that the bathroom renovation is chugging along and we’re so close to the end. I am unbelievably excited to show you where we are with it, but alas, you must be patient as we put the finishing touches on the throne room (yeah, I said it). She will be revealed shortly.

For the Mr

I am personally a fan of what I like to call “shotgun method gifting.” Anyone familiar with firearms knows that what makes a shotgun a lovely instrument is the fact that its shell consists of many tiny pieces of shrapnel. When you shoot the gun, the shrapnel casts out, covering a wide range of space and improving the odds that at least a piece of the shrapnel will hit your target. A shotgun shell is like a canister of (metal) confetti, where a bullet is one single piece of metal. A bullet, on the other hand, is extremely effective if your aim is sure (there is much more to what gun people use and why and what they shoot out of it, so pardon me if I’m oversimplifying this–just stick with me). If you can get the bullet in the heart or the head, well then presto! That being said, when I say that my gifting style is “shotgun method,” what I mean is that I like to put together several small gifts when I’m unsure. While not everything is guaranteed to “hit,” there’s a good chance that at least one or more will. You see where I’m coming from now? I knew you’d like that analogy.

1) Faster, Higher, Stronger by Mark McClusky

This beauty of a book is all about sports and science. I first heard about it while listening to NPR months ago and it sounded so up Mr. P’s alley (as an elite athlete and a scientist), despite his lack of time for reading. Some of the research highlighted in the book even relates to his own research. It was just too perfect.

2) Framed Vintage Print

Make a semi-handmade gift

I stumbled upon this vintage anatomical heart online, actually, and loved the double meaning it would have for the Mr. and me: we love each other (duh) and Mr. P is considering cardio thoracic surgery as his specialty. Sooo, I went to FedEx and made a nice, cardstock print of this beauty, found a beautiful and affordable frame at Big Lots, and voila! I love semi-handmade projects like this.

3) “I Love That You’re My Husband” block from Altar’d State

i love that you're my husband

I love Altar’d State. If you have one near you, you should pop in. This place is the cutest. If you don’t have one nearby, just look at their website. Darling darling. That being said, I never thought I would find myself buying a gift for Mr. P there, but having recently made a sweet built-in bookshelf in his tiny office, I thought it’d be fun to give him something sweet to adorn it with.

4) Men’s Carlo Moccasin Slippers


This was one of those I-know-you-want-this gifts. Mr. P had been jonesing for some slippers for a while and these are so soft, not unfortunate looking, and have a sturdy sole. Cha-ching.

5) Wooden Travel Chess Set from TJ Maxx

chess board

Mr. P taught me how to play chess back before Little Girl entered the picture and we used to take a plastic board to a local Davis coffee shop and play. He went easy on me as I learned. I’ll never forget the first (and maybe only) time I checked him. I graciously yelled, “IN YOUR FACE.” Needless to say it has been a long time since we’ve played, so when I stumbled across this nice, travel-sized, wooden chess set (when hinged shut, the pieces are stored inside), it seemed like a fun date-night accessory.

For the Mrs

I’ve told you how I’m a shotgunner, well Mr. P has a tendency to go the bullet-route. He is a very thoughtful gift-giver who doesn’t give based upon what he would want, but on what he thinks the recipient would truly love. This year was no exception as Mr. P blew me away with a gift I had been wanting but truly not expecting:

1) Makala Baritone Ukulele

makala ukulele

Guys, I’m so excited about this! One of our awesome neighbors plays every instrument known to man (almost), especially in the ways of bluegrass, and has mentioned that baritone ukuleles (as opposed to the more common soprano) are great for folk and has even offered to teach me. EEK!

For Little Girl

I cannot express how fun it was to shop for Little Girl this year. She is easy to please, but beyond that it’s so fun looking at toys and knowing how much fun she will have with them. We had a good time.

1) Whale Purse

whale purse

The meeting place between purse and stuffed animal. It’s like it was made for her.

2) Melissa & Doug Food Cutting Set

food cutting set

I love Melissa & Doug toys. I love that they’re wooden and not plastic, that they’re innovative, and that they seem to develop some kind of skill or coordination. We get this out whenever I’m preparing dinner, so that Little Girl can cut veggies alongside me. So sweet.

3) Melissa & Doug Tool Kit

tool kit

Where the last gift helps Little Girl emulate her mommy, this one is great for time with daddy, since Mr. P frequently has his tool kit out. `

4) Circo Folding Stroller

toy stroller

With a new sibling on the way, we are especially keen on fostering her love of mothering her stuffed animals and baby doll. Here’s hoping that when I’m pushing the newborn in a stroller, she’ll be up for pushing one of her toys alongside me.

For Him

Mr. P’s extended family draws names for Christmas gifting. Mr. P drew one of his brothers’ names and quickly thought of the genius idea of supplementing his home brew supplies (the beer he makes is incredible, by the way).

1) 5 Gallon Glass Carboy from Hop City

5 gallon carboyHop City is a great, local place to get everything from local brews to supplies for making your own beer. Any beer or wine lovers in the Birmingham area needs to stop in.

2) Case of Amber Flip Top Bottles, 750 mL size

flip top bottlesAs it turns out, 750 mL (the recipient’s preference) is a difficult size to find in flip top bottles (it’s right between a half L and a L). We were stoked to find brewinternational.com for an awesome selection and good prices.

For Her

In the P-family Christmas drawing, I drew a sister-in-law. The following is the meeting place between my shotgun gifting and her Pinterest (I have to admit, she posts a wish list to her Pinterest, which makes giving to her pretty fail-proof).

1) Orla Kiely Yoga Mat

yoga mat

Mm. Who doesn’t love Orla Kiely goodies? Especially when they make being active more fun.

2) Orla Kiely Yoga Headband


It was just too cute and it matched the yoga mat. Don’t judge me.

3) Bath and Body Works Deep Cleansing Soaps


Soap is one of those items that you really should only gift if you know someone has a sweet spot for it. Otherwise it can send the message that the recipient needs a good shower. In this case, my SIL had openly said she liked the fruit-scented soaps.

4) Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist

savor devotional

This devotional is by Shauna Niequist and combines content from several of her books. This technically isn’t released yet, but it will be sent to my SIL’s door the day it is (hellllo pre-order).

For the Couple

My extended family decided to draw names of couples since we’re now all married. Mr. P and I drew one of my brothers and his wife who just bought a home so we decided to make them a house warming themed collection of goods.

1) DIY Copper Magazine Stand

copper magazine stand

I love DIYs that go well and this one did. This was one of those low-difficulty, high-yield projects. I highly recommend.

2) The Art of Fixing Things by Lawrence Pierce and Margit Lieder

the art of fixing things

This little handbook targets a reader who was not raised rebuilding engines, fixing lawn mowers, or installing appliances (ie my siblings and me). Since home-owning seems to entail a whole lot of things breaking or needing improving, this seemed appropriate.

3) Threshold Mini Bowl Assortment

target bowls

Based on a Pinterest hunt, this was an attempt to match my new sister-in-law’s taste. These little bowls are perfect for yogurt, fruit, apple sauce, etc.

4) Eye Chart Art

I wish I had snapped a photo of the finished eye chart, but unfortunately I totally forgot, so I have to steal this awesome blog’s beautiful photo. This project consisted of making an eye chart with a neat quote on it (I went with “home is wherever I am with you”) and framing it (oh hi Salvation Army and can of spray paint).

5) Message Clip Board

message clip board

I can’t find a photo of the message clip board that we got my bro and his lovely wife, but this gives you the idea: it sits up on a counter like a frame, but you just clip a message or photo to it. Thanks Hobby Lobby.

White Elephant

We had one go-to white elephant gift this year that we actually bought multiple times:

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano

i could pee

If you haven’t flipped through the pages of this book, you need to go enjoy yourself. It is hilarious, cat owner or not.

Stocking Stuffers

Last but not least, the grand list of stocking stuffers. I always find these the most challenging, particular for all my brothers-in-law.

For Little Girl: 

Disney’s Frozen bracelets (play jewelry)

Cute socks

For the Ladies: 

DIY cord bracelets — made these for several ladies, super easy and cute

DIY clay garden markers — these didn’t turn out quite as awesome as the blog’s, but still cute and relatively easy

Mini candles

Blank journals 

For the Gentlemen:

Double USB car charger

Wit by Des MacHale — a collection of hilarious quotes

Manly smelling hand sanitizer 

Spices and fruit flavorings for home brewing — we did several of these, dry and liquid

A six-pack of local beer

Portable electronics charger

Whew! There she is. I’m tired. Preggo is going to go nap now.


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