2019 Holiday Gift Guide

This year’s top gifts are all about gadgets, comfort, retro comebacks and products they’ll love and never realize they needed. Check out the hot gift items on everyone’s wishlist in 2019.

1. Polaroid Camera 

A modern twist on a retro camera, Polaroids are making a come back and are all the rage. It features simple operations for instant print pictures, plus automatic functions that pick the best camera settings. It comes in multiple colors, as well as gift packages that include film packs!

2. Smart Phone Portable Theater Projector

For the person who makes you huddle around all the time to show you videos on their phone, turn their smartphone into a portable theater projector! It’s not just for smartphones, you can connect a laptop, USB Drive or video game console as well. Depending on the model, most offer full HD resolution and up to a 100” screen size. What’s better than receiving a gift that allows you to watch your favorite shows and movies anywhere you like?

3. Wireless Mini Mobile Photo Printer

For the one who loves taking photos! With this photo printer, they can skip the hassle of ordering pictures, and instantly print photos at home via wifi or the free mobile app. Its small size makes it portable, perfect for taking it along on adventures to give photos to friends!

4. New Nintendo Mini Game Console

This gift is perfect for the gamer or retro-loving person in your life! Bring back memories with the 2019 Mini Nintendo Game Console that features 620 built-in games! Some of the pre-installed games include Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, PAC-MAN, Dr. Mario, Mega Man, Final Fantasy and dozens more.

5. Bamboo Bath Caddy Tray 

This versatile gift is perfect for someone who would love getting away to enjoy a good book, movie, or glass of wine while taking a relaxing soak. It features a wine holder, cup holder, soap dish, phone slot, and book/tablet space.

6. Monthly Subscription Box

Monthly subscription boxes are a great gift choice because there are so many different kinds of subscriptions to choose from! It can be anything from makeup, clothes, wine and cheese, craft beer, food, books, candy, pet products, and more! Subscriptions can be delivered weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the brand and what they offer.

Some popular ones include My Coffee and Book Club, Ipsy (makeup), My Craft Beer Club, FabFitFun (women’s beauty, wellness and health), HelloFresh (weekly ingredients and recipes for healthy meals), Vinebox (wine), Barkbox/Kitnipbox (toys, treats and more for dog or cat in your family) and the list goes on.

This is a gift that keeps on giving all year long, that they will be excited to receive every month. Because it is delivered right to their door, there is no wrapping or hassle involved for you! Because of the huge variety of choices, you’re bound to find a box that perfectly fits each person on your list, right down to the family pet.

7. Weighted Blanket

Who doesn’t love getting plush fluffy blankets? But add in the feeling of a weighted blanket and you’ve got the ultimate comfort gift. These blankets are filled with weighted materials that create a calming effect and improve relaxation. They come in a wide variety of sizes and weights (from 5 – 30 lbs) and can be used by any age group. They can help improve sleep and can help with many different things such as stress, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and more.

8. Bottleloft by Uncommon Goods

Make his bottle of beer float in mid-air! OK, not really. He’ll be magnetized by this set of two strips that help him save some serious space in his fridge (and it looks cool, too!). If you want to get him something he’ll actually want to show off to his buddies, this is the real deal. These super-strong magnetic strips will display three beers, making room for those drunken eats (or more beer). It’s the one product he’ll love and never realize he needed.

 

Patriotic Firecracker Centerpiece Craft

Supplies:

  • Pool noodle (preferably blue)
  • Glitter scrapbook paper (one sheet in red, silver or blue)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Red tissue paper
  • Decorative stems w/ red, white, & blue stars

Instructions: 

  1. Cut pool noodle to the desired size.
  2. Measure scrapbook paper to pool noodle and cut to size.
  3. Apply hot glue to one end of the scrapbook paper. Do not apply the hot glue directly to the pool noodle!
  4. Wrap scrapbook paper around the noodle and apply glue to the other end of the paper.
  5. Press the paper down to secure to the back of the noodle.
  6. Cut a small piece of tissue paper approximately 6 inches wide.
  7. Gather tissue paper and press in the center of the top of the pool noodle.
  8. Insert decorative stem into the center of tissue paper/noodle.
  9. Celebrate!
*Reminder for Richdale Residents: No real fireworks or firecrackers are allowed in the community.

 

Wine Cork Reindeer

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks
  • Twigs
  • Small red pom poms or red round headed pins
  • Nail
  • Wire cutters or craft knife
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Bows, bells, ribbon, etc. for decoration (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Use a nail to make four leg holes, about 1/4” deep, at a slightly outward angle in the bottom of one cork for the legs. Cut four matching twigs for the legs, about 2” long, using a razor knife or wire cutters.
  2. Put a bit of hot glue on the end of each twig and insert them into the holes. If any leg is uneven, trim to adjust.
  3. For the other cork, make two holes on the top for antlers and one hole on the bottom for the neck.
  4. Hot glue a small red pom pom or insert a red round headed pin for the nose.
  5. Add accessories to your reindeer such as a bow, bell, ribbon, etc. (optional).

http://makethebestofthings.blogspot.com/2011/12/wine-cork-reindeer.html

Gift Guide for the Holidays

These two small kitchen appliances are all the rage right now. With everyone looking for the best and healthiest ways to prepare meals at home, these gadgets make for the perfect holiday gifts.

AirFryer

This popular appliance is making its way into the homes of many, especially those looking for a healthier alternative to oily, fried foods. Airfryers come in many sizes catering to any sized household. According to online reviews, Phillips makes the best performing and easy-to-use airfryer.

The well-known brand sells three different models: The Compact, XL and XXL. These models all have the patented “Turbostar Technology,” meaning hot air circulates 360 degrees around the food as it cooks. This ensures the food is cooked evenly and has a crisp outside with a tender inside. And as the food cooks, any excess fat is simultaneously drained, which is 75% – 90% less fat than typical fried foods. You can also download the “Philips Airfryer app” for recipes, tutorials and tips.

Although the “Turbostar Technology” is used in all the models, the portion size and capabilities are what sets them apart. The basic Compact Airfryer model can easily fit on your countertop, has the ability to cook two portions (1.8 lb) at one time and has easy-to-use controls. The XL Airfryer model is the midsized option that can cook up to four portions (2.65 lb) at one time and features digital touchscreen controls with a preset button to remember your favorite foods. Lastly, the largest XXL Airfryer model is the most powerful model that Phillips offers. It can cook two bags of fries or even a whole chicken in one go, which makes this model ideal for larger families.

Anova Precision Cooker

The other gadget that would make a great gift this holiday season is the Anova Precision Cooker. With this simple device and your phone, you can cook professional level meals. The Anova Precision Cooker uses what is called “Sous-vide” (pronounced ‘sue-veed’) or precision cooking, a technique that uses precise temperature control to achieve perfectly cooked, flavor-filled results.

Here’s how it works. Grab any sized pot and fill it about half way with water. Place the Anova wand into the water and use the clamp to secure it to the side of the pot. Use the controls on the wand or the Anova app on your phone to select the temperature specified in the app or recipe book to achieve your desired doneness. Take a resealable plastic bag and place your choice of ingredients and seasoning inside and seal it. Place the bag in the preheated water and clip the bag to the pot. That’s it! The water will continue to circulate eliminating any hot or cold spots, and in no time at all you will have a perfectly cooked meal! Once the ingredients are cooked, you can use a pan to crisp up the outer layer.

The Anova wand can be used to cook anything from steaks and fried chicken to eggs and potatoes. There are over 1,000 recipes available on the app and online. Anova makes cooking so simple, you’ll never want to use anything else!

4th of July Game – Glow in the Dark Bowling

What you’ll need:

  • 10 water bottles
  • 10 glow sticks in a variety of colors
  • Soccer ball

Directions:

  • Remove any labels from your water bottles. If water bottles are new and still contain water, pour out a little off the top to allow for the glow sticks you’ll be adding.
  • Crack the glow sticks to activate them (according to the package directions) and drop one glow stick in each bottle. Replace the lid on the bottle securely.
  • Line bottles up like bowling pins.
  • To keep the game fair, especially if you have a range of ages playing, set a distance for each age group.
  • Have FUN!

4th of July Craft – Clothespin Wreath

What you’ll need:

  • 12″ wire wreath frame
  • 2 packs of clothespins (this project requires 60 clothespins)
  • Glitter stars foam stickers
  • Red, white and blue paint (acrylic or spray)
  • Hot glue (optional)
  • Paint brush

Directions:

  1. Start by dividing out you 60 clothespins into the following piles: 15, 22, 23
  2. Paint 15 blue, 22 white and 23 red and let dry
  3. Once dry, stagger the clothespins on the wreath frame, placing all the blue clothespins together, then 4 reds followed by 4 whites until you have used all of your clothespins
  4. Add the foam stars to the blue clothespins (if not sticky enough, use hot glue)
  5. Hang your wreath and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
5 1/2 cups milk
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups good quality milk chocolate chips
Marshmallows and mini candy canes for garnish

Instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a slow cooker set to low heat.
Let cook for 2 hours, stirring occassionally. When chocolate is fully melted
and the drink is hot to taste, it’s done!
2. Top with marshmallows and mini candy canes for some extra fun.
3. Enjoy!

Make A Difference This Holiday Season

The cold holiday months can be a difficult time for many people. If you’re looking for a way to give back, this time of year is the perfect time to start. Below we have listed six of the simplest and most impactful ways you can spread your holiday spirit this year. Many of our communities participate in these these opportunities; watch for emails from your community about our giving back events.

Send holiday cards to active-duty military and veterans:
Sending cards to our military heroes is a simple, yet impactful way to give back this holiday season. It may not seem like much, but this small gesture can brighten the day of those who have given so much to fight for our freedom and those who aren’t able to make it home to their families for the holidays. You can send cards through your local American Red Cross that participates in the Holidays for Heroes program. You can also see if A Million Thanks has a card drop-off location near you.

Collect donations for a food bank:

Food banks are always in need of help, but especially during the holidays. During this time, many people are in the giving spirit and it’s a great opportunity to get friends together to collect donations. You can form your own food drive or gather cash and food donations for a drive run by another organization. Food banks look for nutritious nonperishable items like whole grain foods and canned foods with low sodium. If you’d like to look for a food bank in your area, click here.

Volunteer at a Shelter:
As money is short for many during the holiday season, one of the most rewarding ways to give back is to donate your time. Take time to volunteer at a homeless shelter or a women and children’s shelter to help with meal prep or food service. This allows for the opportunity to meet the individuals you serve and makes for a very gratifying experience. To find a shelter to serve at near you, click here.

Assemble a group of friends to sponsor a family:
Get a group of friends involved in the giving this year by sponsoring a family in need. There are many organizations such as The Salvation Army that gather information for families in need of sponsorship during the holiday season. Groups will be provided with a list of the family members and the children’s ages, clothing sizes and wish lists. After choosing a family, let the holiday shopping begin! Your group is free to spend whatever amount meets the budget. This very rewarding way of giving back ensures that families in need have a holiday they won’t soon forget.

Help Children in Need with Toys for Tots:
A great way to get involved this season is to help children in need by donating new, unused toys to the Toys for Tots Foundation. Toys for Tots is a charity that collects unwrapped donated toys to give to less fortunate families who can’t afford gifts during the holidays. “The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”

Friendsgiving

A new trend that has been sweeping the nation is now giving us yet another reason to be excited for the start of the holiday season. Have you ever heard of Friendsgiving?

If not, it’s basically a second Thanksgiving that you celebrate with your closest friends. This popular event is most commonly held sometime at the beginning of November or just after traditional Thanksgiving, allowing for the actual day to be spent with family. No one is quite sure where it started or who exactly coined the term, but more and more people are making this new tradition a part of their yearly celebrations.

If you’re thinking about hosting your own Friendsgiving this year, here are some tips to help make sure everything runs as smooth as mashed potatoes.
The first step is to collect RSVPs and create a sign-up sheet to ensure that all the food bases are covered (but let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as too many potatoes). As for you, the host, it is your job to provide the star of the meal, the turkey (and/ or ham). The rule of thumb for the turkey is to estimate about a pound of turkey per person or a pound and a half if you want leftovers.

Next, while your guests are calling dibs on making their favorite dishes, you should make sure that you have enough place settings for everyone. Yes, paper plates and plastic utensils are easier, but Friendsgiving is a great time for you to impress your friends with your hosting skills. Check out your local thrift shops or stores like At Home for inexpensive plates and utensils.

Remember, when your friends offer their help, take them up on it; more than likely you’ll need an extra table and some chairs. Survey your space and come up with a layout that will work best.You may also want to request that your guest bring one or two decorations to create a festive atmosphere.

Lastly, and most importantly, be creative! The quirkier your Friendsgiving is, the better! Your goal is to create new traditions and experiences that will continue and people will remember for years to come!