This holiday season is WAY different than in years past. There isn’t likely to be a lot of large gatherings and travels to family/grandparents, or like the Misadventures family normally does at this time of year, travel. With the prospect of having to send out physical packages and everything that the post office is going through at the moment, people are (a) starting to shop earlier, (b) taking advantage of free shipping, and (c) going digital as much as possible.
So this year’s holiday gift guide reflects our current reality.
As in past years, I have multiple categories of gifts to choose from as I, like many others, are more than just one “thing.” I can’t be defined by one category and that includes gifts. I am a blogger, a traveler, a foodie, a former RVer, and a Francophile. This year add the Work-From-Homer and subject of The Queen (reference here). I know that many of you are a combination of these personas and more.
I don’t like to just slap some pictures down and say “buy.” I want you to understand why I’m making the recommendations I’ve made and my experience with the products. If I don’t have personal experience with an item, I tell you. And I tell you why I still recommend it.
Lastly, some items have been gifted (all opinions still remain my own and not everything gifted made the cut). I will write [Gifted] in front of anything that was sent to me (by my request) to keep things transparent.
I hope my Misadventures with Andi holiday gift guide will have something that catches your eye for either yourself, a friend, or a family member.
Gifts for Living Life During the Age of the Queen
Earth to Skin Hand Sanitizer Line
[Gifted] Like masks, anti-bacterial gel is now a fact of life. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and it certainly shouldn’t be toxic. Earth to Skin is vegan, without sulfates and parabens, and hasn’t been tested on animals. But what I love most about them is the scents! Watermelon, Coconut + Aloe, Lemon + Basil, and Blueberry. I dig them all because let me tell you I have smelled some truly terrible scented hand sanitizers (I’m looking at you Trader Joe’s – Grapefruit and Lemon, in theory, that combo sounds good, but NO!). If I am going to put something on my hands multiple times a day, it should smell nice. And be nice to the planet.
Where to Buy: Right now they are exclusively available at Walmart. $6.96 for a 6-pack bundle. I think these will make a great stocking stuffer!
Sanikind Refillable Eco-Friendly Hand Sanitizer
[Gifted] And speaking of being nice to the planet, the anti-bacterial you choose, and the company that makes it is important. If you want to do even more for the environment and protect our oceans, then consider Sanikind. This small but mighty company urges you not to waste single-use plastics, instead, buy one of their refillable minis which is made from recycled ocean-bound plastic sourced from Haiti and Mexico. The refill bottle is made of aluminum, one of the world’s most recyclable materials. If you have a family, you can buy a pack of 3 and refill them when necessary. The carabiner is perfect for my Osprey backpack!
Where to Buy: The Sanikind website.
Breton Shirt Co. Masks
If you know anything about me, you know that you will often find me in a navy blue and white striped shirt, or a marinière in French. I buy them wherever I see them and they are usually in blue, white, and red. But Breton Shirt Co. also has colors like green and light blue and the material they make their shirts in are so soft! (Here’s a great interview with the founder Rachel Walker) And now they are making masks in the same material. I am picking one (or 2!) up for myself. This is a great gift for travelers, francophiles and basically, anyone as masks are going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future.
Anthropologie (+ J. Crew) Reusable Face Masks
Although my Vichy (picnic) print one is no longer available, I really love the prints that Anthropologie has. I have had mine for several months and have washed it several times and it is still in prime condition. I like the slot that allows me to put a medical mask or filter inside. Now, if you really want the French Vichy print (I do, I do!) then you can still get them at J. Crew. I bought this set and this set!
Where to Buy: Anthropologie and J. Crew
Mask Cases & Bags
While traveling or out-and-about, you need a clean place to put your mask when you are not using it. Of course, you can use a Ziploc bag, but those are so wasteful. There are plastic anti-bacterial cases, which at least you can get more uses out of it than a Ziploc. I also love these cloth ones: Quarantine Queen and Social Distancer! This cute little keychain one is adorable as well!
Where to Buy: Etsy!
Airplane Seat Divider
I think I should have had this years ago. As a petite person, I am always getting the short end of the stick on airplanes. If I travel by myself I get the window and then I think it is only fair the middle seat passenger gets the armrest, but when I am traveling with Mr. Misadventures or bad planning has forced me into a middle seat I often find myself without an armrest because people aren’t as nice as I am. Now with The Queen, I really just don’t want to touch people so this airplane seat divider is perfect!
Where to Buy: Amazon.
[Gifted] Home cleaners may not be sexy but they are certainly more top of mind than they used to be! And with the frequency that we are cleaning every surface of our home with, why not make sure that they are as non-toxic as possible. The plant-based cleaning products from Sensitive Home would make a great stocking stuffer or a cute “bouquet” to send to a family you care about. I have tried the Free & Clear “scent” laundry detergent, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner, which I actually used to steam my bathroom floors without leaving any residue or flowery or “over-chemical” smell. We have a lot of wood furniture so I will be purchasing some to try out asap.
Where to Buy: At the moment they are Wegmans (I live in North Carolina so that is perfect), the store can be found up the East Coast and they will have an online store soon.
I have never been much of a holiday person. Haven’t had a tree in decades (although thinking about it this year) and my former colleagues at Dolby gave me this Meh ornament nearly 10 years ago. I haul it out every year as my Christmas decoration! This year however I love these 2 pandemic ornaments (here and here) which I think aptly described 2020 in a nutshell and would be a cute addition to your tree or anywhere else you may have a Christmas display.
Where to Buy: Etsy.
Silk + Sonder Journal
[Gifted] Now more than ever journaling seems like a good thing to do, particularly if you are trying to get into wellness and/or self-care routine, because, heck, what else do we have to do with ourselves this year? Buy these monthly journals for yourself or as a gift for a friend or family member who needs to focus on themselves a bit. A single January journal is a good place to start, or a subscription too, but I say why wait? Get the December one today and start getting into a routine now, or use it as practice before committing to 2021.
Where to Buy: On the Silk + Sonder website.
Gifts for People Working from Home
Well. There are A LOT more people working from home this year which means a whole new category of gifting. From remote work to forced-at-home work, to home-schooling people are making space for offices and work areas they never knew they needed before. Here are some suggestions for making the best of a WFH situation for friends and family.
[Gifted] My desk has 2 set-ups. My professional laptop, monitor, video camera, headset, keyboard, and mouse. And my personal set of the same items. I do not mix the 2 worlds. I also like to have my to-do lists in a notebook (I know, so analog!) but I also like to list out the hot things for the day from my notebook. I discovered the Slope and now I can have that hot list in front of me without wasting another piece of paper. It is like a mini whiteboard that fits in front of me. It fits right over my laptop and can hold my pens (which I always lose on my desk) as well. During my day job hours, I write what I need to get done for that day. I may put blog stuff in the corner, but usually, I move the Slope over to my personal laptop side on the weekends when I am working on the blog. Ideally, I would have 2 Slopes and wouldn’t have to switch back and forth, but I am happy to have the 1!
Where to Buy: Fluidstance website.
[Gifted] This may be the favorite in this whole gift guide! Now if only I had someone to gossip with at my personal water cooler! Because that is exactly what the Fillup is! There are days when I am in meetings and conference calls all day and barely get a bio break! So it is now always easy to get downstairs to get water. I just fill-up the Fillup (you see how they did that?!) and I have my water for the day. My other favorite part is the sleek design. Every part and piece is thought out beautifully. It comes with a ceramic mug that transports me to Japan. Seriously if you know someone working from home who has everything, they don’t have THIS!
Where to Buy: Fluidstance website.
“I’ll Zoom you.” That is definitely something people were NOT saying (outside of the corporate or start-up world) before 2020. But they are saying it now! You can get a free Zoom account but you have time and attendee restrictions. If you have someone in your life who has transitioned their life to virtual meetings or in a family that is trying to keep connected, consider gifting a Zoom subscription. There are different plans at different rates.
Where to Buy: On Zoom’s website.
I drink coffee all morning and then switch to tea in the afternoon (plus my ever-present water). If I am going to be doing that each and every day I want my mug to at least to be fun! Even when I wasn’t working from home I had fun coffee mugs for the office. I am all about subtle (range of whimsical to sarcastic humor) and a fun coffee mug can do that! a lot of us are working from home now, but that doesn’t mean your coffee cup has to be boring! These are fun mugs to add a little smile to your day, they make great gifts!
Where to Buy: Etsy: Screenshare mug / This is my Zoom Mug (not pictured but love it!) / Mute mug / This Might be Wine mug / Live at Work mug / Rather be in Paris mug
Where to Buy: Society6: Video Call on Top mug
A Good Pair of Headphones/Headset
As I mentioned, I am on conference calls a lot. With everything that can go wrong with technology, I use a corded headset. I had a Plantronics headset for more than 10 years and it died on me last year. So I picked up a new Plantronics headset, this time a C5200. It never lets me down even when technology does and the people on the other end of the call say it sounds fantastic. When I am not on calls and want to listen to music, I go with Bluetooth earbuds either my Tranya Rimor True Wireless earbuds (gifted) which I mentioned in Currently May 2020, or my Sony WF-1000XM3 which are also noise-canceling.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Gifts for Bloggers
Whether you (or your blogging friend or family member) have/has been blogging for 1 year or 1 decade, there are always “things” a blogger can use: planners, printables, books, tools, e-courses, t-shirts, or that mug that should be ever full of coffee so you/they can get through that deadline! I have updated my guide for 2020. There are still some old classics that I will always recommend and some new additions too! Rather than repeating everything here, I’m just going to direct you to that post!
See my Gifts for Bloggers Guide.
Gifts for Foodies
Anyone who has been around me a certain length of time knows I am food-obsessed. I love reading about food, thinking about food, planning meals, and of course eating and drinking. In my opinion, food unites the world. When you sit down to break bread with someone, conflictual topics like religion, culture, and politics can melt away all in the sharing of food.
This is usually a good gift, but now with the Queen, it is a GREAT gift! The fewer trips to the grocery store, the less exposure you have. Plus there is always so much new food to explore, and so little time to do it! The food industry is constantly innovating and reinventing itself! Life gets busier and busier. Food boxes are a great way to try new foods, stay on a particular type of diet, or conveniently have food in your fridge during the crazy work weeks, or during a pandemic! As a traveler who can’t travel all the time, I can travel through food, which is my favorite way to travel anyway. Any food box – whether it is a subscription or a one-time thing, makes a great gift!
There are cheese-of-the-month boxes, salami-of-the-month boxes, jerky-of-the-month boxes, you name it! Find out what your friend or family member loves and there is a box for that!
Food Box + Subscription Recommendations:
- SnapKitchen: I like this one because you can select low-carb meals!
- Green Chef: Also because they have carb-conscious meals.
- Murray’s Cheese: Because I’ve (almost) never met a cheese I didn’t like!
- Keto Box: Keto snack box.
- Keto Krate: Keto foods and snacks box.
- Sea to Table: For seasonal sustainable seafood.
- Ocean Box: Select your own sustainable seafood.
- Smart Sweets: My dream box, I love the Peach Rings but they are SO expensive!
I haven’t met many foodies who don’t love to drool over cookbooks! Find out what your friend or family member likes to cook and find them a cookbook, or find out what they have always wanted to learn how to cook and pick up something for them, for people trying out a new lifestyle like low carb, there are lots of good choices for gifting.
Here are some of my favorite Cookbooks from 2020.
Low Carb Cookbooks:
It’s been 3.5 years since Mr. Misadventures and I began following a low-carb lifestyle so we are always looking for new recipes and inspiration.
- Easy Low Carb Slow Cooking: A prep-and-go low-carb cookbook for keto, Paleo, and high-fat diets by Robin Donovan. (We try to stay away from super high fats, but there are some great recipes in here!)
- Southern Keto: 100+ traditional favorites for a low-carb lifestyle by Natasha Newton. We’re in the South now and want to enjoy local favorites, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it (at least sometimes) low carb!
- The Primal Low-Carb Kitchen: Comfort food recipes for the carb conscious cook by Kyndra Holley. Who says comfort food has to be carby?!
Hey, I am only human and like to treat myself, or frankly just drool over the pictures!
- The Boba Book: It took months before I could get into The Boba Guys shop in San Francisco! The lines were always so long I never had time to wait! But when I finally had their boba, wow! So worth the wait! This cookbook is from the owners, Taiwanese-Americans Andrew Chau and Bin Chen who make magic with those little pearls!
- My Korea: Traditional flavors, modern recipes from Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim. It’s his first cookbook and one I will drool over. After Japanese, there is nothing better than Korean. I was lucky enough to eat my way through Seoul on 2 separate 2-week trips, and I only scratched the surface of this cuisine!
- Xi’an Famous Foods: The cuisine of Western China. After Japanese and Korean then comes Chinese of course! This book is from Favorite Noodle Shop (in New York) owner Jason Wang and oh mama on cheat days nothing is better than a giant bowl of noodles!
- How to Dress an Egg: (from Ned Baldwin and Peter Kaminsky) if you have ever seen me with my cell phone in person you will see my screensaver is an egg because I absolutely adore eggs in any way, shape or form! Eggs are also good for a low carb diet and I (thankfully) have lots of good HDL to offset the large number of eggs I eat! This cookbook is a joy!
A foodie loves food, right?! Think about what your favorite foodie loves to eat or cook with and make a nice gift basket or travel kit for them. There are sometimes little food indulgences that a person won’t buy for themselves, but love to receive. Nuts are always a good gift (for those not allergic) and I am still a huge fan of Sahale Snacks. Good news! If your foodie is also low carb, there are tons of snacks and drink mixes that would make a cute food basket. I shared a few of my favorites in J’adore #82 Low Carb Foods, J’adore #83 Low Carb Snacks, and J’adore #85 Low Carb Lifestyle Food and Snacks.
Gifts with Character
A few really interesting entries on the adult beverage side of the house. I could not resist sharing these!
Ogden’s Own’s Madam Pattirini Gin
[Gifted] Ogden’s Own’s Madam Pattirini Gin is a small batch gin made from juniper, bergamot, coriander, cardamom, Nigerian ginger, and Sicilian lemon – that combo alone would get a foodie running towards this bottle! They make fewer than 1,000 bottles at a time and all bottles are numbered by the batch and bottle. This gin is not only smooth as pie but it has a really quirky history to its name, one you likely haven’t heard before! The product is named after the stage name of Brigham Morris Young, (son of that Brigham Young) when he dressed in drag! Read the whole history on their website!
Where to Buy: Drizly.com website
Sugarlands Sipping Creams
I started drinking Sugarlands Moonshine during our RV trip. I received 2 bottles as a gift and doled them out selfishly. I never would have dreamed that I would live 5 hours away from the distillery (we were close while staying in Black Mountain!) which is on the top of my list to visit once the Queen leaves town. Now they have these Sipping Creams which are calling my name, but rather screaming! The only thing I don’t love about them is that I don’t know how many carbs are in them, which is frustrating, but I do know they are delicious! Hello, banana pudding!
Where to Buy: On the Sugarlands website.
Gifts for Francophiles
Oh la la! If you have a Francophile in your life then you are going to want to check this list out (plus more here). Perfectly curated by moi, a longtime Francophile, I would love and appreciate any of these – and many of these items I already have! If you have a wannabe Frenchie friend or family member – someone who loves all things French, France, or Paris, then this list is for them!
Christmastime in Paris
I am not much of a holiday person (and I don’t know what the French version of bah humbug is…), but I love Paris-themed things and I have to look at my coffee mug all day so I figured why not a Paris holiday mug from Anthropologie. And picked up the matching dessert plate as well. I couldn’t help myself!
Where to Buy: Anthropologie
Map Etched Glass Carafe or Map Rocks Glasses
[Gifted] Of course, I have both the carafe and the glasses with Paris on them! But both the Map Etched Glass Carafe or Map Rocks Glass from Well Told come in plenty of cities around the world perfect for not only the Francophile but also for travelers. I use mine for water and wine.
Where to Buy: Well Told Design website.
C’est La Tee
Looking for a great gift for a Francophile or someone who loves Paris? Check out the C’est La Vie t-shirt from C’est La Tee. They have lots of fun Paris-themed and French-themed gifts to choose from.
Where to Buy: C’est La Tee website.
Paris (and France) is always a very popular topic for books, and there was no shortage of book releases this year, including the second book from my pal Lindsey Tramuta of Lost in Cheeseland. If there is someone in your family or circle of friends who loves reading about all things France or Paris, consider adding these titles to your shopping list.
- The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris – in this book Lindsey Tramuta writes about the women of Paris and how they have made their mark on the rapidly evolving culture of their city, how they make their voices heard as well as how the stereotype of the Parisian women impacts their lives.
- If you or the person you are buying The New Parisienne for hasn’t already read it, I highly recommend Lindsey’s first book, The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement – we all want to know about the new spots in Paris, but this book gives you so much more, including the most interesting to me, the history.
- Bruno Chief of Police Series by Martin Walker – police series that takes place is the beautiful (and delicious!) Périgord region of France. There are 15 books in the series, plenty to keep your Frenchie book worm busy!
- Code Name Hélène – if you love historical fiction based on true and fascinating people, run, do not walk to ready this book by Ariel Lawhon.
- Three Hours in Paris – Cara Black has a long-running female detective series set in Paris, but this year she released a female spy novel that takes place in 1940.
- Paris On Air by Oliver Gee, a podcaster shares his take on Paris.
- There’s Only One Paris – Lily Heise is a long-time amie of Misadventures with Andi (she recently appeared in Paris Profiles) and she has just released her 3rd book perfect for those who are missing Paris!
Check out more books for the Francophile in Your Life.
If we can’t be in Paris (or France) this year we can cook something French to make us feel like we are!
- A Parisian Bistro: La Fontaine de Mars in 50 Recipes by Delphine Constantini brings the flavors of one of Paris’s most beloved bistros, La Fontaine de Mars. to your kitchen. Located near the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement, this spot has been serving delicious French classic dishes to locals and visitors alike since 1908.
- Drinking French by David Lebovitz whom I have been a longtime fan of. I enjoy his cookbooks but also loved his last book about buying and renovating an apartment in Paris. In his latest book, he dives into the drinking culture of France with 160 recipes in this beautifully photographed book.
- Dinner In French by Melissa Clark’s was inspired by a lifetime of trips and is the perfect remedy for not being able to travel to France, instead, you can bring France to you.
- La Buvette co-authored by Camille Fourmont, the owner of Parisian wine shop La Buvette (a Parisian institution). La Buvette is beautiful and mouth-watering.
La Cuisine Paris
I have taken a few classes at La Cusine Paris during various trips over the years. It is a great way to meet people, learn how to cook some French favorites and the school has a beautiful location! Now with the travel restrictions preventing tourists from visiting Paris, La Cuisine Paris is coming to you in the form of online classes perfect for any Francophile who wants to learn to make treats from baguettes to macarons!
Where to Buy: The La Cuisine Paris website.
Lava Magik from The Better Skin Co.
[Gifted] This delicious cleanser, exfoliator, and mask is made in the U.S.A. but the Francophile in me loves the main ingredient, French lava. My belle-mere has lived in the volcanic Auvergne region of France for over a decade now and I have enjoyed exploring the beauty and health products derived from the minerals that have evolved from the ancient eruptions including thermal springs. The lava is rich in antioxidants and collagenic properties and this particular product from The Better Skin Co. smells like oranges which is delightful! It can be used daily or weekly depending on the method of application and the amount used. I have been using it as a daily cleanser to remove make-up.
See the Gift Guide for the Francophile in Your Life for more ideas.
Gifts for Travelers
Well. What can be said here? There isn’t a whole heck of a lot of traveling going on in 2020. But there are still travelers out there and we are going to need some stuff once the Queen leaves town! Here are my suggestions for those with wandering ways in your life.
Trust me, as a traveler we are always looking to optimize our equipment. Mr. Misadventures and I have been using our REI suitcases for over ten years and love them. We actually just had to replace 2 of the 4 this past year(we went with a wheeled duffel). But I have also added a few suitcases to our repertoire, some overnight sizes as well as the longer trip variety (Bonjour Delsey!). We swear by Eagle Creek organizers which we have been using equally as long. These are foundational pieces you’ve got to have.
Then you need day packs. In regular life, you can’t pry my Timbukt2 small messenger bag from my cold dead hands. I’ve used my Osprey Talon 22 backpack for more than 12 years and it is highly functional and durable. For in-between needs, I have my Jambu cross-body bag. For my camera, I have an ONA Bowery that is waxed so it wicks water and is perfect for city adventures and ThinkTank Backlight (18L) for when I am in the great outdoors.
Aria Travel Kit
[Gifted] Leave it to a traveler to come up with the perfect travel kit. This kit with locally sourced (in the Pacific Northwest) all-natural and handmade products was the creation of a traveler inspired by a lack of an all-in-one travel kit with good products as she returned home on a flight from Florence. She names it Aria which means “air” in Italian as that is where her inspiration struck. There are over 13 products in this vegan case all smelling and feeling so good you won’t want to wait until you travel to use it! Buy for your favorite traveler for sure, but also consider it for any woman in your life.
The Tote Project Pouch/Toiletry Bag
[Gifted] I am a fan of little pouches that can be used for a variety of things, including holding toiletries. I have them for small camera accessories, my increasingly taller mountain of vitamins which I put into reusable bags and keep them separate from my make-up, and on and on. Over the many years of traveling, I have picked pouches all over the world, and not only do they keep me organized while traveling but I carry around the memories of where I purchased them as well. All that to say I like pouches with stories. That is exactly what a pouch from The Tote Project is.
This collection of ethically made products exists to empower survivors and victims of modern-day slavery. The brand was born in 2013 when 2 best friends united by their passion for seeing an end to human trafficking, put their heads together about how they can make a difference. They worked together to bring hand-painted designs to multipurpose tote that could promote sustainability, raise awareness, and give back.
Where to Buy: The Tote Project website.
Bombas Compression Socks
I always knew compression socks were important for flying but hadn’t ever bothered as thus far my legs haven’t bothered me on flights (although as I age, that seems to no longer be the case). It wasn’t until we drove 4 days straight from Phoenix to Raleigh at the end of January that I realized their true value! Those long days of driving can be murder on your legs and feet. I picked up several pairs of Bombas compression socks prior to our trip. We wore them and the result was magical. Now, Mr. Misadventures and I were them all the time for long drives and I will wear the next trip to Paris (whenever that is!).
Where to Buy: The Bombas website.
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
[Gifted] Of course, this pillow is (or will be when we can travel by air again) great for long flights, but also long road trips too! This past week I used to take a nap while our carry was being ferried from one Outer Banks island to another. For the 2+ hour ferry ride I was quite comfortable resting my head on this upcycled/recycled pillow. Therm-a-Rest uses foam sourced from upcycled foam from their pad manufacturing and the cover is made from polyester made from mostly recycled materials. It compresses down to a small enough size to fit in my carry-on bag or to whatever corner I shove it into in the back of the truck when we are on the road. It is a great travel accessory! Awesome for camping as well.
Platypus DuoLock SoftBottles
[Gifted] This item really could go in the “Gift for Anyone” section as well as this type of water bottle is not just ideal for travelers, but everyone who drinks water, so everyone! I have one of these soft bottles attached to my backpack, my laptop bag for work, in the glove compartment, and in my “bike” bag. Any bag that is going to take me someplace outside my home. After living in Arizona for 2 years I became keenly aware of how important it is to stay hydrated and how wasteful single-use plastic bottles can be. Having a soft bottle saves me from having to purchase a single-use bottle of water wherever I go.
One of the most frustrating aspects of travel is finding/having good gadgets or tools to help you with life. Some of the things I can’t live without? My scale and my PSI band.
Oh my goodness analog scales are so cheap! You can save a ton of money when it comes to preventing overweight luggage fees at the airport. I would never consider a trip to Paris without ours! You can buy digital ones as well. If you have a traveling friend who tends to over-pack or over-shop, this tool is an absolute necessity!
If you know anyone who gets motion sickness you must get them PSI bands. I’ve had mine for more than a decade (the same pair!) and can’t tell you how many times I have been grateful that they were in my bag. You’d be surprised when motion sickness can pop up and these puppies are a savior! They’re pretty too!
Some new gadgets I’ve added to my arsenal include:
- LastSwab: I am trying to be more sustainable in as many aspects of my life that I can, and this reusable cotton swab replaces 1000 single-use cotton swabs! (Check out more eco-friendly travel products here.)
- Five Two Silicone Straws: sometimes you just want a straw, like when you are drinking something with a lot of ice and you don’t want the ice cubes in your face as you dink. But nobody wants to pollute the world with plastic straws and so the movement to bamboo, metal and other more sustainably produced and reuseable straws are on the market wherever you turn. I want my straw also to be highly portable which is why I like the ones from Food 52.
- Birdie Personal Alarm: I haven’t actually used this personal alarm yet, but that is good news in my book. However, if I need it, I’ll have it.
Books for Travelers
Travelers read a lot. And since most of us can’t travel, we’re reading a lot more! It the perfect gift to assuage that wanderlust.
Some of my favorite travel books from 2020
- The Only Gaijin in the village by Iain Maloney. If I weren’t a Francophile, I would be a Japanophile. I am fascinated with this country and haven’t spent nearly enough time there. The author and his Japanese wife move to a village in rural Japan and try to fit in. Reminds me of a whole series of books about doing the same in France! If you love Japan and in particular the food, pick up Rice, Noodle, Fish from Matt Goulding, not new but SO good!
- Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart reminds me of when my family lived in Spain and road-tripped to many wonderful destinations in this beautiful country. An impulsive purchase of a sheep farm is a whole other story and a good one too!
- A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar. Technically published towards the end of 2020, this book is worth adding. It covers the author’s month-long stay in Siena, Italy. I only got to visit for a single day and have always been intrigued by this beautiful city with a very distinct history.
- The Socrates Express from Eric Weiner. This one is for Mr. Misadventures who should have been a philosopher in another life! The book follows the author’s intellectual journey as he travels via train through places where the most famous philosophers have lived.
I love these bracelets from A Life Less Ordinary. Ask any traveler and there is usually at least 1 location that holds their heart. A cool (and less permanent than a tattoo) to express that is with one of these little gems. They also have necklaces which I like as well. What location would you select?
Where to Buy: The A Life Less Ordinary website.
If you’ve got traveling friends who like to be in the great outdoors then there is nothing better than an annual pass. If you are a frequent visitor you can save (or help your friend save) a ton of money. Mr. Misadventures and I often visit national parks and get great use out of our NPS annual pass. It is paid for many times over! What state does your gift recipient live in or visit often? There’s a pass for that!
Where to Buy: The NPS website. For state passes, Google “the state (example North Carolina) park pass.”
Gifts for RVers
I am sure everyone knows at least one friend or family member that has an RV, it is a common lifestyle or weekend warrior activity these days. Certainly, this year where RVing has become even more popular as a safe way to get away. Lucky for you I have 2 years of on-the-road-in-an-RV experience to share. RV owners always have to worry about space and weight so it is something to take into consideration when gifting. Also trying to catch up with a full-time RVer on the road can get complicated! So I have a handy-dandy gift guide to help you out!
Gifts for Kids
I don’t have kids and it’s been a while since I’ve had to buy for kids so I won’t pretend to be an expert, but there have been a few things that have caught my eye as of late.
A Kids Book About Racism
[Gifted] Given the current turmoil in our country, I think books like A Kids Book About Racism are essential reading (and I mean real device-free) books.
Where to Buy: The La Cuisine Paris website.
Paris Wooden Toys
I have no reason to buy these but I think these Wanderlust City Toy Paris Set would look cute on my bookshelf!
Where to Buy: Anthropologie or Once-Kids.
The Clever Clove
I like gifts that educate and inspire (which is why I am a terrible Aunt, I gave books and educational presents…) which is why I love the pins from The Clever Clove which show Henrietta the Hedgehog doing all sorts of non-traditionally female roles like science and space. I think my nieces would have liked these. I suspect your daughters and nieces would too.
Silk + Sonder – Sonder Kids Journals
[Gifted] This has been a tough year for kids. I think it just might be the perfect time to teach kids the art of journaling as a means of therapy. Whether you want to get them started with a 3-month gift pack or a monthly subscription, the Sonder Kids journals for Silk + Sonder make for a present that can unleash creativity as well as provide a little bit of self-care. Kids do need that too!
Where to Buy: On the Silk + Sonder website.
Gifts for Anyone
Royal Robbins Women’s Urbanesque Sherpa Jacket
[Gifted] When Mr. Misadventures and I lived in Berkeley, we were very close to the Royal Robbins standalone store and we often visited and drooled over many of their fabulous outdoor clothing and jackets. This is an iconic Northern California brand born from a rock-climbing couple who wanted to reduce their impact on Mother Nature which eventually extended to the products and the company they created, ethically sourced and sustainable. I have a few Royal Robbins pieces and am super excited about this new jacket because I now live in a place with a real winter and I am going to enjoy it immensely!
As a bonus, stick a pair of their amazing hemp socks into the pockets of this jacket when gifting it and you will be adding the cherry on top! I recently wore a pair camping and my feet were comfortable and warm (you need that for beach camping in November!). Their hemp socks are soft, odor-resistant, and durable. You may not know this, but hemp is a highly sustainable textile crop grown primarily with rainwater, zero pesticides, and its deep root systems promote soil health and prevent erosion. For every pair of socks you purchase, Royal Robbins donates 1% of sales to the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF).
Where to Buy: You can find Royal Robbins products at REI and other outdoor adventure stores or buy them on the Rotal Robbins website.
Jambu & Co.
As I have mentioned many times, I am a huge fan of Jambu shoes and I think they make an excellent gift for any man or woman on your holiday list. They are super comfortable so whether you are traveling to Paris or the grocery store, you can do so in style, with cushioning, and with weather-proofing!
Cariloha’s Bamboo Fit Activewear
[Gifted] This past year I discovered the wonders of bamboo not only for its moisture-wicking benefits (hello night sweats) but also for its ability to regulate your body temperature. I am always hot when I sleep so this year I purchased bamboo sleepwear and bamboo sheets. I hadn’t even thought about activewear until I came across Cariloha. My only regret is learning about them in October rather than July when I was suffering during our weekly walks. No worries I am sure I will enjoy my leggings and crew top just as much next summer as I am digging on them now. This is a great gift for the health-and-exercise-focused person in your life.
Cariloha’s Bamboo Weighted Bamboo Blanket
[Gifted] I hadn’t placed much weight (ha-ha) on the whole weighted blanket trend, but when I saw that the one from Cariloha was encased in a bamboo wrapper I was game. I haven’t been sleeping as well this past year and felt that this might do the trick. It combines all the benefits of a weighted blanket with the added benefits of moisture-wicking and temperature control of the bamboo. This is a luxurious gift that is well worth its price tag.
Happy Holidays! How about you? Have a great gift idea for a foodie, a traveler, a francophile, a blogger, a Work-from-Homer, or RVer? Do share!
Illustration commissioned from Linden Eller.
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