We’ve heard the stories of how giving to others makes you happier. True stuff. Give an item, give your time, give your skills. Your heart will expand ten-fold and that thing that’s been eating you up inside, you’ll realize — not that important in the grand scheme of things.
Sometimes we forget to give to ourselves. So this holiday season, I encourage you to not only give to others but to Treat Yo’ Self as well! You deserve it.
Here’s my annual/whenever I feel like it list of What I’m Loving if you’re looking to gift someone or gift yourself. Some I’ve been loving on for years, some I just discovered. Perhaps not the sexiest list but sexy isn’t what this gal strives for — I strive for efficiency, enjoyment, ease, commonsense, frugality, community, support of others, support of myself, play, fulfillment, and adventure.
If you wanna buy commercial stuff…
- Slippers — I have two pair, I’ve bought a gazillion as gifts. Also ones in the Clearance Department.
- Electric toothbrush — I was skeptical about these, thought they were just ruses by the dentist to get more of my money. Best Friend brought one to our relationship and my mouth has never been healthier. Gets me to brush for more than two seconds.
- All natural white noise sound machine — in case someone (*cough cough*) in your life snores like a Mac Truck
- Mattress in a box — they say sleep is one of the most important things you need in life. When you think about the number of hours you spend in bed, it makes sense to make bed a sanctuary. We finally got rid of our IKEAness and got this amazing King size mattress (our first King size; oy, heaven!) + West Elm adult bed (this was a crazy splurge that we never do but we did it and NO REGRETS! White Glove Service where they not only deliver but also set it all up and take out all the trash?! YES PLEASE!). I often wake up in a panic because Best Friend has disappeared and for a second, I think he was kidnapped. In the past, our mattress would always announce when the other person was moving, getting up, breathing; with this mattress, even though I’m inches from him, I have no idea I’m sharing a bed with someone else. So it’s a lovely panic.
- Bamboo pillow – see above. I threw out all our guest pillows and upgraded those as well as my own.
- Coffee — Lavazza is often on 2 for 1 sale at Whole Foods this time of year; stock up!!!!
- Wireless speaker system – we got our first one as a wedding gift and have slowly added five more as our budget allows, outfitting every room in our house. I use it everyday all day.
- Music while you bike or picnic (or do anything on the go) — 70% off, only 7 left!
- Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat — make broccoli taste like stalks of heaven
- Laser printer — so much cheaper and easier than ink printers, why did I wait so long?!?
- Scanner — I went from six file cabinets and 7 huge Target tubs to 1 file cabinet and 0 tubs when we moved in the Spring. Emotional, initially difficult, but going almost all digital was soooo freeing! Photographs, receipts, trophies from middle school, my Boston College diploma… bye Felicia.
- Board games Codenames and Hanabi (make sure you get the deluxe tile version, not the card version)
- Luxury toilet paper — I usually buy Scott because it’s economical; not the softest but it gets the job done. I bought a softer type recently because they were on deep discount. I’ve never seen Best Friend so excited. “WHAT IS THIS STUFF?!?” Very easy and frugal way to bring joy to someone.
If you wanna buy lil’ guy stuff…
- “Color in where you’ve traveled” maps (and tons of other fun coloring opportunities) — she’s in Poland! Exotic! I just bought my first items yesterday and they’re already en route.
- 2017 Daily Calendar via the You Are Beautiful guy
- Creative, one of kind beauties you didn’t realize existed/you needed via UnmeasuredUpcycled
- Bike and bike accessories via BFF Bikes – a woman-owned women specific bike shop that’s also about building community. 2016 bikes sale!
- “Still Nasty” mug with 25% of proceeds going to Planned Parenthood — tangent I love: Planned Parenthood Has Already Received 72,000 Donations From ‘Mike Pence’
- Flowers via Flowers for Dreams — I have received and sent tons of flowers with them, always gorgeous! Delivered on a bike? Benefits a charity? OK!
- Life of Yes℠ posters, thank you cards, decals, stationary (Disclaimer: my babies!)
If you wanna buy services…
A gift certificate to have someone do the things I despise doing, suck at, or would just rather outsource for the good of humanity (and since many of us don’t need more “stuff”)? Yes please.
- Handyperson via Kelly Dilbeck
- Photographer via Angie Garbot
- Caterer via Neal Sales-Griffin, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Financial Advisor via Skyline Advisors
- Career Coach via Harley Grant, email@example.com
- Personal Trainer via TruFit
- Dating Coach via Smart Dating Academy
- Organizer and Declutter-er (Chicago area via For the Love of Tidy; NY area via Patty Morrissey)
- Heat and Eat Meals via Kitchfix ($30 off first order of $35+ with link)
- Spa via Soho House’s Cowshed – you can pretend to be rich and British in this gorgeous space! A friend told me this is the best pedicure she’s ever had and she’s had a lot.
If you wanna buy apps…
As one of those doesn’t need much “stuff” anymore and as a lover of making my life as easy and as frugal as possible, I looooove! when someone gifts me premium versions of free apps I use in my professional and personal life. Best Friend once bought me a year of ad-free Pandora and a year of LastPass Premium; not things I’d buy for myself but totally things I’d eat up if someone else gifted me! And eat up I did.
- Digital Organization via Evernote
- To Do List Management via Todoist
- Music Streaming via Pandora
- Password Management via LastPass
- Email Sanity via Boomerang
- Online Storage via Dropbox — where I keep all my photos, music, and backup of my non-sensitive documents
- Social Media Management via Buffer — how it looks like I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn all the time but am not
- E-Signing of Documents via HelloSign — the worst thing in the world? How I used to sign documents: open, download, print, sign, scan, upload, send. Now? open, sign.
- E-Marketing via Mailchimp
- Payroll via Gusto –how I pay myself and my independent contractors ($200 Amazon Gift card when you sign up and run payroll before 01/15/2017; will get gift card within 30 days after first bill)
- TextExpander — 20% off code: Cheese. I use this a gazillion times a day to cut down on all the typing I do. My stats:
If you wanna buy experiences (gift cards/certificates)…
- Southwest Airlines — No fees or expiration. Our favorite airline for so many reasons! Especially now that they go to the Caribbean and other tropical destinations.
- Dabble — calligraphy, archery, resume writing, website building, and everything in between
- Divvy year membership or 24-hour pass
- Old Town School of Folk Music
- Airbnb — No expiration. Our favorite way to stay like a local and in nice areas/places at great prices! If you’ve never used Airbnb, this link will get you a discount on your first stay or when you first host.
- Coworking via Creative Coworking, Second Shift, or Deskpass
- Chicago Glass Collective — great idea for a team/group activity!
- The Kates — learn all female stand-up comedy
- Improv for Non-Improvisers — Pete’s considering teaching this multi-session class; interested in being alerted if he does? Sign up here. (Disclaimer: my best friend!)
- Two “Gahhhh! All the feels!” moments of my professional life: a mom bought her daughter a spot in Fear Experiment℠ and a wife/daughter bought husband/dad a spot at Camp. My storytelling class has 2 spots left! (Disclaimer: my babies!)
If you wanna buy books…
- When Breath Becomes Air
- #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness
- Another Brooklyn: A Novel
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
If you wanna gift others by Doing Good…
- Open Heart Magic — get trained to be a magician and perform for hospitalized children
- VOCEL’s early childhood program
- Ryan Banks Academy — building Chicago’s first residential school for urban youth
- Chicago Lights and Tutoring Chicago – tutoring
- Greater Chicago Food Depository
- Chicago Cares, Volunteer Match, and One Brick – variety of options
- 826Chi, Chicago Literacy Alliance, OpenBooks, and Working In The Schools (WITS) — literacy
- The Young Center — immigrant children
- Check out how these six black men are doing good in their communities and support their efforts by volunteering, donating, going to their offerings! Black men and positivity shouldn’t be an unusual share, spread their goodness and let’s make this the kind of story that becomes the norm.
Happy gifting to others and to yourself!
Some of these links may be Affiliate/Referral Links: when you sign up, you may get goodness, I may get goodness, we both may get goodness. Goodness being a credit, discount, compensation, a high-five…