Hello everyone! This is a special edition of The Nap Times. It's a gift guide for people who hate excess stuff 🤣 Call me Scrooge, but I know many of you feel similarly.
When it comes to giving and receiving gifts, I am a very practical person. For the most part, I want gifts that I will actually use and get my money’s worth out of them. I also don’t want a lot of extra clutter in the house (read: we don’t have space for a lot of extra clutter in the house).
I also like to gift very practical gifts. If I am left to decide on their gift, you better believe I am choosing something I think will actually help them in some way, or something that brings enjoyment for a brief time and then is finished (like a candle or homemade cookies). So, in the spirit of my weird utilitarian tendencies, I thought I would do a very NTK gift guide for you. These are all fairly practical gifts, and I only have a few for each category.
Wow, how many times can I use the word “practical”?
I don’t care! I am a practical gift giver and I don’t care who knows it!
Without further ado, here is the NTK Super Practical Gift Guide…
FOR THE COZY HOMEBODY
Portable heating pad. If you know someone who is constantly cold, has back problems, or bad cramps, they NEED this. The battery lasts around an hour and it's slim enough to hide under your jacket as you make your way to the bus stop on a cold morning.
XL Heating pad. At this point I have purchased this for at least 6 people! I just love it. It is practical for anyone whether they want it sheerly for the comfort or for pain relief. I love turning mine on before I get into bed to warm the sheets! It automatically turns off after 2 hours.
Weighted eye mask. This helps me relax after a LONG day and is amazing for headaches; it's not super heavy but the weight around the eyes is so wonderful.
Kindle Paperwhite. I have had mine for years (since 2015!) and it never gets old. By connecting your library card to the Libby app, you can send books to your kindle for free. It pays for itself!
Slippers. These are my most favorite slippers! I've been loyal to them since high school. In 2021 I considered replacing them and these slippers beat out 9 other pairs I bought and tried (read the full slipper deep dive that I did last year here).
The perfect lounge pants. I am living in these this season. I found them last year and continue to obsess over them. Not as tight as a legging or as baggy as a sweatpant. The perfect in between!
Drill brush. These just remind me of my dad. This is for the man with everything known to man in his garage. I could totally see him using these. I am imagining this coming in handy to clean the shower tiles.
Shop Vacuum. I got this for Christmas last year and I don’t know what I did before it. I use it on the screened porch, in the car and sometimes inside for colossal messes. The suction is amazing.
Pressure Washer. The therapy that this pressure washer provides makes it worth every penny. Plus it’s easy to use, gets the job done and is so satisfying.
Laminator. This was my 2023 obsession. Nothing was safe from being wrapped in plastic. Perfect for kids art, schedules, etc.
Carpet Cleaner. If you have pets or kids this is a must have. It works SO well at getting out the hard carpet stains.
Electric screwdriver. This makes any project or home fix so easy. A must have for any homeowner or renter.
Car vacuum. This handheld vacuum charges via usb so it can live in the car. Perfect for car seat clean out and small enough to get all the nooks and crannies.
Label maker. I love how easy to use this one is. A ton of label makers require bluetooth these days and I just love the simplicity of this one.
The Home Reset. Christmas can bring in a ton of extra clutter and noise. This is the perfect time of year to bless someone with the gift of decluttering. You can gift the home reset here. Psst it's on sale for $67 when you gift it during the Holiday season 😍 Once you add it to your cart you will see the sale price.
Mabels Labels: I have been using these for everything and LOVE THEM. I get the contact info labels and put our last name in the “first name” spot and my phone number in the “last name” spot. The price might seem high but you get a ton and they last! Their customer service team is also super kind, which really matters to me. Also, they just came out with bottle labels!
Simple modern water bottles: these are great stainless steel bottles that are slightly less expensive than many competitors but still amazing quality. All of the kids and my own water bottle is this brand. I put a Mabels Label in these and having the phone number has saved us many a water bottle left at the soccer field.
Kids' Knives. The three different levels I recommend for different ages are here.
Picasso Tiles: We love these things! Ours were hand me downs from a cousin and the kids continue to play with them year after year. They are one of those toys we always have out. They allow for open play and creative thinking, but take up very little storage space. These are great and half the price as Magnatiles. (Full transparency: last year we got the Marble Run from this same company and the kids hated it; total bust. Oh well…)
Winter Jacket: Patagonia jacket is a splurge but my word they last forever. I still have mine from high school! These are the perfect weight to keep a child warm but not so puffy and hot for our mild Lowcountry winters. For a lower cost version, the Amazon Essentials dupe is AWESOME. We have three of them. The girls have them too. This year we got John Robert the vest. It's SO GOOD.
V-Tech Kids Camera: This was Scout's favorite gift from last year. It prints photos on this inexpensive white paper and gives them cool borders etc. This felt like a good, more affordable intro to a polaroid.
Puzzle Table: We got this for John Robert 2 years ago and he still uses it all the time. It's great for legos too and can fold under the bed!
Air fort: If you've been around, you know how much my kids love this. Perfect for a rainy day and folds up smaller than a shoe box!
Crocs. The most practical shoe for any age. We ask for these every Christmas.
The Toniebox. This has been amazing for both Millie and Alberta! Millie got one last Christmas and we loved it so much Alberta got one for her birthday this year. I love that it's screen free and plays stories and songs they know and love.
FOR THE PERSON WHO IS HARD TO BUY FOR
A bluetooth speaker. Having a quality speaker can make such a different. This one is $100, but the sound quality is top notch.
Aqua notes. We had these in our shower (my brother Will gave them to us last year) and they really are great! Nate and I use it to leave funny things for the other to read. For us, it’s really not about the notepad at all. It’s just that when you are in the shower you have time to actually think and it is a great time to leave the one you love a little note. Just a fun something the person might not otherwise think to get but would enjoy having, not for the notepad itself, but for the fun communication it brings.
Avryn Co wallet + wristlet: This item is a life saver for the mom with their hands full. Use this link to save 10% sitewide excluding the wristlet and accessories bundle. I have given this upwards of ten times to friends, teachers, my mom, and so many other women in my life.
Framebridge: I have worked with them multiple times for photo printing/framing and they are wonderful. You don't even have to have a hard copy, only the digital photo. They just do a good job.
Created Colorful Consultation: Since getting my colors done, I have such an easier time shopping and knowing what looks best on me. It's worth its weight in gold and Lindsey who owns the company is a great friend of mine. Use code "NTK" for $20 off a consult or gift consult!
MadeIn pots and pans. These are so lovely, and I adore using them! The 3 quart is my new go to for all #PastaMonday dishes. (I will have info for their Black Friday sale so stay tuned in my Instagram stories!)
Rice Cooker. My mother in law first sold me on this years ago and I have never looked back. You can set it and forget it and it makes the perfect rice every single time.
Magnetic Knife Strip. This gets knives off the counter but in an easy to reach location. I love the way it looks too!
Dish Drying Pad. This is practical but also still pretty on the counter! It magically absorbs the water without creating mold/mildew.
Knife honer. The best way to sharpen your knives. Anyone who is chopping things regularly needs this, and it's under $20! Nothing more dangerous than a dull knife.
Maldon Salt. The best finishing salt there is. Elevate your brownie or pizza game by sprinkling this on top. Chef's kiss.
An apron. This one is my favorite. My sister got it for me for Christmas a couple years ago and customized it with my name.
Kate's FAVORITE SPLURGE ITEMS
Vitamix. I had this one for over a decade before I upgraded to the 750 series. I have yet to find a blender that compares. It truly is the gold standard. I actually tried the Ninja first because it was much less expensive and I absolutely hated it. It was harder to clean and frankly left my smoothies super gritty. We use our vitamix multiple times a week and sometimes 2-3 times a day. Hot cocoa, green smoothies, soups, you name it. It gets anything silky smooth and once you use one it is hard to go back. I wrote a whole blog post about why I love mine and why I suggest getting a 64 ounce container HERE.
AirPods. My dad gave us all airpods for Christmas a couple years ago and not to sound dramatic, but they are LIFE CHANGING! Who knew how amazing the cord free life is! I have listened to so many more audiobooks this year because of them and love how well they stay put when I am working out. I also love that you can just have one in to listen.
Apple Watch. I was hesitant to get an apple watch, thinking it would make me feel more connected all the time, but it has actually been the opposite! I feel so much more freedom to put my phone away (and am therefore way less tempted by all the distractions) knowing that if someone needed me I would be able to see the call on my watch. I also love being able to operate my music/books/podcasts from the watch. I can pause them, start them, or adjust the volume all without picking up my phone. But hands down best feature? PING YOUR PHONE. I lose my phone multiple times a day and sometimes we get in the car and I tap the ping button and just pray my phone is somewhere in there and starts to ding.
Skylight Calendar. If you use a digital calendar on your phone, this is a game changer. I LOVE it. It's been so helpful in consolidating our many different schedules between the kids, Nate and me. It lives on our counter and syncs with all of our phone calendars for one seamless, easy to track view. It's pricey but in my opinion 100% worth it.