Christmas Gift Guide: Want, Need, Wear, & Read

Hate to break it to you, but by this time next week Christmas will be OVER.

If you are anything like my father, this means you haven’t even considered starting your shopping yet. So, while this list is way late in the season, I still thought it would be fun to compile a gift guide (with the added bonus that everything below is still available to order in time for it arrive by Christmas)!

Seriously.. What did procrastinators do before Amazon Prime?

(As a fun note, absolutely nothing below is sponsored.. this is just a list compiled of my own favorites which I either bought with my own money or just think is a fun idea).

While this year I’m not exchanging presents with my family, one of the ways I stay organized while shopping is to try and target a present from each of the 4 groups: Want, Need, Wear, & Read.

Want: Giving presents that they actually want

Need: Something they could really use

Wear: Something to wear

Read: Something to hopefully pull their head out of a screen for a least a few minutes.

For fun I’ve also included a Splurge category, if you are feeling particularly spend-y!


L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheets


It only dawned on us about a month ago that while we registered for some really nice sheets for our wedding, we didn’t include anything warm and cozy. I bought these sheets online and they are LIFE CHANGING. The comfiest flannel sheets I’ve ever owned. We got them in green, but the Botanical Floral print is really cute! As a bonus, until Dec 24, you can earn a $10 gift card for purchases $50+ and there is FREE shipping that will arrive by Christmas if you order by December 22!

WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive


I know, I know. You won’t be winning over too many hearts with an external hard-drive for Christmas, but this is the NEED category, remember? As someone who JUST had their hard-drive re-imaged, I can’t stress enough how useful this little backup was. It was so easy to use, small enough to tote around, and has a TON of space on it (even 1 or 2 TB). After my snafu on Monday, I ordered a 2nd one so I have a backup-backup.


For Him: Outside Magazine


I LOVE this magazine. I’m not even sure how I first started getting it (I think some credit card offer), but for someone who isn’t much of a hiker or camper, this magazine is just flat out interesting. I used to love Runner’s World, but after subscribing for a couple years I can’t help but feel like every article is recycled. Outside Magazine is great, especially for any guys in your life, because the topics are so varied. I’ve read some really great articles this year on chef’s trying to incorporate invasive species into their menus , safety at obstacle course races, and a case for unschooling. This is actually a magazine I look forward to reading each month because the topics are all a surprise, but still focused on fitness/outdoors/healthy lifestyle.

For EVERYONE: Unbroken



Everyone should read this book. I put it off for way too long because I was too hung up on the idea that it was a book about war. It isn’t. It is an incredible biography that will suck you in from the beginning and make you use Google a half dozen times just to confirm that this is, in fact, NON-fiction. I’ve heard the movie sucks, so please please please read the book instead!

Guilty Pleasure: Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie


This is the first book in the Flavia de Luce series and it is sort of a British Harriet the Spy for adults. Flavia is a kid detective, but solving adult crimes. My mom and I love these books and they are definitely good ‘beach’ read material. The newest one comes out in February, so you will have no problems finding the series in stores.

The Next Gone Girl: Weight of Silence


I read this book back in 2009 when it came out and it made me fall in love with Heather Gudenkauf. I’ve read all of her books since, but Weight of Silence is still my favorite. If you loved Gone Girl (which PLEASE tell me you have read it already), then I’d recommend checking out this book which is also dark, twisted, and completely addicting!


Orange Mud HydraQuiver (Single Barrel):


I bought this backpack after the rave reviews from Shut Up and Run and I’m so happy that I did. I’ve done a few races that require you to carry your own hydration, and the waterbottle on this pack, along with the pockets, make it incredibly useful for toting Gu, my phone and everything else I need. There is also absolutely no bounce and I was able to get the waterbottle easily in and out without taking the pack off. I wore it for the very first time when I made my 50-miler attempt, and had no issues (no chafing after 33 miles in a tank top = win!).

psycho wyco 4

Not my favorite pic, but here I am at Psycho Wyco with my HydraQuiver on!


Pearl Izumi Women’s Fly Intercool Shrug


I adore this shrug. As a pasty person with skin a shade whiter than Snow White, as soon as the sun comes out, I roast. This shrug is incredibly light-weight, but prevents me from burning. It is also so thin that when I do take it off and tie it around my waist, I can’t feel it. It is also helpful as arm warmers on slightly cooler days, but I primarily use it during the summer to prevent burning and to stay cool from the sun. For maybe a more appropriate CHRISTMAS gift, they do sell thermal versions for winter!


Lil’ Reds

lil reds

These would make the cutest White Elephant gift or add a fun touch to an ugly sweater party. I love how adorable these are and the price is just right at about $10 for 40,


Kingdom Builder 

kingdom builder

Paul really likes games like Risk and Axis & Allies, but I’m not big into anything that requires a lot of time and strategy. This game is the perfect compromise and for someone who NEVER wins at Monopoly, I’ve managed to kick butt numerous times on this game. The goal is to earn as much gold at the end from building little settlements on the board (don’t worry, no math involved). The rules change each game based on what cards you draw. Bonus: The game only takes about 30 minutes and has a few expansion packs if you really like it! It’s casual nerdy :)


Philadelphia, PA

I’m a big proponent of ‘experiences’ over ‘stuff’. If you are looking for a vacation or 3-day weekend, I think an easy and affordable option (that still offers tons of things to do) is Philadelphia!

We visited in 2011 and had such a great time. The city is very walkable, so need for a rental car!

A few of the things we really enjoyed:

  • Cheesesteaks

cheese 4

  • Eastern State Penitentiary – A former prison that now is in ruins (in the midst of a city). One of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Haunting!

eastern state


  • Cheesesteaks

cheese 3

  • Mac’s Tavern – Owned by Rob and Kaitlin McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

mac's tavern

  • City Tavern – Home to my favorite beer on this planet. Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce”. The food is pricey, but they have a bar area!
  • Cheesesteaks

cheesesteak 1

zoo 2

Paul and I with Penguins (we look like babies!)


He's so cute!!

He’s so cute!!


Custom Home Ornament

home ornament

This is one item on the list I haven’t personally used, but I think it is the cutest thing ever. While you can no longer get the ornament on time for Christmas, the shop offers gift certificates (and Etsy does too!). Submit a photo of your home and have it crafted into a unique and adorable keepsake for about $50. For a cheaper gift with the same thought, I’ve also seen people getting a copy of the key to their first place and stringing it on some festive ribbon!


I hope these give you some ideas for gifts (or for yourself)! Remember only 6 more shopping days left!!

Anything I’m missing? Have you used any of these products? Let me know!


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6 thoughts on “Christmas Gift Guide: Want, Need, Wear, & Read

  1. dailydoseofbalance

    These are some good ideas! I especially like the new home ornament as my husband and I are buying our first home in a couple weeks!
    I love Philly! My husband is from PA and we go there about once a year.

    1. Post author

      Congrats on your new home! I think I’m going to end up buying the ornament myself once the holidays wind down :)
      Philly is definitely a city I could visit often, so I’m jealous! We’ve been plotting to return for the marathon at some point!

  2. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    Great ideas for how to make a list and break up your wish-list into categories!

    I so badly want to read Unbroken before seeing the movie. I really procrastinated on this one too – and now the movie is almost here and will tempt me on a daily basis.

    I LOVE the Pearl Izumi shrug. I haven’t considered ever wearing one of these, but now that I think about it, there are endless possibilities. I wonder how comfortable it would be for running?

    The first home ornament is genius!!

    1. Post author

      I’ve been trying to talk my husband into reading Unbroken too. I’m sure my weekly “YOU ONLY HAVE XX DAYS LEFT!” hasn’t helped :)
      As for the shrug, I have worn it on the run for shorter races where I didn’t want to take the time in T2 to put on sunscreen. It is nice on really hot days because even though you are wearing sunscreen, if you dump water on yourself like I do normally anyway, then it feels cooler a bit longer.

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