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Holiday Gift Ideas

Affiliate Disclosure | in Favorite Things/Giveaways | by | with 9 Comments

As I sit here, watching Daniel teach Katie to build a fire in the fireplace, I feel comforted by the fact that I will NOT be leaving the house today. Black Friday is not my thing, but I do understand the excitement about kicking off the holiday season and the joy of shopping for loved ones. So, in that spirit, here are three gifts I am giving this year.

Shutterfly Photo Books

When it comes to gifts, there’s nothing like handmade. Unfortunately, some of us are not gifted in the realms of sewing, designing jewelry, painting, or anything of the sort. But hey, who needs actual skills? Dragging and dropping photos onto the Shutterfly storyboard makes it a handmade gift, right? I used my hands!!!

Okay, maybe not. But despite their dubious handmade status, photo books can be very personal, thoughtful gifts. Last year I created brag books for both of Katie’s grandmothers to show off to their friends. This year I’ve documented a whole year’s worth of memories for the kids great-grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s. Though names and places have lost many of their particulars, Jewell can still connect emotionally with the images of her loved ones. I can already tell this will be my favorite gift selection this year.

And hey, until Dec. 1 you can buy one photobook and get one 50% off plus free shipping! Make one to give and then keep a copy for yourself. :)


The human foot at birth is not a miniature version of an adult foot. In fact, it contains no bones at all and consists of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot. This process is not complete until the late teens, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen.

“Most children’s shoes ought to come with a government health warning,” believes Byrne. “They are like awful little bricks – too stiff, too rigid, with no flexibility at the sole and too much heel raise. This is of particular concern with toddlers learning to walk, because it causes them to bounce and tip forward,” she says.

Woodward agrees. “I have in my hand a Nike Air shoe for a three-year-old – quite an expensive item, I would guess. From the heel to the toe there is no ‘bend’ or ‘give’ in the sole. Completely rigid, this shoe will restrict movement of the forefoot to zero. Kids this age should be turning cartwheels, skipping, climbing trees, running around. A shoe like this would seriously restrict such playful physicality – make it less fun, less enjoyable.”

Why Barefoot Is Best For Children

It amazes me how much power I have to influence my children in these early years. What I eat while nursing them will affect their palates for life. Allowing them to deal with illnesses will prep their immune system for future challenges. And as podopaediatric specialist Tracy Byrne explained above, even SHOES have the ability to influence structural and neurological development. It’s kind of overwhelming.

Fortunately there are some shoe companies out there that make shoes that mimic the barefoot experience, so that’s one less thing to think about. Pediped is a great company, but they can be pricey. Right now another great company, Preschoolians, is selling next day ship orders (in stock rather than custom made) for 60% off sale, though! I just found the $50 winter boots I ALREADY bought for Katie for $15! Ugh.

Sport Berkey

This gift will only be appreciated by other crunchies, but it really is useful. There is so much junk in water these days . . . runoff from pollution, pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens, parasites and MORE. For years I’ve carried large jugs of purified water in my car, but that’s not always practical. A better solution is the BPA-fee Berkey Sport bottle, which has a long-lasting reusable filter built right in.

I’m giving a Berkey Sport to an adventurous friend that likes to travel to all kinds of exotic places. Hopefully this will increase her chances of actually enjoying her trips instead of fighting a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. It can be useful just about anywhere, though: at the office, in restaurants, parks or while running errands. Last month I bought one for each member of my family plus two to give away.

If you’re wondering about the specifics, it eliminates 99.9% of:

  • Unpleasant taste and odors, cloudiness, silt, sediment and chlorine.
  • Toxic chemicals: Trihalomethanes, VOCs, detergents, pesticides, etc.
  • Harmful microscopic pathogens: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli 99.99999% and other pathogenic bacteria.
  • Heavy metals: Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead, and Mercury.
  • Radiologicals: Radon 222

The season has officially begun, so this is the first of many times I will say HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Have a wonderful weekend!

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9 Responses to Holiday Gift Ideas

  1. Whittney says:

    Enter MYCALENDAR to get a free calendar with $50 purchase through 11/28!

  2. Pippi says:

    We LOVE photobooks as gifts. I gave one to my mom a few years ago of the mother-daughter trip we took together and she almost cried. This year, like you, she’s making a book with pictures of our whole family for my grandmother who has Alzheimers. It’s a great way to remind my grandmother of all the people who love and care for her. I’m planning on making a calendar for my mom of family photos. I just love photo gifts!

    • Heather says:

      Me, too! Well, not photos ironed on t-shirts or anything like that. But calendars, books, mugs . . . those are pretty great. :)

  3. Leah says:

    We have made a photo book every year for the last four or five. I am not a good photo album person and have files and files filled with digital photos stored on my computer. Every year right around this time DH and I sit down and go through the last year of photos. We make a year book for our family that goes on the shelf with the rest and then give one to each set of grandparents. It has become a favorite gift that they look forward to every year. Because, really, who need another sweater? :>)

  4. ElisabethCS says:

    You find the coolest stuff! I’m loving the preschoolians site! Happy Thanksgiving to the Potamus fam!

  5. Kristine says:

    Ooh, I’ll have to add the sport Berkey to my wishlist. It would be great for trips!

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