Sharing our family’s favorite things that can be good for any time of year, but especially make good Christmas gifts. ALL budget friendly cuz I’m a cheapskate!
2021 Favorites: For Him, Her, Kids, and Your Home
Last year I decided that instead of giving a ton of gift guide ideas like everyone else and their mama’s mama, I would share what we found ourselves using over and over and loving which means they’re totally worth the money.
I split it up last year into 3 separate posts including his favorites, her favorites (aka. mine) and their favorites (the kids). This year I’m going to keep it all in one place! That way you can get a feel of everything you may need for yourself or someone else in one post.
- Her Favorite Things
- His Favorite Things
- Their Favorite Things
Her Favorite Things
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1. Owala Water Bottle
Not to be dramatic, but this water bottle changed my life. I hate water. I do. And this particular Owala water bottle makes me want to drink it. It’s because of the flexibility. It comes with both a straw and a lid so you can drink out of a straw and then flip it up and drink like a regular cup.
And it will fit in your cup holder in the car which, if you’re a person who drives, you understand how important this is.
2. Amazon Pajamas
I call these disposable pajamas as a joke but in all seriousness, I love them. They’re super thin and not the best quality if we’re being real, but I am in love.
I have 2 pair of black ones and a grey pair and I love them both.
Bonus: Jordan says they’re “flattering”, whatever that means.
This one hurt. Bad.
Josiah broke my tripod that I had for years and it worked great and instead of buying another one of these, I bit the bullet and bought the heavy duty tripod that has been on my wish list for almost 3 years.
The price made me shudder because I’m a cheapskate, but when it comes to gear that I use to take photos for 98% of every blog post on this site I figured that I could justify the cost.
It’s incredibly sturdy and my favorite feature is that it has an arm that not only goes up and down, but you can bend it 90 degrees and it’s perfect for shooting photographs from above.
4. Nike Slides
The story of these Nike slides is that Jordan was trying to find himself some shoes for our beach trip this past summer before Collins was born.
When we went to try those on, I was trying to be funny and slid my foot in them and the rest is history.
I couldn’t imagine paying $30 for sandals but let me tell you something – I would have paid double. I have never put on a more comfortable shoe in my entire life and with pregnant, swollen feet, it was seriously walking on clouds.
I plan on throwing on socks and wearing them in the winter. All other shoes I have worn since feel like walking on cinder blocks.
5. Scrub Brushes
I got these scrub brushes because lately we have a lot of clothes that end up with doodie or spit up on them and I got tired of scrubbing things in with my fingers.
So I bought these to scrub in Oxiclean or whatever other stain treatment I decide to use and it’s been super helpful lately.
6. Dagne Dover Diaper Bag
Okay, even if you’re not in the market for a diaper bag, Dagne Dover makes all kinds of other bags like regular backpacks, shoulder bags and if you’re cool enough, fanny packs.
Here’s why I love Dagne – she ain’t cheap, but it’s incredible quality and not only that, their customer service is great. I got mine in and used it once and it got a spot on it that looked like a bleach stain and so with a couple email exchanges, I had a new one.
Just the compartments and flexibility of this bag is the reason I love it. Plus it’s not too girly so Jordan can carry it and still feels like a cool dad.
7. Hair Claw
When I say I wear this hair claw every day, I wear this every single day. Mainly because little lady baby Collins loooooves to pull hair. Loves it. It’s one of her (really cute) toxic traits.
I bought this because with curly hair, putting your hair in a bun or top knot just creates a friggin’ rat’s nest. So I wanted something that could hold my hair up without adding more tangles and this is perfect.
It’s the perfect size to hold my hair (and my hair is super long) and works great.
I will say this – they break easy. I dropped one in the hospital when I had collins and it shattered. Then Josiah broke the other one playing with it at home. So I bought them again. Second set still going strong.
8. Grape Cutter
I put this grape cutter on my list and not the home list because it has made my life so much easier that I love it something fierce.
I saw this when Char was a baby and convinced myself I didn’t need it. 3 years later, I almost bought it again with Josiah, but talked myself out of it again.
I finally caved and got one and I LOVE it. LOVE. IT.
It takes stress and time off my plate and those are 2 ingredients that I want in anything I do in life.
9. Apple Watch Bands
Admittedly, I really loved the Apple watch strap that comes with the Apple watch. I’m easy to please. But I am lazy and wanted something I could slide on and off. I’ve worn this watch band every day and changed them out and so far, it hasn’t stretched out or anything. Go for it.
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His Favorite Things
1. Puffer Jacket
Jordan does this thing where he orders stuff and doesn’t tell me like a lot of…okay me. I do that.
But this puffer jacket came and I was impressed! It looked great and it was very affordable. Being in the south, we don’t really need to have super huge thick coats, so this is perfect for more moderate winters.
2. Comfy Pants
He said these pants are the equivalent of golf pants, sweatpants, and leggings.
They look like golf pants and are super acceptable to wear in public, yet are insanely stretchy and comfy.
In fact, he wore them in our recent family photos and he looks like he’s wearing dress slacks.
Again, trust me when I say these pants are insanely worth it. And also super affordable.
3. Water Bottle
I have the smaller of these 2 water bottles which were my favorite until I discovered my Owala bottle.
He’s got the big boy because he drinks like 75 gallons of water a day so he has to have a water bottle to support his habits.
4. Nike Shoes
Jordan wears a 14. It’s hard for him to find shoes that fit, are fairly affordable and are actually comfortable.
These Nikes are it. He loves them. And since he’s bougie, it also means he’s super picky and hard to please.
5. Apple Watch Strap
He liked my Apple watch strap so he copied me.
But if it’s something that we both agree on, you can best believe that it’s a good buy.
6. iPad Pro + Pencil
Hear me out – I know this is outrageous. But if it’s in your budget, this really is worth it.
If you’re new around here, Jordan is a real estate agent and investor. When he’s on a flip house job site or if he’s showing a property to a client, having his iPad Pro and his Apple pencil close by has been a huge life upgrade.
Because of the camera, there’s an app that allows him to take photos of a room and space plan. It’s litty.
7. Straw Hat
I can’t believe I’m putting this on record.
This stupid straw hat caused such a huge fight with us because I thought it was ridiculous and he just haaaaad to have it.
But, alas. It’s been one of his favorite things of the entire year besides the birth of his new daughter.
I think we all know what Airpods are by now.
He uses his every single day.
Last year, my glasses made my favorites list and I could have easily put the new pairs I have on mine, but this year Jordan decided he actually does love his glasses (that he’s had for almost 3 years).
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Their Favorite Things
These headphones are super affordable and great when you are sick of hearing the same video or sound effect on a game over and over and over again. There are many different options so if your kid doesn’t want to be a pink cat, that’s fine!
2. Airtag Holder
Char has started riding the bus. Mom listens to a ton of true crime. Add those things together and you get a paranoid mom if she’s late on her bus.
Because there is no way to tell if her bus is running late, I wanted a way to check and make sure she’s safe and on her way home.
The Apple Airtag uses your Find My iPhone app and it doesn’t track in a way that you can see her moving on a map, but it will update as I refresh it.
I stick her Airtag in this Airtag keychain holder and put it in her backpack and voila.
Honorable mention: We also have these Airtag bracelet holders that look like a watch and Charlotte loves to accessorize each outfit so instead of the keychains, we use these some days too.
3. Fidget Spinner
I thought we may pass this stage, but alas – Charlotte saw a friend with a fidget spinner and begged for one.
Since we’re trying to teach her the value of money, she actually chose this one herself. If you’re looking for a good quality fidget spinner, this is a great option. It’s made of metal and is pretty heavy duty. None of those ball bearings in it that made them recall the fidget spinner in the first place.
4. Suction Toys
Their government name is technically Squigz, but we don’t have the name brand ones.
I actually got these for Josiah as his “calm down safe zone” toys. Meaning when he gets too mad or upset, I can give him these toys and let him play with them.
Spoiler alert: they didn’t work. Because they frustrate him. A lot.
But they’re actually really great and if we can play them when we’re pretty calm, they’re fun to use to build things and stick on the windows.
5. Simple Modern Cups
One of our biggest struggles is finding a cup that is non-destructible and actually doesn’t leak, even when thrown or dropped from high altitudes.
After an embarrassing amount of research, as well as a few polls on Instagram, I finally settled on these Simple Modern Summit cups and I’m so very happy.
I also like when the company has good customer service and Simple Modern does!
Of course one of the lids that we got leaked really bad and so I had to contact them to get another one sent. It came in the mail and it doesn’t leak and it was a very seamless process!
We love these cups so much that I threw away every single cup they own and replaced them with these!
6. Water Beads
Their full government name is Orbeez, but much like the Squigz, we didn’t get the name brand.
I ordered this kit to hopefully work with some of the sensory things Jo has going on and even though these things get everywhere, the water bead kit I picked up from Amazon has been played with countless times.
Usually it’s something they can play together as well without screaming at one another. Score.
This started when Collins was having some major tummy trubs and I wanted to find something to help soothe her.
I got her the hamster warmie and she loved it and so did I.
Before we had our family photos taken this year, I knew it was going to be freezing and so I decided to buy Charlotte the pink unicorn Warmie and I got Josiah the sweet little brown puppy Warmie so they could stay warm and (hopefully) complain less while we had them taken.
Charlotte’s grandmother actually ruined her unicorn and we had to buy her a replacement pink bear Warmie, but if possible, she loves it more!
8. Ice Packs
My friend Chelsea over at Two Twenty One recommended these guys. We have a LOT of falls in our house, but not a lot of blood. Every time somebody falls or gets hurt, they want to get a bandaid, but I have to explain that we can’t get bandaids for everything.
Instead, now I can tell them to go get an ice pack.
These are great because the fur piece around the ice pack allows them to hold it without whining about cold hands!
Something else I thought was just a weird fad toy.
It is, but they actually love their poppers and can “race” each other to see who can pop theirs the fastest.
I also keep these in their “calm down corners” in their room and if we get too worked up emotionally or just need to take a breath, we can calm ourselves with these.
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When we redid our playroom, we actually ended up making several purchases that I’m just in love with and this mattress we got for our rattan daybed is one of them.
I was on the fence but went for it and no exageration, I think it may be one of the most comfortable mattresses we have in our whole house – including ours.
The best part is it is unbelievably budget friendly!
2. Roman Shades
We already had these in our primary bathroom in white and I love them so we added these Roman shades to the playroom.
I love these shades because they don’t have cords and you don’t have to worry about someone swinging on them like a teeny tiny Tarzan if I’m working in the office that sits right outside this room.
Not to mention at under $40 each, the cost is 100% worth it!
3. Velvet Curtains
Aside from the fact that I was mad that I didn’t realize you ordered them per panel, I am in love with these velvet curtains.
These live in our shared girls’ room currently, but I plan on putting them elsewhere in the house as we redo other rooms!
They’re incredible quality and they have a weight in the bottom corner of them which makes them drape really nicely. All the heart eyes for these.
4. Apple TV
Another device that we have been putting off for a while.
The dilemma is I have to go to sleep with a TV on and Jordan hates it.
But with Apple TV, you can pair your Airpods to said Apple TV so I can watch (and hear it) and he can go to sleep in silence.
Talk about feeling rich. It’s awesome.
5. Ceiling Fan
We have added this black ceiling fan in 2 rooms in our house (the playroom and our office) and then we added it in Beverly too.
It’s super affordable and the remote is a game changer.
6. Amazon Echo Show
Or as she’s kindly known in our house, “Lessa”.
We definitely don’t use this to its full potential, but we have had many a kitchen dance party playing music on our Amazon Echo Show and I ask the poor woman every day what the weather is going to be.
Because in the south it’s winter until about noon and then late spring/early summer hits in the afternoon so I need to know how to dress the kids.
Me? I’m usually always in my jammies and my Nike slides. Perhaps a hoodie if I am feeling fancy.
7. Pillow Inserts
I don’t know what took me so long to jump on the pillow insert bandwagon, but this is my new favorite thing.
The fact that you can buy a pillow insert once and then change the covers for a handful of dollars instead of spending $30-$40 on pillows is just genius.
We got these pillow inserts when we redid our playroom and they’re really fluffy and super comfy. Worth it!
8. Pillow Covers
We got these boho pillow covers and I was nervous about them at first, but I will say after living with them for about 6 months, they’re amazing.
I love the color selection, I love the texture, and most importantly, I love the price!
9. Handheld Steamer
I did an entire post on this Bissell Handheld Steamer because it was apparently a viral TikTok thing for a hot minute.
Clearly that it’s on our favorites, it is worth the hype.
And at only 30 bucks, this Bissell steam cleaner going to change the cleaning game. It cleans ANYTHING. ANNNYYYTHING.
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Whew. Y’all I’m tired.
These wear me out every year. It’s why. I put it off. BUT all of this stuff is worth it ten times over.
Just. Trust. Me.