Category Archives: Christmas

The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide (2020)

If you read this post’s headline and thought, “Whoa, Abbie. Cutting it close, aren’t you? I’ve already done all my shopping,” I totally get it. I debated whether I should even post this for a couple of reasons:

1. Due to a confluence of factors that include but are not limited to: newborn twins with tongue tie issues, car wrecks, wrenched backs, travel, my book’s manuscript deadline looming, and general Christmas craziness, I haven’t found a minute before now to sit down and attempt to post this.

2. As a result of all of the above factors, I have not been able to be nearly as meticulous in my research into all of the different categories that I usually post about. As such, the only way this is happening is if I chuck everything that I did bookmark into one post, which is so different than my normal m.o. that I almost couldn’t bring myself to do it. But, as one reader put it, “If there’s any year to just throw it all up there in one post, it’s 2020.” #truth

So, here it is: an unconventional (for me) Amazon Gift Guide for allll the things/people.

For MAMAS:

I get asked a lot what kind of hairdryer I use. It’s not fancy, but it does have good reviews and has served me well for years. Plus, this paisley design is pretty cute (it comes in rose gold too).

I also get asked multiple times a week where I get my headbands. The first answer is always Amazon. I don’t have these (yet), but I love the neutral but interesting style.

Most hats don’t fit my big noggin+big hair combo. I’m still tempted to give this one a whirl because of the chic style + good reviews.

This is not as cheap as you could find it at Marshall’s, and the price has already fluctuated several times since I first saved the link, but the current price is pretty good for a Fossil brand leather wristlet.

This Makeup Eraser is pricey for a cloth that takes your makeup off, but I must say that, after having tried to the off-brand and the “real deal,” it might just be worth the hype.

A sweet friend gave me this necklace as a shower gift when I was pregnant with the twinbies. I broke it trying to disentangle it from my hair but liked it so much that Shaun got it for me again for my birthday.

Anthropologie has some initial earrings just like these for way more money. Just sayin’

I bought these cute/well-rated/inexpensive heart initial necklaces as part of my girls’ “something to wear gift.” I’m thinking they’ll be a big hit!

And back to the “mama” necklaces. I like this variation as well.

I bought these slippers to wear at the hospital for the twinbies’ birth, and they lived up to the reviews. So soft!

I saw a couple of my friends with these key rings and thought they looked both cute and ingenious. This gives you the option of buying several and splitting them at a friend gift exchange.

I think I shared something just like this last year, but I now own one and know just how cute and versatile they are, so I still highly recommend.

Here’s the same concept as the above key ring but in a single-buy option.

Again, if you have several girlfriends to buy for but don’t want to break the bank, this pack of assorted trendy earrings might just do the trick.

Tassels are very in right now. Especially on earrings.

This is another one that I have no idea what the price will be when you actually see it on this guide, but it was $40 when I found them, which is a STEAL.

This would be perfect for  “package gift.” You could fill this cute striped cooler bag with your gift recipient’s favorite chilled treats and then use the bag as the “wrapping.”

Gotta love a good belly basket (with more tassels).

If you’ve ever had the yummy egg bites from Starbucks, I’m thinking these would produce a very similar result.

Got any organization lovers to buy for? These containers have great reviews and come with the labels included.

I have this design in a shirt, and my Instagram readers went nuts for it. I got my shirt from Etsy but could only find a mug version on Amazon.

Speaking of another IG fan favorite, a ton of my readers already ordered these uber comfy/cute linen coveralls. I have them in the black and the green and love both!

This ACB message from above works well for a simple t shirt.

For DADS:

Speaking of t shirts, I don’t have anything revolutionary for you in the Dad department. That takes a level of research that I simply don’t have the time/energy to commit to right now, but I did find some great t shirt options. And I know how great they are because I’ve bought most of these for Shaun.


(Hardly; he’s the real deal)


(In case you too have a Vietnamese food lover)

(Yes, he does)

(Yes, he is)

(No, he is not)

Men like multitasking tech, so this triple charging dock might be perfect for the man who wants all of his charging needs met in one place.

I don’t know when Carhartt became a fashion statement, but they did. And there’s a major trend out there for Carhartt beanies in particular at the moment.

I know for a fact that I have shared this beard bib before, but I’m sharing again for the sheer fact that Shaun uses his every time he trims his beard this many years later. And I still don’t have to clean hair out his sink. It’s a winner!

For BABIES:

This is a hardly an exhaustive list of baby essentials–more like a short list of stylish/important things that we have actually used this time around with the twinbies and which I highly recommend to everyone who asks

These booties. The adjustable Velcro piece around the ankle keeps them from sliding off of scrawny baby feet. They come in a variety of neutral colors, and they’re just dang cute.

These pacis are all the rage because a) they work great! and b) they’re much cuter than their garish counterparts.

I love how ridiculously soft these bamboo-based swaddles are. The colors they come in are great too! These have been the only blankets we’ve used with the twinbies so far.

We have used this striped cosleeper for naptime and in our own bed when they twinbies refused to use their cradle for the first 8 weeks of their lives. It’s lightweight, and we have carried it all over the house, and it’s not an eyesore. Plus, the price is a fraction of what other popular brands of the similar items cost.

For KIDS:

Several of my kids have had (and enjoyed) this “smart” watch that gives them some good features without giving them too much access to anything.

I walked in on one of my big kids doing one of these paint by sticker sheets the other day, and, even though he tried to claim he was just passing the time, he was clearly engrossed.

I remember being desperate for glasses as a kid. Of course, then I got my wish by age 11 and wondered why I’d been so smitten. Still, these are cute/cheap/well-reviewed and will scratch that itch that your kid has to look like a news reporter/Clark Kent/librarian.

Taco Bout Cute. Need I say more?

One of my girls bought this jewelry kit with birthday money, and they all got a kick out of making/baking the beads.

Both Theo and Honor are OBSESSED with rocks. This starter kit, complete with carrier bags + identification guide looks perfect for them!

Shiloh is crazy about bubbles. I could have gone with this well-reviewed, chic option.

But instead I went with this glaring monstrosity because the gift is not about me but Shiloh. And he will get SUCH a kick of this thing’s ability to move around and make noise WHILE spitting out bubbles.

My girls are almost as big of headband wearers as their mama. I got these to go with their heart necklaces.

Theo and Honor (but especially Honor) really enjoy this number/color set up. Being able to go for the magnetized fish is a nice bonus.

We have this art display in our schoolroom. I stole the idea from a fellow homeschool mom and think it’s great…even if we only change it out once every couple of months.

This weaving loom makes a great gift for the craft-lover who doesn’t need a bunch of extra supplies lying around.

This rope swing gets wildly good reviews. I’m thinking we might need to add one of these near our spyder swing.

I love the simplicity, bright colors, and carrying case of this classic Lego set.

Anybody else’s kids really into face painting? Surely it can’t just be mine.

I saw a similar idea to this on IG and was intrigued by the concept of small, magnetized toys, which would, in theory, make them harder to lose.

I’m weighing the pros and cons of finding these all over my house with the sheer joy that Theo/Honor/Shiloh will get out of these Plus Plus buildings toys (because this is definitely the case with brain flakes, but we still love them).

My kids are avid doodlers and love these dual-tipped markers

Which they can use on this scripture coloring book.

For GAMES:

Just got this educational Guess in 10 game for my kids and can’t wait to play.

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a big hit at our house.

Zingo is another good one

As is Cat Crimes

And this one I have yet to try, but I’m intrigued. I’m told it’s similar to Killer Bunnies, which we ADORE.

For BOOKS:

This is a great read for every Christian woman from my online friend Phylicia Masonheimer.

The younger kids and I really enjoyed this one.

I ordered this one for our next read-aloud in the new year.

We are finally finishing this series after working through all 5 books in the last year, and we have liked it a lot!

If you order ONE thing from this entire gift guide, make it these Christian Heroes: Then and Now books. There are many more than just this set. I recommend them to everyone. They are such a fascinating, faith-building way of learning about amazing men and women of God. My kids beg me to read more chapters every time.

If you’re new to my gift guides or need more inspo, be sure to check out my 2019 options. Chances are, even if you did get something from them, you didn’t buy it ALL, and almost every one of the things I recommended last year are still available for the same prices this year.

2019 Mens (I DID try hard on this one)

2019 Kids

2019 Women Under $20

2019 Books 

 

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The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide: Books {2018}

I love to read. Always have. But I don’t read books in a conventional format as much as I’d like to these days (wonder why? hmm…). Over the last several years, though, I’ve plowed through my fair share of Audible books, and most days, I spend at least 30 minutes reading aloud to the kids. And I’m a huge sucker for books that are both engaging and beautiful. So, below you’ll find a (rather random) compilation of books that we own, books that I’ve listened to, and books that I’m buying for my children this Christmas. It’s certainly no exhaustive list, but I hope that it helps you find some new books you love for your family or loved ones.

amazon gift guide for books

First up, I thought I’d share some of the informative + pretty books that I’ve bought for the kids over the past several years. (Note: any of these books that deal with nature write from an evolutionist’s perspective, and while we learn from a creation point of view, I just use the evolutionary parts as teaching moments).

The younger kids and I have been reading through this fascinating and adorably illustrated book about bees, and I’m learning just as much as they are.

Also in this series – Trees: a Rooted History

The whole “ium” series is so well-done and beautifully illustrated!

First up, Animalium…

…then Botanicum (both of which we have).

And then these two (which we don’t own): Dinosaurium and Historium

Maps might not sound that enticing, but it includes so much more than topographical info, and as with all of these titles, the illustrations are fabulous.

50 states is such a fun and well-drawn look at some of the best quirks/interesting facts/info about–you guessed it–the 50 United States of America.

I bought all three of these Julia Rothman gems separately, but you can now buy them as a set!

Not too surprisingly, Theo is a big fan of the Big Book of Bugs.

We don’t own the the Big Book of Beasts or the Big Book of Blue yet, but they’re going on my list.

Wonder Garden is just gorgeous. The end.

Atlas of Adventures is a fun, colorful read that kids of all ages enjoy.

If you scroll down underneath Atlas of Adventures, you’ll see a lot more “Atlases” about various topics.

Another fun one with lots of versions to choose from: A Beetle is Shy

Again, scroll below the listing to see all of its counterparts.

And this series is new to me, but I’m thinking my kiddos would love it!

First, Over and Under the Snow…

and then Over and Under the Pond and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

As far as general quality children’s literature…

What library is complete without the Madeline treasury–all in one beautiful, hardback book?

Or the complete Chronicles of Narnia?

And our latest read-aloud series was a HUGE hit (my kids are waiting for the 4th installment with bated breath). We seriously got SO much laundry folded while listening to The Green Ember…

…and Book 2 and Book 3.

I just ordered the complete Little House on the Prairie series for reading aloud (although, I’ve heard great things about the Audible version), but I strongly suspect that if Della, who is quite the little book worm, gets a hold of them, I’ll have a hard time prying them out of her cute little fingers.

This is another series that I just ordered for the younger kids. It’s supposed to whimsical, wry, and highly entertaining.

I also just ordered the  Wingfeather saga for Ezra and Simon, who get really excited about books full of adventure and mystery. It’s written by Andrew Peterson (yep, the Christian singer).

The first book in the series is On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Scroll down under this listing for all of the rest of the books in the series.

And the 100 Cupboards series is another favorite for the boys.

The first book is 100 Cupboards.

…and you can scroll below it for the rest of the books.

I also ordered the following for Theo and Honor:

Good Night Gorilla

Yummy Yucky

The Wonky Donkey

The Pajama Zoo Parade

Hello Ninja

And now for adult books.

My favorite non-fiction book of 2018 was Educated. It’s a bit of a mind-boggling but engrossing read.

I also loved The Read-Aloud Family (which is where I discovered The Green Ember series, by the way). I really appreciate Sarah Mackenzie’s writing style (so warm, personable, and witty) and her encouragement that the simple act of reading aloud to your children can forge bonds that will stand the test of time and teenage angst.

My friend, Jennifer, recommended Love Does to me, and, while I haven’t read it yet, I’m excited to do so.

So much so that I ordered Love Does for Kids too!

Chances are, if I’m listening to a book on Audible, it’s a novel about World War II. What can I say? I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and one of the most fascinating (and horrifying) periods is WWII.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a work of fiction based on a real man’s life, and I listened to all 17 or so hours of it while wallpapering our dining room last winter. It definitely made a tedious task considerably more bearable (even if it does start out a little stronger than it ends).

And The Baker’s Secret just might be my favorite WWII novel of all time (although, it would be a close shave with Code Name Verity…which…I love for the superb narration almost as much as the captivating story).

The Ragged Edge of Night is another absorbing, based-on-real-life events WWII novel about a friar turned mail-order husband turned Nazi resister.

I Was Anastasia is not about WWII (the Anastasia in question bears the last name Romonav, if that clues you in), but it’s no less interesting a read, especially since it’s written in a mind-bending, end-to-the-beginning order that forces you to pay attention to the details lest you lose your place in the two overlapping narratives.

As for cookbooks, I’m not great about using them, but I (along with innumerable others) recently acquired Magnolia Table and am loving how accessible most of the recipes are.

The next two might not be as accessible (because they’re both vegetarian), but the pictures are divine, and I love the emphasis on fresh ingredients.

The Love and Lemons Cookbook is truly one of the most visually appealing ever, and, if the reviews are any indication, chock full of tastiness.

And the Forest Feast…

And the Forest Feast Gatherings book are both stuffed full of unique twists on traditionally meat-filled recipes, not to mention beautiful photography.

When it comes to decorating, I don’t “do” high-end. I’m a bargain-hunting, Goodwill-loving, collected-over-time girl down to the depths of my soul.

Which is why I love the following books for accessible, eclectic design inspo.

Cozy Minimalist Home

The Inspired Room

Domino: your guide to a stylish home

I don’t have this one yet, but it looks really fun!

I could keep going (and going), but I’d have to stop at some point, so this is as good a one as any. Hope you find something that tickles your fancy (and your brain!).

If you’re still stuck for gifts, be sure to scroll back through my last 4 posts. There’s a whole lot of Amazon Prime options at your fingerprints that will make it in plenty of time for Christmas!

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