The 2017 Intentional Christmas Gift Guide to Simplify Your Holidays

I’m not sure where you are in your Christmas shopping, especially considering it’s still the first full week of December. I’m almost done with mine, but I’m just not quite there with having everything wrapped and underneath the tree yet. I love buying Christmas presents. I love the intentionality behind it with matching up the perfect gift to the person you know would absolutely love it.

With that, I bring to you the 2017 Intentional Christmas Gift Guide. The fun part about this is that not only am I featuring some small businesses and some run by my friends, but that some of my friends even joined in and told me some of the things that they loved or believe would make a fantastic gift. Thank you to my friends! If you’d like to connect with them, check after a gift idea to see who suggested it and where you can connect with them online.


To Intentionally Support Local Houston Businesses
  • I just cannot stop repping Darlene’s Flower and Gift Shop since I got to work with them for my wedding. (You can see some of their floral work here.) Susan and Judy have a lovely collection of gift items, make absolutely breathtaking bouquets and are an absolute delight to work with. They are also helping share Christmas with those who have lost so much in Hurricane Harvey by offering a 20% off storewide sale through Christmas.
  • Save some stress and outsource your baking needs to Leigh S. in Houston this holiday season. She sells pie, but is available for all baking needs including lemon squares and yule logs. Her homemade, from scratch pies made from fresh ingredients are delectable and incredibly worth saving the stress so you can intentionally be present elsewhere this December. She also makes gluten free and vegan pies. Baking orders preferred by December 21. Please contact Leigh at
  • As a semi-professional tee shirt wearer, I highly endorse Hello, Grace Tees. Her faith based and fashionable shirts have stolen my heart for sure as they are versatile, neutral and super comfortable. I own several of these super soft, goes with anything tees. I love the It Is Well tee. – Gift idea courtesy of TeeJay. Connect with her via instagram @strateejery.
  • Give the gift of the softest leggings. You may have heard of the leggings with a cult following. LuLaRoe is the creator of those leggings that are known to be so soft that vendors describe it as buttery. They are incredibly soft! There’s a ton of vendors that sell LuLaRoe but LeeAnn & Glenda are a team that I love to see open boxes of merchandise. LeeAnn is a former coworker of mine and such a fun friend to have. Lee Ann and Glenda have a deal for my readers – If you join their VIP shopping group, you can use the code “LLRLove” on your next purchase with LeeAnn and Glenda to receive a free mystery pair of leggings in your size. Please send the code via a direct message link and not in the comments on the page though. Connect with them on their VIP shopping page at LuLaRoe with Lee Ann & Glenda- VIP Shopping Group.
  • Find the perfect dress (or flowy top!) for all year long. LuLaRoe has a TON of vendors that are small business owners. The cool thing is that no two people have the same merchandise so you may need to be connected to multiple vendors to find that just perfect dress or top. Megan and Taylor are two sisters who are constantly on the hunt for cute LuLaRoe combinations for you. I’ve known these girls since junior high and they’re practically family. I love them and know they’d love to help you make all your outfit dreams come true.  Connect with them at LuLaRoe Megan and Taylor or email Megan at
  • Shop your Facebook feed and give something from a friends’ small businesses they may be interested in trying.You probably get a ton of Facebook posts in your newsfeed from friends selling stuff. Those friends aren’t trying to be annoying, they’re trying to support their families. My friend Leigh (yes, the one that makes pies from above) sells several things including Younique makeup and AdvocarePlease contact Leigh at to see what she has in stock for Advocare or buy products from either main site under her as a distributor.


To Intentionally Simplify Life
  • Buy either of Emily Ley’s books: Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy and A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living. I’ve read Emily’s book on grace and WOW! It is chock full of little hacks and permission and understanding to give yourself grace. I can’t wait to get my hands on her second book which I’ve heard that there’s even more hacks for living simpler. (Here’s hoping Santa brings it to me!)
  • Get a Breakfast Basket for Christmas Morning like the Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast Basket. This frees them up for the morning or even the day after Christmas as everyone recovers from their Christmas coma. – Gift idea courtesy of Andrea S.
  • The legendary, talked about so very often in our lives, The Anova Sous Vide. To be perfectly honest, I just chose a category for this to fall under. When I asked Rick if that was accurate, he was all-in for it being in this category. “You set it and forget it. It’s a no need to monitor style of cooking”. It also cooks things perfectly. – Gift idea courtesy of Rick, my husband + chef.
  • Simplify your own list by doing a gift theme. There’s a lot of leeway here. Maybe you get everyone on your list a bottle of wine and a box of candies, maybe you give everyone a board game or a book that you think they’d love. Choosing one genre of gift helps limit you when you’re overwhelmed to be able to break it down to a bit smaller of a task. I love practical gifts too so for teachers, I’d get something like this wrapping paper to split among teachers. It is usable for them and not just another coffee mug or gift card – plus, it’s simple and easy for you.
  • Forgo a big Christmas gift and go for something simpler and more heartfelt. Grab a cute or funny Christmas card like this sincere one or this humorous one or this one and write a heartfelt note of gratitude expressing what the relationship with the recipient means to you.
  • Make some redeemable-after-Christmas coupons with things like offers to babysit, an offer to take over your spouses’ chores for a week, offers to sit through one entire vent session without saying a word, or whatever you think your friend/spouse/coworker/family member may need. If you’re not into making it, there’s always “cheating” by buying this pre-made voucher book and just filling it in.


To Intentionally Reach Your Goals
  • Give them a Happy Planner! My friend swears by her planner. Not only is it functional, it is beautifully designed and has so many different add-ons. She literally told me about it a few days after I bought a planner that I’m not loving but am still sticking the year out with. I’d definitely recommend giving one of the kits like the Create 365 Happy Planner Kit as it shows all the add-ons and options for making the most of your planner. – Gift idea courtesy of Sonam. Connect with her via her Youtube Channel, SincerelySonam.
  • There’s nothing like starting a fitness challenge with a fitness tracker. While I have the Fitbit, I’d have to recommend the FitBit Blaze as it has a watch face on it. While I love mine, (when I remember to charge it!) it’s a little frustrating to look down and not see the time.
  • Water Bottles because if you’re getting the move on with a new work out routine, you’ll need to start drinking more water. My personal favorite is the Insulated Camelbak in Stainless Steel but my sweet friend, Belle, recommended this S’well Water Bottle that comes in a variety of colors. Pictured is the Sparkling Champagne, but I’m also digging the Grey Quartz colored one.
  • I love borrowing audiobooks from my local library the only thing is, sometimes they don’t have the book I want and I’m limited on how many I can check out during a month. An Audible Subscription Membership is a fantastic idea for someone who has this same problem as me or anyone sitting in Houston traffic.
  • Gift a class the recipient is wanting to learn about. Maybe they’re not sure if they’d like barre, give them a month membership to see how they’d like it. There’s so many local classes that you can do from baking, sushi-making, sewing and more! If you can’t buck the cash for a class, try finding a book or something that could help the recipient still learn about something. For example, if you can’t afford a sushi making class, get an easy sushi making kit instead. – Gift idea courtesy of Susan L. 
  • Give them an easy way to listen to music, podcasts and books while still completing their run with the Bluetooth Beanie Hat This hat has a built in bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone so you can be freed up for a nice leisure run. – Gift idea courtesy of Leigh S.


To Intentionally Go Deeper in Your Faith
  • Give a Prayer Journal! Really, that can be any notebook like this pretty red one with a kangaroo. I’ve never done prayer journaling but I can’t wait to begin in January. I’ve heard so many good, intentional reasons to journal and how it produces a deeper relationship with God as you can vividly and tangibly see how He answers prayer. I’ve had my eyes on a specific one for years so I finally put it on my Christmas List this year.
  • This book on studying the Bible is another thing on my own Christmas List. I’ve read through a bit of Jen Wilkin’s 1 John study which is free and downloadable from her website here. I love her insights on scripture. In Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, she delves deeper into how to read the Bible and connect with it in meaningful ways.
  • I’ve read a lot of books in 2017, but Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker soared to the absolute top. It’s been 3 months and I keep marinating over the concepts put forth in it. You can hear all about how much I loved this book in my review here.
  • Bible Studies are a good way to go deeper in your faith and an obvious one as well. Giving one that has meant a lot to you or that you’d love to do with the recipient is a great way to foster accountability with someone else as y’all get the chance to discuss it together. Rick and I are hoping to start The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler soon.
  • One way to connect more deeply with scripture is to scribble on the pages themselves! I’m only half kidding on that one, but I do believe that a KJV Aqua Journaling Bible is an excellent gift whether one is artsy and will be painting in the side or if someone needs a bit more room for arrows, highlights and sermon notes on the side. If you’re not into the KJV, there’s this NIV one. – Gift idea courtesy of Leigh S.
  • A faith-based novel seems like a funky idea for this list because it’s not a Bible Study. I received a gift of The Yada Yada Prayer Group Book One by Neta Jackson a few years ago by a friend. I fell in love hard. I’m currently reading the third. I would have read it sooner but I struggle with finding time for novels but sine I’ve started reading again, I’ve loved the different sphere of influence it has brought to my faith. I love seeing the characters grapple with tough situations and hard questions in ways that I may have never looked at before.


For Intentional Self-Care
  • If you’ve been around here long, you know I have a newly found obsession with candles. They’re a great way to have an area smell great and change the atmosphere. I’m a fan of the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress-Relief Candle, especially for self-care. This is a great gift to have on hand in case you need a last minute gift for someone who wasn’t on your radar too!
  • One thing that I love to do for my own self-care but don’t tend to actually buy for myself is reading magazines. I’d love to get a magazine subscription to a magazine that I already enjoy or even a bundle of individual magazines that I may like to expose myself to the different magazine options out there. I actually gave my mom a Real Simple magazine subscription last year which she loved. – Gift idea courtesy of Andrea S.
  • One thing that I’m starting in 2018 is journaling my prayers. I’ve got a journal picked out already, but this Handmade Ranunculas Laser Cut Wood Notebook caught my eye. It is absolutely gorgeous. I love the versatility of journals whether they’re for grocery lists, mapping out vacations, a daily memory keeper or a mixture of everything which is what mine tend to be!
  • Out of every gift idea that came up, comfy socks came up the most. That cracks me up! It’s such a simple, functional and fun gift. There is something super cozy about a good pair of socks snuggled up watching a rainy day movie. I’m loving these cozy multi-pattern ones from Joyca & Co. – Gift idea courtesy of both Belle V. + Andrea S.
  • A gourmet food item doesn’t seem like self-care, but I know it takes a LOT for me to pull $5 out of my wallet for a high end candy bar. I’d love to receive this Chuao Chocolatiers Mini-Bar Gift Box where I can indulge in trying different flavors and feel guilt free about it.
  • One of the easiest things I do for myself is doing face masks. I’ve tried several over the past year, but I keep returning to Kiehls Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask as my personal favorite. I love how I can put it on and forget about it for 10 minutes as I do other things like get dressed, brush my teeth, etc. It’s one of the few things that can make self-care and productivity go hand-in-hand.


To Intentionally Spread Christmas Cheer To Your Coworkers
  • Everyone needs something nearby on their desk to just jot down a few quick things. That’s why I love fun Memo Note Pads as a gift for a coworker. I’m loving ones like the Knock Knock Action! Items one.
  • Give them a fun way to keep track of the days like a Page-A-Day Desk Calendar. I can’t wait to rip into mine for 2018. I have the The Little World of Liz Climo Calendar that features the cutest animal drawings with puns. There’s also this this fun monthly travel-inspired one by Rifle Paper Co.
  • Help your coworker make their desk a little spiffier with art. I’d love to add the Wilderness Art Print by Fuzzy Ink to one of those walls. Really, I’d love to add anything by this handmade company in D.C. that focuses on the cutest camping and nature inspired prints. A Felt Letter Board is also a fun idea and who knows what inspirational sayings or ridiculousness will be embraced on there. Either way, it’s a fun way to express yourself and change out “artwork” in your office.
  • Yes, the office already supplies pens, but do they supply pretty ones? Probably not. The Paper Mate InkJoy Retractable Gel Pens write beautifully and come in a variety of colors which makes them terrific for organizing things in your planner or just fun to doodle with on the side of your staff meeting notes. –Gift idea courtesy of Sonam. Connect with her via her Youtube Channel, SincerelySonam.
  • Bring some nature inside to their cubicle with a plant. Try this amethyst with a mini air plant for a bit more modern take with zero maintenance.
  • What your coworker probably wants more than anything is some recognition that you both have listened to them rant about their newest Netflix binge and that you’re grateful you share so many hours, frustrations, possibilities and accomplishments with them. Combine the two with something like a Stranger Things Eleven Christmas Card with a sweet, heartfelt note inside. (That’s my latest Netflix binge!)


To Intentionally Be Together As A Family
  • Who doesn’t love a little family competition? With Ticket to Ride, 2-5 players make railroads across the United States to collect the longest train and the routes you need for your hand. This can be a fun little game or pretty cutthroat. It really depends on who is playing and which cards are in your hands. It’s a personal favorite around our house – well, for me at least.
  • A backyard game like cornhole is always fun, but we’re loving Molkky at our house these days. This game is a little bit like lawn bowling. It doesn’t have to be super competitive and definitely works for the not-so-athletic family members as well.
  • Work together to save the world in this board game, Pandemic. I love the fact that while most board games can divide a household, this game draws you together through teamwork and communication as y’all battle it out against the board itself.
  • Get a game-on-the-go like SkipBo which can be played sitting at an airport or spread across your dining room table. This is a highly addictive game that anyone can play and it travels so easily. That’s a combination I will always be able to get behind.
  • Give a movie that’s a crowd favorite like Moana. We watched this over the summer and I absolutely loved it. This movie has depth for adults, is beautifully artistically made and kids love it. What’s not great? Unless you’re a mama that’ll be stuck with songs being sung over and over in your household. Then again, let it go, it could be worse.
  • Get outside as a family for a little friendly competition with a Soccer Ball from One World Play Project. Not only is this soccer ball made for harsh terrain and indestructible which is so necessary for little boys, every purchase helps fund projects that enable play for youth living in disadvantaged communities worldwide. It’s a win-win. 


To Intentionally Throw Some More Ideas in Here Just for the Fun of It!
  • A new pair of shoes! Some of us have some old favorites that are in need of a good repair or to be replaced entirely. Although, I’m not sure if I could really pull these off, I am in love with these Keds x Kate Spade Glitter Shoes. They come in tons of sizes including little girls, big girls and even adult sizes! How cute would it be for a mama and a little to match in them?
  • Books! I know theres’ some books listed above, but I couldn’t let this list pass by without a mention of the Hello Stars (Faithgirlz/Lena in the Spotlight) books by Alena Pitts. This is the perfect read for a tween girl that is grounded in faith and written by a girl in her tweens! I love that aspect of it. Teenagers are so incredibly cool. I’d also suggest giving someone with similar reading interests, your favorite read of this last year or one that impacted you profoundly.
  • Let someone scout out some new products with Sephora Sampler Kits like this Deluxe Perfume one or this Sephora Favorites one. As someone who doesn’t do a lot of makeup and doesn’t know where to start, this would give me an idea of where to start. Although, it was recommended by two different friends of mine that have mastered makeup. They’ve got to love the variety it offers to them outside their every day products. – Gift idea courtesy of both Sonam + TeeJay. Connect with Sonam via her Youtube Channel, SincerelySonam and TeeJay via her instagram @strateejery.
  • I clearly just admitted in the last bullet point that beauty, skin care and makeup are not really my thing. I know you’re shocked because I rarely wear makeup and when I do, it’s almost non-existent. It’s a good thing I’ve got girls on my side that really know what they’re doing. The Sirius Sonic Skin Care System comes recommended as a cheaper skin care system alternative that’s just as effective. – Gift idea courtesy of Sonam. Connect with her via her Youtube Channel, SincerelySonam.
  • Versatile cooking equipment like a cast iron skillet is something that anyone can use whether it’s on a Tuesday night dinner or a Saturday morning out camping. The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is our personal fave, plus you can get a silicone handle cover. – Gift idea courtesy of Rick, my husband + chef.
  • This last addition is something that I received a few years ago and have absolutely loved. It’s a hair tie bracelet that holds a hair tie in place on your wrist. The Maria Shireen Bittersweet Hair Tie Bracelet looks good with or without the hair tie on it and makes things a little dressier for you.


Thank you once again to everyone who participated in helping me find some neat Christmas ideas that might not have been on my radar! This blog post does contain some affiliate links. Purchasing from those affiliate links is no extra cost to you, but it does help me by supporting my blog. Thank you!

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