Mel’s Mini Holiday Gift Guide: His + Hers {And a Few Kitchen Faves!}

The last in a string of holiday gift guides is finally up!

If you missed the last two gift guides, you can find them here:

Gift Guide: GAMES!
Gift Guide: KIDS!

I’ve lumped a lot of random, awesome stuff in this gift guide today.

It’s a little bit for her, a little bit for him, plus a handful of my favorite kitchen things right now (you can always go here for my other go-to kitchen tools).

As always (I know, I sound like a broken record), none of these items are sponsored; I genuinely love each one! Disclaimer: there are Amazon affiliate links for products I’ve bought there. 

Happy holiday shopping! Please feel free to share any of your favorites below in the comments! 


1. Hydroflask KnockoffWhile we do have some official Hydroflasks hanging out around here, each of my kids saved up their money to buy the less expensive Simple Modern insulated water bottles, and they are awesome. Awesome, awesome. We’ve even figured out they can successfully be used with a Hydroflask flip lid. Sweet! They keep water icy and cold for hours and hours and hours.

2. Saranoni blankets. I know you might be thinking a blanket is just a blanket, but I have to gently argue with you that this is just not the case. I fell in love with Saranoni blankets a few months ago, and we are crazy about them (read: my kids all fight over the throw we have in the living room). I bought several of the Bamboni home throws (love them) for Christmas gifts this year. I can’t say enough good things about these blankets – an investment worth making (plus I love the story behind this family-owned company).

3. Day Camp Backpack. Brian’s been wanting a sturdy, lightweight backpack to take on day hikes, and this one is inexpensive and fantastic! Durable and roomy, this is the perfect backpack for long or short day hikes…or for any other travel adventure!

4. Camping Cot. In the vein of camping/hiking gear, this Coleman camping cot won out after I did more research than I care to admit about camping cots (I’ll never get those hours of my life back). Sturdy and easy to set up/take down, this cot is a great choice for those whose bones are too old to sleep on the hard, unforgiving ground anymore.

5. Half Tees. Half tees! Oh my goodness, I’m in love with these functional half t-shirts. If layering makes you grumpy like it makes me grumpy, these half tees are a lifesaver. I have the tank top version and the cap sleeve one, and I can safely say I wear these 6 3/4 days out of the week. Wardrobe staple for me.

6. Folding Travel Scissors. Definitely not the most glamorous gift, but I have a pair of these foldable scissors in just about every bag I own (day purse, church bag, etc). I can’t even tell you how many tricky situations they’ve gotten me out of (and yes, I feel a bit like Macgyver every time, even if it’s just me sitting in the car trimming a pesky hangnail). A great little stocking stuffer!

7. Wallet Ninja. My brother told me about this crazy (as in, crazy awesome) tool, and I promptly bought one for Brian (but shhhh, he’s getting it in his stocking). Just read the reviews on it. I think I need one for myself, too.

8. Gray Canvas Messenger Bag. If you’ve seen me outside of my house in the last couple months (granted, that doesn’t happen very often for this homebody), I’ve had this bag attached to me. I LOVE it. It is casual but cute. Stylish but functional. A perfect bag for every day, travel, and even a night out (you know, for people who actually do stuff like that).

9. Enso ring. I have some annoying arthritis going on in my hands and knuckles…and it’s made it so my wedding ring can’t fit over my ring finger knuckle anymore. While I figure out a longterm solution for that situation, I’m loving this flexible, soft, comfortable silicone ring. Fancy? Heck no. But I can wear it to the gym, doing dishes, and feeding and watering the chickens…and it stays clean and perfect.

10. Lip gloss. I am not a makeup snob OR a makeup expert, but I love this lip gloss. My friend, Jen, sent me some about a year ago, and I’ve kept myself stocked since then. It’s not the cheapest lip gloss on the market, but it doesn’t leave my lips dry or peeling like so many other brands (and I’m almost positive you can find it cheaper elsewhere online or local). My routine is to slather my lips with this Burt’s Bees shimmer (that I’ve waxed poetic about before) and then apply this lip gloss.

11. PJs. I know pajamas aren’t super exciting, but this cozy set really does live up to it’s fame (the reviews tell the story). They might seem a bit pricey, but check for Nordstrom sales or coupon codes; at the end of the day, I have to admit, I would buy them again (totally worth the price). So comfy!

12. Camp Chef Cooler. With Yeti-style coolers being all the rage right now, I have to give props to the Camp Chef brand. It is fantastic and less expensive than the Yeti brand (although I know it’s still a bit of an investment). We have carted this thing everywhere and it is shocking, almost, how cold it keeps the food. I bought one for my dad because we love ours so much!

13. Sproutbrite. I received the cutest set of these Sproutbrite seeds in the mail from a super sweet reader (after I mailed her a kefir grains start), and I am so excited about these seeds!  I think Sproutbrite has different sets, but I have the one with all herbs, and I cannot wait to plant them! Such a great gift idea for someone who loves gardening…or just that person who already has everything!

14. Beanie. If one could be obsessed about a beanie, I would be that one. I’m actually quite particular about headwear, and this beanie is my favorite. Not too tight, not too frumpy. It’s so cute, comes in a million colors, and actually keeps my head and ears warm.

15. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca. If happiness had a name, it would be this decadent chocolate peppermint roca. Who knew that buttery toffee enrobed in minty dark chocolate could be such a fantastic combo? For serious peppermint lovers only, this stuff is goooooood.


16. Colorful Felt Tip Pens. I want to cry, I love these pens so much. Granted, I’m a pen lover of epic proportions, but these are some of my favorite of all time. A pen is just a pen until you’ve used these.

17. Slinger Jars. I don’t even care what you use these for, just get them (or gift them). So cute, these jars can be used for a million different reasons! Storing office supplies, legit canning small portions of jam, or just starting at because they are so adorable. Love them.

18. 6-foot lightning cable. Pure function, I couldn’t live without my 6-foot charging cable. Plus, color options abound, which is just a lot of fun. This is another great stocking stuffer idea.

Some Kitchen Favorites!

I’m only including a handful of kitchen/cooking favorites, but they are awesome! For more favorites, check out all my kitchen loves here!

1. Classic Fondue Pot. I’ve professed my love for this higher end fondue pot in the past, but I have to give a huge shout out to this less expensive, but still very durable and awesome fondue pot. My friend has this cheaper one, and it is really great. I think everyone needs a fondue pot (or three), personally. Do you have one??

2. Victorinox Utility Knife. I don’t know if it’s possible to love a knife as much as I love this one. BONUS: it’s super inexpensive. DOUBLE BONUS: it is one of my favorite knives in the drawer. This baby cuts through anything, and lately, it’s the knife I pull out the most (and my kids use it, too).  It comes in a 4-pack, if that’s more your style OR it comes in a set with the other amazing Victorinox knife I’ve raved about before. Locals, I’ve picked them up at Standard Restaurant Supply, too.

3. Collapsible Colander Over the sink colanders like this are SO functional and wonderful, but they usually take up a lot of space. This collapsible version is not only kind of pretty, but it gets awesome points for its compact design!


4. Chocolate Fountain. I have wanted a chocolate fountain for a loooooong time and finally splurged on one for a church activity. I’m not even going to tell you how many times we’ve used it since then. SO FUN!! It’s our go-to for when friends/family/company comes over. If I had known a chocolate fountain would be this enjoyable to have around, I wouldn’t have waited so long!

5. Bravetart Cookbook. I am seriously obsessed with this cookbook. I have made at least a dozen recipes from it, and each one has been stellar (except for one frosting recipe that was a flop). It speaks to my soul to have so many recipes for popular treats that can now be made from scratch…and I love reading the history behind the recipes.

6. Mini Cheesecake Pan. Another thing I wish I would have gotten earlier, I love this mini cheesecake pan! Not only does it make, well, cute little cheesecakes, I use it all the time for brownie bites and cookie bites. Love it!

7. Mosser Milk Cake Stand. In the market for an understated but elegant cake stand? This white Mosser Milk cake stand is so pretty and is the one I pull out for all our birthdays and special occasions.

8. 2-cup measure. I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but honestly, if you haven’t snagged yourself (or your loved one) a 2-cup measure, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Sorry to shout, but I use this measuring cup nonstop. It is one of my favorite kitchen tools in the history of ever.

9. Ice Cream Maker. Certainly more of a big ticket item, I just have to give a shout out to this ice cream compressor (basically it differs from inexpensive ice cream makers in that you don’t have to chill any bowls/attachments beforehand and you can make back-to-back batches). I used this nonstop during the summer. Along with my cute little waffle cone maker, my kids thought I was pretty stinkin’ awesome. Plus, homemade ice cream in a homemade waffle cone (surprisingly easy on both accounts) is just the best.