The holiday season has begun. And we know it’s going to be different for everyone this year, with an emphasis on spending time snuggled up close to home. If you’re not ready yet, don’t fret. We’ve updated our annual gift guide to includes some of the coolest and most thoughtful gifts for the friends and family in your life. From toys and tech to flying machines and gifts that give back, we know that you’ll find some special gift ideas in this guide to the best gifts for families. Happy holidays!
Best Gifts for Families
Gifts for Kids
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy. For the traveling teething baby on your lap or car seat. This rattle and teether toy is a colorful maze of soft tubes that’s safe and BPA-free. Suitable for ages 1-24 months.
Jinja’s House Sago Mini. Jinja’s House is the most adorable, portable playhouse on the market. I’m not above playing with it myself! This mini-playhouse means hours of imaginative fun-on-the-go. Its portability makes it an easy take-along for long trips and hotel stays with the wee ones.
Organized Empire’s Detachable 4 in 1 Kids Travel Tray. Attaching to car seats and that seat tray in front of you on a plane, this portable lap tray has a detachable top half which you can use as an independent Portable Lap Tray for kids in the car or stroller, or as an ipad holder by itself that can be hung anywhere. When you’ve arrived at your destination, simply zip up the Car Seat Activity Table and it turns into a convenient Carry Bag.
Seedling Design Out Loud! Cardboard Speakers. Tune into your inner designer and turn up the fun! This easy to make DIY kit comes with foldable kraft speakers, markers, paint, and more to create your own working mini boombox. Design and create, then plug your device into the microphone jack and cue up your favorite playlist.
LEGO The Mandalorian and The Child. Have you caught Baby Yoda fever? Immortalize your love of the Child and his Beskar-clad protector with this BrickHeadz LEGO Mando and Child set. Perfect for ages 6 and up. And at lest than 300 pieces, it won’t take all day to put together.
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera. The classic is back! And it’s pink. This minimalist, compact Polaroid Snap Camera easily slips into a your kid’s pocket. The Integrated ZINK® Instant Printer produces full-color 2×3” prints in under one minute, perfect for sharing selfies and group shots between friends. Digital copies can be saved for posting to social media. Because sharing is caring.
Card Games. The popular Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. My teens have loved playing it with their friends on trips over the years. This latest version has 150 new cards added so your game players will enjoy hours of card gaming and hilarity.
Lonely Planet Books. There are so many great titles to inspire your budding traveler, but here are two of our own family favorites. The Travel Book takes kids on a fantastics journey to every country in the world. Kids ages 6 and up will enjoy reading all about food, wildlife, and cool trivia in Lonely Planet’s hardcover bestseller. Secret Marvels of the World uncovers 360 extraordinary places that you never knew existed, and where to find them. Pair with a free download of Lonely Planet’s City Guide eBook, (with tips from yours truly), for your own reading pleasure.
Selfie Stick. For teens, the MPow Selfie Stick is an affordable stocking stuffer. We purchased one for our teenage son last holiday season. It produced lots of great #famfie shots, in addition to the obligatory selfies. The stick packs up small and is super easy to use.
Kids Suitcase. The Eagle Creek Load Warrior is cool enough for the teen traveller. This carry-on bag has wheels and a handle for easy rolling or carrying duffle-bag style.
Best Gifts for Men and Women
E-Reader. I’m a late convert to the eReader phenom. I blame it on the pandemic, and regret nothing. My Kobo Clara eReader saved my sanity this year, and I’m proud to say that I reached my goal of 52 books this year. The Amazon Kindle range of eReaders is extensive and includes Paperwhites, Fires and the new Oasis model. The tablet models are eReaders+, which all manner of entertainment options loaded as well.
Wireless Earbuds. Time to gear up for the wireless wave. Global communications giant Huawei has just released its wireless FreeBuds Earphones with smart voice control. The FreeBuds are sleek, waterproof and feature long-lasting play-time. The earbuds come with a wireless fast charging support case.
Universal Travel Adapter. This universal travel adapter cube has plugs for the US and Canada, the EU, UK, Australia and 160 countries. It’s also got four handy USB charging ports for your many devices. Can we have too many charging ports? I think not. Note: the cube is not a voltage converter, so you can’t plug in your hair dryer. But it may well become the only adapter cube you’ll need to travel with.
Romper Room. Life’s all about casual comfort these days, with some touches of fashion of course. This comfy romper jumpsuit is perfect for working from home but transitions perfectly for heading outside to walk the dog, drinks on the patio or picnic in the park.
Travel Backpack. We will travel again. The Vancouver-based Herschel company has gone global with well-crafted and fashionable backpacks, sling and messenger bags. There’s a gift to suit anyone on your list. Check out the soft corduroy bags, my new fave. They’ve also launched a line of hard case luggage.
Smart Luggage Tracker. Never lose your luggage again. This little device embeds RFID/NFC/Bluetooth technology that allows you to make your luggage identifiable to all airlines with its unique partnerships with Lost & Found services. It is linked directly to your baggage receipt and connected with a smartphone app.
Pangea Contour Map. These gorgeous customized contour maps of the world’s water bodies are exquisite. A Pangea Map is perfect for the sailor or nature lover in your life. See the sea like no one else.
Custom Travel T-Shirts and Tote Bags. The lovely and talented travel writer Jodi Ettenberg has leveraged her love of food and travel into pieces of Art Inspired by Food. Jodi has worked with talented artists to create custom Food Map t-shirts and travel tote bags that you cannot find anywhere else. Even if we can’t travel, we can still dream about travel. This is the gift for your travelling friend and foodie.
Tumi Suitcase. Is this the year to invest in the suitcase of your dreams for when we can travel again? Why not? I’ve been traveling around the world with my own gorgeous Tumi V3 Carry-on bag, and it’s true love. This suitcase is tough enough for frequent flyers, and so stylish that you’ll love wheeling it through lounges around the globe, when conditions allow. It’s expandable, and distinctive enough that should you need to check this beauty, you’ll find it in a snap.
DJI Mavic Pro Drone. The gift you didn’t know you needed. We’ve entered the drone world in 2017, and it’s whole new and amazing world of travel photography. The DJI Mavic Pro Combo has everything you need (think extra batteries, carry-bag and extra propellers). Get started flying and shooting incredible video footage and photos for your next holiday.
Practical Gifts for Men and Women
Echo Dot with Alexa. We enjoyed Alexa’s presence during our stay at Fern Grotto’s Ohana House on Kauai, and I was blown away by how cool and practical it is. The Echo Dot is a smart speaker with a clock, the perfect addition to your nightstand. Echo connects to Alexa to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, control smart home devices, and more—instantly. The weather, podcasts and your choice of music is just a voice command away.
Pashmina Shawl. I don’t travel anywhere without my colorful pashmina shawl. It looks fabulous, and doubles as a blanket on cold flights. (And why is the plane always so chilly anyway?) I also love Vancouver-based Kit and Ace’s super soft technical cashmere scarves, especially the two-tone Gastown Scarf.
TEALEAVES Tea Boxes. When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to pour a cup of something delightful. Like some premium TEALEAVES tea. Since 1994, TEALEAVES has been the blender of choice for five-star hotels and Michelin chefs world-wide. Can’t check into the Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons and missing those signature pyramid tea bags? Not to worry, order some their beautiful Holiday, Pantone or Wellness Collection teas and you’ll create that cosseted luxe feeling in the comfort of your own cosy home.
Curated Gift Boxes. Customized gifts are all the rage this year. The gorgeous curated gift boxes from Pumeli are above average. These are gift boxes that give back. Many of the gift boxes help provide meals to those who struggle with hunger in the United States. Certain collections and items also help provide a sustainable income for fair-trade disabled artisans in India and other locations around the world.
Travel Passport Wallet. A multi-purposed, RFID-blocking travel passport wallet that comes in a crazy array of pretty colors. This eco-friendly leather wallet keeps your valuables well-organized, safe and secure. There’s room for your passport, cash, coins and even a pen and key holder. The RFID blocking shield material tech protects your personal information and privacy.
Sleep Mask + Ear Plugs. I can’t sleep without my ear plugs and eye mask! Dark, quiet rooms are essential for a good night’s sleep, especially on the road or in the air.
Carry-on Cocktail Kit. I can vouch for the delicious beauty of mixing your own G&T at 39,000 feet. Make your next long-haul flight (fingers crossed for 2021) so much better with a Carryon-on Cocktail.
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