A holiday gift guide for everyone on your list

Based on reviews, recommendations and a few personal favorites, this comprehensive holiday gift guide should cover everyone on your list!

Chief criteria for adult gifts was either practicality -- something super useful -- or comfort, for the person who has everything but could use a little R&R. Kid gifts were selected for their fun and educational qualities.  

 

FOR THE KIDS 

Combine two of their favorites -- Play-Doh and picnics -- with the Picnic Adventure from Kmart ($15). This set comes with 10 cans of Play-Doh, two cutters, an array of molds and stamps, plastic forks and knives and a darling gingham placemat. Picnic all winter long with this indoor fun! Recommended for ages 3 and up. 

 

 

Insight Editions' new line of 3D wood models, IncrediBuilds, cultivates young engineers and serves up big fun. There's a model for evey interest -- from dinosaurs to sharks to butterflies, plus Harry Potter and plenty of Disney. Prices range from $14.99 to $19.99. Recommended for ages 12 and up. 

 

 

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle from Kmart promises a wow factor on Christmas morning. It packs a lot of punch for its sale price of $27.99, featuring a rotating light-up feature, spinning shelves in its two closets, two staircases and 16 accessories -- including a dress, throne, crystal vanity, cradle and jewels. Comes with two ponys: Baby Flurry Heart (who can rock in the swing) and Princess Cadence (who has two tiaras).

"This toy is exceptional," one reviewer wrote of the five-star toy. "Much better price than I found in any other story. Sturdy enough to last with little hands. Also, my granddaughter can play with this with her Frozen dolls as well as her My Little Ponies because there is not much difference." 

 

 

This adorable "Don't Stop Believing Santa Raglan Shirt" for $25 from Sweet Jane's Clothing will delight young and old alike. Comes in sizes 2 to 12. Let your tot wear it to preschool or show it off to the relatives at the annual Christmas gathering. And while you're perusing Sweet Jane's, check out its other snicker-inducing shirts, including this bestseller

 Both are eligible for free shipping. 

 

 

Sesame Street's Love2Learn Elmo from Kmart ($43.44) is one of those gifts you can feel good about giving: it's exciting and educational. Elmo turns playtime into personalized learning; a mobile app enables it to say your child's name, customize game settings and deliver more than 350 responses. Comes with three games and more than 30 minutes of unique content. Elmo makes silly sounds, dances, claps and reacts to your childs movements in real time. 

"Super good for babies to learn the ABCS," wrote one reviewer. Recommended for ages 18 months to 4 years. 

 

 

Usborne sticker books appeal to a wide age range, delivering the kind of imaginative play that can replace the iPad on a roadtrip. Check out the wide inventory here -- most of the sticker books range from $6.99 to $9.99 -- or email Usborne contact Cheryl Simon (a children's literacy expert) directly at cherylbooks@gmail.com.

 

 

To conclude the kid gifts, a featured item: a handmade hot cocoa stand from Opa and Oma's Etsy shop.

Of all the wooden lemonade or cocoa stands available online, this one is the best: the most attractive, the perfect size, reasonably priced, durable and customizable (paint your own or make a request). And perhaps best of all, it's designed to fold for easy storage. (Dad'll like that.)

And just our luck: the artisan happens to be Minnesotan! Opa and Oma are grandparents in Elk River, Minn. Support a Minnesota family and enjoy fast shipping! 

Opa first built a hot cocoa stand for his daughter, Katie, a talented Elk River photographer seeking the perfect prop for Christmas sessions with her clients. He didn't disappoint! (See more of Katie's work here, including the birthday and Christmas cards she designs through KTBUG.)

Opa and Oma's stands have been a huge hit; they've been used to sell lemonade, cocoa, candy and bracelets. One boy requested a vegetable stand and gave his to the troops. 

"It's the perfect tool to encourage entrepreneurship among child," said Oma, a.k.a. Jody Kreuser, who owned Elk River's first daycare. 

Opa and Oma's stand has earned only 5-star reviews. "I absolutely adore this fun lemondate stand!" one mom wrote. "My son will be able to use this for years to come! This is a quality product and super easy to set up!!" 

 
 
 
 

 

FOR ADULTS 

From comfort to convenience plus high-tech wonders, we've got every teacher, hard-to-buy-for husband, grandparent and girlfriend covered. 

 

PurBliss' soy candles bring the scents of the season into your home. Sizes vary, priced from $6 to $13. The Christmas Tree candle is a favorite for the holidays (hello, Frasier Fir!), along with Gingerbread Bliss and Cinnamon Spice, but also consider the Cozy Cabin and Peppermint Eucalyptus. Soy candles burn clean and smell great! 

Use the discount code GOODSOY20 to get 20 percent off. 

 

 

These hand-knit wool socks from Litknitbits are the ultimate comfort gift, sure to make any recipient feel cozy, warm and loved. Their Nordic patterns reflect the best vibes of a Minnesota winter. Ranging form $15 to $23, the socks are a steal given the labor of love that brought each pair into creation. Don't miss Litknitbits' adorable Nordic patterns for kids -- they are adorable! -- the hand-knit mittens starting at just $6.57 and the super-stylish knit hats

Use the code MINNPARENT for a 12 percent discount on any purchase available until midnight on Dec. 16. 

 

 

Want to do those socks justice? Wrap them in vintage Christmas paper from Simple Mittens, an Etsy shop with the cutest wrapping paper you'll see all season. Opt for the train paper or the ice-skating scene -- authentic vintage paper snagged at an old Colorado store about to close. 

They just don't make wrapping paper like this any more (unfortunately). Prepare to delight the recipient -- and enjoy the process of gift wrapping like never before.

 

 

 

If you want to keep a hardworking loved one warm all winter, look no further than Carhartt, the brand relied on by Minnesota farmers. This Midweight Crewneck Sweatshirt ($34.99) is available in grey, navy or black and runs up to a 4XLRegular or a 2XTall. It's the best sweatshirt out there -- comfy and durable. 

Give this sweatshirt to someone special and watch it become a staple! 

 

 

 

As featured in Oprah's 2016 "Favorite Things" gift guide, Crab and Cleek's canvas bags make a stellar gift -- fun and practical! There's a reason Oprah loves them. These canvas bags have been winterized and boast corduroy trim. They're the perfect size -- big but not overwhelming -- sturdy and decorated in the most charming, Minnesota-friendly patterns, including the Vintage Thermos ($56) pictured above, Snow Shoes, Fair Isle Sweater (swoon!) and Vintage Ski Patch.

Get one for Grandma, for the mom on the run, for the gal on your list who has everything (but needs a better tote) -- and you'll want one for yourself too.  

 

 

 

Deliver the fun and taste of a keg in the perfect size with a GrowlerWerks growler. Based in Portland, Ore., GrowlerWerks has designed the very best growlers to keep beer cold and fresh -- on the go or at home. The durable, double-wall vacuum is insulated with stainless steel, and its brass carrying handle adds serious charm.

The growlers range in cost from $139 to $229. A popular option, the UKEG 128, is pictured above.

If Grandpa's been a good boy this year, there's no better way to thank him. This gift will make a lasting impression! 

 

 

Revolutionize someone's television viewing with the $129 Roku Ultra, the ultimate streaming device that plays every service (Chromecast, Amazon Prime movies, Netflix, etc.). It solves the frustrating fact that Chromecast doesn't play Amazon Prime.

The Roku Ultra offers 4K and HDR picture quality. It has a nice controller with voice search and its popular plug-in headphones mean you can keep watching and not disrupt your sleeping spouse.

The noise equalizer is also a huge plus for any parent with a sleeping child in a nearby room; this is the feature you've been needing every time a car explosion wakes your toddler.  


Charmed reviews are entirely the author's opinion. Special thanks to the following vendors for supplying complimentary samples for review and photography:


Check out Minnesota Parent's 2016 toy guide and 2016 guide to board games, too!