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You don’t have to spend a lot to find a fantastic gift! Just take a moment to reflect on the recipient. Thoughtful gifts that show you know the person are worth much more than expensive-but-bland gifts.

Suspenders ($14.50 – $19.95)
Rainbow suspenders! Unexpected, fun, and occasionally practical. These rainbow bad boys from Suspenders.com are heavy duty, utilitarian-grade, and, according to the web site, made for someone who has “everything imaginable” hanging from their trousers. Or grab some cute red and black checkerboard ones at Suspender Hut for $14.50.

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Memo board ($18)
ekohdesign
over on Etsy has these nice looking steel memo/dry erase/magnetic
boards. Give the elephant board to a child as a wall surface to draw
on, or give it to any pachyderm lover! It’s practical decor.

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Moon calendar ($13)
The Original Lunar Phase calendar
for 2010 – For those that like to gaze into the night sky – or for
those who forget to – this calendar is a beautiful depiction of a
year’s worth of the moon’s cycles of waxing and waning.

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“Country Wisdom & Know-How” ($19.95)
If you’re shopping for someone who is all about getting back to the land, this book might be just the ticket. “Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land
is filled with projects like “Building Chicken Coops,” “Making
Cheese, Butter, and Yogurt,” and “Building Stone Walls.” Even if you
don’t embark on any of the projects, the illustrated diagrams look well-drawn
and fascinating.

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“The Story of Ferdinand” ($10.52)
Since
we’re on the book tip, I want to give a shout out to a childhood
favorite – “The Story of Ferdinand,” by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert
Lawson. Give this story of the nonviolent bull to a child of the 21st
century who’s never read it. Or give it to someone older, for
nostalgia’s sake. I suggest buying it from your local
bookstore, but you can also get a hardcover copy on Amazon.

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Bubbles ($2)
A great addition to any present, or a solid present all by itself! I always try to have some Pustefix bubbles on hand, because blowing bubbles is a fun, relaxing way to spend time outside. The last time I went to the beach, I blew bubbles, and the kids downwind from me had so much fun running around trying to pop them! Afterward, their dad came up to me and said he had never had all three boys entertained for so long. I’d also recommend a bubble machine, but a decent one would not be in the under-$20 range.

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Baking stone ($10.99)
My parents love to make pizza, and last Christmas I gave them a ceramic baking stone to up their game. They love it! It distributes the heat evenly all over the pizza, and we now enjoy crispy, professional pizzeria crust. According to Alton Brown, you can get the same benefits using an unglazed quarry tile for 99 cents from a building supply store, but I’m not sure how gift-able that is.

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Hand-painted bowl or mug ($14 – $18)
In
college, I worked at one of those paint-your-own-pottery places, so I
have a soft spot in my heart for the gift of a hand painted mug or
bowl. Almost every year since college, I’ve given my sister a hand
painted bowl for her birthday. Not every studio charges the same
amount, but you could definitely find a mug or small bowl for $8 – 10, and paint it for a studio fee of $6 – $8. You may have a Color Me Mine near you, but if not (like me), then hopefully you’ve got a local studio. Have fun!

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Laura Cochrane

I’m an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, and etymology.


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