By Eva Whalen
Those who watch over your children guard the most precious part of your life, so these entrusted caretakers should be richly gifted. The holiday season offers the opportunity to show your gratitude to affectionate nannies, inspired teachers, dependable doormen, reliable bus drivers, crossing guards, patient music teachers, and enthusiastic coaches. Here are some items to consider when it’s time to say it with a gift.
Straight from The Windy City to your lips is palate-pleasing Ethel’s Chocolate, arranged in a gorgeous box and flavored with whimsical fillings. Choose between various cocktail flavors, spices, dessert flavors and even Cinna-Swirl. Perfect for everyone who loves chocolate…which is everyone, right? Visit www.ethelschocolate.com. Or opt for a Lesser Evil Kettle Corn item without trans fats or preservatives, such as Cocoa Coal, a gluten-free treat. Lesser Evil’s GingerBread kettle corn clusters are a zesty ginger-sugar blend, and PepperMint is ideal for the holidays. Available in enormous buckets of stocking-stuff size, your choice. Visit www.lesserevil.com for all products, or Balduccis (big box) and Whole Foods (cocoa coal) stores.
Harness the power of solar energy with luminous products from SolLight. Friends who are car and boat owners–or those who love to camp–will appreciate SolLight’s waterproof water bottle with solar-lit cap for drinking and providing light. Choose white or red light by toggling a switch, and enjoy 12 hours of rechargeable solar light for reading, emergency lighting, nightlight use or night boating. Solar items are a very cool way to gift someone – they’re distinctive and herald the wave of the future. Check out the complete line at www.sollight.com.
If you want to give a gift so distinctive and beautiful that it won’t be forgotten for years, consider a hand-made, counter top cutting board by Craft Art. Sturdy and useful, and made of the finest wood, this is a gift that will complement every kitchen’s décor and will be put to daily practical use. These substantial boards will last a lifetime–and are perfect gifts for special people. Visit www.craft-art.com.
Everyone loves capturing the holidays on video, but not everyone owns a videocamera. For those on your list who don’t–and even for those who do–the CVS one-time-useCamcorder with 20 minutes of video to shoot is affordable, lightweight, and ideal for travel. Load up on them at your local CVS drugstore and distribute with glee.
Hamilton Beach’s Fondue set is a gift that suits any gender, age and background, since a love of dipping into hot chocolate or savory cheese is universal! This set features an electrical cord or candle-only option for convenience, is reasonably priced, and comes in a gorgeous color. Visit www.hamiltonbeach.com to order it for everyone you know.
Give a beautiful ring with a dazzling stone…that can be removed to add a different stone! Giving the 3-in-one Change Rocks ring is like giving three rings as a gift, since one colored stone can be unscrewed and another added to its place. Mix stones to match moods with this clever gift that will never grow tiresome. Visit www.goodtobeyou.com.
If you ever wished you could find one distinctive brand that offered everything from warm and fuzzy socks to lovely sleepwear, unique stationery, and Snowflake cookie sets, look no further than Karen Neuburger‘s lifestyle brand. Whether you want the perfect gingerbread house kit or super-soft robes, this is the all-in-one site for a perfect gift. www.karenneuburger.com.
Oka B. is not your usual shoe brand. Designed for both men and women, and crafted in washable, soft Microplast Technology with massage beads for comfort, this line is antimicrobial, odor-resistant, non-slip, made in the U.S.A. in Buford, GA, and surprisingly affordable. Choose between thongs, clogs, mules, beach slip-ons, men’s sport, gel thong, and more – in every color and foot shape imaginable. Visit www.shoesthatloveyou.com.
For stocking stuffers, here are two that will make a parent’s life easier for a while to come: the Energizer Easy Charger to replenish batteries hundreds of times (available at Target stores) – and Stuck On You labels, which are ideal for school, camp, and gifts. This Australia-based business is affordable, practical and the label selection is vast. Order online for quick delivery at www.stuckonyou.biz.