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Thursday, November 22, 2012

ngnrdgrl Gift Guide

It is that time of year again! What to get those wonderful people in your life?

I thought I would share some ideas for Black Thursday. Hopefully, you are not out there in the madness but are all nice and cozy at home.

I'm going to first share some of my plans and then give you a list of brainstormed ideas.

What we are getting my son

We have double duty in this house. My step-son is turning 12 this year on December 2nd. We have had his pressies planned out for a month now and are soooooo excited over his birthday present.

The first year my fiancé lived far away from his son, we got my son a Xbox for his birthday. The goal was that they would be able to play games, watch Netflix and video chat with each other. It really helped them stay connected. Unfortunately, he hasn't always had internet, so it hasn't worked out as well as we had hoped. We are hoping he will get internet soon, but we'll see.

Galaxy Nexus
Galaxy Nexus - My step-son is
getting the galaxy nexus as a
hand me down phone this year
for his birthday.
(image courtesy of
Because of this, our gift for him this year is an android phone, specifically the Galaxy Nexus. My fiancé is an Android Nerd and is one of the founders of Team Kang. As such, he gets a new phone typically every 3 months, so my step-son has seen multiple devices come and go through our house. My step-son last Summer was begging for a phone and suggested that the next time his dad gets a new phone he could get the old one as a hand me down. Well, this is what we decided to do!

It really does work out good. We have a family plan, so adding him only costs $5 extra per month. We have 1000 minutes, unlimited t-mo to t-mo, unlimited nights and weekends, and unlimited texting. We only use around 250 minutes a month and the only minutes we really use is calling my son, so we expect a net decrease in minutes.

The phone is practically free, since my fiancé already owned the device. He takes immaculate care of his phones and has the box in pristine condition with all the accessories still wrapped in cellophane. It will look like a new device when my son gets it.

We decided to also get him data (2 Gigs, then throttled) for an extra $5 per month. This will ensure that he will be able to video chat with his dad whenever he wants! I can just see him communicating more with his dad, video chatting, sending text messages, IMs and picture messages. Just the other day he made his mom take a picture on her phone and send it to us. It was so cute!

We are also considering adding a family plan management service for another $5 per month, which gives you the ability to set allowances for minutes and texting for individual members on the plan. It also enables you to set times when the phone isn't to be used (like during school or at night). You can restrict the market so that an individual can't bill apps on the carrier bill by logging into Google Wallet and removing that option.

I normally would cringe at the idea of a kid having a bad-ass cell phone, but it really does make sense to us to help him stay in touch with his dad. We thought about no data, but since one of our goals is for them to video chat at least once a week, this was a priority for us.

Check out Setting up Android for a Tween for more details on how we set up this phone for him.

Gift Brainstorm

Here is a brainstormed list of gifts. Some of these gifts are gifts I have given or received in the past years or that I plan to give this year. Hopefully it helps you come up with some great ideas for your gifts.

Mother Bird's Nest
Mother Bird's Nest
For the women in your life:
  • Jewelry: I plan on making some jewelry for the women in my life (3 sister-in-laws, mother, mother-in-law and the mother of my step-son). Check out Pinterest for jewelry inspiration projects!

  • Jewelry for Mom: I made my mom this birds nest pendant (pictured to the right), based on this tutorial, with beads representing her children's birthstones. There are a ton of different jewelry ideas for a mother or grandmother on Pinterest. When I was at the bead store right before mother's day, I saw a father and his two sons making jewelry for mom. What a cute idea! The girls at the bead store were helping them make the jewelry. If you aren't comfortable with making it yourself, or need some inspiration, check out Mu-Yin Jewelry or Etsy for great jewelry gifts for mom!
For the crafter/hobbiest in your life:
Gift Box
Storage Box filled with treasures.
  • Magazine Subscription: There is a magazine for just about any crafter or hobbiest. Do you know someone who likes sewing, woodworking, dogs, cars, fashion, video games, sports, computers... You name it, there is a magazine for it! Get them a years subscription and watch them enjoy their present every month!

  • Storage containers: I told my mom I wanted to take up jewelry making as a hobby and take some classes. For my birthday last year she got me a cute little box with some tools and a gift card to take classes. This would work with most crafters/hobbiest. You always need some extra storage for your supplies.

  • Tools: If you are unfamiliar with the craft or hobby, just go to the right store and ask what would make a great gift. Crafters and hobbiests always have some fancy tool that would make their craft easier or add something new to what they are able to achieve. Keep an eye on what your crafter/hobbiest does. Maybe they will complain about one of their tools that need to be replaced or make a comment on what they wish they had.
Nexus 7
Nexus 7
For the reader in your life:
  • E-reader: Buy them an e-reader! A Kindle, Nook or Kobo would make excellent gifts. The Kobo Mini is on sale from Powells for $49.99 on Nov 23/24 (normally $79.99). This is a great, portable e-reader. Not only is it one of the smallest e-readers, but it also uses e-ink. E-ink has advantages over tablets, included causing less eye strain and superior battery performance (over 1 month with wifi off!). You can read a review from e ink / e read.

  • Nexus 7: Buy them a tablet that works as a pretty good e-reader too. The Nexus 7 has many advantages over the Kindle and Nook tablets, as it has full access to the Google Play store and isn't restricted. You can load up the Kindle or Nook app on it too!

  • Gift cards to Amazon or Barnes and Noble for their e-reader.
For the gamer in your life:
  • GameFly: It's like Netflix, only for video games! I bought my fiancé a subscription to GameFly for his Christmas present for our first Christmas. I set it up to mail me two games that I knew was on his wish list. I then printed out fake jacket covers for an empty DVD case. I wrapped them up individually.

    He thought he was getting two new video games, but just looked at them really confused after opening them up. He knew there was something up, since they weren't wrapped in cellophane. I had put the GameFly return envelopes in the slot for a game manual.

    He LOVES GameFly! And so do I, since it is much more budget friendly. We save so much money getting games through GameFly. He also can buy used games for cheap. If he wants a new game, he will put it in his queue before it is released, then he gets it mailed before anyone else gets to play it. He then buys it once the price goes down. Once you buy a game, they send you the original packaging, which looks crisp! Like they carefully pulled the disc out and put the packaging in storage.
For the Geek in your life:

Shirt Woot! shirt
Shirt Woot!
TeeFury Shirt
  • Shirt Woot! has some really cute and geeky t-shirts for $10!  We picked one up for my brother-in-law last year and he loved it. My fiance and step-son love these shirts. They alternate ever day, so just keep checking back and you are bound to find one to fit someones taste.

  • TeeFury, Ript Apparel and ShirtPunch are more geeky shirt sites. Each of these sites also sells a new shirt each day for $10. In general, Shirt Woot! has some really unique shirts, whereas the others tend to showcase mash-ups of popular TV, movies, video games, trends, etc. We got a shirt from TeeFury this year that is has a giant, green android stepping on a red apple (pictured right), which we plan on giving our son with his new android phone. :D
For the web-surfer in your life:
  • Chromebook: Perfect for surfing the net! I've gotten some great use out of my Chromebook (I'm typing on it now!). It is a great family device as each member can log in with their own google account and have their own customized experience. It boots up and is online within seconds. Updates are frequent and customer support is fantastic.

    At $199 per laptop, these are an affordable solution to a family fighting over the computer to surf the internet. This computer is the chrome browser and the browser alone. No need to worry about virus' or updates. Unlike tablets, this device sees the real internet and the keyboard makes it more of a production device then a consumption device. See my in-depth Chromebook Review for more information.
For just about everyone:

Decorate a Pringles container for
homemade cookies.
Food and treats are a welcome gift during the holidays. Present your coworkers, neighbors or family friends with cookies or this ultra cute hot chocolate in a jar gift. I've also given mulling spices as a gift before.
  • Cookies: Pinterest has some great ideas for wrapping up a cookie gift. Give cookies to several individuals or make a cookie package as a group or family present. Pictured left are cookies in decorated pringles tubes.

  • Hot chocolate in a jar: Place bagged cocoa mix in the middle of a clear jar with lid and fill the sides with peppermints and marshmallows. Finish with a simple bow and tag for a pretty and tasty gift. I think this looks so cute and yummy!
Hot Chocolate in a jar

  • In Case of Emergency...: Place a Hershey's bar in a frame with the words, "in case of emergency, break glass." This would be a perfect White Elephant gift! I think I'm actually going to use this at my office white elephant party this year.

  • For more crafting ideas, check out Pinterest and the Craft Pack's A Hip Handmade Holiday.
In case of emergency... break glass! I am planning on using this as a white elephant gift.

These are some great sites to keep an eye on. You never know what will popup on them!

  • Woot!: great deals for the techy, kitchen buff or children!  We picked up some badass toys for my stepson's step-brothers; $10 for 2 really awesome star wars toys, what a deal! I've also gotten a large indoor grill for half what you would find it for in a department store. I see inexpensive laptops and tablets on woot! all the time. They change-up daily, so you just have to keep your eye on it.

  • Groupon, Living Social, Google Offers: classes, haircuts, dining out, etc. These can make such awesome gifts. These also change-up every day, so just keep an eye out.

What are your plans for gifts this year? Share your great ideas in the comments!

Linking to:  A Pinteresting Party | Pin Me


  1. Great gift guide Bethany. Thanks for the pingback. For anyone who needs more information on eBooks, eReaders, or tablets, please check out E Ink / E Read. I have reviewed the above mentioned Kindle and Kobo products, plus the Nook HD+, iPad Mini and other devices.

  2. And you are posting some great black Friday deals! So definitely check out E Ink / E Read!

  3. What a great gift guide! You have some neat ideas. I'm your newest facebook fan. I wanted to thank you for stopping by Posed Perfection and leaving me a sweet comment about the Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies. I hope you will enjoy them as much as we did. I would love for you to visit again soon and maybe even follow me back. Have a wonderful week!

  4. Thank you! I have "liked" you back. I'll definitely visit again. :D

  5. Considering I have not even started shopping this is a great post.. Now to try and narrow it down so I don't buy everything :-)

  6. Haha! It's too bad we have to narrow it down. I'm glad you liked it. :D

  7. Oh! And thanks for the follow! Yay! :D

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