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boxes & books – an xmas wish list

making our lists, checking them twice…

it is literally never too early to start thinking about christmas. even the day after christmas. because you know why? sales.

but really, ’tis the time of the year when gift guides are popping up left right and center with lots of suggestions on what you should purchase for the people you love most in life. and people you just feel obligated to give a gift to because they always get you something and it’s so awkward to have to scrounge around in that one closet where you keep the stuff you don’t like so you can wrap it last minute and pretend like it’s a really thoughtful present in return.

if you aren’t busy scrolling through the horrors that exist in every facebook feed (i’m assuming yours looks like mine, which means lots of cat videos, pictures of food, and horrible stories about powerful men molesting more women and the misadventures of the free world’s most favourite troll), i wanted to put together a list of a few of my favourite things from this year that might soon become your favourite things, or the favourite things of the people you find kind of okay enough to keep around.

hydrating body oils

it’s definitely the season for dry, ashy skin, and no one likes that, even if you’re staying covered up most of the time. i discovered this rosehip oil at winners (that place is such a treasure trove of stuff, i love it) and i almost refuse to use anything else.

it doesn’t seem like that company, measurable difference, is making this particular oil anymore, which makes sense if i found it at winners for $10. but they have one i’d like to try (not for $20, though), made with honeysuckle.

i think these make excellent stocking stuffers (i know, i’m also terrible at the stocking stuffing part), or as part of a spa gift basket or something hoity-toity like that. or even if you just buy it for yourself. merry christmas to us all!

anova precision immersion cooker

if the person you love who loves to cook doesn’t have the anova precision immersion cooker, can you even really say that you love them?

seriously though, i bought this for the other half after he was going on and on about the sous vide method for months. we have a friend who has one, so we got to test out the results first hand before i bit the bullet and bought it for his birthday. he absolutely loves it, and has done just about every meat in our repertoire (which isn’t that many, but we do venture outside the box on the odd occasion).

i managed to snag it while it was on sale earlier this year, and they often have pretty good deals, but it’s definitely worth the price. small and compact, it’s easy to store, and super easy to use. set it, forget it. the website has tons of great ideas, but all you have to do is do a youtube search and you’ll find tutorials ranging from horrible to fantastic.

bonus … i know my other half isn’t going to read this so i can admit one of the presents i’m going to get him is this. it’s going to be great!

membership central

one of the biggest problems i have in gift giving is trying to ensure that i give people something that i think they’ll like, use, or cherish. i don’t like gifting just for the sake of gifting. that’s why i think memberships and subscription boxes make sooooo much sense.

boxes on boxes

for the kiddos, i still love this book box by bookroo, a subscription service we’ve used in the past. kids love getting stuff in the mail just as much as we do, and i feel like books bring a lot more joy for a much longer time than toys. bonus! the guys at bookroo are having a big black friday sale, which you can take advantage of!

use the code BFDYLAN for 25% off any multi-month subscription (3,6, or 12 months). (rules: one redemption per family. valid for new customers only. existing customers may use for the purchase of one gift subscription. valid 11/24 – midnight PST 11/27).

and anyone who knows me knows i can’t stop talking about the damn fab fit fun box. i really try not to spend too much money on myself throughout the year (unless you count starbucks but you shouldn’t because i don’t), it’s much more fun to shop for dylan. but i think this is one of the best “investments” i’ve made.

i get stuff i like, full sized, and decent quality. i also just love getting boxes of cool stuff in the mail (because i’m still a child). if you want to sign your favorite lady up for it (or yourself, who’s kidding), click this link. it’s a referral link, in the interests of transparency, you don’t get a discount, but i do get some money to use towards “add-ons”, basically pretty neat extras they have at a hugely discounted price (and available as part of the full membership).

it’s another great way to be introduced to brands you might not have ever had the opportunity to come across without it.


this is not new, it’s tried and true, but i don’t think anyone can go wrong with play-doh. i’m not one to be interested in spending a whole pile of money on some hyped up toy (have you heard about how pissed parents are at that lol ball thing? so glad we don’t watch tv and dylan can’t get sucked into the fervor).

dylan uses up so much of this stuff i should invest in the company. she is the kind of child who will open every little container and smash all the colours together almost immediately, which does nothing for my mild case of OCD. it’s almost like lego too, you find little balls of play-doh everywhere… but the kids love it, they use it, they want more. thank you, messy toy creating gods, for creating the perfect toy.

candle surprise

you can thank my sister-in-law for this next one, and anyone who loves candles, baths and being surprised should enjoy it. charmed aroma sells candles and bath bombs with surprises inside, usually jewellery, that can range in price anywhere from $10 to $3000 and more. i got the rose gold skull they had over halloween. it smells like cherry (loves it) and it had a beautiful stacking ring set worth $60. i think i made out like a bandit, and everyone had a lot of fun sitting around while we did the reveal. they also do weekly draws for people who share their reveals and pics on social media and tag accordingly.

gro clock

maybe no kid wants to get a clock for christmas, but this one is pretty neat. granted, we don’t use ours as religiously as i’d like (i don’t always remember to set it), but the gro clock is an interactive way to teach kiddos who like to get out of bed before they should be getting out of bed, not to get out of bed until a certain time. it comes with a neat little story and the clock face changes from yellow (day) to blue (night) when it’s time to sleep, there’s an alarm, and the colours swich back again when it’s time to get up.

a few of my friends had good things to say about this and i got it for dylan’s 3rd birthday. it also doubles as a great night light, shedding more light in her room than the actual night lamp that we use. go figure.


this last one is obvious, and i’ll probably suggest it every year, but one of the most important things you can give to anyone is your time. quality time, not just quantity. i spend a lot of time with dylan, but not enough of it is quality. i admit the tv is on longer than we’d like, mostly because i’m either working, cooking, cleaning, or trying not to fall asleep on the couch. dylan is a wonderful kid, i have to remind myself how lucky i am when she’s throwing one of her unnecessarily dramatic tantrums (what is my kid screaming about today?) that it could be a hell of a lot worse.

we love doing stuff together though, so we try to get her involved. she loves to help us in the kitchen, i think she’s still nervous to do, but my mom did order this cookbook for kids and she loves it and making the recipes, which are super easy. i had it when i was growing up and i wanted her to have it too.

she also loves to watch and help dad outside doing his chores. i know that won’t last forever so we get her to help where she can, and have given her tools that are just her size. gardening in the summer is a great favourite, she gets a huge kick out of growing vegetables with us, and it’s something i got to share with her and my parents (consumate champions of anything dylan does).

soon we’re going to get her involved in gymnastics, she’ll probably be a natural, just like her dad, who also wants to take classes alongside her. great bonding time!

last of all, we’re going to be spending some time leading up to christmas going through her toys and books and deciding what we’re going to give away to charity. i brought this up to her a little while ago, but somehow it’s been sticking in her mind lately, and she’s been telling us she wants to give her toys away to her friends or other people who don’t have toys. sweet, right? some of the motivation may be the more she gives away the more she gets in return (ha!) but whatever the reason behind this sudden change of heart, i have always wanted to instill a giving spirit in my kids, so we’re going to support it and go along with it while she’s gung-ho for it.

what about you, what’s your favorite gift to give at christmas? let me know, because i’m running out of ideas!


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