Holiday Gift Guide & $175 Giveaway!

So I know, tis the season. Welcome to the beginning of the bombardment of all the gifts you should be buying for everyone and their sister. Right? Well, I’m jumping on the bandwagon… but I’m going to try to do things a little differently.

Today, I’m going to be sharing gifts that I’ve given before, or if I haven’t given them, have wanted to. You see, I am not a gift traditionalist. As I’ve gotten older, what I’ve realized is that traditional gifts tend to suck. Gift cards to Best Buy, towel sets, random appliances… boringggg. I’m more a fan of giving an experience. I try to think about something that person really wants, but can’t afford to do, or doesn’t feel is worth the “splurge” and do my best to either give it to them (if it’s not cost prohibitive) or help them do it (gift card with as much as I can afford.) So today, I am sharing my top-secret gift ideas with you. Guess they’re not so secret anymore! ;)

Holiday Gift Guide: The Gift of an Experience / hellorigby!

Holiday Gift Guide: The Gift of an Experience

Most of this list can be applied to nearly everyone, but I’ve split it into categories based on what I’ve bought for people in the past. No worries if you have a mom that loves golf and a dad that love spa days, just swap ’em!

For the Dudes:

A round of golf at a new course: Golf is expensive. Pay for a round, or give a gift card to put towards a round of golf at a new course they’ve been wanting to check out.
Concert or Sports Tickets: I think this is self-explanatory, but splurge on a ticket (or pair so you can go too!) for a concert or game that the dude (or chick!) in your life has been dying to go to.
Music Boxed Set: While this may sound boring, there’s something about giving a unique music collection. The best gift I’ve ever given my dad was The Beatles Mono Boxed Set. He listened to it over and over for weeks.
Dinner & a movie: We do this for my dad every year for his birthday. He’s so hard to buy for, so we just take him to The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle and I pay for all of us. It’s pricey, but worth it.
Once in a lifetime experience: Have they always wanted to do something? Now’s the chance to make it happen! Maybe it’s driving a race car, parachuting, riding in a Hot Air Balloon, or bungee jumping? Whatever it is, now they’ll have no excuse!
Beer (Rootbeer or Cider) Making Kit: For those dudes who appreciate handcrafting things, or have always wanted to make brewski of their own.

For a Significant Other:

A new wallet (or purse) full of things to do: The first year Dave and I were together, I gave him a new wallet (his poor wallet had seen better days) and filled it with gift cards of things we could do together, and of things he’d like to do on his own. Some examples of what I put inside were a gift card for the Nintendo shop (we had just got a Wii U), gift card to see a movie at iPic, and gift card for a round of golf.
Plan a Trip: Pick a destination and get to planning! I always keep the destination a secret for as long as possible and do all the research and itinerary planning myself. I put together an itinerary, and give it to the recipient when we embark on our journey. We’ve done local trips (like to Lummi Island) and we’ve gone out-of-state.

For the Ladies:

Spa Gift Certificate: Sounds a little boring, but my mom never splurges on herself. I purchased a certificate to cover both of our services, since she likes hanging out with me.
Sentimental Gifts: Custom Pet Portraits and custom handwritten jewelry are all things I’ve given or considered giving.
Charitable Donation: This really would fit on any of these lists, but I think making a gift in someone’s name is a very honorable gift. This is especially perfect for those who have everything and needs nothing.
Flower Delivery: Flowers delivered around the holidays are always a nice gesture. You could also deliver fruit or treats from Harry & David’s as well! No one would say no to flowers or chocolate, right?
Family Scrapbook: True story: When I was younger for about a year, I researched my grandma’s unknown family history, dug up photos, and tried to find her birth certificate. I put all of my findings in a scrapbook and gave it to her for Christmas. Cue the waterworks – this was a good one.

For someone you don’t know so well:

Audible Subscription: Sure, this is technically a “gift card” but if you know someone who loves books they will use and appreciate this.
Something handmade: Now that I’m older, I really appreciate handmade gifts. Try a scarf, bath and body products, or even sweets. Who doesn’t like sweets?
DIY Tea or Coffee Set: Etsy has some amazing sets. This chai set would be an awesome gift, or what about a set of 3 fresh roasted coffees?
Subscription Box: Treatsie is my favorite food/sweets box, it would be great for anyone with a sweet tooth. There’s also Love With Food, Naturebox, or Graze. For the ladies, Rocksbox is my favorite jewelry service, and there’s always the tried and true Ipsy or Birchbox. For men, you’ve got Birchbox, Bespoke Post, or Freshneck.
Activity Sets or Board Games: Okay, so maybe it’s because this is on my personal wish list… but I love Spirograph! It’s totally retro, but super fun and would make a great gift for a designer or artist. Or what about a fun board game? We love Cards Against Humanity, Bananagrams, Settlers of Catan, and Dominon. (Though be warned, Cards Against Humanity is not something you should gift to your grandma or anyone easily offended!)

…And on that note, With Black Friday coming up, I thought it would be fun to bring you a giveaway to send you on a mini shopping spree or to put towards the gifts on your list. When Cat of Oddly Lovely came to me with the idea of a group giveaway, I thought why not! They helped me pool together more money then I could afford on my own, and these fellow bloggers are some of the best of the best! We’re excited to be bringing you the opportunity to win $175 Paypal cash for you to spend as you please, and I highly recommend checking out these gals while you’re at it.

$175 Paypal Cash Black Friday Giveaway hosted by Jenn at hellorigby!

Cat of Oddly Lovely / Jessica of Team Wiking / Jenn of hellorigby!
Sarah of SarahChristineStyle / Annie of MontgomeryFest / Jess of Jess Loves This Life
Jessica of The Pyreflies / Kerri of Crumbs In The Bed / Becca of Becoming Adorrable
Giveaway ends November 24, 2014 at 11:59pm EST. Open internationally to anyone with a valid Paypal address!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

628 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide & $175 Giveaway!

  1. Cynthia

    Yes, I would totally agree! Getting an experience is so much more fun and is a really thoughtful thing. Normally when I am gifted cash, I save it away but by giving an experience you must really take some time out and enjoy whatever that is. For much to practical people like myself, it’s perfect!
    That being said, if I won the prize I would save it… probably for shopping or going out to eat the next time I am in the US :)

  2. Hannah

    This is such a great giveaway! I’d definitely use it for getting extra special xmas present for everyone and to spend on lovely christmas food to share! :) x

  3. Julie

    I LOVE all of your ideas!! Seriously, why have I never thought about buying my hubby a new wallet and filling it with cool stuff. It’s a fun way to give something “boring”. haha! I would love to plan an adventure for us one day too! That would be amazing

  4. Jamie G

    I love these ideas!! My honey and decided on doing a fun swanky ski trip this year in lieu of gifts- we’ll upgrade ourselves so it’s romantic and special- and I would def use the gift card towards that! haha

  5. Nancy

    I love seeing gift guides around this time of year because it gives me a different perspective as to what to get friends and my husband for Christmas. Plus, $175 wouldn’t go a stray either :)

  6. Becky

    I have so many ideas! Class for my granddaughter, food for my kids, Christmas gifts, massage for me! Thank you for the opportunity to do a little dreaming! :)

  7. Michelle Webber

    I am 110% on board with giving gifts of experience! Being a travel junkie, gifts to my husband usually revolve around that. Maybe it’s a little selfish, since I usually go on the trip with him?

  8. Kate

    LOVE all your ideas–such a great list and super helpful as I start to think about some of the people on our list. If I won the giveaway, the money would definitely go towards Christmas gifts!

  9. Jennifer Hiles

    I desperately need a nice pair of boots and some pants for work! That’s what I would spend some of the money on.

  10. Patricia Walker

    oh my…there are so many things on my wish list right now lol. I think I would use it to buy some new clothes or the lusted after accessories I wouldn’t ordinarily buy

  11. Sarah C.

    Great giveaway . I would use the money for my eldest son who lives abroad Just to ship him a Christmas package is $60+ before anything goes in the box and this would help.

  12. Cynthia Sizemore

    Every year I randomly choose a few names out of the phone book and send them Christmas cards,having extra money I would send small gifts along with the cards.

  13. lesley

    i would make one or two student loan payments, and then get some new clothes for work as i haven’t bought any in several years

  14. Angela A Simmons

    My husband and I have a baby on the way so I would buy her a couple of things we also have two teenagers so I would buy them something for Christmas. Thanks for the opportunity ;)

  15. Cassie Korando

    I would use to it to purchase Christmas presents for my husband and family! If I don’t use it all, I’ll put the remainder toward my student loan and credit card debt.

  16. Dorothy Boucher

    If I was actually lucky enough to win, I have 8 grandchildren to buy for Christmas and hubby and I are both out of work at the moment.. So this would definitely help in shopping for gifts for them, I have one that wants a tablet, one that wants laptop for school, one wants a vtech and so on clothing…art supplies

  17. Amanda C.

    I would use it to buy something nice for my mother-in-law. She always overdoes it at Christmas and we never have anything really nice to give her. I think she deserves a nice Christmas this year.

  18. Debra S

    Christmas is coming! I sure would love to buy a few things I know the grandkids are wanting. One of the funny things is one of the boys wants an easy bake oven! He says Hey men are chefs, I want to make my own cookies! Smart boy.

  19. Mishelle

    I’d love to spend the cash on my sister – she needs a kindle… she reads like I do and often borrows mine when she travels. The rest would be spent on a tablet for my Mom so she can skype her family.


  20. Susan Broughton

    If I won I would put the money toward purchasing Christmas gifts for my family this year. It would help the family out tremdously!

  21. Debra Holloway

    I would give my grandson an awesome Christmas. There are a couple of toys he would love but they are just to costly for my budget. So, Maw Maw is trying a different approach to getting them.

  22. lauriel

    Love the gift of experience and DIY ideas! I’ve definitely gone in that direction before for my husband (flight lessons) and relatives (performance tickets). Life is meant to be experienced. :) And when I can, I love getting my arms dirty with DIY things… either something jewelry-related or food-related…


    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Lauriel! I’ve definitely gone the DIY route before too. The only thing that is a bummer is that it almost always takes a ton of time and/or costs way more than you expect! I always love receiving DIY gifts though! :)

  23. Jerry Cartwright

    I’d use it to buy my wife a new recliner. Hers has gotten ratty and she hates it now. She’s ashamed of how it looks. I kinda agree with her. LOL

  24. peggy fedison

    ive wanted a pandora charm bracelet for years and no one will buy it for me so id buy that for myself and then buy stuff for my apartment :) ty for opportunity

  25. Jennifer G

    I would use the money to pay bills. I quit my job during the summer to homeschool my children this year so the money would be such a blessing to us. Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Douglas

    If I won, I would spend most of the cash on some things for a charity event I’m doing this month via the game RuneScape – specifically, I would buy and donate a bunch of game bonds towards. I’d maybe keep about $50 for myself and put it towards my savings. :)

  27. gloria patterson

    If I had to spend it on one item it would be somekind of hair remover. But if it was for a lot of different things I would get several things for my home.

  28. Wanda

    I would give it to my youngest daughter to buy Christmas gifts for her children as both her and her husband are out of work, so can’t afford much.

  29. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    OK Jenn, this is one of the best gift guides I’ve ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing it. I love the wallet idea…might be using that for my boyfriend in the very near future! (;
    I’d put the money straight into my bank account to refund the gifts that I’ve already gotten for people, since my Christmas shopping is nearly done already this season! Woo!


  30. Jessie Opilo

    I would spend some of it on groceries and medicine, but I’d put the rest towards a ‘staycation’ close to home to discover some of the awesome local places we haven’t checked out yet :).

  31. Hannah Avery

    I Would probably use it for Christmas presents! I want to get pots and pans or dishes and play food for my little daughter.

  32. Annabel

    Seeing how I’ve alreay done my Christmas shopping for this year, I’d probably spend the money on books for myself :)
    Thanks for the chance!

  33. heidi eaton

    I would use it to pay off my existing PayPal account and then I would get me a new griddle. I’ve been wanting one for a couple of yrs. now but everyone else always comes first. That’s usually what happens when your a mom.

  34. Toni Porter

    There is probably a long list of things I’d like to spend it on, but paying bills would likely take up a portion of it. However, I’d love to take my mom to see the third part of The Hobbit (we’re both fantasy geeks), and then take her out to dinner.

  35. Sandy

    Jenn, fantastic giveaway! So many gifts, so little time even if I start now!! First on the list is a new sweater for our little 6 lb. rescue dog .. Lost a leg due to negligence from previous owner

  36. Heather Kelly

    I would use it to by a family of 5 Christmas presents that their children won’t have unless I purchase them. This would be a huge help in making Christmas happen for an 8 year old little boy, 5 year old little girl and 1 year old little boy. Thanks for the chance.

  37. Vishruti

    I would buy my husband a set of telescope – I know he has been eyeing one since a long long time and not purchasing it because he thinks that star gazing is just a hobby and a waste of money

    So if I win this money – I am surely going to buy him a good quality telescope

    My return gift would be the surprise and glint in his eyes when he opens his present :)

  38. Erin Stratakis

    $175 would allow me to get the students I work with awesome Christmas gifts! I volunteer at a Title 1 school working on remedial math skills with first graders who love and need the attention! Their Christmas Goodie bags would be so much better!!!

  39. Laaaura

    My girlfriend said she wants ALL THE HOME-BAKED GOODS for Xmas this year, but I’d get her a Birchbox subscription as well if I won this. She deserves a treat. :)

  40. Stacy

    One of the etsy shops you featured (apropos roasters) was where I was planning on buying not only some coffee stocking stuffers, but hot chocolate (for the kids) and roasted almonds, so I would definitely be shopping there. I would probably spend it all at various etsy shops because that is where I have been doing 90% of my holiday shopping.

  41. courtney hennagir

    I have no idea! I would love to spoil my hubby a bit though,probably with some gamer geek stuff.He is pretty rad and deserves it!

  42. Sarah Grace

    I wouldn’t spend it in the typical “holiday” fashion. I would save it to use for upcoming medical travel and medical incidentals that have creeped up big time since I had surgery at the beginning of October.

  43. Tina Hairston

    If I won, I would buy my dog a new bed for Christmas. She’s arthritic and really needs something between her and the floor that cushions her body properly. I finally had to throw away her other one because it gave her no support for her joints. If there’s any money left over, I’d buy myself some kind of e-reader. I’m tired of being chained to my laptop :)

  44. Michelle S

    I would use the cash for pet supplies on Black Friday. We foster… a lot, so buying litter on Black Friday (in bulk) really helps out.

    Oh, and there wasn’t a place for my Pinterest name. It’s Chellsyvonne.

    Thank you!

  45. Angela

    I really like the wallet idea too :) My hubby always wants practical gifts, and I think that would be considered one! I like to plan trips for us to, and I’m currently planning our 9 year wedding anniversary at the end of December, so that is what I would put the money towards. Thanks so much :)

  46. Nikolina

    With the money I would maybe have a Christmas in my home this year – with all the food, presents, real tree and other stuff I cannot afford for the last few years…

  47. Nichole Smith

    I would use it towards new bedding and Christmas gifts if I won.
    BlogLovin username nikismithwin
    Instagram username nikismithwin
    Pinterest username nikismithwin
    You Tube username nikimiller1

  48. Vivian

    I would spend it on my holiday shopping for friends and family! I feel like this month has flown by and I know I need to start getting those gifts!

  49. Kristina S.

    I would use the money to get Christmas presents! I love this time of year, but it can really impact my bank account.

  50. Betsy Barnes

    If I won, I would use it on new clothes for my hubby and son. They need some work clothes so bad and never seem to go shopping for themselves. :)

  51. Bonnie C.

    I’m pretty sure I would use this on Christmas gifts, or to go towards a wheelchair ramp for our van. :-)

    Thanks so much for having this giveaway!

  52. rene chartier

    I am an advance practice nurse working in a critical care pediatric unit. I would use the money to buy items for our children in the unit who are faced with catastrophic and terminal illness. Many of their family’s are unable to afford gifts This would in the spirit of the season instill peace, love and hope during a difficult time for these children. Rene Chartier


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *