The Graceful Dwelling 2015 Holiday Gift Guide is here!  We have put together a selection of gifts for your family and friends.  The gifts vary in interest and price, and each category includes a DIY gift option.  Purchase these gifts or use them as inspiration!  The gifts in each photo are listed starting with the top left gift and continuing clockwise.  The list includes a brief description, why we like it, and where to purchase it.  Happy giving!

Gifts for the Art Lover

There are so many gift options for the Art Lover in your life from original Fine Art to coffee table books and framed post cards.  A few of our favorites are listed below.

  • Hunt Slonem Bunny Painting – Hunt Slonem is a renowned artist whose work has been featured in museums, shows, and even Hollywood films.  He paints many subjects from birds to the bayou, but his iconic Bunny paintings are our favorites.  You can find a selection of his Bunny paintings as well as many others at the Harmon-Meek Gallery and the Meek | Modern Gallery in Naples.  if you love the Bunnies but you are not ready to purchase original art, there are other Bunny options as listed below.
  • Hunt Slonem Bunnies Tie – the iconic Bunnies are wearable.  This white bunnies tie is available at the LSU Museum of Art Store and has been discontinued, so there are a limited number available.  Interested in scarves or other wearables?  You can find a good selection at Echo Design.  Hunt Slonem also has a selection of textiles available through Lee Jofa.
  • Artist Note Cards – These are a great gift for the art lover, who can enjoy a lot of different works by the same artist.  This also works as an excellent gift for a host or hostess.  Note cards are often available at museum stores, but can also be purchased online at The Met Store or MOMA.
  • Hunt Slonem Bunnies Book – The iconic Hunt Slonem Bunnies complete in a beautiful coffee table book.  Enjoy all the different bunny forms in the many different colors and textures that Hunt Slonem has painted over the years.  This book is lovely and entertaining.
  • DIY Framed Art – One great DIY gift for an art lover is to frame a favorite photo, postcard, or an original by you!  We find some great frames on sale at crafting stores or at Target.  Make sure you know the size of the art before purchasing the frame.  Add a pre-cut mat (or cut one yourself – tutorial on that some time in the future) to make it look even better.
  • Timothy J. Clark Art Book – When Timothy Clark paints a scene, he captures both the sense of place and the feeling of being there.  This Timothy J. Clark art book is a smaller coffee table book and will please nearly any art lover with its beautiful prints.
  • Richard Avedon’s Woman in the Mirror – Richard Avedon was an iconic fashion and portrait photographer whose work is beautiful and timeless.  He completed Woman in the Mirror, a collection of his photographs of women, during his last year of life.  The book itself and the prints are beautiful and will please the most discerning critics.
  • Stephen Scott Young’s Once Upon An Island – Stephen Scott Young is a master watercolor artist and Once Upon An Island contains his work during the time he spent in the Bahamas.  Beautifully illustrated, this book is is a worthy addition to any art book collection.  It is currently out of print and can be difficult to find used, but you may find an inexpensive copy with an eager online search.  Two of his other books, Stephen Scott Young: New Works and Stephen Scott Young make excellent gifts as well and are easier to obtain.

Gifts for the Do-It-Yourselfer

There are so many exciting gifts to give to the DIYer in your life – from books to power tools, these should get you started.

  • Bessey 6-inch Clamp – One rule of home improvement is this: you can never have too many clamps.  With their non-marring pads and large openings, these Bessey Clamps have become our favorites.  It’s best to have a few in multiple sizes, but the 6-inch clamps are the most versatile.  Home Depot often has them on sale in store during the holidays.
  • Dewalt 12-volt Drill – We own three drills and this Dewalt 12-Volt Drill, with its small size and powerful drive, is our go-to drill for most household projects. Does your DIYer need something more powerful? The Dewalt 20-Volt Drill has a little more oomph and the Dewalt 20-Volt Impact Driver is a the perfect took when you need an impact driver.
  • Dewalt Orbital Sander – Power sanders are serious time savers when it comes to wood working projects.  This Dewalt Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander is our favorite.  Another option is a Mouse Sander, which is great for detailed projects like furniture refinishing.
  • Dremel Tool – Dremel tools come in handy for many small projects.  This Dremel 4000 Tool Kit comes with many of the accessories you may need.  There are many options, so this is just a starting point.
  • Domino: The Book of Decorating – Domino was an inspirational renovation and decor magazine. It was out of print for a few years when they came out with Domino: The Book of Decorating. Now the magazine is back, but this book remains one of the best books on renovation and decor.
  • DIY Inspiration Kit – Every DIYer needs to catalog ideas and inspiration. Pull together this perfect kit for your favorite DIYer.  Start with a clear three-ring binder.  Add a pack of 8½ x 11-inch sheet protectors for magazine and catalog cutouts, printouts, and drawings.  Include a pack of graph paper and a notebook (the Moleskin 3-Pack is our favorite), a pencil and/or pen, and a straight-edge. Your DIYer will be clipping ideas and creating designs in no time.
  • Design*Sponge At Home – This book is not only filled with inspirational photos and projects, it is beautiful enough to keep on display.  Design*Sponge At Home is divided into three sections: photos of beautiful interiors, DIY projects, and how-to tutorials. While not as practical for home improvement as the Domino book, it may be just a little more fun.  Both books are necessary additions to the DIYer bookshelf.

Gifts for the Gourmet

Are you looking for gifts for a gourmet in your life?  These ideas should get you started. Looking for more ideas outside the box?  Drop on by Uncommon Goods for their unique foodie gifts.

  • ThermoWorks ThermoPop – If your favorite foodie does not have an instant thermometer, the ThermoPop is a necessity.  Thermoworks is arguably the best food thermometer manufacturer, and the ThermoPop is both attractive, fast, and inexpensive and reads higher temperatures than other pocket thermometers.  If you want the best of the best and have more to spend, go with the Thermapen
  • Victorinox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife – Coming in under $40, the Victorinox 8-inch Fibrox Chef’s Knife is one of the cheapest knives on the market, yet is rated as the best.  Over 3000 Amazon reviews agree that this is one 5-star knife.
  • DIY Recipe Box – Gather your favorite recipes and write them down on some recipe cards.  This is an easy DIY project with lots of heart. Your favorite foodie will love it and appreciate it for years to come.
  • Clif Family Kitchen Products – If you want a unique gift, look no further than to the Clif Family (of Clif Bar fame).  Their Clif Family Kitchen products are incredibly tasty.  Our favorites were the Dark Chocolate Toffee Pistachios and the Roasted Lemon Ginger Almonds.  They also have a wine club with many options to choose from.
  • T-Fal Non-stick Fry Pan – Rated as one of the best non-stick fry pans and coming in under $30, the T-Fal Professional Non-stick Fry Pan is a best buy for any gourmet and works on all cooktops.  Since non-stick pans need to be replaced over time, it helps that this pan is both one of the best and one of the cheapest.
  • The French Laundry Cookbook – While it might not have the most practical recipes, The French Laundry Cookbook is a gorgeous book with lovely photos and features the recipes of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Restaurant – one of the best restaurants in the world.  Buy it to look at the food or make the recipes or leave on your coffee table. It does triple duty.
  • PlentyPlenty by Yotam Ottolenghi features some truly amazing recipes with vegetables at the front and center.  With beautiful photos and manageable recipes, this is a great addition for any cookbook collection.  Many of the recipes in this book are vegetarian, but not necessarily vegan.

Gifts for the Family

If you are looking for family gifts, fun and games should give your family members hours of entertainment.   While all of these ideas are fun, I highly recommend the DIY Yard Dice. They are easy to make, they make a big impression, and they are more personal than anything you could buy in the store.

  • ClueClue is a classic whodunit board game and will provide your family with hours of fun.  The Vintage Wooden Game Collection Clue as shown in the photo is an excellent option that looks as good out on the shelf as a classic book, but it is a little more expensive.
  • BackgammonBackgammon is a great game to learn to play and is available in a travel version for fun on the road.
  • DIY Yard Dice – This is a fairly easy to make project that requires one 4x4 wood post, a little sandpaper, and a wood burning tool (but you can use a sharpie – I’ll never tell).  Print Yahtzee score cards online and add a canvas bag and you are all ready for some outdoor fun.  If you live up north, this may be carpet yard dice for the next few months.  Tutorial here!
  • Lava Lamp – Every kid loves a lava lamp. Every grown kid loves a lava lamp as well.  You can’t go wrong with this.
  • Bocce BallBocce Ball is a great activity to do with friends and family and is a great outdoor game to have on hand.
  • DominoesDominoes is an incredibly fun game to do with the family and it doubles as an activity for the younger ones.  They can set up long lines of dominoes and watch the mayhem, then you can gather the leftovers to play.  The handy case makes these easy to travel with.
  • Artist Model – For reasons unknown to adults, kids find Artist Models absolutely fascinating.  This one is inexpensive and can function as a toy or room decor (or as an actual artist’s model.  Imagine that).
  • Art 101 Set – This Art 101 Set gives the budding artist in the family all the tools needed to create masterpieces.  Pretty soon you’ll be framing the finished products for your favorite Art Lover.

Gifts for the Host & Hostess

With all the events throughout the holiday season, you will most likely be in need of a host or hostess gift.  While the classic candle or bottle of wine is always an option, consider something unique this year.

  • Hammerhead Cork Screw – It’s likely that every hostess will need a corkscrew at some point and this Hammerhead Corkscrew doubles as home decor. 
  • DIY Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – Do you have a lot of people to visit this year?  Purchase a large set of Mason Jars and make a large batch of powdered hot cocoa (many recipes can be found online).  Divide the mix among the mason jars and top with marshmallows.  Print the recipe and directions for making one cup on vellum and attach it to the lid.
  • Foxy Salt and Pepper Shakers – These incredibly cute Threshold Fox Salt and Pepper Shakers are sure to be a winner.  They even do triple duty as home decor or Christmas ornaments (tutorial to come).
  • Bottle Opener and Wine Topper – These owl versions are discontinued and hard to find, but this Perch Bottle Opener and Wine Topper are similar and made by the same company.  They are winsome and are sure to be loved.
  • Chickadee Glass Markers – I love these Chickadee Glass Markers because they are modern yet sweet and they fit on stemless glasses. Glassware with these cuties beat sharpie-labeled solo cups.
  • Scented Soap Petals – Soap is likely the third on the list of most expected hostess gifts, but these Scented Soap Petals add a twist with their lovely rose petal shape. You may also find them in store at World Market.
  • Slate CoastersSlate Coasters are both modern and rustic and will go with nearly any decor.  These make excellent gifts for the hostess who is swimming in candles (and they give her something to set them on). The set shown is no longer available, so you will need to purchase chalk separately.
  • The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert –  The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert is funny and shameless and is exactly what it says: a scratch and sniff book for adults.  When you purchase this, consider getting one for your host and one for you.  You will not regret it.

Stocking Stuffers

We have a three or four gift max at our house, but we allow for unlimited stocking stuffers, which is fun and challenging.  These ideas should get you going, but If you are in a pinch, you cannot go wrong with the dollar section at Target or the fabulous food section at World Market.

  • Headlamp – Headlamps are useful and fun and we have found it best to have them stashed everywhere – in the car, your purse, your luggage, the laundry room, etc.  This Black Diamond Headlamp and Petzl Headlamp are our two favorites.
  • Mini Lantern – This Black Diamond Orbit Lantern is small enough to easily fit in a stocking, yet powerful enough to light up a large tent or a small room.  It is practical and fun.  And bright.  Be Merry. Be Bright.
  • Mini Maple Syrup – Purchase this tiny bottle of maple syrup for your favorite syrup lover.  Purchased from World Market.
  • DIY Coconut Oil and Sugar Scrub – This is a great option for the older crowd, although you can make coconut oil lip gloss for the little ones as well.  Purchase smaller mason jars and fill with a homemade coconut oil and sugar mixture (you can find recipes online).  We used almond flavoring to give it a classic holiday scent.
  • Mini LED Flashlight – These are the cheapest ($4), smallest, brightest LED Flashlights we have ever seen and we absolutely love them. You can never have too many flashlights and these go over surprisingly well.
  • Pass the PigsPass the Pigs is an excellent game that can keep older children entertained while parents sleep in.  This version is small enough to fit in a stocking or take when traveling.
  • Classic Card Puzzles – These are card decks with mind bending puzzles inside.  They fit easily into a stocking and are a great gift for older kids and teens (or your favorite adults).  Found at Home Goods.  
  • Dice – Dice are a great gift.  Print out a set of Yahtzee score cards online and you have a travel friendly game that teaches children math skills.  This Dice Set features a wooden dice case which is helpful for storage and travel.
  • Playing Cards – We have an unreasonable collection of card decks after years of going camping and forgetting our cards.  One thing led to another and now we get each other a deck of cards nearly every year as a joke.  A deck of cards is quite possibly the most versatile gift you can give. It can be used for games by yourself, games with someone else, and games with large groups. You can teach yourself magic tricks or you can build structures.  Playing cards can be purchased nearly everywhere, but we found these at Home Goods.
  • Mini Bottles of Hot Sauce – Do you have a family hot sauce fanatic?  These mini bottles of hot sauce make an excellent gift.  If your hot sauce fanatic is more of a sriracha sauce fanatic, you can also purchase a refillable Sriracha Keychain containers that fit perfectly in stockings.  Both can be purchased at World Market.

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