Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gabby - A Story of Courage and Hope - Book Review

Those who come to know Gabrielle Giffords are said to become Gabbified. It certainly happened to me and I would be very surprised if you did not experience being taken in by the immensity of her spirit as revealed in Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

Giffords, a United States Congresswoman at the time, was the victim of an assassination attempt, and deadly mass shooting, on January 8, 2011. Shot in the head at point-blank range, her chances of surviving were less than one percent. The bullet that traveled through the left hemisphere of her brain should have killed her. Yet, despite the astronomical odds against it, Giffords survived.

This is the true story of an astonishing woman who is the epitome of extreme service, deep humanity, and extraordinary fortitude. Way beyond survival, Gabrielle Giffords, through sheer grit and an unmatched work ethic, demonstrates what it means to live out your life's calling with undying passion, radical optimism, and the kind of genuine care for others that transcends political divisions.

Despite years of a grueling rehabilitation regimen that would likely defeat the toughest among us, Gabrielle has never quit when it comes to taking on the most challenging issues of our times. Her nonprofit Giffords organization has stepped up to address the ongoing rampage of gun violence in our nation. 

I picked up this book, and Giffords' new documentary (Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down), because I have been feeling deeply shaken (horrified) by the escalating anger and violence that is destroying lives and ripping apart the fabric of our world.  I knew that I would draw strength, and a new commitment to doing something of substance, by opening myself up to Gabbification.  

As I have reflected on the impact Gabrielle Giffords has had on her constituents, her community, her family, and on everyone who has crossed her path, the thought crossed my mind that I want to be like Gabby Giffords when I grow up.  Then, I realized that she would mostly likely want me to be the very epitome of me.  I can't be Gabby, but by following her example, I can use my own inner power and determination to proactively be a force for good in my corner of the world.








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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What is Jolabokaflod? Christmas Eve Traditions to Try! Holiday Gift Ideas

 So you might be wondering what a Jolabokaflod is and why it's important!  Well in the interests of learning something new every day, this is one word and idea that really resonates with me and my family.

Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition.  Every one in the family gets a "book" gift on Christmas Eve and the rest of the evening is spent reading and drinking  hot chocolate and eating some of those wonderful Christmas cookies that seem to magically appear at this time of year.




Our family is blessed in so many ways!   All our children are grown and have children of their own. Our children and grandchildren don't really need more "stuff".   Each family member has a roof over their heads and food on the table.  Clothes in the closets and shoes/boots for whatever weather conditions may be outside.  So what more do we need?

The simple answer is NOTHING!  

The most important things to us (my husband and myself) is BEING with each other and sharing time together.  Yet at Christmastime, we also like to do something special for our family.

So this year we have made the decision to do what they do in Iceland.  Instead of gifts for the adults we will focus on purchasing a book that we have loved and share it with another member of  the family.  

The grandchildren will still receive traditional Christmas gifts, but a book might find it's way into that idea too! We love reading and love promoting reading skills to our grandchildren as well. 

If you are looking for a great list of books to peruse, you don't have to go too far!  Review This Reviews has an amazing list of books that have been reviewed by the writers of this site!  There is everything from Puzzle Books and Riddles, to Murder/Mysteries, Biographies, Cozy Romances and so much more!  

Some books are from new authors and some are from well known authors who have been writing for years.

There is something for everyone at ReviewThisReviews.com!  Click on the link and then follow the tabs across the top!  The first one you come to is BOOK REVIEWS.  How much easier can gift finding get?


We (my other half and I) will be using this link to find the gifts for our own first of a kind, Jolabokaflod that we will celebrate this year!  

Now I have to add an addendum:  This idea is not for every one and if you are interested there are a host of "OTHER" reviews that might help you find that perfect gift if you are celebrating in a more traditional way.

May Your Christmas be everything that you hold dear to your hearts and may you enjoy each other's company making great memories as you go along!  Blessings to all!






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A Review of Creepypasta - What Is It?

 


What is Creepypasta?

The first thing that comes to mind is some type of scary noodles!  Maybe a Halloween dish?  Nope, Creepypasta has nothing to do with food, creepy or otherwise.   The meaning of Creepypasta has changed over time.  In the beginning it meant a short horror story, whose author was unknown, that was shared on forums, storyboards and other internet sites.  Now what, you may ask, does pasta have to do with stories?  I thought the same thing.  It seems that Creepypasta is kind of a rip off of the term Copypasta which has been around since 2006 and means a block of text that is shared in many places around the internet.  

Anyway, Creepypasta now refers to most any type of horror story that one can find to read or listen to on the internet.  Creepypasta stories are basically fiction, but are usually written in a manner that makes the reader think that it really happened, or at least that it COULD happen.  This is what makes them so creepy!  Authors are now fully credited and some have become quite well known, going on to become published writers and even writing screenplays for movies.

What are Creepypasta Stories About?  

Creepypasta stories are usually centered around some type of scary being, such as:

Cryptid - Any creature that may or may not exist. Sightings  have been reported, but their reality is unproven.  Includes: bigfoot, dogman, werewolves, mothman, sea monsters, etc.

Alien - Any creature that is not from our planet or dimension.

Undead - Physical creatures that were once alive but have died and then came back in a physical body.  Includes:  vampires, zombies, ghouls, mummies, etc.

Ghosts- An entity that was once alive, but has died and come back to the world of the living without a physical body.

Demons - A malevolent supernatural entity, mostly considered to be fallen angels that serve the Devil.

There are stories about other things that are also considered to be Creepypasta, but these are the top five that I have seen the most.  

How I Found Out About Creepypasta

I was looking through YouTube one day, searching for something interesting when I ran across a video called "I Am A Monster Created By The Government."



I had to laugh, but I was also intrigued.  What kind of video could this be?  I hit play and was immediately immersed in an interesting creepy story.  This was a compilation of a group of stories about the same characters, which is good because it saved me the trouble of looking for all of them in YouTube.  There was nothing on the video screen to watch, it was more like an audio book that you listen to.  This was even better for me, as it gave me something interesting to listen to while I was crafting or cleaning.  After I finished with that video, I went in search of other stories to listen to and that is when I was introduced to the world of Creepypasta. I've  been listening ever since!  There are literally dozens of authors that write these stories and 
I have listened to many narrators (that is what they call the people reading the stories in the videos) but there are three that I like the best:

Donovan Dread - https://www.youtube.com/@DonovanDread/  

Mr. Creeps - https://www.youtube.com/c/MrCreeps/

Magnetar - https://www.youtube.com/@MagnetarYT

If you don't like to listen to stories, and you prefer to read them yourself, there are also websites with archives of Creepypasta stories.  My two favorites are:

Don't Turn Around - https://www.dontturnaround.com/

Creepypasta - http://www.creepypasta.com

If you are not into monsters, there are other types of video stories that you can listen to on YouTube like True Crime Stories, Mysteries, Bedtime Stories, Time Travel Stories and many others.  Just type "narrated stories"  in the search bar of YouTube.  There is something there for everyone!  I love listening to stories and I am so glad that I found a new place to find them.

If you prefer your reading material in physical book form, you can buy Creepypasta books on Amazon. Not only do they have regular books, but also Creepypasta coloring books and even Creepypasta role playing games.  There are so many ways to have scary Creepypasta fun!

Click Here to Search for Creepypasta on Amazon





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Monday, November 28, 2022

Great American Family Channel Christmas Movies Reviewed

 If you are a Hallmark Christmas movie fan than the shake up at Hallmark in the last year has been on your Christmas movie radar. Enter the Great American Family Channel who entered the Christmas movie arena last year and the channel is continuing to offer more original Christmas movies in 2022. 

A few of Hallmark A list actors and A list Christmas actors have moved to the Great American Family Channel (GAF) exclusively. Hallmark, Lifetime and now GAF all produce Christmas movies and while a few actors are exclusive to a certain channel there are many that float between the channels.



Whose On Christmas First?

GAF was originally the Great American Country channel. In 2021 the former CEO of Hallmark helped launch what many call a Hallmark copycat channel which is  the Great American Family channel. Whew! 

This is good news for Hallmark Christmas movie fans as there are now three avenues for Christmas programming with Hallmark, Lifetime, GAF. There will be no problem finding Christmas movies October through November with the the slight snag - where is GAF? My cable service does not carry GAF now (why it carried the old country channel, but not the new Hallmark copycat?)

Where To Find The Great American Family Channel?

Good question and depending upon your cable set up, streaming set up or device the struggle can be real to find this channel! The channel is not offered by my cable company in a very large urban market, but I did find the Christmas movies and 2022 movies offered under the free section of Amazon Prime. 

The above also took a little detective work to find, but if you have Amazon Prime, follow the search filters and the movies available will appear.

  1. . In Amazon, navigate to search the "Movies & TV" section.
  2.  Search, "Great American Family Channel Movies.
  3. On the left hand filter bar, check Prime Video box.

I originally tried searching Great American Family Channel Christmas movies, but that returned a virtual kitchen sink of movies and was too broad. GAF is only in year two of original Christmas movies so for now, movies can also be found by using 2021 as a filter.

Streaming Options

GAF is available to stream on  Frndly TV, Fubo TV, Philo, Hulu and Sling TV.  The Christmas movie line up on GAF begins in late October. The Christmas movie schedule can be found here. You will probably recognize a few Hallmark stars in the mix for 2022. 

Each of the below movies has two actors you will definitely recognize from the Hallmark channel.

October 29 - Catering Christmas - Merritt Patterson & Daniel Lissing

November 25 - Christmas At The Drive In - Danica McKellar & Neil Bledsoe

December 4 - B & B Merry - Jen Lilley & Jesse Hutch

Christmas movie fans will have more options than ever this year!

Hallmark Christmas Movie Reviews

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2022 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2021 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

You, Me & The Christmas Trees by The Savvy Age

A New Year's Resolution by Cynthia 

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2020 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

Finding Father Christmas by Cynthia

Christmas Tree Lane by The Savvy Age

Broadcasting Christmas by Cynthia

Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies by The Savvy Age

Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle Hallmark Movie Review by Cynthia





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Christmas Activity Book for Teens and Adults

A Christmas Activity Book for Teens and Adults

Since 2019 I've been on a self-publishing journey.

It started with clearing a bucket-list item; publishing my fifty-year collection of poems.

Since then, I've published numerous activity books, riddle books, and journals. My website StumpedRiddles.com features every book, as well as fun activities to solve.

You can find my books on Amazon.

My publishing journey to date includes the following:
  • Riddle books
  • Sudoku books
  • Wordsearch books
  • Word Scramble Books
  • Journals
  • and more to come!

My Newest Book is "Christmas Word Scramble for Teens and Adults"

Why did I create a word scramble book?

The main reason for making this book was to encourage mind exercise. In fact, all of my activity books are created with this in mind.

The scrambles included can be challenging, although brainiac kids could solve them!

I'm huge on large print puzzles and only feature one per page.

Although this book has ten topic-driven words per page, the book measures 8.5 by 11 inches, so the print is large and easy to read.

Christmas Word Scramble for Teens and Adults

Word Scrambles on StumpedRiddles

Stumpedriddles originally featured personally written riddles. There are over one thousand original riddles when combined with the website and books. 

I've recently expanded the website to include onsite word scrambles and word searches. Visitors can solve these activities directly on the website. It's a work in progress, as more scrambles are being added weekly. 

Also, the word searches can be printed out as well, for free.

Visitors can subscribe for a free downloadable copy of  Self-Care Word Scrambles. It's a short full-color book that features 50 words related to self-care.




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Saturday, November 26, 2022

What the Fireflies Knew – Book Review

 by Kai Harris



My usual reading genre is mystery/suspense books. But I recently came across this 'coming-of-age' story that I found totally compelling. 


What the Fireflies Knew is well worth reading. It is an ode to Black girlhood.


Synopsis


The story is told by almost-eleven-year-old Kenyata Bernice (KB).  In the wake of her father's death from an overdose and the loss of their Detroit home due to the debts incurred by his addiction, her mother takes KB and her 14-year-old sister, Nia, to the home of their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan. Then the mother disappears without a word of explanation.


Grandfather is grumpy and silent. With her father dead, her mother gone, and her sister, once her best friend, now ignoring her and acting like a stranger, KB is lonely, sad, resentful and feeling abandoned. The white kids across the street at first act friendly; and then not. It seems as though everyone is keeping secrets.


KB finds herself forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. As the summer weeks go by, she finds the almost country setting of her grandfather's street quiet and peaceful compared to the nearly constant noise and strife of her old Detroit neighborhood. She enjoys sitting in the old tree in the backyard, reading her beloved books and listening to the quiet. 


One evening while grandfather, KB and Nia are sitting on the back porch reading, granddaddy suddenly whispers “Look”. When KB asks “What is it” Granddaddy says “Fireflies – I ain't never seen so many all at once.”


KB runs and runs, trying to catch them, but the light goes out and it disappears, and then appears somewhere else. She wonders what the trick is to catch one and learn the secret of their light. Granddaddy comes and tells her to slow down and teaches her how to catch a firefly.  


“Sometimes, when you wanna speed up, you gotta slow down first.”


Eventually, granddaddy and KB begin to talk and learn about each other. Nia is still ignoring her most of the time, busy with a Detroit friend who is visiting an Aunt in Lansing this summer and with an interest in teenage things and boys beyond KB's understanding. KB also learns that 'momma' is in a treatment center for acute depression. 


Summary


This is a very moving novel about family, identity, and race. What the Fireflies Knew teaches KB a valuable lesson of 'growing up'  - the realization that loved ones can be flawed and that the perfect family we all dream about looks different close up. 


I highly recommend this dazzling and fascinating first novel by a gifted storyteller (author Kai Harris). It is a well crafted tale of life, loss and survival told through the voice of an unforgettable 10-year-old narrator. 



*This coming-of-age novel is available on Amazon


*What the Fireflies Knew book review by Wednesday Elf.













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Friday, November 25, 2022

LEGO Creator Winter Toy Shop Reviewed

Lego Toy Shop
The Lego Creator Winter Toy Shop is part of our annual Christmas decor!

When Treasures By Brenda recently reviewed The Best Lego Gift Ideas, I realized that I had never reviewed the Lego Winter Toy Shop set and explained how we use it every year during the holidays.

The snowy scene is the perfect winter design and there is nothing better than a toy shop at Christmastime.  Our whole family loves this Lego set. 

Our son built the #10249 set in 2019 and that was the first year we used it as our dining room table centerpiece for the holidays. It was such a hit with everyone, that I continue to display it in the center of our table for the holidays.

Our children are adults, but when our daughter was recently in town, they were both "playing" with the Lego figures in the set, discussing the Lego toys around the tree, and laughing at the poor skier that just can't seem to keep his balance sitting on my green table runner.  

I personally love the carolers that are reminiscent of holiday Dickens Village Carolers. 

We also add the 2019 Winter Gingerbread House (#40337) to our centerpiece display. I have a wide family table that needs a wider centerpiece. Plus, I like having more of the gingerbread house motif included.  We selected the 2019 house to serve as a date "cornerstone" for the building year.

Lego Toy Shop
Our Dining Room Table Holiday Centerpiece

 

Lego Creator Winter Toy Shop Set #10199 or #10249

This toy shop Lego set is fabulous and makes an excellent holiday decoration.  As stated above, we use it as our dining room centerpiece, but it would be lovely on any table top in any room.

There are at least 2 Lego Winter Toy Shop kits to consider.  My son built the newer version (10249) for our dining room table.  The older version (10199) has less pieces, but different toys. Plus, the building details are slightly different, notably the wreaths.  

 LEGO Creator Winter Toy Shop 10199Check Price

The Lego Set 10199 Includes:
  • The Winter Top Shop Building with light-up tower window
  • Christmas Tree
  • Bench & Lamp Post
  • Decorative Landscape Trees
  • Minifigures included:  2 Carolers & 5 more town people, snowman, cat, toy train, jack-in-the-box, stuffed animal, robot and toy car
  • 815 pieces 

 

The Lego Set 10249 below (the set my son built) has 898 pieces with similar pieces as above, but also includes:

  • Updated Designs 
  • Minifigures are similar 2 Carolers & 6 more town people, snowman, & the cat
  • Toys are teddy bear, jack-in-the-box, train, truck, race car, plane, helicopter, tug boat, robot & rocket.

 LEGO Creator Winter Toy Shop 10249Check Price

 

 





Check Out More Toy Reviews at
ReviewThisToys.com
Or
Reviews on Lego Sets
Right Here On Review This Reviews!

House of Sylvestermouse




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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Greetings

Thank you, God, for all the Beauty in Nature.
Today, November 24 is the day that we in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is a day when Americans take time out of their daily lives to be thankful for all that has been given to us.  

For this Thanksgiving Day review, I would like to share with you, through my photographs some of the beauty in our world for which I am truly thankful.

The Moon


I love photographing the moon.  Here is a shot I captured back in September of the full moon.

 Special Times with Family and Friends

I am very thankful for my family and friends and the special times we spend together.  We recently all got together for a bonfire at my brother's.

Birds

As any of you know that follow my reviews, I love to watch and photograph birds.  Here are a couple of my recent bird photos.


Flowers

I am always amazed by the intricacies of the many varieties of flowers God has placed on this earth.  




Photo Walks

I love to take walks just to capture the beauty around me on my camera.  Here are some of my latest photos from these adventures.






Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  May you be blessed with a thankful heart.




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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Holiday Gift Guide: Thoughtful, Affordable Gift Ideas They Will Love

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the day after is Black Friday, when many people will be taking the day off to enjoy an extra-long weekend. Despite the growing trend toward "pre-Black Friday sales," the Friday after Thanksgiving is widely considered the kickoff to the holiday gift shopping season and making plans for the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa winter holidays.

With retail stores (both online and brick-and-mortar) competing hard for your holiday shopping dollars, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the barrage of sales messages and holiday gift guides. But the best gifts, the ones that make both the giver and receiver feel warm and fuzzy, are presents that reflect your personal connection to each recipient through your knowledge of their individual likes and interests.

This holiday gift guide reviews a selection of gift ideas that are both affordable and thoughtful, tailored to the interests of special people on your list.

Thoughtful & Affordable Holiday Gifts

Holiday Gift Ideas by Interest

Whether your nearest and dearest friends and family members, teachers and other recipients on your list are fond of fashion, food, fancy fingertips or other interests, the affordable gifts in this holiday gift guide are sure to please!

For Women Who Love Luxury But Hate Cold Weather

One of the best presents I ever bought myself were a pair of VIKIDEER Long, Lined, Warm Leather Gloves for Women With Touchscreen Fingertips. They're made of soft, luxurious lambskin leather, have a warm, plush lining, are long enough to keep my arms as well as my hands toasty warm, and let me  use my mobile phone, tablet or Kindle to make a phone call, look up a bus or train schedule, call a cab, Uber or Lyft or listen to an audiobook, podcast or music without having to expose my fingers to the cold winter weather. Read my product review of these Long, Lined Leather Touchscreen Gloves to learn more about why they make a much appreciated gift for women.

Long, lined, warm leather touchscreen gloves

Other cozy gift recommendations to keep her warm in the cold weather include the Warm, Oversized, Hooded Wearable Blankets recommended by Raintree Annie and the Affordable, Cozy Warm Micromink Sherpa Blanket reviewed by Barbara (a.k.a. Brite-Ideas) that keeps her family members toasty during the chilly Canadian winters. 

For Podcast, Audiobook and Music Lovers

Any audiobook or podcast lover will appreciate a Audible Premium Plus Gift Membership. A 1-month membership costs only $15 and allows the recipient to select an audiobook their choice for 1 credit and gives them access to additional listens through the Audible Plus catalog. It would make a great stocking stuffer! There are also 3-month, 6-month or 12-month gift memberships available.

Recipients with iPhones or other Apple devices can use an Apple Gift Card to buy AirPods (and other accessories) as well as subscriptions to Apple Music (as well as apps, games, movies and TV shows) in the Apple App Store.

If you want to splurge a little on someone special, a pair of comfortable, lightweight, high-quality, bone-conduction headphones makes a great gift idea. Check out my product review of The Best Bone-Conduction Bluetooth Headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro to learn more about these awesome headphones.

Shokz Open Run Pro premium bone-conduction headphones

For Women Who Enjoy Pretty Nails

As a former nail biter with weak nails that constantly broke or split, I used to envy women who had long, strong, beautifully manicured and polished nails. It is only in recent years that I finally learned how to heal my weak, ridged nails and ragged cuticles. Now, I love showing off my new, long, healthy nails with pretty polish colors and nail art designs!

Manicure with Color Street nail polish strips

If someone on your list also enjoys having pretty, well-groomed nails (or wishes she did), check out my product reviews of The Best Manicure Tools for Strong, Healthy Nails and put together a selection in a gift basket, along with a printout of my article 14 Secrets to Growing Strong, Healthy, Beautiful Nails and a bottle or two of good quality nail polish or, better, yet, Color Street nail polish strips, which I use and recommend highly. You can order them from my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Olivia Morris and read her Color Street nail polish strips product review to learn more about them.

For Current or Aspiring Gardening Enthusiasts and Flower Lovers

My mother and my sister both got the "green thumb" genes in our family. So, while my sister grows a lot of her own vegetables and herbs (and even lemons and limes) year-around, despite our cold New England climate, the only crops I have been able to grow reliably all year long are Hamama microgreens seed quilts. Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits and Seed Quilt Refills are designed specifically for indoor growing. Just fill the grow trays with tap water up to the fill line, place the seed quilts and attached coir fiber mats on top and press to soak evenly, place them near a window or under a grow light, wait for them to sprout and grow, then harvest and eat, So easy, delicious and satisfying, especially for people like me who lack natural gardening talent or savvy! I have given them as gifts and the recipients have loved them. Learn more in my Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review.

HAMAMA microgreens seed quilts in grow trays

Outdoor gardening enthusiasts will definitely appreciate the gift of a high quality tool, such as bypass secateurs. Check out my savvy gardening expert Raintree Annie's review of her favorite Wolf-Garten ByPass Secateurs.

For someone with a deck, consider giving a City Pickers raised garden bed recommended by Tracey (a.k.a. The Savvy Age) along with some good quality potting soil.

Several of my fellow Review This Reviews contributors are talented nature photographers who have turned their photos into various products on Zazzle. You'll find beautiful flower-themed photo mugs, t-shirts, decorative pillows and other gifts on Mary Beth Granger's Beauty in Nature Zazzle shop and Raintree Annie's Raintree Earth Designs Zazzle shop.

For Cooking or Baking Enthusiasts

There are so many wonderful gift ideas for people who love cooking, baking or both! Two that I can recommend highly that are also very affordable include my pick for The Best Powerful, Lightweight Stick Blender With Versatile Attachments and an assortment of handy, easy-to-clean, nonstick pan friendly silicone kitchen tools

Mueller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender

If you want to give your favorite home cook a gift they would love to own but might not buy for themselves, also check out the equally versatile Ninja Foodi Grill reviewed by Sam Monaco.

And for your favorite baker, Treasures by Brenda recommends these pretty and practical pink cupcake-themed aprons and adorable, festive gingerbread man-themed aprons that would make perfect Christmas gifts.

For Coffee Lovers in a Small Household

One of the Christmas gifts my husband requested last year was a coffee maker that could make just one or two cups of really good coffee that would taste as delicious as a larger 6-, 8- or 12-cup batch (for when we had company) and could be programmed the night before to brew the next morning, so he (or we) could wake up to a freshly brewed cup of java. 

After a lot of research, I finally chose the Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with 12-cup Glass Carafe and it was a huge hit. Read my product review to learn why we think it's The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker.

Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with 12-cup Glass Carafe

If your gift recipients are the only coffee drinkers in their household or if the want to enjoy delicious, freshly brewed coffee when they travel, check out Sylvestermouse's review of the Keurig K-Mini Single Serve K-cup Coffee Maker.

For Regular and Herbal Tea Lovers

I and many of my friends are avid tea drinkers. While I enjoy a cuppa good Darjeeling or English Breakfast, I also love flavored teas, such as peach, apricot and blackberry. Although I never liked the grassy flavor of most green tea or chamomile, I have been exploring flavored herbal teas and discovered quite a few that I enjoy even more than traditional black teas. Flavored red rooibos teas, in particular, have become some of my new favorites. I love The Republic of Tea's Restore and Reset SuperAdapt Herbal Tea, which is organic, caffeine-free and infused with cocoa and reishi mushrooms, adaptogens (which the Cleveland Clinic describes as "plants and mushrooms that help your body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and overall wellbeing") that give it a delicious, slightly earthy chocolate flavor, and The Republic of Tea's Strawberry Chocolate Tea, which I have reviewed in detail (An Unusual, Delicious Strawberry Chocolate Tea With 0 Calories).

Republic of Tea Strawberry Chocolate Cuppa Chocolate Tea

To enhance your gift, consider adding the pretty and practical McIntosh Van Gogh Fine China Tea Mug with Lid & Infuser reviewed by Cynthia Sylvestermouse, a perfect gift pairing with the tea of your choice for your favorite tea lover.

For Healthy Chocolate Connoisseurs

As a chocolate connoisseur who has lost a significant amount of weight on a ketogenic diet and now follows a delicious, healthy low carb lifestyle, I have tried most of the no sugar added and sugar-free chocolate brands and products on the market. There are many great choices now, but my favorite chocolate candy bars are from The Good Chocolate and ChocZero. 

The Good Chocolate is expensive but has the best mouthfeel of any no sugar added dark chocolate I have tried (they also offer vegan milk chocolate treats). Check out my review of The Good Chocolate 100% Organic, No Sugar Dark Chocolate

The Good Chocolate organic no sugar added chocolate bars

I also love ChocZero's sugar-free keto bark, which contains no sugar alcohols. The ChocZero dark chocolate peppermint keto bark with bits of crunchy, sugar-free peppermint candy is my husband's favorite holiday candy. Both these chocolate bars are also high in fiber, which is a nice bonus.

No sugar added, low carb chocolate hazelnut spreads would also make a great stocking stuffer for a health-conscious Nutella lover. My side-by-side comparison of the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads with No Added Sugars will help you choose. 

For People Following a Keto Diet or Low Carb Lifestyle

In addition to the healthy sugar-free and no added sugar chocolate suggestions above, you'll find loads of other wonderful presents for health-conscious recipients in my Keto Gift Guide: The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas.

For Women Who Appreciate Handmade Gifts

A gift you make for someone is truly a gift from the heart. Even if you are new to making jewelry, you can quickly and successfully create a beautiful and memorable gift of handmade jewelry for a special woman on your list to cherish. Just follow my easy, step-by-step jewelry tutorial, How to Make a Stylish Beaded Coil Wrap Bracelet.

Handmade beaded coil wrap bracelet on wrist

If jewelry making isn't your thing, consider getting one of the crochet, knitting, sewing, felt, quilting or other craft kits recommended by Pat Austin (a.k.a. Wednesday Elf) that come complete with all the materials and tools you will need to complete your handmade gift projects.

If you prefer cooking to crafts, homemade baked goods are always a treat. For someone who prefers savory foods to sweets, you can buy some pretty lidded glass food storage jars and fill them with a batch of refrigerator pickled vegetables recipe using Tracey Boyer's quick and easy recipe that doesn't require canning.

If your gift recipient's household includes a beloved cat or small dog owner, you can follow this Upcycled Drawer Pet Bed Tutorial by Diana (a.k.a. Renaissance Woman) to turn an old dresser drawer into an elegant, luxurious bed for their precious pet.

For Scale Model, Jewelry Making or Hand Tool Enthusiasts

My husband is both a "tool guy" and a "car guy" who loves building scale models as a hobby and doing electonics and automotive repairs. One of the best gifts I've given him is a durable, compact tool roll that keeps his many files and other precision hand tools organized, protected and easy to find. I've been tempted to buy another for myself for my jewelry making tools. Check out my in-depth product review to find out why The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store & Protect Your Tools makes a great gift.

DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer

Consider pairing it with a Grypmat, a handy silicone tool organizer that sticks to and protects work surfaces and comes in a variety of sizes. It's perfect for automotive repairs and other mechanical work, jewelry making and DIY projects. Learn more about it in Dawn Rae's product review of the Grypmat: the Ultimate Tool Mat.

For Women or Men With Long, Thick or Damaged Hair

Drying long or thick hair can be time-consuming unless you use a blow dryer, which can damage tresses if overused, which can lead to damage. Using blow dryers or heat styling tools, such as curling irons and hot brushes, for as short a time as possible is important to keep hair healthy and prevent additional damage to colored, processed or fragile strands.

For the person on your list who has long, thick or damaged hair, a high-quality, absorbent hair towel that glides over vulnerable, wet tresses without stretching or pulling them is a wonderful gift. I highly recommend the VOLO Hero or VOLO Hero Plus (for long, thick locks), which I've written about in my VOLO Hero Premium Microfiber Hair Towel Product Review.

VOLO Hero Premium Microfiber Hair Towel

A good "wet brush" designed to slide through tangles without pulling, stretching or breaking wet strands after a shampoo would make a great pairing or stocking stuffer. Check out my article on The Best Wet Brushes for Detangling Your Hair Without Damage in addition to the Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Hair Brush for Wet or Dry Hair, my new favorite daily brush for hair that's already damaged or fragile.

For People Who Love to Smile

I recently treated myself to a new sonic toothbrush that works as well as my previous Philips Sonicare and Oral-B brushes that cost much more. The bristles are gentle on the gums and clean very effectively, and the brush comes complete with a travel case and lots of extra brush heads, all for a remarkably low price. Unlike my previous ultrasonic toothbrushes from the big-name brands, the brush head refills are also delightfully affordable. 

Dnsly Electric Toothbrush Set

Read my product review of The Best Dentist Approved, Inexpensive, 5-Mode Electric Toothbrush to learn more about why this set makes a wonderful gift for yourself or a loved one with a beautiful smile.

Have You Made Your Holiday Gift List (and Checked It Twice)?

I hope this holiday gift guide helps you choose thoughtful, affordable presents that will continue to delight both you and the recipients long after the holidays are over.

Happy holidays!

Holiday Gift Guide: Thoughtful, Affordable Gift Ideas They Will Love by Margaret Schindel

Read More Gift Ideas From Our Review This Reviews Contributors





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