Showing posts with label holiday gift guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday gift guide. Show all posts

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

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

Keto and other low carb diets are increasingly popular, as the health benefits become better understood and more widely known. As someone who has lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 60 pounds) on a ketogenic diet and kept the weight off by maintaining a healthy, low-carb lifestyle, I'm reviewing my favorite gift ideas for anyone on your list who is trying to watch their carbohydrate intakes, or has plans to start a low carb or keto diet in the near future (perhaps once upcoming holidays, events, special occasions, or other celebrations—such as their, or your, birthday, graduation, anniversary, engagement party, wedding, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine's Day, etc.). 

This special occasion or holiday gift guide is filled with thoughtful presents for any occasion that will support the health, wellbeing, and weight loss goals of the people you care about. There's no time like the present to give someone—including yourself—the gift of good health!

Main image: glitter background with text "The Best Gifts for someone on a Low Carb or Keto Diet"
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Gift Ideas for Keto Diet or Low Carb Newbies

  • A reliable, accurate and reliable digital food scale to help them weigh and track their calories, carbs, and other macros. I recommend looking for one that has a convenient tare function (which zeroes out the weight of a plate, bowl, cup, or other container before adding the food to be weighed), weighs in pounds, ounces, kilograms, and grams, registers additions accurately in very small increments, has a large, easy-to-read display, a smooth, easy-to-clean surface, and is made by a company that stands behind its products. I highly recommend the Nicewell 22 Lb. Digital Kitchen Scale. It meets all the aforementioned criteria, has a smooth, wipe-clean, durable stainless steel and tempered glass surface, and has a wide measurement range of 0.1 ounce/2–3 grams to 22 pounds/10 kg, added in 0.1 ounce/1 gram increments. Mine also has been much more reliable than the two previous digital food scales I've owned (from well known brands), and the flat surface lets me weigh food on a large plate or in a large bowl, without taking up a lot of valuable kitchen counter space. At less than $37 (as of this writing), its high accuracy and excellent features compared to cheaper models make it a very good value.
  • A selection of low-glycemic, keto-friendly sweeteners. Since each person's palate, digestive system, and metabolism are different, figuring out which types of keto-friendly sweeteners taste best to them, which ones cause them to experience an unpleasant aftertaste or noticeable cooling effect, which ones cause them gastrointestinal distress, and which ones elevate their blood sugar or knock them out of ketosis. Some people are much more sensitive than others to certain types of sweeteners. So, for someone who is just starting out, especially if they have a sweet tooth, a range of different types of granulated, powdered, and brown sugar replacements would likely be a welcome gift. 
  • One of the best articles to help you understand the differences and which keto sweeteners are best for specific uses is Carolyn Ketchum's "The Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners" on her All Day I Dream About Food website. My favorite sweetener by far is BochaSweet "The Supreme Sugar Replacement," which tastes virtually identical to cane sugar, has no aftertaste, and comes in both granulated and powdered (confectioner's sugar) forms. It's also more expensive than other keto-friendly sweeteners, so it's a luxury a keto newbie might not splurge on to buy for themselves. 
  • An accurate and reliable digital body weight scale to help them track their weight loss progress. Our house is old and has settled, so the wood floors aren't perfectly level. As a result, I never had a scale that reliably displayed the same weight reading five minutes apart, until I bought myself the Etekcity High Precision Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Easy-to-Read Backlit LCD. In addition to its accuracy, I also love the big, easy-to-read, backlit digital display and the extra-wide, rock-steady platform (since my balance isn't that great when my feet are too close together). It measures within a weight range of 18–440 pounds (8–200 kg) in increments of 0.2 lb. /0.1 kg. Best of all, it costs less than $30!
  • A journal where they can track their progress against their goals in whatever way is most helpful to them—tracking food, exercise, sleep, water intake, body measurements, blood pressure, mood, how their clothes fit, how they're feeling, etc. Many food and exercise journals track just 90 days, and have limited (or no) flexibility in what you can track and in what format. I suggest choosing one like Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better: A 52-Week Food Journal, which will allow your gift recipient track the things they care about most for an entire year. Even though I've used the Carb Manager app since the day I switched to a low carb keto lifestyle, I would have really benefited from also using a journal like this one where I could track more than just numbers.

Fun Gifts for Low Carb and Keto Enthusiasts

If your you're shopping for someone who is loving their low carb lifestyle, they're sure to love any of these.
Recovering Carboholic T-shirt
available on Amazon Handmade

  • Low carb or keto themed T-shirts or tank tops, like the ones from Epic Life featuring sayings like "Recovering Carboholic," "Living That Keto Life," "Keto Queen," or my favorite, "Keto Makes My Clothes Fall Off." Most come in a wide choice of colors and in both unisex and women's sizes (depending on the style). 

Gifts for Someone Who Loves Cooking or Baking

Learning to cook without grains, rice, potatoes, or other starchy vegetables takes effort. Learning to make sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free baked goods has an even steeper learning curve! Companies are coming out with more—and better tasting—low carb and keto foods and ingredients all the time.
In addition to the excellent digital food scale I mentioned previously, there are other types of kitchen tools and equipment I find myself using since adopting a healthier, low carb approach to eating.
Here are some gift ideas that would be welcome in any low carb kitchen.

  • A couple of really good, reliable low carb or keto cookbooks. Some that I can recommend highly are Carolyn Ketchum's cookbooks, especially The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking (my low carb baking bible), and The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, filled with foolproof, seriously yummy recipes to suit a wide variety of tastes; Maya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook (simple, delicious recipes with no more than 10 ingredients); Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle by Natasha Newton for anyone who loves Southern food; and all of Maria Emmerich's cookbooks, especially Keto Restaurant Favorites and Keto Comfort Foods. If your gift recipient has or will be getting an air fryer or an Instant Pot, Maria also has written low carb cookbooks for using both those popular kitchen appliances.
  • A mini waffle iron for making chaffles. Chaffles are individual size, high-protein, low carb mini waffles, made from beaten egg, shredded mozzarella or other cheese, almond flour, and other ingredients, depending on the flavor. They're a favorite staple for many who follow a keto or low carb diet. There are myriad chaffle recipes, both sweet and savory. Chaffles are great topped with butter and sugar free syrup for breakfast, and can be used as a bread alternative for sandwiches, as a base for individual pizzas, or as a dessert, topped with keto-friendly ice cream, syrup, and/or whipped cream. They're quick and easy to make. They also freeze well and can be popped into a toaster or toaster oven for a grab-and-go meal or snack.

    Last year, about six months into my keto diet journey, I put the popular, very inexpensive DASH Mini Waffle Maker on my Christmas wish list, so I could see what all the chaffle buzz was about. It makes perfectly fine chaffles, and would be a great stocking stuffer. However, if you can afford a higher-end chaffle maker for your gift recipient, I would definitely recommend choosing one like the Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates, which can make as many as four (and as few as one) chaffles (or Belgian waffles, for household members who aren't watching their carbohydrate intake), and has an attractive, brushed stainless steel top cover; removable, dishwasher-safe, nonstick waffle plates (as well as a pancake plate that makes four perfectly round pancakes); lights that indicate when the unit has finished preheating and when the chaffles, waffles, or pancakes are done; and an audible alert beep. Although it has a large footprint, this waffle maker can be stored upright to save space, and comes with a set of tongs, a recipe book (for non-keto household members), and a 3-year limited warranty. I would love to receive this terrific piece of equipment as a gift for my keto kitchen (hint, hint)!
  • A selection of sugar free syrups made with a low glycemic sweetener, such as monkfruit, allulose, erythritol, and/or stevia. I love ChocZero syrups and have bought them in nearly every flavor they make (the current selection sold depends on the season). They're high in dietary fiber, low in net carbs, and extremely versatile. I use them often as toppings for low-carb pancakes, waffles, or chaffles. (I think ChocZero makes the best-tasting, low glycemic maple, maple pecan, and vanilla maple syrup on the market. Some people prefer the Lakanto maple flavored syrup, which is thinner and has a stronger maple flavor that I don't care for. To each his or her own!) ChocZero's line of syrups are also great for pouring over keto ice cream (Enlightened's yummy Keto Collection flavors are my favorites), and I love using these syrups for flavoring tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. They don't dissolve readily in cold liquids, so for cold drinks, I just dissolve a tablespoon or two of ChocZero syrup in two or three tablespoons of microwaved hot water, let it cool for a few minutes, and then stir the diluted syrup into it to my cold drink, along with a bunch of ice cubes. I also love Sukrin Gold syrup, which  has a taste and consistency surprisingly similar to honey, and is also sugar free and high in fiber.

    Make sure to tell your gift recipient to wipe the opening (and the surrounding area) of the ChocZero or Sukrin Gold syrup bottle with a hot, damp dishcloth right after they use the syrup. Otherwise, any residue in or around the opening will harden, and can make the lid/cap difficult to open next time. Also explain that these syrups should stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.

Low Carb and Keto Treats, Snacks, and Baked Goods

For many people, one of the hardest things about switching to a very low carb diet is having to give up their favorite starchy, salty, high carbohydrate snacks and baked goods, like pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, taco chips, crackers, and breads, rolls, and hot dog, hamburger, or sandwich buns, as well as sweet treats like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and muffins.

Although a very or moderately strict keto diet can help reduce or eliminate a person's addictive cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with little nutritional value, many of us who choose to follow a ketogenic diet for more than a few months find that including small to moderate amounts of healthier, low carb alternatives to the foods we used to crave makes this way of eating much more sustainable over the long term. So, unless your recipient follows a very strict keto diet (or plans to), they probably would be delighted to receive a gift of keto and low carb treats from you. Here are some delicious edible gift ideas.

  • Pork rinds. These light, crunchy snacks are a great keto friendly alternative to starchy potato chips. Crushed pork rinds are also a terrific substitute for bread crumbs!
  • Cheese crisps - you can make these yourself by placing squares of sliced Parmesan, muenster, Fontal, or other good "melting cheeses" two inches apart on a large nonstick griddle, heating them until they melt, spread out, and get bubbly, and letting them cool, or you can buy ready-to-each cheese crisps in single-serving bags. The two commercial brands of cheese crisps I've tried are Whisps and HighKey Keto Cheese Crunch, which are both good, but much more expensive than making them yourself.
  • Moon Cheese crunchy keto puffed cheese snacks - the high protein, low carb answer to Cheez Doodles and Utz Cheese Balls. They make five flavors: Cheddar, Gouda, Pepper Jack, Bacon Cheddar, and Garlic Parmesan. If you don't know your gift recipient's favorite type of cheese, there are also 5-pack and 10-pack variety assortments that include all five flavors.
  • Low carb crackers - it's hard to find ones that don't taste like cardboard, but the Fat Snax Almond Flour Crackers get excellent reviews, and there is a variety pack option that includes all three flavors: Cheddar, Sea Salt, and Everything (seasoned similarly to an "everything" bagel). They're also expensive (currently $14.99 for a bag of three on Amazon). 
  • Keto cookies. I'm absolutely crazy for HighKey mini cookies, so much that I keep multiple bags of every flavor they make (so far—they keep adding new ones!) in my pantry, including their crisp mini almond and chocolate chip biscotti. Each serving of 5 to 8 cookies (depending on the flavor) has 3–5 grams of protein, 9–14 grams of fat, 1–3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 1–3 net carbs and 110–150 calories, They've also just come out with larger, individually wrapped coconut macaroons and cocoa coconut macaroons, which have just 1 net carb and 90 calories each, plus 1 gram of protein, 7–8 grams of fat, and 5 grams of dietary fiber, and are chewy, filling, and absolutely scrumptious. 
  • Sugar-free, grain-free baking mixes for making great-tasting, quick and easy keto treats with wholesome, high quality ingredients. There are so many wonderful mixes on the market, it's hard to choose just a few to include in this gift guide. In recent months, I've share my reviews of some of my favorite low carb and keto cupcake and muffin baking mixes and several flavors of Good Dee's low carb cookie mixes here on Review This Reviews. Good Dee's coconut snack cake mix absolutely delicious. In fact, I decided to use it as the cake layer for my birthday cake this year, which I split, filled, and iced with cream cheese frosting, topped with toasted unsweetened coconut and fresh raspberries. My husband, who also loves baked goods but doesn't follow a low carb diet, liked it so much that he asked me to make the same cake for his birthday the following month! If your gift recipient is more interested in savory baked goods, one of the key ingredients in my keto cheddar cheese and chive biscuits recipe is HighKey's excellent buttermilk biscuit mix. Livlo also has a very good biscuit mix. 

Gift Baskets

Arranging several related items to create an attractive composition inside a tissue paper-lined basket, wrapping it in a large sheet of cellophane, and tying it with a big bow is a simple way to create an impressive gift. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Keto Pasta Party Basket

For someone who loves pasta, having to give up delicious, starchy, comfort food favorites like spaghetti and linguine on a ketogenic diet can be a difficult sacrifice. Imagine their surprise when they open your gift basket and see four bags of delicious, nutritionally dense, low carb, Gnooda keto pasta, a couple of large jars of Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce (no added sugar and just 4 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving), a wedge of good, imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, and a festive red Microplane fine cheese grater so they can grate fine shreds of salty, cheesy goodness over the plates or bowls of warm pasta! To make it extra special, you could line the basket with a classic red and white checkered tablecloth, reminiscent of a typical Italian trattoria, wrap bright red, white, or green cloth napkins around the marinara sauce jars, imported cheese, and cheese grater, and add a couple of red, green, or white pillar candles, jar candles, votives, or tapers to help your gift recipient create the right ambiance for their pasta party, even (or, perhaps, especially if they're dining solo).  

Gnooda keto pasta is made from nutrient-dense lupin flour and fresh eggs, using age-old Italian pasta making techniques. A one-cup serving of cooked Gnooda pasta contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and only 3g of net carbs and 165 calories. As of this writing it is only available in the radiatore shape, and can only be purchased in four-bag increments directly from the company's website. Also, Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce is a good alternative if you can't get Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce.

Fit and Fabulous Basket

Fill a gift basket with things to support their fitness goals, and tailor the contents to their favorite form of exercise. For example:

  • For someone who doesn't have the time to get to the gym on a regular basis or travels a lot, you could fill a large gift basket with a nice-looking, breathable, lightweight T-shirt and leggings, a digital fitness tracker, and a canister of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix (my favorite is Key Nutrients' Cherry-Pom Electrolyte Recovery Plus Replenishment Drink). Depending on how much you want to spent, you could also include a gift card to Amazon, Dick's Sporting Goods, or another sports equipment store for them to pick out a piece of at-home or on-the-road workout equipment, such as a medicine ball, a set of dumbbells or free weights, or a set of resistance bands they can use both at home and on the road.
  • For someone who hates to exercise but loves to dance, put together a "it's my (dance) party" basket, featuring a jazzy, comfortable, lightweight T-shirt with a matching or coordinating leggings or yoga pants and sweatband (the crazier and more fun and festive, the better), and a fun, upbeat, easy-to-follow dance workout, like Body Groove's Delicious Dance DVD Collection, Dance Your Heart Out DVD Collection, or Young at Heart DVD

Relax and Unwind Basket

Most people associate certain foods with comfort, and when we're feeling extremely anxious, stressed, upset, sad, hurt, or overwhelmed, many of us have the urge to soothe those feelings with familiar and, often, unhealthy "comfort foods." Unfortunately, giving into the impulse to "eat our emotions" can be self-sabotaging for someone who is trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, and after the short-lived immediate gratification, they usually feel even worse after consuming a pint of ice cream or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. So, if someone who is following a low carb diet (or has any other type of dietary restrictions) is going through a rough patch, one of the ways you can support them might be to give them something other than food that can help them escape their troubles and help them feel better (even if it's only a temporary reprieve) without sabotaging their health and wellness goals. Here are some gift ideas to include in a customized "relax and unwind" basket: herbal teas; a mug with a personalized saying or image that has a special meaning for the recipient; traditional or flameless LED wax candles (preferably with one of the person's favorite scents); music to help them relax or lift their spirits; a soft, cozy robe, sweater, or throw; a guided meditation recording or DVD; an electric heated neck, shoulder, or back massager.

One of my favorite herbal teas is the lovely, floral Republic of Tea Organic Elderflower and Green Rooibos Super Herb Tea. Also consider some of the herbal teas reviewed by my fellow contributors on Review This Reviews, including Louanne's Arbonne Essentials Herbal Detox Tea review and Pure Peppermint herbal tea review, Cynthia's Aveda Comforting Tea review, and BarbRad's Lifestyle Awareness Teas review.

We have flameless LED candles in every room of our house, some that we purchased and others that we received as gifts. Our favorites by far are the Luminara real wax flameless LED candles. Their LED "flames" are signicantly more realistic than their competitors', thanks to Luminara's proprietary moving flame technology, which has been imitated but never equaled (at least, not so far). Ours have interchangeable remote controls, any one of whicht can turn all the Luminara candles in a room on and off with a single click (even though we've purchased them at different times, and from different stores), which is extremely convenient, considering how many candles we have. For the Luminara candles in our bedroom, we use the optional timer feature, which is on a 5 hours on/19 hours off cycle. (We set them to turn on at 6 pm and turn off at 11 pm, so we can go to bed by candlelight.) They're more expensive than other brands, but we think they're well worth the higher price.

Are you or someone you know following a keto diet or low carb lifestyle? If so, what other gift ideas would you add to this Low Carb and Keto Gift Guide? I'd love to see your suggestions!

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide by Margaret Schindel

Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

Quick & Easy Livlo Blueberry Scones Keto Baking Mix Review

Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Pizza Recipe

The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

Comparing the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads - No Added Sugars

The Best Low Carb Keto Sandwich and Burger Buns Mix

Blueberry Biscuit Scones — New, Easy, Low Carb Keto Recipe

The Best Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs

Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Appreciate a Dragon Day – January 16

Reviewing Dragons for 'Dragon Day'




In 2004, a school teacher named Donita K. Paul, decided to retire.  Shortly afterwards,  Mrs. Paul began a new career as a writer.  She created “Appreciate a Dragon Day” to celebrate the release of her first book, Dragon Spell, and as a way to celebrate literacy.  We now celebrate this day every year on January 16.




Available on Amazon


Dragon Spell is Book 1 of the Dragon Keepers Chronicles, a fantasy fiction series for children in grades 4 through 8.  Mrs. Paul went on to write a total of 6 books in this series, then moved on to write a 10-book series of the Dragon Chronicles.  


Today she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy, but it looks like the mythical creature we call the dragon has become her favorite.





Things to do for Dragon Day



Since Mrs. Paul's dragon books are designed for children, she has a number of suggestions for kids to celebrate her 'Appreciate a Dragon Day'.  


  • Take Pictures!
    • One idea is to see how many pictures you can take of your favorite stuffed dragon in funny places.  
      • How about reading a dragon book with your plush dragon at the library?  
        • Picture the two of you eating a hamburger at McDonalds 
        • Or, you and your dragon could play in the park and have fun sliding down the slide.


        • Be Creative!

        Draw a dragon or write a story about a dragon or put on a dragon puppet show. 



        Check out How to Draw Dragons, a cute art lesson for children found on Emily Gravett's web site.  Emily is an illustrator and author of darling children's books, including  Cedric the Dragon.


        • Sing a Dragon Song 



        The most famous dragon of modern times has been immortalized in song.  Puff, the Magic Dragon was written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary folk group fame more than 50 years ago… and is still beloved by children (and their parents and grandparents) today.


        Peter Yarrow
        I got to see Peter Yarrow in person in Savannah, GA three years ago when he was one of the performers of our annual  music festival.  Before singing “Puff”, he called a couple dozen small children up on the stage with him and had them help sing the song.  

        Peter Yarrow held his microphone down to a 5-year-old singing “Puff”.  She knew all the words, though even her parents had yet to be born when the song was written in 1963. Peter Yarrow told the audience that day that he had no idea the song would become so well known and beloved by generations of children.  He said he finds this very moving.

        Personal Note:  Speaking of feeling moved, after the concert I stood in line to tell Peter Yarrow I had been a fan for almost all of his career and, really feeling overwhelmed, tearfully thanked him for the beautiful music and the 50 years of special memories.  He gave me a hug as I left, giving this folk music fan another wonderful memory.


        Puff the Magic Dragon Book, CD & Plush Dragon Gift Set




        Puff the Magic Dragon Book & CD

        This children's book is based on the fabulous children's song written by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton with beautiful illustrations by artist
        Eric Puybaret.


        The book comes with a CD featuring not only Puff, but several other songs performed by Yarrow, his daughter Bethany, and cellist Rufus Cappadocia and a Puff, the Magic Dragon Plush Toy.

        An adorable 3-piece gift set for all fans of "Puff", young and old.

        Stuffed Dragon Toy


        Kids love stuffed toys and a plush dragon is a perfect toy for those who love dragons.



        Vollenth the green dragon from Aurora is an adorable example of a plush dragon for children. Measuring 18" long, this toy dragon is a fun toy to have running around the house. 

        Get Ready to Celebrate "Appreciate a Dragon Day"




        So, whatever you choose to do to celebrate “Appreciate a Dragon Day” you are sure to have a wonderful time with this favorite of mythical creatures. 

        Related Link:

        Delightful Dragon Gift Ideas


        (c) Article written by Wednesday Elf on 1/9/16.  Updated on 1/16/2022






        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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