OK, OK, It’s not just you we love. (Although we do love you.) But AAR staffers have other things on their holiday list and we thought we’d share them! (This would also be a great time to remind our readers that we are able to stay online by the money we make on our affiliate links and we are beyond grateful when you use them!) Happy holidays!

Dabney: I’m not a big nonfiction reader but I am dying to read Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. This book was released less than a month ago and it’s gotten tons of buzz from NPR, the NYT, and more. In many ways, the Wilder books defined pioneer America for generations. Laura, Mary, Pa, Ma, Silver Lake, Alonzo–almost 50 years after first immersing myself in the Little House books, I still know all their stories by heart. I really want this book.

I have oily and absurdly sensitive skin. I love facial scrubs but have struggled to find one that isn’t too harsh. I’ve been using FIG+YARROW’s Organic Scrub for the past two years and it’s become my favorite cleanser of all time. I use this year round. In the winter, the oils in it add a boost of moisturizer to my drier face and in the summer the mild scrub keeps my pores clear. One jar lasts six months.

And, if someone wanted to spend the big bucks on me, I long for a KitchenAid mixer. For years, I’ve struggled along with hand held beaters and, well, they suck. KitchenAid makes these in such gorgeous colors and every serious chef I know has one. They’re so pretty–is there an appliance that better marries form and function? So, if you run into my husband at Lowe’s–he is, of course, there at least twice a week, drop a hint for me, will you?

KeiraKindle Paperwhite. This Kindle has made me a convert to reading eBooks. The weight and size are perfect, almost like mass market paperbacks. I prefer the adjustable built-in lights around the borders instead of back-lit screens of the traditional tablets. I like that I can adjust the brightness to allow me to read in darkness or bright sunlight. The matte screen is also a refreshing change from the iPad glossy screens.

Letts Weekly PlannerI cannot deal with electronic calendars and must have a per planner, particular a week-at-a-glance type. I write in my appointments, brief notes, and ToDo lists. I would be completely helpless without my paper planner. And bonus: it is pretty and has lovely paper.

Pilot FriXion Pens. To go with a lovely planner, who doesn’t want the perfect pens? This six-pack of colorful, extra-fine, erasable gel pens perfectly fits the bill.

Jenna: Amazon Echo Show. We have both the Amazon Echo and a couple of Echo Dot units scattered about our home, and we love them! It’s so easy to say “Alexa, set my alarm for 7:00 am tomorrow” or “Alexa, play NPR” and have your every wish granted. I was excited by the prospect of an Echo item that included a screen feature. I look forward to being able to make video phone calls, watch Amazon streaming videos and check my calendar all with nothing more than audio commands. I’m giving my husband a video doorbell unit as a gift and hope we can connect the two. The price has dropped on these and I’m hoping that at 149.00, Santa might make my dream come true!

Em: My wishlist for Christmas is (mostly) dedicated to my other two favorite hobbies in life – cooking and listening to music.  Hoping to find all four of these under my tree this year:

 1.  A Vitamix.  Any model will do – but this one is my top pick.

2.  I love Sonos and wish I could have them in every room in my house. For now, I’ll just take another small one for my kitchen.

3.  Smitten Kitchen EVERY DAY, the newest cookbook from my favorite cooking blog Smitten Kitchen.

4.  And last, but not least, my favorite face cleanser, Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil – which everyone on earth should try because it smells/feels/works like magic.


1. I like the Telestrations game already so I can’t pass up the “adult” version. It’s like a combination of Telephone and Pictionary. Everyone gets a clue they have to draw. They pass their pad to the next person who guesses what they drew, the person after draws that guess,and so on. When it gets back to you, you’re able to see the weird (and usually funny) way your drawing was interpreted.

2. My boyfriend is addicted to grilling and popcorn so I want to combine those with this outdoor popcorn popper. It would also be good for going camping.

3. I love cutesy, novelty things that also do a job. That’s what made me pick out these Lock Ness Monster looking ladles and a flying witch spoon rest.

4. I don’t need any more pets, but I would love to have one of these self contained eco-systems for my desk so I can watch the little shrimp swim around. It reminds me of living art.

Any of these on your list? This is part one of our lists! We’ll run part two later this week. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and make sure you take good care of yourself. Much love,

the AAR staff 

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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.