It’s that time of year again. Whether you’re trying to find the perfect item for the office holiday party gift exchange (I recommend this.) or you’re overwhelmed with our world of too many choices, shopping for gifts can be stressful.

Additionally, as I realize I point out all the time, AAR stays on line primarily due to the money we make on Amazon. Most of that money comes not from the books we sell via our links but rather from other larger ticket items our readers buy at Amazon–you have to checkout in the same session; Amazon only gives us our commission (usually 4%) of the price of the item if you buy it after coming directly from AAR. Thus, my favorite audiobook from 2018 that costs 29.00 garners AAR just under 1.50 and the Kindle you’ve been pining for (self-care is REAL) that sells for 109.00 puts 4.40 in our coffers. So, please, consider shopping via us this holiday season by clicking to Amazon through one of our links or get to the Home page from here: (
Everything on this list I’ve either given or own. If you have any questions about any of the items, ask away! You can access the list of items all in one place here.

I am a lifelong user of facial scrubs which, I realize, puts me in the minority of many. I love them, however–they not only keep my skin glowing and smooth, they’ve completely rid my skin of blackheads and overly large pores. I am however as old as the cryptkeeper–actually I am 13 years older than Jamie Lee Curtis was when Freaky Friday was made!–and so I love that this scrub is also so moisturizing. I use it every time I shower on my face and body–I love it for my feet–and my husband thinks it makes me smell like freshly baked cookies. It’s also made in the USA, All-Natural, Vegan, and Cruelty Free.

Buy Brooklyn Botany Brown Sugar Scrub at Amazon here


Years ago, my daughter (now a mechanical engineer) turned me onto PopSockets. They are a game changer for phones. Everything is easier with a PopSocket: Texting, talking, watching. Additionally, that slight lip keeps your phone from falling out of your back jean pockets something that used to happen to me ALL THE DAMN TIME. I especially love the price point on these–I trade mine out every year or so (easily bored). Virtually everyone I’ve ever talked into buying one has loved it. My daughter now uses the wallet PopSocket but I’ve stuck with the original.

Buy the PopSockets PopGrip at Amazon here


My children, all in their 20s, are all deeply enamored of joggers–a sort of slimmed down sweat pant distinguished by a cuff at the bottom. I am deeply enamored of comfy clothes and pockets. These pants are fashionable enough that my kids don’t complain when I wear them out of the house and comfy enough that they’ve replaced my beloved fleece pajama bottoms. They do run large–I am  5’8″ and weigh 150 pounds and the medium is baggy on me. I wear these in black but have been eyeing the purple heather ones.

Buy the BALEAF Women’s Active Yoga Sweatpants at Amazon here


Is there anything better than watching babies read or, more accurately, chew on board books? In the past year, two of my closest friends have had their first babies and the moms and babies adore this book. It’s indestructible–a must for all reading material for the toddler set–witty, and (to babies) irresistible. Each page is textured and thus the book functions as a toy too. I’m always a bit dismayed to see how electronic modern toys have become–it seems as though everything beeps, flashes lights, and teaches another language. This book is engaging enough to snag a tot’s attention but it doesn’t make a peep, beep, or flash. It’s a winner.

Buy Never Touch a Dragon at Amazon here


I am the world’s laziest cook. My favorite cookies to bake are Slice and Bake and I can’t recall the last time I made a cake from scratch. My nephew however is a SERIOUS chef and baker. He recently appraised and then disapproved of much of what is in my pantry. (What can I say? My husband calls Triscuits the champagne of crackers….) However, this sugar, he was thrilled with. We added it to the whipping cream we put on our pumpkin pies (He is in charge of Thanksgiving dinner where, among other things, he insists on spatchcocking the turkey) and sprinkled it onto the top of the bread pudding we made with all the crusts of the bread he cut off when we made stuffing. It really does take almost anything you’d add a bit of sugar to and make it vastly better. I also use Heilala vanilla when I bake and give that a thumbs up too. 

Buy Heilala Vanilla Bean Sugar at Amazon here


This past August, I went on my first cruise. For a week, my daughter and I sailed on what seemed to me to be a huge (350 cabins) ship from Seward to Vancouver and explored Alaska. The weather was warm but we’d been told to prepare for rain and, as such, I needed a good raincoat. I wanted a long one–I wanted to be able to sit down and not soak the seat of my pants–and I wanted one that was cute enough to wear when no longer hiking on glaciers. I read reviews and settled on this one. IT IS THE BOMB. It really is everything I want it a coat–it’s well-made, very adept at keeping one dry, has lots of pockets (I really love pockets), and (IMHO) looks great. The price point is, for the quality, design, and heft, very fair. And it comes in several cute colors–if I weren’t so wedded to black, I’d have gotten the evening blue. Even my daughter considers it borrowable!

Buy Helly Hansen Women’s Long Belfast Raincoat Jacket at Amazon here


While it seems there are six billion things to stream–it usually takes my family a half an hour to find a movie we can all agree on–you still cannot stream one of the all time greatest shows ever, The House of Eliott. I am mystified by this. This show, about two sisters in 1920s London who establish first a dressmaking business then their own fashion house, has it all. And while it’s worth seeing for just the clothes, the lives and loves and joys and woes of Evangeline and Beatrice are the stuff of a perfect rainy weekend. So for those of you who still have loved ones with DVD players, this boxed set is a keeper. I’ve loaned my own out so many times I had to replace it this year and I’ve watched the show itself–all 34 episodes–three times now and I’m sure I’m not done.

Buy the boxed set of The House of Eliott at Amazon here


I was given Texts from Jane Eyre a few years ago and, since then, I have given it to at least five people. It is hilarious.

It’s an especially good gift for millenials–the author is the co-creator of the popular website The Toast. I routinely give this book or Bygone Badass Broads to younger friends and both are always hits. 


Buy Texts from Jane Eyre at Amazon here


I love the idea of wine charms but even though, somewhere, I have a set, I never remember to pull them out. These glasses, however, we use all the time. They are especially good for book club where, given that we are all so immersed in discussion our latest read (which was Mrs. Everything), we are forever getting confused about whose glass is whose. I also use them when all my kids are home–each of us has been assigned a color (mine is that lovely bottle green) and now no one steals my wine–usually a glass of my favorite Cooper and Thief picked up from Trader Joe’s. The glasses go in the dishwasher–they’re not too tall and fit on my top rack–and are a good serving size. They’re sturdy and feel nicely weighted in your grasp. And they really are very pretty. They’re a great gift for the host who has everything!

Buy Studio Silversmiths Set of Six Wine Glasses at Amazon here


My husband and my youngest son love their bathrobes. For years, my husband wore, until it fell apart, a very long soft robe from Barefoot Dreams but, as our state’s winters have gotten warmer, he said he’d rather replace it with something equally soft but not so heavy. (I still love my Barefoot Dreams robe big time.) My son adores flannel–I wanted to give him one too– so I searched for the perfect flannel robe for the two of them. This, I think, is it. Both my son (6’4″) and my husband (6’5″) find it long enough for them but it’s not so long that I can’t steal it and wear it comfortably around the house. It’s just gotten softer the more we’ve washed it and the colors haven’t faded a whit (we have the blue and green plaid). And, of course, it has pockets.

Buy Alexander Del Rossa Men’s Lightweight Flannel Robe at Amazon here


A good audiobook is a promise of hours of entertainment. I am always listening to one–right now it’s Spinning Silver which is superb. But the audiobook that stands out the most to me from the past year is Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation. It’s so riveting that I literally sat in my garage again and again unable to bear turning off Bahni Turpin’s superb narration. Dread Nation is a DIK at AAR and was on several of the staff’s Best of Lists last year. As Maggie wrote in her review,

If you read only one YA novel this year, make it Dread Nation. Part Zombie Land, part Django Unchained, channeling a bit of The Hunger Games and also something wholly original, this is a tale of what happens when the undead rise while America’s race war rages.

It’s the zombie story I had no idea I wanted–I’m not a zombie fan–and is a story that has remained with me. I am so excited for book two in the series, Deathless Divide, which comes out this February. I recommend it for anyone who loves audiobooks and wants to be transported and enthralled.

Buy the audiobook of Dread Nation at Amazon here


Again, thanks for using our links. Here’s the complete gift guide at Amazon.

Publisher at | + posts

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