2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Grownups
by Meredith L. Phillips, a.k.a. Ms. Cheapskate
We all want to give a great gift, and with the economy limiting some of our budgets, we want to be sure that we get a quality gift at a great price. After testing hundreds of gifts for grownups, I have narrowed the list to some of the very best for your money. Of course, there are always a few innovations you might want for yourself, to take the stress out of holiday cooking and overnight guest accommodations. Following each selection, I have included a couple of online locations and the best price I could find, to save you both time and money this holiday season. Happy Saving and Happy Giving from Ms. Cheapskate!
Wahl Lithium Ion 3-in-One Shaver
Are you looking for a great gift for the man in your life? With a five-year warranty, 16 pieces including a trimmer blade, detail trimmer, beard guide combs, travel case, cleaning brush and oil, what else could your guy possibly need? The perfect three-in-one has interchangeable heads for shaving, precision trimming and detailing. The shaver features "Flex and Float Technology" to follow facial contours for a close shave. A full one-hour charge offers up to two hours of use, unlike the eight to 10 hours it takes for NimH rechargeables. A quick three-minute charge gives five minutes of use. A travel case makes this as handy as it gets. Walmart and Amazon, starting at $50.
The sweet scent of Candied Mallows Christmas Flower bath and body products has taken over my home. The vanilla and light floral collection is available in rich hand cream, body spray, candles, shower gel, lip balm and body lotion. Wrap up a few for a friend or co-worker, and you are sure to gain a new bestie. YvesRocherUSA.com, $3 to $9.
Oster Convection Countertop Oven
As a gift or a great addition to your holiday kitchen, this oven does much more than toast. Its 60-minute timer and 10 programmable settings are ready for 9x13" cakes and casseroles, roasts, two 12" pizzas, and yes, even up to six slices of toast. This large convection oven bakes evenly and also broils and defrosts. Oster backs this up with a five-year warranty. All this convenience comes in a sleek brushed steel finish, so it looks as great as it performs. Walmart, $79
Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte
This one-touch home brewer from Mr. Coffee has a 24oz capacity, automatic milk frother and the superpower to save the latte lover in your family some serious cash. With lattes running $3 to $6 at most chains, the savings of brewing at home can really add up fast. This gift has the potential to save a daily drinker around $1000 a year. The Cafe Latte can also brew delicious hot chocolate. A recipe booklet gives more ideas, too. On second thought, instead of gifting this brewer, you might just want to add it your wish list! Target and Walmart, $79.
Aerobed Luxury Pillowtop
I love this Aerobed! I know, I know, it is for the guests. But believe me - if you have ever wanted to get one of those pricy beds with adjustable firmness, this is pretty close! I could put the guests in my room and sleep on this myself ... Back to the point, this handy wonder stores away in its own bag, with a pocket to tuck its controls and cords, just waiting to be pulled out for guests. This electric bed inflates in about three minutes without hand pumping or holding a button. Just follow the simple instructions and walk away. The Aerobed Luxury Pillowtop rises to the height of a traditional bed, and automatically shuts off when fully inflated. Seven presets make it easy to select just the right firmness. And when your guests are gone, the heavenly Aerobed deflates just as quickly. I tested the queen size during a little catnap, but I may need to see if it feels as great after seven or eight hours, just to be sure! Exclusively at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $200.
Q Card Case for iPhone
For those who like to simplify life, the Q Card Case allows you to protect your phone, slide in your ID and a credit card or cash, and be ready to go, hassle-free. It has a soft finish for easily sliding your phone in and out of your pocket. The beveled edge of the lay-flat screen guard design allows you to lay down your phone without scratching the screen. All buttons and ports are accessible with this case on. Available in black, pink, green or white, the Q Card Case may soon replace your wallet. Amazon and Think Geek, starting at $39.
Bling My Thing "Simple is Beautiful" Case
Embellished with real Swarovski crystals, which are deep-set and well secured, this gorgeous line of cell phone covers is made of scratch-resistant, clear polycarbonate. The lightweight material is thin and well fitting, with all phone ports and buttons still easily accessible. Japanese designer Ayano Kimara created these beautiful designs for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Sony Eriksson Xperia and Blackberry Bold. Bling-My-Thing.com, starting at $45.
i-mego Throne Headphones
These old-style over-the-ear headphones look as good as they sound. The retro microphone design over the earpiece adds to the flair, while the real leather and memory foam ear pads and stitched leather band add to the overall comfort of the design. What really impressed us was the rich quality of the sound. Tested by music and pop culture journalist Danny R. Phillips, he declared them to be on the level of certain celebrity-endorsed headphones but without the hefty price tag. In gold with deep bass for rock and rap fans or purple and gunmetal with clarity for jazz and classical music fans, these headphone offer real versatility. The one button mic can also answer and end call, and play, pause and skip tracks. The basic jack is perfect for Apple products. They include an adapter for other phones and a hi-fi adapter, as well. To protect your 'phones on the go, you also get a drawstring pouch. i-mego.com and Amazon, $130.
These hand-poured soy candles with lead-free cotton wicks are made right here in the USA in small batches for ultimate quality control. The Holiday Spice and Winter scents are perfect to add a festive atmosphere to your home. These 11-ounce double-wicked candles last for 60 hours and come with their very own matchbox under the lid. Keep a few on hand for last-minute gift exchanges, and do not forget to take one along to holiday gatherings as a welcome hostess gift. OrangeAndPear.com, $30.
Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut Chocolate has once again outdone herself with this mouthwatering Bapchi's Toffee. Made of organic butter, cream and sugar cooked to perfection, added to pink Himalayan sea salt, milk chocolate, and organic walnuts and pecans, the result is one of the best toffees we have ever come across. Available at VosgesChocolate.com in an elegant quarter-pound holiday box for $15.
Wild Ophelia Chocolate Bars
From the maker of the fine Vosges Haut Chocolate comes the new, more affordable Wild Ophelia line of chocolate delights. Strange, yet delightful combinations such as Southern Hibiscus and Peach, Peanut Butter and Banana, and Beef Jerky are draped in quality chocolate to form two-ounce bars, just perfect for slipping in a stocking. Whole Foods and Cost Plus World Market, $5.
Wusthof 9-Piece Gadget Set
Since 1814, the German knife maker Wusthof have a reputation for making stainless steel knives of the highest quality. This nine-piece set of kitchen gadgets brings that quality to your kitchen and handles a variety of everyday prep and cooking tasks. Ergonomic and non-slip handles add to the usability of this set. The paring and utility knives, zester, bottle opener, peeler, apple corer, whisk, and shears are dishwasher safe and store in a sleek wooden cup. Macy's and Amazon, $80.
Anolon Advanced Bakeware Set
For the avid baker, this five-piece set of heavy, warp-resistant pans will be a gift that will last for years and years. With a lifetime warranty, silicone grips, and a non-stick surface that is oven safe up to 500 degrees, these pans help even the novice bake like a pro. Included are two round pans, a 9" square pan, a cookie sheet and a cooling rack. Whether used for your own holiday baking or given as a gift, these diehard Anolon pans are sure to please even the most finicky baker. Amazon and Anolon.com, starting at $40.
Hallmark North Pole Countdown Ornament
In its 40th year of Keepsake Ornaments, Hallmark brings us the North Pole Countdown, a retro radio with a working dial. "Tune in" each day from the first day of December till the 25th to hear a daily update on the activities of the Jolly Big Guy up at the North Pole. Festive in green and red, this ornament keeps the holidays alive right up until the big day. Amazon and Hallmark, starting at $22.
A Savannah Christmas
This beautiful hardcover pictorial by Kimberly Ergul, Holley Jaakkola and photographer Richard Leo Johnson is a festival for the eyes. The holidays come alive inside this tribute to southern celebration. If the elegant photographs are not plentiful enough to do justice to the pageantry and traditions of the season, the eloquent descriptions conjure the scenes in your mind's eye. "A Savannah Christmas" is a parade of traditional Georgian decor, store displays, recipes, and tablescape inspirations. Divided by neighborhoods and districts, each section shines a light on the architecture and landscapes of local churches, landmarks, historic homes, plantations, and even islands, shown draped in holiday finery. One chapter is devoted to Hanukkah festivities. My favorite takeaways from this book are the recipes for Egg Nog Pound Cake and Mile High Red Velvet Cake. Amazon and BooksAMillion, starting at $16.