My Favorite Things Family Gift Guide for 2019

I used to be a bit grinchy during past Christmastimes.

It’s hard to admit, but it’s true: I didn’t love Christmas music, gift giving or holiday parties.

I claimed “it just wasn’t my thing.”

I realized that one of the big reasons I put up a lot of walls during the holidays was because I worried about feeling disappointed.

As a child, for me, there was a lot of ambivalence around the holidays through my parents multiple divorces. I didn’t really know where I belonged or what to expect. And without realizing it, I blocked my own joy during Christmas time into adulthood.

In my mind, it was easier to ignore Christmastime fun than risk feeling disappointed.

Once I allowed myself to break the belief that “Christmas = Disappointment” by seeing ways it’s simply not true, abundance has started to show up all around our family.

I’m not a huge material person; however, there are some products that showed up in our home this year that were so, so lovely. To me, they are treasures and I’d personally recommend them to a dear friend.

So here goes…my top 9 favorite things of 2019.

While I can’t speak for you, I’d much rather have a handful of nice things that I truly love rather than massive amounts of stuff and clutter.

Many of these are “big gifts” and if you are a budget-conscious family like us, please know that all of these things were acquired over time, not all at once 🙂

1. Berkey Filter

2019 was a big year of health and wellness for our family. I shared my thoughts here about drinking water around military bases. One of the biggest shockers for me was how many pharmaceuticals and hormone disruptors are in our drinking water, and gosh, I can’t tell you how many moms I know who are trying to figure out why their hormones are so wonky.

The Berkey has given our family huge piece of mind, and we have the travel one which means we can easily take it camping.

2. R. Riveter bags

I absolutely love veteran and military spouse owned companies. Each R. Riveter handbag embarks on a journey across the country before arriving on your doorstep. Every part and piece that goes into your new American Handmade bag – from the hand-stitched liner to the hand-cut leather – is crafted and secured by different military spouse Riveters stationed coast to coast.

This is what makes your handbag so special when you receive it! I personally own the Corbin Signature Black Canvas, but I would recommend any of their bags to a close friend.

3. Tranql Lavender Blankets

Weighted blankets are popping up all over the place to help parents or kids sleep better, but also to help with anxiety or sensory support.

Weighted blankets help your kiddos fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and ease your stress and anxiety. It’s recommended to start with a weight that is about 10% of your child’s body weight.

Child sleeping with lavender weighted blanket from

But here’s the best part – the part that makes them different than any other weighted blanket out there – it includes 100 grams of dried lavender inside the blanket. This adds to the relaxation effect.

You can pre-order yours at 50% off retail! Just use “tranqlholiday5” at checkout!

4. Young Living

If you have a friend or family member that’s been bugging you to try essential oils, I highly recommend talking more about it with them!

While Young Living is known for oils, it’s their supplements that have truly transformed our family’s health this year – for me personally, my hormones are finally balanced and my pitiful and depressing acne is gone. My husband uses many of their fitness and immune supporting supplements and our kids take all the Young Living kid vitamins.

Little boy holding a bottle of white angelica essential oil cupped in his hands. He likes to use it with the help of his mother as an essential oil for stress.

Taking care of my body from the inside out is something I used to neglect. I think this happens often – especially for mothers when we are often putting everyone else’s needs first. Getting the right supplements into my body has made a huge impact on my sleep, energy and overall health.

5. Yeti Cooler and Supplies

You see this brand popping up all over the place, and there’s a reason: It’s good stuff. These coolers keep ice for days! They’re easy to maneuver and don’t break like other common cooler brands do over time. It’s an investment you can count on for years to come.

6. Experience Gifts

“Gifts of stuff are junk food. And junk food is definitely fun as a sometimes treat.

But gifts of experience will fill you up and stick with you. Same goes for your spouse, your kids, and your Aunt Susan who’s had 60+ years of getting gifts of stuff.

To help myself fight my own default mode of ‘more, more, more’ this and future holiday seasons, for the past few years, I LOVE this list of the best experience gift ideas. Not the experience gifts that will make your loved ones roll their eyes. But the experience gifts they’ll adore.”

7. Open-Ended Toys

Children learn best through open ended toys, which offer more play opportunities to children than complex toys. Simple, basic playthings such as blocks, dollhouses, and art supplies have multiple purposes. With simple toys, play is up to the child’s mood and creative interpretation.

get ready to gift your kids some incredible open ended toys that will last for years!

When kids play with open ended toys, they are developing social skills, problem-solving skills, language skills, communication skills, cognitive ability, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self regulation, creativity and more.

If you want to cut back or end screen-time and get your child to play independently, check out my huge list of open ended toys and see if you have a good collection of open ended toys in your home.

8. Color Street Nails

I never, I repeat never manicured or painted my nails…until the past year. I started working to grow my nails after my friend introduced me to Color Street. Whether you use a solid color or a design, they look professionally done for a fraction of the cost.

I even put this beautiful set on while my husband and I were on a road trip.

There’s no nail polish I’d trust to do that with. Another bonus is the Color Street nail stickers are made from real nail polish, which means you can remove them with nail polish remover. Easy peasy!

My daughter loves them too, and they hold up excellent to harsh kid play in the dirt or playground.

If you have a friend who is a rep, I definitely recommend going through them. If you don’t have a rep, you’re welcome to order Color Street through my rep Krystyn. I don’t get anything for telling you about her, but she’s been wonderful to me and I’m happy to share about her.

9. Purple Mattress

My husband always says, “Don’t compromise or spare expense on things that separate you from the ground.” 🙂

After years of visiting our family cottage in the Midwest, we could no longer stand – literally – after sleeping on horrible mattresses. Since we are stationed out West, I wanted to order a mattress that one of my family members could drive up to the cottage with either a sedan or small SUV.

Purple Mattress is non-toxic – a huge selling point to me – AND it arrives to your doorstep in a compact package. Unlike other mattresses that arrive rolled up, it does not have kinks or lumps when you take it out of the package. We slept excellent on this and I’d highly recommend it.

Want more on holiday gift guides?

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