2023 Holiday Gift Guide … Family Style!

Full transparency! Some items included in this holiday gift guide were gifted to me for review and/or the shopping link is an affiliate where I earn a small commission. Thank you for trusting my recommendations … it’s one of my favorite things to compile this guide each year!

Well, well! Happy Thanksgiving and almost Black Friday!

The deals are hoppin’ and I’ve been so excited to press “publish” on this post so you could maximize the very best sales. They are good this year! Like, I’m impressed! They must know us mamas are in need of some super savings since all. the. things. have become more expensive. I’m looking at you, groceries!

Now, on to the good stuff. The gift guide!!!

First, a short preface … my girl Siraya at Stay At Home Zookeeper recently shared her family gifting plan and I loved it! She expounded on the popular “want need wear read” with two new categories – “learn” and “do”. Which, I might go out on a limb and say are the two best categories when it comes to buying and receiving! I’m jazzed to include recommendations for each in this year’s gift guide.

I also decided to recommend straight from my knowledge base … my own family! You won’t find teen boy recommendations, not there yet. Nor adult children, super girlie teens, college kids, or fur babies. Every other family member though, I’ve got winning gift ideas for you!


  • Want: House slippers are a mood and you know it’s one every great dad can fully embrace! Handmade in Nepal, Baabushka’s wool slippers are available in variety of styles and colors – in fact, don’t snag Baabushkas for just Dad, why not get Mom and Dad matching? And for when he’s out and about, these Nikes are a solid “Dad shoe” that check both the style and function box.
  • Need: Now, a Rollink suitcase won’t be a need for every dad, but for ours, a quality suitcase is must. Big big hearts for the Flex 360° Carry-On Spinner Suitcase.
  • Wear: Slowly but surely Dominic is aiming to add more wool products to his closet. These alpaca-based socks from Pacas are high quality and a perfect addition.
  • Read: Don’t worry, it’s not as heavy as it sounds >>> Take Back Your Family: From the Tyrants of Burnout, Busyness, Individualism, and the Nuclear Ideal
  • Learn: Dom is our official board game learner and teacher. It’s truly a blessing to have him in this role (even if it means he wins 2/3 times, lol!). Regardless, this Christmas he has been tasked with teaching us all Azul (currently 50% off!). Last year was Machi Koro. We can’t wait for some epic strategy, laughs, and *hopefully* lots of family bonding throughout.
  • Do: I’m tossing in another book option here, but really, it’s interactive, so it totally falls into the “do” category. Have you heard of StrengthsFinder 2.0? This book and included assessment (that’s the powerful part) is truly a gift in learning how to learn, grow, and succeed. A total confidence boost. Right now it’s 50% off and part of Amazon’s 3 for 2 sale – that’s basically 3 for the regular price of 1! Do yourself a favor and get 3 … or more >>> one for Dad, one for you, one to tuck away as a graduation gift, one for your teen who is exploring career options, your child’s teacher, your sister, etc. It is absolutely wonderful!


  • Want: Do I have a few things from Cozy Earth … yes? Do I want more? YES! Holy moly nothing beats this brand! My very favorite are the bamboo pullover crew and joggers set. Use code THATMAMAGRETCHEN for 40% off! You will NEVER regret it! And, I’ll add – they have a 10 year warranty and excellent customer service.
  • Need: Collagen peptide powder is a must in my morning shake. I’m absolutely loving this one from Forest Leaf!
  • Wear: 1More Fit Open Earbuds are going to be the perfect addition to my running gear. This style is a must when I’m more active. Speaking of, I prefer sun clothing over sunscreen and Coalatree has delivered with their Suray Sun Shirt. Perfect for runs, hiking, and more!
  • Read: Loved her first book, quickly falling in love with her second >>> Hard Is Not the Same Thing As Bad.
  • Learn: I’m learning to style my new, shorter hair and Cap’n Coconut Mermaid Spray is my new bestie! All natural too … I love when I can read/understand all the ingredients :)
  • Do: My list of things to dehydrate is LONG … welcome to the pantry Excalibur Dehydrator! We’re gonna have a blast!

Teen Sis

  • Want: One word … shoes. Chelsea boots – like these and these made her wish list. As well as Bearpaw shorty winter boots. I think some Crocs and Nikes are on the list too. It’s a very lucky thing we currently wear the same size because at the rate of her shoe acquisition at least I get to borrow something every once in awhile!
  • Need: Mini room makeover? Definitely a need for a teen! Do not miss out on the washable rugs from My Magic Carpet; priced well and very boho chic pattern options.
  • Wear: Mamas are gonna want these too! Totally obsessed with K’Lani hair tie bracelets … so adorable!
  • Read: The teen years are gold for experimenting in the kitchen and thus, I can’t wait to explore The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook with Jem (and then all the boys!). If you’d rather a fiction read, consider the English translation of the Japanese classic, How Do You Live?
  • Learn: Remember when you learned how to do your hair? Ok, ok, I’m still learning this! Well, the right tools make that job so much easier. Welcome to Jem’s beauty land, Calista! Five stars for the texturizer and finishing spray too.
  • Do: Get ready for some T. Swift inspired friendship bracelets! This bead kit is regularly $10 (steal!) and down to $8 as I type.

Tween Bro

  • Want: Legos! Any surprise there? This one will display well too!
  • Need: ‘Tis the season for adding facial care products to the tweens hygiene routine. I didn’t want to hand him mine or his sisters so consider me thrilled to have been introduced to SKWAD. This starter set rocks!
  • Wear: Hello Kidpik! This monthly subscription box has super hip items at a great price point. You can buy individual pieces too. If it’s time to upgrade that wardrobe for the tween years, Kidpik is a top pick!
  • Read: For fact collectors, this book is pure gold >>> Meet the Megafauna!: Get to Know 20 of the Largest Animals to Ever Roam the Earth
  • Learn: Playing cards are one of those super simple, but super diverse learning activities. From actual card games to magic tricks, snag a cool deck of Bicycle playing cards and your tween (plus a little YouTube training) might just wow you!
  • Do: Max has no idea how much he is going to love the X-Terra Pro Treasure Hunter. Oh my word. I cannot wait for him to put this thing to use! Truly, all the boys (Dad down to Charlie) are going to be thrilled!

Elementary Bro(s)

  • Want: It’s Legos. The boys want Legos. No surprise there. But, to jazz things up a bit I’m going to pair the two new Indiana Jones Lego sets with a privilege coupon to watch the first movie while they build. Totally memorable, right?!?
  • Need: Boys + emotions. My oh my, it’s an education I didn’t know I (or they) needed. Which, is exactly why Mindful & Co feels like a lifesaver! Their Happy Hearts Board Game as well as their collection of weighed plush are a beautiful gateway to rich conversation, peace, and emotional intelligence growth.
  • Wear: It’s sock upgrade time ’round here! Stance socks are THE BEST … and actually hold up to pass down from brother to brother. Amen to that!
  • Read: The boys are absolutely obsessed with book series right now >>> Kingdom of Wrenly, Magic Treehouse, Who Was/Is?, Boxcar Children, Ranger In Time, Mercy Watson … and every one has so many books. Enter 1) the library and 2) Thriftbooks. Secondhand I can afford to get them a few for their collection. Plus, when you spend $30 at Thriftbooks you earn a free book! And, if you’re a teacher (homeschooling counts!), every 5th book in your order is free with code 4TEACHERS. I know, I know … your home library just exploded. Sorrynotsorry. :)
  • Learn: The boys love popcorn and I love keeping them hands on in the kitchen, thus, the Air Crazy Popcorn Machine will be one of those gifts that keeps on giving! Don’t forget to include popcorn kernels. They’re going to want a homemade snack ASAP!
  • Do: Pop Out! books are rad … and so interactive! They absolutely count as a “do”. And “read” and “learn”, basically, so cool and less than $10. So far they have a Space Travel, Dinosaur, and Around the World Theme.

Preschool Niece

  • Want: The winter months can be so hard for active little ones. So, plan to get those wiggles out with the very awesome Kidtrix doorway swing!
  • Need: Quite boring, but a very essential need >>> quality toothpaste like this one from Weleda.
  • Wear: My sweet niece has the best collection of dress up clothes (you can never go wrong there for preschoolers!), but what I love the most is when she and her cousins turns their play silks into some kind of imagination character. Definitely nab these, or some like them, during Black Friday sales.
  • Read: Preschoolers adore picture books, but you know what else they love? Activity books >>> Learn by Sticker!
  • Learn: Card games and puzzles are always A+ gifts for preschoolers. I have about a hundred recommendations for each, but for now we’ll go with a few recent finds >>> Ratty Ruckus and this United States Puzzle Map (75 pieces which is perfect for that Pre-K age!). Truly, everything we have from Skillmatics is excellent so browse their offerings for the whole fam.
  • Do: Imagination play is my favorite thing to encourage and the little mice from Maileg are the perfect way to encourage such experiences. I especially love this sweet princess and the pea mouse! Swoon!

Toddler Bro

  • Want: Charlie doesn’t know he wants a toniebox, but as soon as he gets the hang of it he’s going to be tonie crazy! I love screen free stories and music and the toniebox is super toddler friendly. Best of all, spend $50 and get $15 off!
  • Need: Why yes, Charlie does need his own art supplies. Cross my heart it will bring peace to our home (AKA no more fussing because everyone has their own box of colors now!). If you feel this too grab these washable toddler peanut crayons for your littlest. Done and done.
  • Wear: Embrace the pajamas life! The Avauma jammies from Amazon are our absolute fave and 20% off is definitely the stock up price.
  • Read: Simple search and find books have become one of our favorites, especially on long car rides >>> Where’s Bluey? and Avengers (this makes him feel like such a big boy having his own superhero book)
  • Learn: Building toys are my favorite learning activities and the 14 piece Magformer set is my go to! We take this little set into restaurants in a fabric zippered bag my mom made and Charlie loves building while we wait for our meal.
  • Do: Most purchase the Veer Basecamp for summer adventures (at least I think so …) me, on the other hand, can’t wait to set it up in the winter! Indoor tent fun? Reading nook? Sleepover space? Yes please! Basically, it’s an imagination station!

Baby Niece + Nephew

  • Want: It’s a rare baby that needs another swaddle, but there is no way you can pass up the cuteness from Little Hometown. These state-inspired swaddles are THE CUTEST!
  • Need: Not technically for baby, but if it’s a need for mom, it’s a need for baby and these silver nursing cups are a need with a capital N!!!
  • Wear: To wear or to be worn? That is the question? Basically, I will recommend Tula forever and always. The best soft-structure carrier out there.
  • Read: This book is rated as the #1 most gifted for a reason >>> Poke-a-Dot!
  • Learn: Life is learning for new littles ones, but if you must gift a toy to a baby for Christmas, gift a good one like these beautiful and simple wood blocks that will grow with them.
  • Do: One of my very favorite baby activities is bath time. Especially once they’re able to sit solo – squishy cuteness! Embrace this activity with a consumable bath time gift set from Pipette. We love their body wash and baby balm most of all!

And, for those who you just can’t figure out what to surprise them with … check out Postable. They’ve partnered with Goody so with your sweet note of holiday cheer you can include a QR code that will allow them to redeem a specially curated gift. I could see this being an awesome gift for employees, teachers, and service providers too!

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