This is an epic family gift guide! Find something to wear, something to read, something to want, and something to need for everyone!
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Even though I don’t particularly enjoy shopping in stores, I LOVE putting together family gift guides every year and selecting gifts for everyone. I take my time, read lots of reviews, really consider what is worth both the financial cost and the cost of storage space once the item is at home. I make multiple lists and check them (much more than) twice!
I don’t take it lightly that I have the privilege of sharing ideas and hopefully helping you in your own gift shopping for the holidays. What an awesome thing to be able to do! I love my job.
This year, I’m only doing new two gift guides. First up is this family gift guide for the kids, for mom, for dad, and even this year, for the grandparents. It’s still (barely) October when I’m typing this, which feels so early to be writing about holiday shopping. But with the push to shop early came the push to get gift guides out early too.
I won’t spend long talking about anything, but just let me briefly explain how I do the whole family gift guide each year (since 2017). The items on this list are both things that we have really loved this year and so can whole-heartedly recommend, as well as items that will be under our tree this year that I’m super excited about. The list is organized by “what to wear, what to read, what to want, and what to need”, first for kids, then for mom, then for dad.
There are thus a LOT of ideas in this list in total, but also a lot of variety.
This year I also tried to consider our gifts with a few new categories. I wanted each child to have something that would be immediate gratification, something that would be delayed gratification (lessons, subscriptions, etc), new craft/art supplies, and practical items that will be used all year long. I am hoping that this helps to reduce the overwhelm on Christmas morning because the kids are getting less, but also simply different kinds of things too.
Finally, upon request, I added categories for gifts that could be “whole family gifts” and a section for grandparent gifts (other than the usual handprints and framed photos– which are always a must!)
As always, if you find my guides useful, share them with a friend! And, if you find some new favorite small shops and makers, be sure to follow them and share their work too. Liking/commenting/sharing is a really effective (and free) way to show support!
(Check out my other gift guides on the holiday gift guides page. You will find gifts organized more by category there).
2021 Holiday Family Gift Guide!
For the Kids
SOMETHING TO WEAR
- new “winter” pajamas for all the kids :: we always give these on Christmas eve. At this point, my older boys no longer want typical pajamas, so they get a new pair of sweatpants/joggers s a fun holiday tee. (I’ve already ordered all of ours from Old Navy during their last 50% off sale)
- new Ariat boots :: my 7yo will be stalelWarting horse riding lessons in the new year, and we are gifting her with boots as a “preview” gift. (My 11yo wears his Ariat boots every day all day, and my husband also wears his daily to work and such).
- Timex kids digital watches :: my 11yo and 9yo both have these watches (in different colors), and I’m looking at getting one for my 7yo
- Trifold Puma Wallets :: for my 11yo and 9yo boys. I love that this wallet also has a zipper pocket for coins. In the past, they have had wallets but no place to keep coins. This wallet has great reviews, but bear in mind that they probably aren’t good for kids younger than 9 if you want them to fit in their pockets (according to the reviews).
- earrings :: my 7yo got her ears pierced this year, and my 4yo is into everything big sister does… so they will both be getting earrings (clip ons for the 4yo)
SOMETHING TO READ
- Illustrated Hobbit :: for my 5yo. My husband read the Hobbit to my older boys when they were around 5. Now he can read it again to fresh little ears. This book is nice enough to be a lifelong keepsake.
- The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature :: I’ve heard great things about this book and always wanted to get it. I think it will be perfect to hold my 5yo’s attention since he already loves the Berenstain Bears
- The Wonders of Nature :: My 9yo has the animal anthology in this series and loves it. He will be excited to add this one to his personal library
- The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven :: for my 9yo and 11yo. Both my older boys love this series. This will be a fun reference book for them to share.
- Theodore Boone Book Set :: for my 9yo and 11yo. My 11yo has read the first two books in the series and really enjoyed them.
- Listified: Britannica’s 300 Lists that will blow your mind :: I’m sure my 11yo will find this fascinating and will revisit these lists again and again
- Silmarillion:: we got this for my 11yo this year. He is already a huge fan of Tolkein, and has thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories. The hardback is an excellent keepsake
- World of Tolkein box set :: This set was a gift to my 11yo last Christmas. All of my kids enjoying pulling out these books and looking through the pages. This is a great buy for any fans of Tolkein.
- Pembrick’s Creaturepedia, Andrew Peterson :: a collection of the creatures found in the Wingfeather Saga. We are big fans of this series and I know my kids will excited about the Creaturepedia
- The Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Creatures :: this is a fun book for my 7yo to explore and add to her personal library
- Little Women, The Secret Garden, & Anne of Green Gables picture book adaptations :: These three books are for both my girls. They are already familiar with these stories, but I really look forward to reading these picture book versions with them.
- Horse Life: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Riding Horses :: this book is perfect for my 7yo who will be starting riding lessons in the new year
SOMETHING TO WANT
- Thames & Kosmos Chemistry Set :: this was near the top of my 9yo’s list. I did a lot of research looking for a chemistry set that wasn’t only household items and plastic. This one looks great and has great reviews. I like that it is an intro set, but not too simplistic. There are also more advanced sets by the same company.
- MELS Chemistry Subscription :: my 11yo is getting a monthly subscription to MELS Science. I’m really excited for him. The kits are really high quality, and when you sign up for the chemistry subscription, you get the starter supplies for free. Each month he will get a box with 2-3 experiments in it, and can further the learning with online teaching.
- Thames & Kosmos Geckobot :: for my 9yo. I love that it’s a more involved build, but can also be made into other projects.
- Thames & Kosmos Cyborg Hand :: for my 11yo. How cool is this?!
- Remote Control Spider :: for my 5yo, not to be left out of the tech gifts.
- Plus Blocks :: these blocks are great for all ages, and are great to use during school time, or to keep tucked away for playing during down time on errands. They can be made into innumerable projects!
- Our Generation horses, trailer, & stable :: my girls are horse-crazy and already have a few of the OG horses in different sizes. Instead of buying them more horses, I wanted to get some things they can use with what they already have– like the horse trailer and stable.
- Bruder John Deer Tractor with Trailer :: for my 5yo. I love open ended toys that can be played with with what we already have, or in the yard, for months to come. A tractor and trailer is just that, and Bruder tractors are built to last.
- Lego Sets :: each kid will get 1 new lego set, complexity and size based on their ages and interests
SOMETHING TO NEED
- New backpack :: I bought a light blue Walker Family Goods Arrow backpack for my 4yo. My older daughter has used an Arrow backpack this year and it’s been great. (You can save 15% in the Walker Family Goods shop with my code THISPILGRIMLIFE15)
- Walker Family Goods slings for my big boys :: I bought these for my 9yo and 11yo to use when wading to carry their fishing tackle and gear. I love the colors, pockets, and size. I fully intend on borrowing it as needed too! (You can save 15% in the Walker Family Goods shop with my code THISPILGRIMLIFE15)
- Opinel kids’ cooking set :: we have been using this set for months and its been a great set for my younger kids– comes with a knife, peeler, and finger guard
- LED Rechargeable Clip-On Book Light :: my 7yo has one of these already. I like that it charges instead of relying on batteries. I am going to get more for my other readers.
- Disc Golf Bag :: disc golf is one of our favorite family activities. My husband and now oldest son have this bag to carry their discs and water bottles around the course.
- HydroCell Water Bottles :: we gifted these to our kids last Christmas and have used them weekly since. One child has lost hers, so she will get a new one this Christmas. They keep ice and water cold in the heat of summer for hours.
- Water Bottle Slings :: these are something I have been planning on giving my kids for a while. They need them for hikes when they only need to carry their water bottles.
CRAFT & CREATE
- Art Carrying Case :: for my 7yo who is drawing and creating more and more, just like her older brothers.
- Round Quick Knit Loom :: for my 7yo. my kids love making potholders on their looms, but this will give them a new project to work on
- Wonderful World of Horses Coloring Book :: I love Dover coloring books. I collect them for different topics and make copies from them. This one will make my girls very excited
- Paracord Outdoor Gear DIY Craft Book & Crafting Essentials Kit :: a handy craft kit for my outdoorsy boys
- Micron Ink Pen Set :: these are my kids’ preferred drawing pens. They love the different tips on the pens.
- 50 Things to Do with A Penknife: Cool Craftsmanship & Survival-Skill Projects :: this book has really cool projects! I gifted it to the kids early so we could use it on our trip to the mountains
- LCD Drawing Pad :: we bought these for the kids earlier this year and they have been a big hit for months. I keep a couple tucked in my purse for drawing while we are out of the house.
- Pottery Tools & Clay :: these simple clay tools really help while working with clay. This is the clay we get too. Highly recommend each.
- Friendship Bracelet Maker & Book :: I’m going to give this to my 7yo on her birthday a couple of weeks after Christmas, but I wanted to include it here because it’s so cool!
For the Mama
SOMETHING TO WEAR
- LEMS hiking shoes :: After wanting these shoes for a year, I finally bought them before our getaway in the mountains. I love them! They were so comfortable hiking around the Blue Ridge mountains.
- Raycon Wireless Earbuds :: I wear bluetooth headphones everyday for work, audiobooks, podcasts, and even the occasional phone call. I recently switched to this style and I am very happy with them! I got the rose gold color.
- Jewelry from The Bohemian Bluebird :: this is my go-to shop for handmade earrings, simple necklaces, and cuffs! (Get 15% off with the code PILGRIM15)
- Full Hands, Full Heart Motherhood T-Shirt from The Bohemian Bluebird :: love this simple t-shirt! I have another Bohemian Bluebird shirt and it’s one of my favorites. (Get 15% off with the code PILGRIM15)
- Grins and Grace tees :: these are hands down my favorite t-shirts! Mel does such a great job designing and printing her shirts, and they are excellent quality. (Get 20% off with the code THISPILGRIMLIFE)
- Ear Warmers, Messy Bun Hats, & Headbands from Jordans Gems :: these are my go-to add-ons for “mom hair” days
- Naomi Saddlebag purse & Rachel Wristlet:: Able has an excellent selection of high quality purses, totes, jewelry and more. For Mother’s Day this year, I treated myself to these two Able “purses” and got a wristlet for my mother-in-law. She tells me she uses it all the time! I love that you can choose different colors of leather.
- Make-up and Skincare from Toups & Co :: I met Emilie at a conference this fall and was able to check out her products. I’ve heard about them from Venison For Dinner for a while, but finally had the chance to try out some of the products myself. I love her lipsticks and mascara, and am looking forward to trying more.
SOMETHING TO READ
- Owls & Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays, Mary Oliver
- Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
- Fighting Words Devotional: 100 Days of Speaking Truth into the Darkness, Ellie Holcomb
- When Strivings Cease, Ruth Chou Simons
- The God of the Garden, Andrew Peterson
- Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song, Sandra McCracken
- Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners, Dane Ortlund
- Once Upon A Wardrobe: A Story of Narnia and a Sister’s Love, Patti Callahan
SOMETHING TO WANT
- Julia Rothman Farm, Food, & Nature Engagement Calendar :: we love our Julia Rothman Anatomy books, and this is a fun way to enjoy the collection in journal form all year. I gifted this to myself already!
- Weighted Eye Mask :: this recommendation is from Naptime Kitchen, and I knew it belonged on MY wishlist this year!
- Lore Pemberton Art :: I fell in love with her art this year and have already purchased a few prints for our home. They are so lovely and such great quality.
- Elizabeth Wade Story Maps :: if you are a literary lover, especially classic children’s stories, you definitely need to check out this shop. I’m thinking Little Women or Anne of Green Gables to display on the bookshelf. She also has stickers of each story map that I’m going to stuff in my kids’ stockings!
- New Mug & Vases from With Her Hands :: I found these at a local market and love her style and designs! I bought a few for more and some for my MIL.
- Candles from Linen & Spruce :: I love the candle scents in this shop, and I love being able to support this small business.
SOMETHING TO NEED
- Lodge 15″ Round Pan :: I have the 12″ skillet, but could use a larger one for our big family!
- “Adventure” Backpack :: At the beginning of summer, I got a Valley backpack from Walker Family Goods. It has been perfect for outings with my kids. It has a lot of pockets for easy organization and is really good quality. (You can save 15% in the Walker Family Goods shop with my code THISPILGRIMLIFE15)
- Ultralight High Back Camping Chair :: I’ve been using this chair for over a year. I love how easy it is to carry and set up, no matter where we are exploring or playing.
- Frigidaire Ice Maker :: I got this ice maker at Costco earlier this fall and we’ve been loving it. Its so easy, surprisingly fast, and makes great ice.
CRAFT & CREATE
- Watercolor in Nature: Paint Woodland Wildlife and Botanicals with 20 Beginner Friendly Projects :: I love watercolor painting, usually when my kids are painting as well, and I’m looking forward to getting this book and learning a few new techniques and getting direction for a few projects.
- Linocut Starter Set :: I have wanted to try linocut designs for a while now, and finally decided to get a starter set when we were studying Japan this fall. I appreciate that it’s a craft that isn’t very expensive, doesn’t take a lot of room to store, and can be done with my older kids.
- Flora & Fauna Nature Coloring Book :: Melissa Lyons, the artist behind Grins and Grace tees, has created a coloring book that’s now available on Amazon. I don’t usually go for coloring books for myself, but I love Mel’s designs, and all the pages in this book could be taken out and framed.
- Acrylic Painting for Beginners Course :: I have had my eye on this course for a while. I love Laurie’s art and she has been featured in many places. I’m looking forward to taking her course and making my own creativity more of a priority in 2022.
For the Dad
SOMETHING TO WEAR
- Crooked Creek Holler tshirt :: My husband is a fisherman. Crooked Creek Holler is a favorite shop of his– he is a big fan of Danny Reed’s artwork. (He even has one of his fished tattooed on his forearm!)
- Smith sunglasses :: these are the best. The chromopop are “happy sunglasses”. (I love my Smith sunglasses too).
- Skullcandy headphones :: my husband uses these daily for work, calls, books, podcasts, music, and more.
- Duluth Free Swinging flannel shirts :: the best flannel shirts!
SOMETHING TO READ
- The Bomber Mafia :: we enjoyed another book by Malcolm Gladwell recently and my husband mentioned wanting to read this one too.
- Mountains of the Mind :: this book looks interesting and is written by an author we already have on our shelf (Lost Words).
- Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver :: love Mary Oliver’s poetry and this one seems perfect for my outdoorsy husband
- Travels with Charlie Across America:: my husband is currently in a traveling mindset. This book looked like it would be fascinating and had great reviews.
SOMETHING TO WANT
- Shiatzu Neck Massager Pillow :: this was a Naptime Kitchen recommendation and it’s been so nice to use on sore muscles on the couch at the end of the day
- Warbonnet Hammock Blackbird XLC:: this hammock is perfect for packing light and sleeping in on camping trips. It is asymmetrical so the foot pocket helps you to sleep sideways more comfortably without any pressure on your feet and heels. It also has a built-in mosquito net and is two layers so you can add a sleeping pad to help you stay warm
- Queen Majesty Hot Sauce Set :: I got these for my husband last year and he loved them! We have since bought larger bottles to replace them.
- Land Cruiser Watercolor Print :: my husband had a land cruiser when we were in college that he rebuilt with his dad. This print is perfect for him.
- Stanley Coffee Pour Over :: I got this set for my husband to use since he travels weekly for work and and camps regularly too
SOMETHING TO NEED
- Boker Snack Pack :: travel cutlery + salt & pepper shaker
- Portable Ultralight Compact Camping Chair:: my husband got this chair to take on getaways because its so compact and portable. Perfect for camping and sitting around a fire.
- LED Flashlight w/ Rechargeable Batteries :: every guy needs a good flashlight. This is the light my husband keeps in his work bag. (He’s a home inspector)
- CRKT Squid Folding Compact Pocket Knife :: my husband likes this knife because it fits in your coin pocket and doesn’t ruin your pants. CRKT is an excellent knife brand.
- Disc Golf bag :: my husband got this bag first, then we got a second one for my oldest son. Recommend for anyone who enjoys playing disc golf!
CRAFT & CREATE
- Behmor Coffee Roaster :: My husband asked for a coffee roaster last Christmas and did a lot of research on the kind he should get. He settled on the Behmor 2000A. He’s been very happy with it and I’ve been very happy with fresh roasted coffee all year!
- Rodale’s Organic Gardening :: this book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in gardening and growing their own food
For the Family
- Disc golf discs or backyard/portable basket:: disc golf is a great family activity because it is free to play (once you have the equipment) and can be done with all ages. (literally have played with babies on my back… though I didn’t throw as hard!) If your family enjoys being outdoors together, you should look into this fun sport!
- tabletop ping pong set :: this is another past Christmas present that has given our family so much fun! My husband and I use it the most, always paired with some fun music.
- 1000 Hours Outside Activity Book:: ready to go activity ideas to keep kids busy outside
- Kingdoms Lawn Game :: like bocci ball, but more fun. I want to get this for us to play at home or take along to parks!
- Echo Studio Smart Speaker with 3D Audio & Alexa :: we have this speaker in our living room (which opens up to our kitchen and dining room). The sound quality is excellent and we love it for audiobooks, background music, dance parties, and random questions for Alexa.
- Weighted Blanket :: a nice blanket to keep for cozying up this winter on the couch is on my list for my family!
- New Family Game :: Family Trivial Pursuit, Settlers of Catan, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and Dragon Wood are some of our favs.
- Big Book of Lego Creations :: 75 new projects from our favorite Lego book author
- Audible Membership:: our whole family loves and benefits from our Audible membership! We listen in the car, at home, going to sleep, while doing crafts or eating at the table, while washing dishes… all the books, all the time! Highly recommend!
For the Grandparents
- Devotional book :: Embraced, 100 Devotions to Know that God is Holding You Close by Lysa TerKeurst, or When Strivings Cease by Ruth Simons
- Coffee Table Book :: last year I got my FIL (and us) the Photo Ark book, which is an amazingly stunning book. This year I’m thinking the Greatest Landscapes would be an enjoyable, incredible book to peruse.
- Wall Calendar :: either from GraceLaced (what I got last year) or a hymns calendar from Little Things Studio
- Souper Cubes :: Souper Cubes would be a great idea for grandparents to be able to freeze food in smaller portions and save leftovers easily for another night. You can even put Souper Cubes in the oven to bake!
- Bird Feeder :: I looooove all the unique bird feeders you can find on Uncommon Goods, especially the love birds swing!
- Rechargeable Hand Massager with Heat :: not only relaxing, but also good for sore joints and hands.
- Weighted Eye Mask :: apply slight pressure and even a little warmth with this eye mask
- Pie of the Month Club :: I am making up this monthly subscription for my father-in-law who loooooves pie. I am going to buy a smaller pie dish and each month I will deliver a fresh pie-for-two, and then freezer pop-tarts made with the other half of the pie ingredients.
- Audible Membership :: a membership and book recommendations would be a great gift idea!
- Minnetonka Slippers :: super comfortable slippers with a sturdy sole, plus they come in lots of great colors!