Or, A few of my favorite things
Every now and then I’ll be using some product I own and think, “I love this so much! Everyone needs to know how great this product is!” I thought it might help out my male readers if I threw all of this stuff together in one post to give them some gift ideas, so here we go:
NOTE: These really are just products I like — I was not contacted by any of these companies to endorse these products.
1. The Chop Wizard
Many a time while cooking dinner I have found myself writing odes to my Chop Wizard in my head. This is one of the rare products that is actually just as awesome as it looks in the infomercial (though, granted, I am actually just as inept at chopping things as the woman flailing around with a knife in the black-and-white “before Chop Wizard” vignette). It makes chopping stuff like onions and garlic a snap, and is great for making baby finger food.
Approximate cost: $25
She’ll like it if: she cooks regularly.
She might not like it if: she’s an expert-level chef, in which case she can probably chop stuff just as easily without it.
2. Hoover Steam Vac
This won’t quality for “most romantic gift ever, ” but I love my Steam Vac so much that I would be remiss to not mention it here. I posted a picture of the dirt it got out of our carpet in #2 here. Thanks to this vacuum, my once-white carpet no longer looks like we have a family hobby of hosting mud wrestling matches while drinking Kool-Aid. (By the way, I just noticed that it’s available for free shipping on Amazon — nice!)
Approximate cost: $150
She’ll like it if: she’s OK with practical gifts and has a carpeted house.
She might not like it if: she doesn’t have a carpeted house or is the type of gal who wouldn’t appreciate a vacuum as a gift. (Hint: if your wife/girlfriend enjoys elaborate, ultra-romantic Valentine’s Day celebrations, you’ll probably want to avoid this one.)
3. Hanging Pot Rack
I mentioned in #5 here how much more I love my kitchen after my husband installed a hanging pot rack. No more noisy pot and pan avalanches every time I go to cook! Also, I will add that the instillation was a big part of the gift. Things like that always take forever to get done, and to have my husband just put it up while I was out one day was a really special treat.
Approximate cost: $40 – $150 (ours was around $45)
She’ll like it if: she cooks regularly and has ever complained about disorganized pot cabinets.
She might not like it if: she doesn’t cook regularly or doesn’t have many pots and pans. Also, if she is into decorating, you may want to feel out the subject to make sure she’d like the way it looks.
4. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20
We went in with my dad to get this camera for my mom last Christmas, and we’ve all been very happy with it. I have a Canon Rebel, which I also love, but this one is even better for casual daily photo type stuff. It takes pictures quickly (which is critical for getting good shots of busy toddlers) and the colors are vivid. It also has tons of other cool features like a setting that takes a picture when the camera detects a smile.
Approximate cost: $250
She’ll like it if: she takes pictures regularly and doesn’t currently have a camera she loves.
She might not like it if: she’s really into photography — this is more a camera for a photo-loving amateur.
5. My Favorite Cookbook
Just last night my husband and I were eating steaming bowls of okra-rice soup made from a recipe in my 12 Months of Monastery Soups cookbook, raving about how much we love that book. Not only have I yet to make a recipe from it that isn’t fantastic, but as we eat we can just imagine the monks in Br. D’Avila-Latourrette’s monastery eating the exact same thing that night. The recipes are easy, seasonal, cheap, healthy and delicious. Comfort food at its finest!
Approximate cost: $17
She’ll like it if: she likes cooking, especially if she enjoys seasonal eating with fresh ingredients.
She might not like it if: …I don’t know. I can’t imagine someone not liking this cookbook.
6. CHI Flat Iron
I bought this back in my days of “spending way too much money on frivolous beauty stuff, ” and I have to say that I’m glad I did. I never cease to be amazed at how good my hair looks after using the flat iron — and it only takes about three minutes! It’s a great little treat that a lot of women would find too pricey to buy for themselves, but makes a great gift.
Approximate cost: $175 (though Amazon currently has it on sale for $70)
She’ll like it if: she enjoys dressing up when she goes out to dinners or events.
She might not like it if: she has naturally board-straight hair, a very short haircut, or is an expert at doing her hair (in which case she probably already has one).
7. A Deluxe Showerhead
I have to admit that this one wasn’t my idea (I don’t have one), but a friend of mine raved that this was one of the best gifts she’s received in a long time. Like me, she’s a busy mom who has little time for relaxing, so to have a luxury showerhead really gets her days off to a nice start.
Approximate cost: $40
She’ll like it if: she’s so busy that the simple act of taking a shower is a special treat, or if she generally like spa-treatments type stuff.
She might not like it if: she already has something like it, or doesn’t see showers as a special treat.
Approximate cost: varies widely, though bargains are easy to find online
She’ll like it if: she enjoys luxury stuff but rarely indulges herself.
She might not like it if: she’s into luxury products, in which case it’s likely that she already has something she likes.
9. The Rosary is a Place CD
I can’t tell you how much I love this recording of the rosary with Fr. Benedict Groeschel and singer Simonetta. Fr. Groeschel offers a thought-provoking introduction for each mystery, and the violin music in the background is deeply stirring. It never fails to bring me peace whenever I listen to it.
Approximate cost: $9
She’ll like it if: she’s Catholic or open to Catholic practices, especially if she’s been feeling stressed out lately. (Even if she doesn’t normally pray the rosary, I think she’d like it.)
She might not like it if: she’s not open to Catholic beliefs (though I wouldn’t say you have to be a practicing Catholic to enjoy it).
10. Catholic Day Planner by Faith Calendars
Speaking of cool Catholic gifts, I count my purchase of my “All in God’s Time” Catholic day planner as a minor turning point in my life (it’s listed as the “professional” one on this page). I used it almost every single day of this year and loved having all the feast days and holy days of obligation noted for me. It’s truly one of my favorite items. (Though I haven’t tried this one, I’ve heard good things about the Family Centered Press’ day planner as well.)
Approximate cost: $18
She’ll like it if: she’s Catholic and busy enough to keep a calendar.
She might not like it if: she’s not Catholic or doesn’t keep a calendar.
11. Small Wine Refrigerator
I know, I know, this probably seems crazy to some people, but we really love our little wine refrigerator. Not only is it surprisingly nice to be able to drink wine at just the right temperature, but it gives us a place to store bottles as well.
Approximate cost: $150 – $350
She’ll like it if: she likes wine.
She might not like it if: she doesn’t like wine
12. Bose Sound Dock
One of the biggest things that came of my recent computer fast was that I re-discovered just how much music can change the tone of my entire day. Ever since then, I’ve been getting a lot of use out of the Bose Sound Dock my parents gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. It looks nice in the middle of the living room, and I love being able to turn on a favorite playlist at the touch of a button. Great, great gift.
Approximate cost: $250
She’ll like it if: she owns an iPod or other portable MP3 player.
She might not like it if: she doesn’t own a portable MP3 player or isn’t at home very much.
A final note: I know from personal experience how easy it is to get caught up in the shopping frenzy (ahem, #4 here), but it’s worth taking a step back to remember that that really isn’t what the season is all about. Especially if times are tough financially, I guarantee that the women in your life would appreciate a gift that has high love-to-expense ratio just as much as anything on this list, e.g. organizing an at-home date night for you and your wife where you do the cooking (even if it’s just a frozen lasagna from the store). In fact, the “gifts” that I hear my girlfriends rave about the most are the ones where their husband’s simply did something kind for them and spent no money at all!
I hope this is a help in your shopping endeavors. Female readers, feel free to tell us about your favorite products as well!
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