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The Cup of Jo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

2017 Cup of Jo Holiday Gift Guide

This year, we’ve kicked off our holiday gift guide a little earlier than usual, starting with 10 awesome gifts for kids. And here are present ideas for best friends, one of our favorite categories. Over the next few weeks, we’ll update this post with links, as we publish more guides for everyone on your list. We hope you love them!

10 gifts for kids
11 gifts for best friends
10 gifts for dads
12 gifts for moms
12 gifts for sisters
11 gifts for brothers
12 gifts for boyfriends/husbands
11 gifts for girlfriends/wives
Gifts for people who are hard to shop for (co-workers, teachers, in-laws, teenagers, even pets!)

Here’s the complete 2016 gift guide, if you’d like to browse.

Here we go!

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Ivy says...

    What about a dad who is not into traditional dad gifts? I’m talking about the guy who has no use for whisky stones, prefers Coors Banquet over any other beverage, wears overalls (because they’re comfortable, not stylish), and would never be caught in a tie. My dad smokes a pack a day, likes to fish, and prefers time with his cattle over people. There’s gotta be other dads like that, right??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we have a guide coming up for people who are hard to shop for — with all sorts of ideas. hopefully that will help!!

  2. Carolina says...

    Love this section! I’m looking foward to read your gift guides every year!

  3. Alex says...

    Thank you for starting earlier! I always enjoy your gift guides, but as a compulsive planner I need an earlier start. Looking forward to all of them!

  4. I love the gift guides! It would be great to have a couple of suggestions for clients of small companies. I’m a financial adviser looking for personal but professional goodies.

  5. Natalie R says...

    I’d love to see a gift guide for Tweens; it’s a hard age to buy for. Thanks for putting these together!

    • Christina says...

      I would LOVE this too! It’s definitely a tricky age.

    • Angela says...

      I love a Cup of Jo gift guides and posting this link because I don’t think it competes with what this blog is doing! But, here is a link to a great tween gift guide! If you scroll and has different categories in “Childern.” https://www.dosaygive.com/holiday-gift-guide/children/

      ( I am not affiliated with that blog, just find it helpful!)

  6. I want to see everyone! I need ideas! I need to buy the presents and I don’t know what to buy! :)

  7. Lin says...

    I love your gift guides, but please do one for tweens and teens. Your “kids” section always seems focused on kids under 8.

    • Natalie R says...

      I second that!

    • Susan says...

      Agreed! Teen girls are so hard. The clothes they ask for just aren’t fun to open Christmas morning.

  8. I’d love to see a gift guide for pregnant friends!

  9. Kate says...

    I would love a guide/guidelines on what to get for my FedEx delivery driver/mail carrier/office cleaners/etc! They make my world go round and I want to do a little something extra for them!

    • Sasha says...

      Is money the usual thing? As a person who does one of those *world go round* jobs (nanny), personally, $$ at the holidays is very appreciated.

    • Carrie says...

      Aw that’s nice! Good idea!

    • Libbie says...

      During my holiday baking, I package up a few cookies and treats to give to my mail carrier, FedEx driver, eyebrow lady, etc. It always seems appreciated, and it doesn’t take much additional effort or money, since I’m doing it anyway!

    • I got to know one of our mail carriers as well as one gets to know a mail carrier. He would always go the extra mile to make sure our packages were kept safe, and was just a really nice guy (he was like Mr. McFeely on Mr. Rogers). I typically left homemade cookies for the prior mailman, but I wanted to give this guy a little more, so I got him a gift card to a European pasty shop near our house. He was very appreciative.

  10. Beth says...

    I always love your guides and look forward to them every year! Thank you for posting them earlier this year…last year I had completed most of my shopping before your guides were published.

  11. julie says...

    such a tease to put this post up without actually publishing the next guide :)

    • Faith says...

      Right?! Now I’ll be checking the site every day. :D

  12. Natalia says...

    This year I’m planning to gift my mother and sister some jewelry from The Starfish Project, which is a beautiful initiative, you should check it out! :)

    • Sasha says...

      Sak saum is a similar organization with lovely gifts. Thanks for the tip on the Starfish Project.

  13. PS says...

    Sorry for the sad reply, but reaching out in hopes of some guidance. We recently lost our dad and I am personally dreading the holidays. I don’t mean to tell the wonderful Cup of Jo team what to write about, but it would be so helpful to learn how others honor their loved ones during the holidays. Thank you for always bringing beauty, love, and light to the world with this amazing blog <3

    P.S. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your gift guides!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a beautiful, idea, PS. thank you so much for writing. i’m so, so sorry for your loss. what was your father’s name? he sounds like a wonderful person, and he must be deeply missed.

    • Sasha says...

      PS, what a wonderful idea. I hope coj writes about this, would be so helpful for many. I’m so sorry you lost your dad. I’m sure it’s really hard coming up to the holidays and missing him. I think just taking a moment at your holiday dinner and sharing memories of him would be lovely. Maybe let others know before hand?

    • Heather says...

      PS, so sorry for your loss. Holidays make losing a loved one especially hard.

      Talk about him. Reminisce about happy memories. Laugh, cry, repeat. Hug each other. Spray his cologne or wear a shirt he loved. Honor him during the holiday season by remembering and talking about all of the joy he brought you while he walked this earth. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t mentally or emotionally prepared to have this story-book buoyant, bright holiday. It’s okay to grieve and miss someone dearly. <3

    • Nicole says...

      I’m so sorry about your dad. I lost my dad, suddenly and unexpectedly, a few years ago and the first Christmas without him was very hard for me, so I get where you’re coming from and I feel for you and your family.

      Are there special traditions you valued that you shared with him for the holidays that you could continue in his honor? For instance, I always associate carving a jack-o-lantern with my dad, so each Halloween I place a pumpkin on his grave; this way I’ve made a new and special tradition for myself as a way of keeping his place and his memory in my celebrations.

      Also, the first Christmas after my dad passed away, I got my family members a book of pictures of him that I put together using Pinhole Press (thanks cupofjo!), which everyone treasures and displays in their homes. It was an emotional gift for people to open, so it might feel too raw for you to do that just yet, but it was a way that I honored him in that year.

    • PS says...

      Thank you all for these loving comments and suggestions. The Cup of Jo community is incredible. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and struggling to cope through the holidays — it helps so much to know you’re not alone. <3 <3 <3

      Joanna, I can't express how much it means for you to ask his name — no one ever does. His name was Richard, but I called him Tata. Thank you so much.

    • Carrie says...

      So very sorry for your loss :( My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. My parents are divorcing, so I am also feeling pain at the thought of the upcoming holidays but for a different reason.

    • Cooper says...

      I’m taking a day off work in the midst of the holiday season just to reflect/grieve. Even just knowing that the day is set aside and waiting for me has already been helpful. I haven’t quite figured out what I will do that day, but I hope it will leave me feeling a little more centered and able to engage in the festivities!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Tata, that is so lovely. I’m sure you brought him so much joy. xoxo

    • Cynthia says...

      I’m sorry for your loss. My mom passed away in 2016, and we reminisced about how she was missing her Christmas Eve supper, which I think she liked better than Christmas dinner. We made it through Christmas Day, and my daughters and son-in-law, my cousin and her husband, and my mother-in-law were there, so it was nice even though we all missed my mom.

  14. R.M. says...

    Woohoo! I’ve been looking forward to this year’s gift guides. They are one of the first things to get me in the spirit of the holidays. I love finding gifts that will inspire joy.

  15. Tawnie Bryant says...

    I wait for this every year!!!

  16. Annie says...

    Yippee!
    Would love help on gifting for my husband’s new boss who is throwing the holiday party at his home…

  17. Gabrielle says...

    YAY! I look forward to the gift guides every year. Excited to get a jump start!

  18. jill cavanaugh says...

    I look forward to these every.single.year!

    thank you for starting this early! xo

  19. YAY!!! I’m so glad you’re publishing earlier :) I know people get annoyed, but the truth is when you live far away from family, you have to start ordering in November to get everything on time. I usually use the gift guides from the year before just cause I’m already in panic mode when they come out. I also love that you provide a lot of food / perishable items. I’ve found more and more we get people less “stuff” and more things for them to enjoy in the moment (or events for them to go to).

    • Sasha says...

      I love the useable gifts, and experiences idea so much too!

    • Molly K says...

      I love useable gifts too! I don’t know if this would be appreciated by everyone, but the idea I had today for my mom and my mother-in-law (who are both grandmas to many many kids) was cute cards with envelopes, for the numerous gifts they give all year long. I love the ones in the online shop Majasbok.com. This illustrator’s sense of humor is so cute!

  20. Anne says...

    Thank you for this important public service!! Every year other gift guides seem increasingly wild, both from a cost and a content perspective (I’m looking at you NYT), but CoJ always nails it with special but down-to-earth options that I want to give and receive. I return to them over and over again. Brava ladies!

  21. Molly D says...

    Thank you for publishing earlier this year. I like to get a jump on gifts to space out the purchases. You always have great ideas, but I have usually already purchased by the time your final guides come out.

  22. Mere says...

    Always one of my favorite round-ups of ideas! THANK YOU!

  23. What about a gift guide for the older folks in our lives? I have to buy my husband’s grandma a present every Christmas and every year I freak out for months about what the hell to buy an 84 year old woman who has everything she needs…we don’t have kids so those sweet little pictures of grandkids aren’t an option. HELP

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, alicia!

    • Jill says...

      AGREE! My parents and grandmother are the hardest to buy for. They don’t have hobbies, and they have enough “stuff.”

    • Lana says...

      This used to be really hard for me, too. Then I had kids and I just started giving them calendars with the kids pictures on them. However, some other gifts that always went over well were boxes of favorite candy, a book of crosswords, and once I got my grandparents a picture from their honeymoon made into a puzzle. I gave them that and a box of Crunch n Munch to snack on while they put it together. They loved it so much!!!
      My grandpa died a few years ago so now I just have my grandma to shop for. She’s 85 so I like to knit her a nice scarf and give her a gift card to her favorite Chinese restaurant so she can have some crab Rangoon delivered. Small, thoughtful
      gifts (even just a scheduled phone call!) make her feel loved and important and thats all she wants anyway. :)

    • Joanna says...

      I would love this, too!

    • Sasha says...

      Gifts that can be used up, and need replacing the next year. (great for all of us really! )

      Food treats, like a basket with brunch items, syrups, tea, coffee, pancake mix, nice tea towels. Or ice cream toppings, jars of caramel, hot fudge, nuts, sprinkles, waffle cones.

      Really nice wool socks.

      Lovely soaps and nice wash clothes.

      Candles.

      A lovely holiday center piece or wreath.

      Movie tickets, museum passes, a national parks pass, a month’s worth of classes.

    • Anna says...

      Yes. And for teachers, please. I have 4 teachers I would like to give some small but nice gift up to $25 (possible?) I usually give chocolates and teas, hand creams or candles but would like to get some new ideas.

    • Cooper says...

      Around Thanksgiving, I did some simple calligraphy with a gold-leaf pen on a white pumpkin for my husband’s grandma on her birthday, and she loved it. I’m planning on trying to keep that theme going – perishable seasonal crafts :) Just a little something for her to keep around to remind her that she’s loved but also something that will have to be thrown away eventually!

    • India says...

      A comment about gifts for teachers – we get SO many chocolates and lotions. Honestly, even if it’s a small amount, getting a gift card would be so much better. While I appreciate any gift from my students, when you get 20 candles/chocolates/homemade treats, they end up being donated or trashed.

      I wish parents of my students knew a note and a small $5 gift card is beyond wonderful. It truly is being remembered and noticed that means the most.

    • Sasha says...

      India, thank you for expressing what is helpful for teachers. I think sometimes people feel $ or gift cards lack thoughtfulness or creativity, when really, those gifts are what is most appreciated. The gift should be about bringing happiness to the receiver.
      I’ll just add that child care workers very much appreciate $ & gift cards as well. Like teachers, we are often underpaid and the extra really helps at the holidays.

    • I gift my grandparents Omaha Steaks. They go in the freezer and is something they can use that doesn’t clutter the house :)

  24. did you mean to link the rest of those gift guides?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hi Stephanie, so far we’ve only published the gift guide for kids, so we’ll update this post as we complete the others. Hope that helps! xoxo

  25. Amy P says...

    Yes!! I love your gift guides :)