Making a list, checking it twice!
Sorry I haven’t written anything in a while, but my big news is that I submitted my applications for UK clinical psychology programmes on Wednesday!!! What a relief! Now I just need to keep my fingers and toes and eyes and ears crossed and hope that it works out.
Anyway, now that I have that task out of the way, I am trying to catch up on everything else that has been pushed aside the past couple of weeks, and also make my own Christmas wish list and do my Christmas shopping. As I was thinking about what I would like, I realised that sharing my wish list (plus a few extra ideas) may actually help other people with their shopping – and not just to buy gifts for me! 😉
Please note: I did not take any of the photos on this page myself. To see where the images came from, simply click on the photo and it will take you to the source.
Gifts for foodies:
Any Joseph Joseph products – I somehow managed to leave this off my initial list, but I had to add it because these are some of the most interesting, colorful, and practical kitchen tools around. I found it very difficult to decide which item to show, so I highly recommend going to their website to look at more of the products.
Tea Infuser – This particular tea infuser costs $1.20 on Amazon (plus shipping), and makes drinking tea far more luxurious than using pre-bagged tea. I used a similar tea infuser when visiting friends in Norway, and now I want a few of my own! I think a couple of these with some nice loose leaf tea, and a couple of fun mugs would make a great gift.
All-in-one teapot/teacup – On the tea theme, I bought a ‘tea for one’ set for my mom for Christmas one year. Although it’s certainly not necessary to have a single serving teapot with its own cup which fits beneath it, I hope she enjoys using it once in a while and finds it a fun change from just making a normal cup of tea. There are many patterns and varieties available on Amazon.com, and they range in price from about $5 to $40.
Apron – I have never really used an apron before, but seeing the cute aprons from Anthropologie (sample pictures below) made me want one! Not only would one of these hopefully prevent me from spilling on my clothes, but they would add some style to the kitchen. The only problem is, I like these so much that I may prefer to spill on my clothes! These are slightly more expensive – about $32 each.
Juicer – This is the exact model of juicer that Ben and I have, and we absolutely love it! Fresh juice is a wonderful way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet, and this makes it easy and delicious to do just that. Unfortunately this exact model doesn’t seem to be available in the US, but similar versions are. However, it is worth researching them and reading reviews as juicers vary widely in terms of how well they work and how easy they are to clean. This is a more expensive gift idea – good juicers cost around $100.
Cookbooks – I am sure there are hundreds of amazing cookbooks available, but this cookbook and the sequel look amazing and I have heard wonderful things about them both. They both contain entirely vegan recipes, but the focus is not on being vegan but instead on creating fresh, unprocessed meals using local ingredients.
Adjustable measuring spoon – I was given one of these sliding measuring spoons last Christmas by my brother and sister-in-law. It has been so handy, because it allows you to use just one utensil to measure teaspoons, tablespoons, mL, etc., and it is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. No more online conversions from mL to teaspoons in the middle of cooking for me thanks to this tool!
Wine vacuum sealer – This gift is probably more useful for some people than others 😉 ….but personally, I don’t finish every bottle of wine I open within the day or two window of freshness. For me, this is a very useful tool because it means the wine stays good for approximately a week rather than a couple of days, and therefore improves my chances of being able to finish it.
Restaurant gift cards – My parents have given Ben and me restaurant gift cards, and it is such a treat to be able to go out for a meal once in a while without having to pay the bill! It is usually easy to ring any restaurant and order a gift card over the phone, or you can usually buy them in person.
Gifts for Psychology Enthusiasts:
Books – Undoing Depression – this is a really interesting self-help book which I know first-hand has helped many people who suffer from depression. It was written by a psychotherapist who suffers from and studies depression, and I found reading it an interesting and useful means of gaining a better understanding of depression and knowing how to help people who are affected by it. The author is not anti-medication but just feels that medication is only part of the answer. An Unquiet Mind – a unique and very honest memoir written by a psychiatrist who studies and suffers from bipolar disorder. It is not a self-help book, but more of a novel so it is an interesting and relatively quick read. I Had a Black Dog – written in the form of a cleverly illustrated picture book, this is a very touching story written by a man who suffers from depression. He calls his depression his black dog, and this allows him to externalise his depression and separate it from himself. By using situations many people with depression can relate to, as well as interesting illustrations, I think he makes it a very powerful picture book. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – this book is not specifically about depression or mental health or psychology, but it is very closely related and a wonderful book. It is based on a true story of a Hmong family who moved to the States, and it is about their interactions with and beliefs about the western medical system, and also the western medical practitioners’ beliefs about this family. I think this should be required reading for anyone working in a multi-cultural healthcare setting (which is practically everywhere).
Ribbon gifts – Pink ribbons have become an international symbol for breast cancer awareness, which is wonderful. However there are actually ribbon colors dedicated to mental health conditions (as well as many other health conditions), and the only way to make them more recognisable and spread awareness this way is by wearing them. Dark green is the color for mental health and mental illness, and this website has some cute jewelery, for example the green bracelet pictured below.
Gifts for Photography Enthusiasts:
Remote control – I think they make these remote controls for most cameras, and they are great for taking group photos. No more wondering when the timer is going to go off because you can control it from a distance!
Travel tri-pod – These aren’t just any old tri-pods. They are made from strong but flexible material so that they can stand up like normal tripods, or they can be wrapped around things (e.g., a tree branch) to hold the camera at the right height and get better shots. I must admit, I don’t have the DSLR version so I don’t use it frequently at the moment, but I love having mine for my point and shoot camera. It makes it possible to get full group photos without needing a table or shelf at the perfect height.
Camera case – I’m not sure if this exact bag is available anymore (the pictured bag is the one I own), but Crumpler bags are all very funky and functional. Ben’s parents gave my Crumpler to me as a birthday gift when I got my camera, and I love it. I can fit my camera and my wallet, phone, an extra camera battery, and a few small odds and ends into the bag, and the ripstop material keeps everything dry (although the seams are not sealed so it’s not technically waterproof). These Crumpler bags aren’t cheap, but they look a lot cooler than your average camera case, they protect the camera, and I also think it is slightly less obvious that you’re carrying an expensive camera, so I feel slightly safer traveling with this than a normal camera bag.
Gifts for Runners:
Shoes – Running shoes are probably very difficult to buy for someone else unless you know exactly what they want, but they are on my list this year as good running shoes are crucial and need to be replaced regularly, but they never quite make it to the top of my list of things to buy, especially when I’m trying to be very careful with money. Therefore it is a real treat to have them bought as a gift, perhaps in the form of a gift card if you aren’t sure exactly what the person would like. I would suggest keeping an eye out for versions of the shoes from previous years, as personally, I am just as happy with last year’s model, and they are often cheaper.
Watches – I can’t speak personally about the best watches for running, but there are really cool watches available which keep track of heart-rate, distance, location, route maps, and loads of other things, and they can be used for multiple different sports. I think they range in price from very cheap to very expensive, but I’m afraid I have no idea how much they vary in quality.
Hi-vis vests – It gets dark early in the winter, at least in many parts of the world, and vests like these help make runners visible to traffic. They may not be the most glamorous gifts, but they are definitely practical. One of these is on my list this year!
Gifts for Travelers:
The North Face base camp duffels (or similar) – The North Face makes these duffel bags for traveling which come in a range of sizes and colors, they are tough and durable, but most of all, they are also convertible, so they can be carried over the shoulder or as a backpack. I have now found that other brands make basically the same bags (without the North Face logos) and they are much cheaper.
Neck pillows – I have an inflatable neck pillow which my parents bought me years ago and it is a life-saver for long flights. I have some problems with my neck, and this makes the difference between arriving somewhere after traveling for fifteen hours feeling a normal level of miserable and arriving somewhere feeling REALLY incredibly miserable with a terrible neck and head ache. I really highly recommend getting one for anyone who travels long distances. They are also useful for car trips – but obviously not for the driver!
Small packable backpacks/duffels/totes – The North Face makes these packable ‘flyweight’ bags which are extremely light and can be folded up to take up very little space. I think they would be very convenient for traveling, as this way you could bring a small backpack along to use for carrying your things during the trip, without using up extra space packing a normal backpack in your main bag.
I am sure that as the next few weeks go by, I will think of many more items that I could add to this list, but for now, I hope this is helpful in coming up with gift ideas for the people you will be buying Christmas presents for.
Stay tuned for recipes from my Thanksgiving feast – I will be posting them over the weekend.
Have I missed anything from my Christmas list? Please feel free to leave a comment if there are any fun cooking, psychology, photography, running, or travel gifts that I should either be asking for – or suggesting to others.