I received this e-mail from a reader this past weekend:

Love your blog. What are some good ideas for my married daughters for Christmas this year?
Thanks, Jan.

like Jan, I'm sure some of you would appreciate some suggestions for gifts for your loved ones. in fact, i'm hoping that writing this post will give me some good ideas for my mom and sister this year!

my tips for holiday shopping:
- support handmade! 
being a co-owner of a handmade company [Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry], i always like to support other designers when it comes to gift giving. 

some great shops to check out:
QTPIWorkshop - handmade iPod/iPhone cases, pouches, etc.
Allisa Jacobs - makeup bags, clutches, handbags, etc.
Garlands of Grace - handmade fabric headbands - i have one and LOVE it!

- think about what you would want
a lot of times when shopping for loved ones, i try to imagine what i would want if i was that person.
maybe they really love coffee [like me] or tea, so you could get them a great new mug and a starbucks gift card or box of their favorite tea.
maybe they love to read, so you could get them a gift card to a book store or buy them a book that you've read and you really enjoyed.
maybe they love music, so you could get them an iTunes gift card or tickets to a show.

- buy the thing they won't buy
when you spend enough time with a person, you eventually figure out the types of things they will spend their money on and the things they just won't. for me, i love getting massages, but am not willing to spend at least $50 of my hard-earned cash-ola on a one hour massage, no matter how amazing it is.
this could be anything from a massage, a mani/pedi, a haircut/hair coloring at the salon, a round of golf for the spring, tickets to a play, or some other thing that they love to do but just won't spend their money on

- buy the thing they wouldn't think to buy
sometimes you can notice if a loved one could use a new _________ . they may not think to buy it for themselves, so you should buy it for them!
this could be anything - a new set of kitchen knives, a new wallet,  new slippers [i always wear my slippers to the bone...until they no longer function to keep my feet warm]. anything, i tell you!

- if all else fails, start a tradition with your gift 
one of the things i've tried to do over the years is establish "tradition" gifts. every year i buy ornaments for my family. it's a small gift [usually with not a small enough price tag...seriously, how can ornaments cost $8?!] but it's something that somehow represents that person and can be used every year.
another idea, start a collection for someone. my sister and i started our salt & pepper collections early this year, so this is a gift that i can count on buying my sister for christmas this year. one less thing to think about!

- take them shopping with you
if you just can't seem to come up with anything that they may want, or you just don't feel like taking the time to think about it...take the person shopping! as i've gotten older, i've grown to love this way of christmas shopping. i get exactly what i want [avoiding the dreaded post-christmas returns] and the person doesn't have to think for days and weeks about what to get me. in fact, i just did this with my sister the other day! she saw something at target that she loved, so i bought it! [yes, it spoils a little bit of the surprise but we still have some time before she opens it so maybe she will forget!]

so...there's my tips for holiday shopping! i can't really even believe that i need to start my christmas shopping already. maybe it's this 75 degree weather that's throwing me off a little bit.