Oregon Family’s 11th Annual Holiday Gift Guide12/04/2022 ● By Kelli Matthews
Kids and play go hand in hand, and we found gift ideas to spark the imagination.
These four smart, creative dolls from Surprise Powerz bring inspiration for the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math. Astro the Astronaut paid a visit to our young reviewer, who was delighted by the phrases, singalongs and sound effects. Maria the Mathemagician, Codie the Coder and Vera the Vet are the other Suprise Powerz characters to engage little learners in making math and science. Available at: https://www.surprisepowerz.com/
Sometimes, we all feel like a Grumpy Octopus, and now your kids (or you) have the perfect little companion to commiserate with. He’s a joyous
bundle of negativity that can’t help but bring a smile. He also has friends like Grumpy Shark and Grumpy Baby Dinosaur. Grumpy is the new adorable and, although he may complain, I’m sure he’s ready for an adventure. Available at: https://thegrumpyoctopus.com/
Set sail… or hide in your fortress… or take a rocket ship to the moon. All of it is possible with Figgy. This play couch is anything and everything an imagination can create. I thought maybe my 10-year-old was too old for forts and pirate ships, but he couldn’t get enough! And yes, sometimes it becomes a gaming couch or cozy nap spot. The Figgy includes 4 base cushions, 2 rectangles, and the option to add an extra wedge and separate waterproof liners. Available at: https://figgyplay.com
Imagination get a little help from Carerra Slot Cars. A real speed trap is a parent’s dread, but the Carerra Speed Trap GO!!! is a racing game with two cars (the chased and the chaser) and the set is compatible with all Carerra GO!!! cars and accessories. The track is more than 14 feet long and includes controllers, guardrails and a jump ramp. The realistic cars reach scale speeds of 370 MPH. Available at: https://www.carreraslots.com/slot-car/63504.html or Amazon.
The Ranger Rick Eco-Friendly Adoption Kit is an adorable way to spark a lifelong love of nature and passion to protect America’s precious wildlife. Each kit included an eco-friendly plush made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles, stitched eyes and nose and no plastic pellets, an adoption certificate, a fun fact card and a decal. The website has so many animals to choose from! We adopted a river otter. His name is now Terry. https://www.shopnwf.org/
For little ones, the Kiko + gg* UFO Wooden Balance game is a delightful journey to outer
space with 50 friendly aliens. Little fingers try and stack the funky alien figures along the UFO's edge without the UFO or aliens toppling. Or they can build martian pyramids or alien parades to practice your stacking and counting skills. This a beautiful toy that delighted our toddler reviewer (and her preschool big brother). Available at: https://www.us.kikoandgg.com/,
Your kiddo can create a whole world of make believe with the Play Maysie Wild portable travel dollhouse. The set looks like an old-fashioned lunch box with magnetic floors and scene/prop magnets. Add the adorable characters and create a fishing and camping adventure on the go. This set is pretty irresistible and will provide hours of imaginary play wherever your holiday travels take you. Available at: https://playmaysie.com/
Growing a garden with your preschooler takes on an adorable look with Patchwork Garden Memory Game. In this game, you work together to plant and grow a pretend garden by finding matches. This adorable award-winning game induced a-has and giggles from our preschool reviewer. Available at: https://www.blueninjastudios.com/
Remember those first rides on your bike as a kid? Or the look on your kid’s face the first time
she took off on her own? Bikes are a little taste of freedom. With balance bikes, kids as young as 18 months old can enjoy a cruise around the cul-de-sac. Our toddler reviewers love the woom ORIGINAL balance bike. The Woom bike is lightweight and purposefully designed to set kiddos up for a lifetime of bike riding bliss. Available at: https://woom.com/
Sidewalk chalk is a fun, easy way to get outside and express a little creativity! Use Smelly Chalk to draw a race track, decorate the driveway or leave a love note. With 10 bright colors and 10 fun scents, Smelly Chalk is fun for the eyes and the nose. Available at: https://smellychalk.com/
In Western Oregon, we saw snowflakes in early November, which meant everyone in my house got excited for snowboarding, skiing and tubing this winter. Time to gear up! The Airblaster Ninja Suit is a high-quality base layer made from proprietary merino-rich 4-way stretch fabric. Airblaster says its blend is 45% stronger and dries twice as fast as Merino alone. Available in men's, women's and kids' sizes in solids and fun and funky prints. Available at: https://myairblaster.com/
Of course, you need snow toys, and the WOW Sports Snow Tube Collection is
and FUN! We checked out the WOW Bobsled Snow Tube. Admittedly, pretending to sled in the living room isn’t nearly as fun as Willamette Pass Sno Park. Still, the bobsled will obviously provide hours of fun on the hill this winter. The shape of this inflatable offers a shield from the snow and two molded handles give you a tight grip. With a PVC slick bottom, you’ll fly down the hill every time. Available at: https://wowwatersports.com.
Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. In fact, with the Celestron StarSense Explorer it’s easier than ever to navigate the sky. This telescope uses sky recognition – think about it as similar to face recognition but for stars and plants. It’s easy to identify, locate and observe celestial objects. It’s easy for a beginner and even works well in brighter urban environments. We had a blast exploring the sky on a few recent clear nights. Available at: https://www.celestron.com/
If you’re looking for an outdoor game that is fun to learn and easy to play together, try Murbles
This American-made version of lawn bowling is designed to be played by the whole family. Take it to the yard, take it camping or to the park. Murbles can be played anywhere. We loved that Murbles came in custom color sets and we absolutely ordered a Go Ducks version. Available at: https://murblegame.com
Art Within is the first family-oriented subscription box I’ve seen. I love that you get enough supplies each month for four people to create art together. We tried the acrylic pour kit and had a great time together (yes, even the teenager enjoyed it). Each set has all the art supplies you need, instructions, video tutorials and activities. Available at; https://www.createartwithin.com/
We love games in our family and try to plan a game night at least once a week. We found a few to add to our rotation this year! These five games were a great way to spend an evening together. None of them required extensive set-up or were easy to learn.
Asymbol - https://www.simplyfun.com/
Dish “em Up - https://www.simplyfun.com/
Spoof - https://inspirationplay.com/ or Amazon
Unsolved Case Files - https://www.goliathgames.us/
Hackbots - https://www.blueninjastudios.com/
Bath time is the best time and the bath bombs from Dabble and Dollop are all-natural, vegan
and smell so good! The Bath Bomb set includes 12 bath bombs in four fresh-smelling, all-natural scents. Our reviewer's favorite part was mixing the smells to create his own “recipe.” https://dabbleanddollop.com/
One of the most creative gift ideas we reviewed this year was Zenimals. My 10-year-old loves sleep stories at night, but I worry about him having a device in his room all night. Zenimals teaches mindfulness and meditation, all without screens. The Zenimal is a small device that has 9 different guided meditations and three soothing sounds. My son loves it and asks to listen to the guided sleep meditation every night. Available at: https://zenimals.com/
Oregon Family Gift Guide for Moms
This year’s guide has many good ideas for moms (or sisters or aunts … or yourself), whether you’re looking for a cozy corner, a new bottle of wine, or to flex your green thumb.
Trust me; mom needs a cozy corner to relax, unwind and maybe get a great night’s sleep.
Seek & Swoon Throw designs evoke faraway places, sunny vacation spots and locations you’ve visited in your travels and somehow feel like home. Each throw has enough weight to feel substantial and soothing. So take a deep breath, wrap yourself in a moment and be inspired. Seek and Swoon throws are designed in Oregon and made in the USA. Available at: https://www.seekandswoon.com/
The perfect pillow is a must for mom’s cozy corner. Lagoon Sleep has a simple quiz to
understand how you sleep, and they recommend the right pillow to help with quality sleep. I appreciated that I could change the pillow filling level to get just the right level of squish and firmness. That squish is crucial for keeping the neck and shoulders comfortable as a side sleeper. Learn more at: https://lagoonsleep.com/
Soft, comfortable sheets are a necessary part of great sleep. We loved the Sweave Eucalyptus Tencel Sheet Set. These sheets are made with eucalyptus Tencel Lyocell and Egyptian cotton and are Oeko-Tex certified. Sweave cares about its impact on the planet, and this certification means its sheets are made in environmentally-friendly, safe, and socially responsible facilities. So you can feel good about feeling good. Available at: https://www.sweavebedding.com/
Pink noise is a milder, mellower version of white noise. It mirrors nature's sounds, like waves or
rainfall and relaxes the brain and helps keep those worrying thoughts that can keep us up at night at bay. After some simple setup, the SoundOff sleep earbuds were comfortable and helped me stay asleep. I look forward to trying them during the day to help me calm my hectic mind and focus. Learn more at: https://soundoffsleep.com/
No cozy corner is complete without a candle, right? The Calm Joy Candles are made from coconut wax and toxin-free fragrances. They are super fragrant and make your home smell like the holidays. I especially loved the wooden wick that had just a little bit of crackle as it burned. Available at: https://thecalmjoycandleco.com/
Blissed Out Beauty
Skin lotions and potions that smell good, feel good and help Mom look good are an easy win.
Face masks make delivering moisture and goodness right to your skin easy - and with sKIN, you can invite your little, your tween or your teen to join you in a little at-home spa moment. When parents and kids connect and teach simple self-care, like taking care of your skin, it’s beautiful. sKIN masks come in a set with one regular size (Me) and one smaller size (mini). Both my sons (a tween and a teen) even enjoy a little spa time with me. Available at: https://www.skincousa.com/
Local flower grower and craftswoman Cindy Ingram and Happy Hill Homestead launched an
all-natural, herbal skincare line. The seven different types of salves are made from the flowers and herbs from Happy HIll’s wholesale garden. Cindy creates every kind with a blend of coconut and sweet almond oil, shea butter, beeswax, fresh farm flowers, herbs, and essential oils. Available at Thehappyhillhomestead.com
From the local to the international, Mimaami Organics’ skin care products are made from all-natural ingredients and ethically sourced from female producers in Ghana, where the company founder is from. Mimaami means “my mother” in Twi, one of the tribal languages in Ghana. My winter skin is always dry and this whipped shea butter moisturizer is perfect. More information at mimaamiorganics.com/ and available on Amazon.
If you’re running out of space for plants on shelves and sills, Modern Botanical wall planters are
beautifully designed way to showcase more greenery in your home. The planters are handmade in maple and walnut in a San Diego woodshop. I couldn’t wait to hang these in my home; they add a special feeling to the space. You can order your plants from Modern Botanical along with the planters or look to a local nursery like Johnson Brothers, Gray’s Garden Center or The Basic Botanist. Available at: https://modernbotanical.shop/
Moms who are more gardeners than houseplant collectors will love the Rise Garden personal garden system. The late fall and winter are always a bit of a let down watching most of the outdoor garden go to seed, but this hydroponic system was straightforward to set up and get started. We’re looking forward to veggies from our kitchen soon! Plus, anything with an app to keep me on track is a bonus. It’s also modular, with add-on units that will let you grow up to three levels (hydroponic beets, anyone?). Amazing! Available at: https://risegardens.com/
Whether for a hydroponic garden or prepping for the spring planting season, True Leaf Market has a vast selection of seeds and starter kits that are certified organic, non-GMO and heirloom. The diversity of options and a library of how-tos, tips and information create a one-stop shop. I’ve long wanted to plant flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so the Wildflower Seed Collection is perfect. I’ve got just the place picked out. Available at: https://www.trueleafmarket.com/
What’s better and brighter than a beautiful sunflower on the window sill? We love Back to the
Roots grow kits, and the sunflower kit is a perfect little bit of sunshine. The kit contains nutrient-rich organic soil, organic sunflower seeds, and an eco-friendly, stylish mason jar planter. https://backtotheroots.com/
Beautiful food and drink bring the home to the holidays with good taste.
The 2021 Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills and Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs from Stoller Family Estates are a perfect holiday trio. Nothing says “Oregon wine” like pinot noir, and these three have bold and complex profiles and are also accessible and outstanding wines to share. Available at: https://www.stollerfamilyestate.com/ or Sundance Wine Cellars.
If your taste leans more toward craft beer, ciders or spirits, SipScout
from The Crafty Cask has the gift boxes for you! SipScout is a subscription box that features different categories and styles each month from craft makers all over the country. The whiskey & bourbon sampler included tipples from incredible craft makers from coast to coast, plus Ireland. My favorite so far was the Fort Mose’ 1738 Bourbon Whiskey from a Black-owned business in West Palm Beach, Florida. Each month there’s also a virtual SipScout party to learn about that month’s kit. Learn more and subscribe: https://thecraftycask.com/
The hostess mom will love the Brooks Wine Merry Maker kit from the Amity, Oregon vineyard. It’s a holiday party in a box with two Brooks wines (a 2018 Cahiers Riesling for the mulled wine and a 2018 Janus Pinot Noir to enjoy with the chocolate), Smith Tea Merry Maker’s Punch, Woodblock Chocolate’s enfleurage chocolates made with Merry Maker’s Punch. The kit also contains recipe cards for mulled wine and a delicious holiday glaze, both made with the tea.
One of my favorite finds this year is the beautiful foodie and home goods gifts from Verve
Culture. The team at Verve Culture has artfully curated food-related gifts from four regions of the world - Mexico, Morocco, Thailand and Italy. The homemade pizza bundle has all the essentials for gourmet pizza imported from Italy. It features easy-to-make Italian pizza "00" flour, a tomato and mozzarella pizza sauce, and a beechwood pizza peel and slicer. Available at: https://verveculture.com/
From head to toe, yes, moms want to be well-accessorized (and cute), too.
Sneakers that are slip-on with fun prints and patterns? And you can feel good about the impact
on the planet? Yes, please! Psudo Sneakers are created with REPREVE yarn, made from recycled water bottles. All sneakers are 100% made and sourced in the USA. Psudo is committed to creating the world’s most eco-friendly sneaker by 2023. Cute and conscious! Available at: https://psudo.com/
Mom has a lot of stuff in her head – family schedules, work obligations, personal care and more. A beautiful, functional journal can help capture that stuff. Copper Fox Journals come in a variety of colors and styles (19 different options!), and each is personalizable. They’re also affordable; every journal is under $30. Available at: https://www.copperfoxco.com/
Born and raised in Eugene, Will Leather Goods continues to make my favorite bags, purses,
totes and wallets. The new vibrant colors of full-grain leather of the East-West Tote and the Mini Journey Backpack make a perfect set. And yes, your mom always needs a new bag (believe me on this one!). The sage green says “winter” and will carry you through the rainy months in Oregon with a pop of color. Keep an eye on holiday sales, too. This time of year is a great time to shop online or at the Boxcar at 5th Street Market. Available at: https://www.willleathergoods.com/