25 Affordable Christmas Gifts & Stocking Stuffers – $25 or Less!

Hi friends! Can you believe how quickly Christmas is approaching? Personally, I CANNOT wait. Opening stockings on Christmas morning is a tradition I have always enjoyed. It is a fun way to kickoff the Christmas Day festivities together. Just as fun for me, is picking out the contents of the stockings. I love finding cute, little items that suit a family member’s personality or offer a practical purpose. Since Christmas is approaching fast, I am sharing 25 affordable Christmas gifts and stocking stuffer ideas. They are all $25 or less! I selected various practical and fun gifts that are sure to suit a wide range of personalities, too.

Affordable Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

    1. Rifle Paper Co. Mermaid Notebooks, $14 — These are so cute and fun, and there are several more fun designs by the Rifle Paper Co. Notebooks like this are perfect for those who are organized and those who try to be (like me)!
    2. Bath Bombs Gift Set, $17 — Bath bombs are a fun stocking stuffer for kids, teens, men and women. Seriously. Have you met someone who doesn’t like these?!
    3. Cable Knit Pom Pom Beanie$15 — This beanie is a super cute way to keep your head warm this winter.
    4. Eco-Friendly Loofah, 6 for $11 —  These are great for anyone, but especially for those who enjoy relaxing in the shower or tub.
    5. The Body Shop Bath Foam, $13 — Bath Foams like this are perfect for your friend who loves baths. I love this Vanilla Chai scent too!
    6. KitchenAid Spatula, $11 — Perfect for the cook in your family, this KitchenAid one is such a pretty color to add to your kitchen utensils.
    7. Tweezerman Nail Rescue Kit$18 — This kit is one of my favorite things. It’s perfect for traveling, and it is one of those things everyone can use.
    8. Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker, $24 — If you know someone who loves singing in the shower or listening to podcasts while cooking, this is a great gift.
    9. 2018 Animal Memes Calendar$6 — This is a great gift for your silliest friend or family member. Just think, it will have them smiling all next year!
    10. Himalayan Salt Body Scrub with Lychee Essential Oil $13 — This stuff normally sells for $32, so the $13 price tag makes it quite a steal. It is a perfect stocking stuffer for that person in your life who could use a little relaxation and pampering.
    11. That’s What She Said Game$25 — Perfect for friends who love to throw parties, this game will definitely get people laughing.
    12. Anker PowerCore+ Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger$20 — This is a gift that’s perfect for someone who travels regularly, or that person who is regularly glued to their phone!
    13. PopSocket Stand$10 — This nifty and cute product is perfect for holding up your phone on a table while you watch or read something. It also helps you hold onto your phone.
    14. Retro Rewind Classic Sunglasses$11 — These Ray Ban knock offs are a steal at $10. Of course you can get fancy ones too.
    15. Zmart Funny Saying Socks, $10 — For men and women, these socks come with all different types of sayings and are sure to bring some laughs to your home!
    16. HD Phone Camera Lens Kit$19 — If you know someone who loves taking photos with their phone, they’ll love trying out these different lenses.
    17. Ban.do Floral Thermal Mug$14 — Travel mugs are perfect for people on the go and coffee lovers. This floral print will be pretty in your hands all year-long, too!
    18. Faux Fur Lined Suede Slippers$25 — These suede lined slippers are thick enough to wear outside. Plus, these are also made for men.
    19. NEST Fragrances Votive Candle$16 — NEST candles are on the pricier side, but the scent of this Holiday votive is simply divine.
    20. Foldable Headphones with Mic$15 — These gold headphones are beautiful, right?! Best of all, they fold easily for traveling.
    21. Fur Pompom Keychain and Bag Charm$18 — For anyone who wants a little fun and fun in hand, this key chain is the way to go. The large pompom makes keys easy to find in your purse too.
    22. Burt’s Bee Moisturizing Lip Shimmer$5 — I absolutely love this product and the caramel hue makes my lips look like rose gold.
    23. ITraveller Portable Hanging Toiletry Bag, $14 — This toiletry bag comes in several designs for men and women. It is a perfect size for travelers and the compartments inside are perfect for keeping your products separate.
    24. Burt’s Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream$6 — Winter can really dry out our skin, so this is something that is sure to be used by everyone. I like to keep one of these in my purse and at my desk.
    25. Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish Set$24 – This gift set has three beautiful nail polishes, perfect for your most polished and put-together friend or family member.

Establishing Christmas Traditions

On Christmas Day with my family, everyone takes a turn going through their stocking. Before any Christmas gifts are opened, we go one by one and item by item. As little kids, gifts from Santa were not wrapped, but were instead displayed with our stocking. Seeing everything from Santa displayed together was always super exciting.

Now, I know it may sound like torture to refrain from opening gifts. But, having that time together to go through our stockings is absolutely one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Similar to the affordable Christmas gifts I have shared with you, our stockings have a mix of candy, beauty products and small items that are just for us. Take a look at my stocking from last year, below.

Affordable Christmas and Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas

Since I am getting married next year, this Christmas will be the last time my family does the stockings all together. While we will have many future Christmases together, the dynamic will change. Will and I will pass along this tradition to our family. I think carrying on traditions like these can be a meaningful way to stay connected to those you love.

Now, I would love to know about your traditions and your favorite affordable Christmas gifts. Do you have a favorite tradition in your family or did you continue one from your childhood? What do you like to give and receive during the holidays?  Are there any go-to, affordable Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers that you love? Also, stay tuned for the story of my newest Christmas tradition.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

Sarah Camille

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25 Affordable Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $25 or Less

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5 Necessities for the Fashionable & Practical Traveler

At any airport in America, you’ll see people wearing and toting so many different things. When I went to Cape Cod last week, I saw people wearing pajamas, suits, cutoff tank tops, yoga pants or stilettos. No one was wearing more than one of these items at once, but as I sat waiting for the delayed plane to get to my gate, I thought about what a large disparaity there is in travel wear. There are certain travel necessities that are musts if you are hoping to have an easy, comfortable and stylish trip.

Some people go for only comfort when they travel, while others go for looks and some simply go to the airport straight from work. Personally, I go for comfortable and slightly dressy, casual travel clothes and practical items to keep me going. Regardless of whether or not I’m traveling, it makes me feel good and confident to wear an outfit that I have put some thought into. I usually go for a travel look that is similar to what I would wear to work on a casual Friday – jeans, knit top, comfy and fun shoes and my usual accessories.

I travel pretty regularly and have found over the past few years that certain clothes and a couple products are particularly perfect for traveling. Here are the top five must-haves for my fellow fashionable and practical travelers.

#1. BIG BagIt’s best to travel with a handbag that is big enough to fit a laptop, wallet, notebook, passport and snacks easily inside. If you’re at all like me and you accumulate more things as you travel, it’s good to have a roomy satchel or tote in hand. Pro tip: pack your bag the night before you travel and make sure there is room for the “extra” things that will turn into “necessities” during your trip. 😉

Sole Society Faux Leather Weekend Satchel, $80 // Tory Burch Parker Leather Tote, $298

#2. Water Bottle — So many airports and train stations have filling stations for water bottles now that it makes sense now more than ever to bring a water bottle with you when you travel. Of course, water fountains work just fine too! Not only will it save you money throughout your trip, but it’s also better for the environment. I got the bottle below in my FabFitFun summer box and the blue silicone cover is so soft and squishy!

BKR Romeo Bottle, $21 (40% off!) // MIRA Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $20

#3. Comfortable Denim — Jeans with the perfect amount of stretch are a must when I travel. I love jeans that are comfortable and will help me look polished and less like the hot mess I usually feel like when I am traveling! Below are two of my go-to pairs of jeans for traveling because these styles have stretch that will make you feel like you’re wearing yoga pants, and they maintain their shape over long days; i.e. they don’t end up sliding off you!!


Kut from the Kloth Mia High Waist Skinny Jeans, $90 // Hudson Nico Skinny Jeans, $195


#4. Portable Phone Battery — 
Relying on airport outlets or plane outlets to charge your phone is a rookie mistake. Chances are when your flight has been delayed, you won’t be the only person vying for a battery re-charge. Portable phone batteries have been a life saver for me when I’m traveling all day, whether I’m airport hopping or sightseeing around town.

Anker PowerCore+ mini, $14 // Apple Lightning Portable Charger, $25


#5. Stylish Sweater
— I always prepare myself to be cold and hot when I travel, so I purposely wear or bring a few layers. A stylish, neutral sweater or sweatshirt is my favorite way to stay warm and still look cute.

BB Dakota Sweater, $28 // J.Crew Pompom Sweater, $60

In addition to these necessities, I usually pick out some form of entertainment like the latest book I cannot put down or book of sodoku puzzles. Do you have similar travel necessities? I’d love to hear what you can’t travel without.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

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Thanksgiving Adventures

My favorite holiday has ended and it’s Christmastime! But before I can go into full blown Christmas-mode, I need to reflect on how lovely Thanksgiving is. It’s my favorite holiday because there are no obligations other than being (and eating) with family and friends. There’s no stress of buying the right gift, staying in a certain budget or partaking in any part of the consumer world.. other than buying food!

Instead of thinking of the things we don’t have, we focus on the things we are thankful for. That focus on gratitude and things we have is so key to living a life of happiness because it helps us remain positive. This dose of gratitude seems perfectly timed to be right before Christmastime when we are inundated with advertisements and messages to buy things that will make our lives better.

In contrast, when I reflect each Thanksgiving on what I’m most Thankful for it is always the intangible things that can’t be bought – my supportive family and amazing friends! I have a feeling I’m not the only one who feels that way too. My goal is to keep that feeling of gratitude throughout the whole holiday season, so I can truly enjoy the holiday season and avoid comparing what I have to what others have. I know this is much easier said than done, so I’ll get off my soapbox for now and share some highlights from my Thanksgiving weekend.

This year, I did Thanksgiving a little different with my family. We went out to the mountains for a couple days with aunts, uncles, cousins and my 88-year-old grandfather. It was extra special to have family on my dad and mom’s side together, since it has been a long time since that has happened.

We drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Wednesday and had dinner at a tiny, local diner before we arrived at The Homestead. Located close to the West Virginia border in Hot Springs, Va., The Homestead is a beautiful hotel with historic charm and lots of outdoor activities. If you are in the DC area, it really makes for a great long weekend trip.

Once everyone arrived on Wednesday, we all had dinner together. On Thanksgiving Day, we went on a hike along a trail that followed several waterfalls. It was beautiful and the perfect activity to increase our appetite right before eating Thanksgiving dinner (read: piling our plates with turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes)!

While I missed being in the kitchen and helping cook, it was so refreshing to be outside in the country and away from the craziness of city life. After Thanksgiving with my family I was able to catch up with some high school friends over some delicious fried chicken at Hen Quarter in Alexandria’s Old Town, go on a lovely walk with Will and Maddie and do a little relaxing before Monday.

Did you have a good Turkey Day? What are you most thankful for this year? I always love hearing about how friends spend Thanksgiving because there are so many ways to enjoy the day and so many different traditions out there.

Cheers to the holiday season!

SC

 

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Jamaica Withdrawals

Vacation withdrawals is a real thing. I’m learning that is especially true when you come back to the DC area after a trip to Jamaica. First, I tried to wear shorts when the high temperature was 64 degrees. Then my tan started to fade and my daydreams of laying at the beach continually interfere with my daily to-do list. Finally, I realize I should probably stop replying, “No problem mon!” to people. Almost a week after this trip and I’m still struggling. I guess the better the trip, the worse the withdrawals!

Despite the reports of Hurricane Matthew hitting Jamaica and freaking out my friends and family, Will and I had a great time exploring the country. It was a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Thankfully, being on the west side of Jamaica in a Montego Bay put us pretty far from the hurricane’s wrath and we only had some rain late one night and early one morning. The only downside about our trip was that parts of the hotel shutdown as a precaution for the hurricane, but that really didn’t stop us from having a blast.

Our trip started off with beach time and some snorkeling. The hotel we stayed out was on a peninsula in Montego Bay, which gave us amazing views. It was also all-inclusive so we were never hungry or thirsty. I’d say the best thing we ate was the jerk chick and festivals which is basically fried dough that has some kind of amazingly delicious ingredient in it. While we spent a lot of time on the beach, hanging out and reading, we also enjoyed the pool, which had a lazy river and water slides.

On our second to last day, we climbed water falls at Dunn’s River Falls, had lunch at a beautiful outdoor Jamaican restaurant and then visited Bob Marley’s hometown. The excursion was with a group of about 15 people, and it was a phenomenal and affordable way for us to see the countryside and local parts of Jamaica. If you’re interested in booking a similar trip, I’d recommend checking out CheapCaribbean.com. We booked our trip back in May and were able to get a great deal.

I am back in the real world now, but thankfully I feel less stressed and more rejuvenated than when I left. That’s the point of vacation right?! If you are contemplating taking time off work to relax, do it and don’t feel bad about it! I like to think of it as an investment in my sanity.

Cheers!

-SC

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Trip Tips: Portland, San Francisco & in between

Yesterday I shared an overview and photos of my road trip from Portland to San Francisco. There were a few things and places that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone planning a similar trip. Here are those details.

PORTLAND – If you can travel around the city by bike, do it! It’s such an easy way to see the city and the traffic/cars were not overwhelming like it can be in some cities. We lucked out in booking a hotel that had bikes for their guests to use for free, but Cycle Portland has great reviews on their rentals and tours if you are looking for a recommendation. One of my favorite meals on our whole road trip was brunch at Tasty n Alder. It WOW’d all of us! The family style food was delicious and every dish we tried had such a lovely combination flavors. It’s obvious the chefs really care about the food they serve. On top of that, the prices were not bad and the restaurant had a great Portland vibe!


OREGON WINERIES – The Stoller winery was easily my favorite of the two we visited in Oregon. One thing to keep in mind — some wineries in Oregon and California cater more towards their wine club members. The first winery we went to, Bergstrom, was like this. At that winery only members could bring food, and what was available to visitors was limited. I was not expecting some wineries to be like that, but thankfully the second winery we went to, Stoller, was not like this. It was a stunning haven for travelers and visitors. Their wine tasting was great quality and included several wines that have high ratings. They also had a assortment of cheese and meats which helped hold us over until dinner.


CALIFORNIA WINERIES – Hands down, my favorite winery of the whole trip was Chateau Montelena. We had a fabulous time from the moment we got there and our wine tasting was everything I hoped a wine tasting would be (seriously)! The staff was very knowledgable and told us the story of how the winery’s Chardonnay beat out French wines in a historic blind tasting that changed how the world viewed California’s wine.

SAN FRANCISCO – This city has a lot to offer and so much to take in. Our dinner at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar was my favorite of our road trip. Everything we ordered at this French restaurant was fabulous. They also served absinthe and several creative cocktails, which were both pretty and delicious. San Francisco has tons of our tours to choose from as well, but I’d reccomend booking those in advance. Some of the bay cruises and popular Alcatraz tours were selling tickets two weeks out. We ended up doing a bay cruise that was nice, but not something I’d recommend as a must-do. The best tour we had on this trip was the San Francisco Love Tour. This tour took us all over the city in a decked out VW van that played 60s music the whole time. One thing that made this tour so nice was that it was a more personal experience than a tour in a giant bus with 70 people. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable of the city as well–none of our questions were left unanswered!

In addition to these places, the Oregon coastline and Redwood forests should be must-dos on your list if you are visiting the Pacific Northwest. The scenery was truly stunning, so get outside and explore if you are visiting the area.

I’d love to hear about your experiences traveling to the same area. Do you have additional recommendations or tips?

SC

 

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