The Stay At Work Housewife’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide


 I’ve reached a point in my life where my friends and family are becoming increasingly harder to buy Christmas gifts for. We are all blessed to be at a place in our lives where we can buy ourselves whatever we want, whenever we want it. This is an amazing place to be, but it does cause a lot of brain-wracking during the holidays as I search for the “perfect” gift for everyone on my list. Instead of the predictable candles and gift cards approach I usually take when I’m stumped (which I’m sure people still appreciate, but I feel like I’m buying just to buy, you know?), I decided to go a more creative route this year, so my 2015 Holiday gift Guide is a unique one! I’ve broken it down into three very thoughtful categories:

The Gift That Keeps On Giving:

Monthly subscriptions to things like themed boxes delivered to their home, magazines, or even a Netflix membership. This doesn’t mean you need to pay for the entire year, do what is in your budget, and then they can decide if they want to continue. The great thing is, if they do end up really liking it, that gives you a no-brainer idea for their birthday or even next Christmas!

For the Foodie in your life-

Green Bean Delivery Service You know from my past posts that I’m obsessed with this service! They deliver fresh, mostly local and organic groceries straight to your front door! (Let’s face it, the real gift here is not having to leave your house to go to the store in the freezing cold!) $35 for the smallest bin, about a week of fruits and vegetables for a family of two! 

For the Product Junkie in your life-

Birchbox- Monthly deliveries of beauty or grooming samples, customized to match your profile. I’m a sucker for packaging and the boxes these are delivered in alone give me a reason enough to want these! Available in 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions at $10 per month.

For the Movie Buff/Binge Watcher in your life-

Netflix- Does your mom complain when you’re freaking out about what happened on this season of House of Cards that she doesn’t know what you’re talking about? Get her a Netflix account (and for the love of god, show her how to use it Christmas Day) but be prepared to see less and less of her as she goes into binge watching mode… Plans start at $7.99 per month

For the Eco-Conscious person in your life-

Texture by Next Issue– This app gives the member unlimited access to all of the top magazines (including back issues!) like Better Homes and Gardens, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, Vogue and Fortune, just to name a few! The awesome part about this app is that you don’t need to feel guilty for reading an entire magazine for one article, and then throwing it away! No paper waste! $9.99 per month

For the Music-Lover in your life-

Spotify Premium A digital music service that gives you access to millions of songs, ad free, AND the ability to make custom playlists or radio stations with unlimited skips! $9.99 per month

Gifts That Give Back:

Gift ideas that touch more people’s lives than just the recipient.

For the Humanitarian in your life-– The gift of a goat in their name. Give a goat to an impoverished family in South Africa, not only does it provide the family with milk for personal use (one goat can produce one ton of milk every year!) they can turn the milk into cheese and butter to sell at the market for income, and the goat provides natural fertilizer for crops! $120 for one goat

For the Feminist in your life-

The Feminist Majority Foundation– Make a donation in their name to this cutting edge organization dedicated to women’s equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. FMF utilizes research and action to empower women economically, socially, and politically. The organization believes that feminists – both women and men, girls and boys – are the majority, but this majority must be empowered.

For the Animal Lover in your life-

Simply make a donation in their name to their favorite animal shelter or rescue! If you don’t know their favorite, Pet Promise, a no-kill, foster based animal welfare organization in Columbus Ohio is an amazing organization!

Give The Gift of a New Experience:

Enrich the recipient’s life by providing them with the gift of an educational experience, of just a plain fun adventure!

For the Foodie in your life-

Cooking Classes– These can be provided at a place like Sur La Table (most classes start at $69.99), which they offer in-store or online; or check with local restaurants, (I know Spagio in Grandview Ohio offers monthly cooking classes with their head chef/owner for $75 per person).

A City Food Tour- My city of residence, Columbus Ohio, is a foodie’s paradise, with walking tours offered for anything from food trucks to coffee, and meat lovers to brunch spots; along with specific districts like a Short North or German Village Food Tour. Tours start at $50 with Columbus Food Adventures

For the Drinking Buddies in your life-

A Distillery or Brewery Tour- A few of my local favorites include Brothers Drake Meadery ($15 per person) and Watershed Distillery ($10 per person). Tuck it in with a bottle of their favorite spirt and you’re good to go!

For the Open-Minded friend in your life-

Reiki SessionKnow someone who could use a little unwinding? Reiki is a light touch healing technique which gently facilitates each person’s own ability to find and maintain balance in body, mind and spirit, based on the belief that there is an energetic flow in and through all living things. When this energy is low or blocked, we are more likely to get sick and feel stressed. The Chinese intention of “moving chi” to bring harmony into the body is also the foundation for the proven modalities of acupuncture, acupressure, tai chi, and qi gong. A Reiki session restores this flow of energy, naturally helping the body’s own innate ability to rediscover wellness. Think of it as a massage for your soul! $60 per session

If you’re still looking for holiday gift ideas, check out last year’s guides: Gifts Under $30 and The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

*As with all of my gift guides, the opinions expressed are 100% my own!*

A letter to my loved ones, from someone with endometriosis 

I have endometriosis (you can read about my search for a diagnosis here), a chronic disease where the lining of my uterus grows in other places of my body, causing internal bleeding, a build up of scar tissue, and cysts. I get severe pelvic pain which can flare up at any time. My endometriosis decreases the effectiveness of my immune system, and causes extreme fatigue. My normal flare ups last about two weeks, from the start of ovulation to the end of my period, then I usually have another week of exhaustion from being in pain. Did I mention there’s no cure? With that being said, let me explain a few things to the people in my life:

To my coworkers:

There will be days where I will not seem like myself, nine times out of ten when you ask me “What’s wrong?” I will not feel like explaining that I barely slept the night before because it felt like I was being stabbed with a flaming hot, dull knife on my right side; so I will say “I’m just tired”. If I do open up and tell you that I don’t seem like myself because I’m in so much pain, I’m not doing it for pity, and I don’t want to hear things like “have you tried taking Advil?” or “Yeah, I get cramps too”. The best thing you can do for me is to not really acknowledge that I’m down (I like to think I’m hiding it, so don’t burst my bubble!) and just tell me a funny story to take my mind off of it. Seriously, there are days where one more “What’s wrong?” will bring me to tears. 

To my friends and family:

It takes a lot to convince me to leave the comfort of my heating pad and rescue puppy cuddles; and if I am feeling up to being active, it takes even more convincing to get me away from using that energy to clean my house. So believe me when I say that abandoning these things to be social is a very good indicator that I love you very much. It was through the encouragement of most of you that I went out to seek a second opinion, so thank you for that. There might be times we hang out where I’m more quiet than others, but don’t take that as a bad mood, I’m just tired. If I do have to cancel plans to take care of myself, don’t call me flakey, I just need some recovery time. For those of you who I can hang out with when I’m not feeling well and can relax knowing that I don’t need to act a certain way, thank you for being so understanding. I know that it’s probably confusing if you’ve known me since before my endometriosis got really bad, I’m still the same person, I’m just easier to keep up with now! 

To my husband:

I know you didn’t marry me because I could clean the entire house every week, have dinner on the table every night, be up for an adventure at any time, and still have enough energy to stay up late with you. You don’t seem to mind that I’m no longer the constant, crazy ball of energy I was when we first met. These are things I miss about myself that I project on you. Thank you for being the most supportive person in my life, for picking up the house when I’m exhausted, for dealing with my indecisiveness when it comes to picking what to eat when nothing sounds good to me because my endometriosis makes me nauseous. And while we’re on the subject of food, thank you for supporting ever diet/lifestyle change I try, we’ve been vegan, paleo and everything in between! Another huge thanks for putting up with me the entire year I moped around because no one believed there was anything wrong with me; and for holding my hand through the anxiety of searching for a second opinion. I can’t imagine going through any of this without you.

To myself:

You need to stop comparing yourself to perfectly healthy people, and especially to who you were before the endometriosis got bad. Healthy you could clean your 700 square foot apartment in one afternoon so well that you could confidently eat off of every surface. But beating your chronically ill self up because you can’t clean your 2,000 square foot house that well in one afternoon makes absolutely no sense. The things you have accomplished so far in your young life rival many healthy people’s achievements, so stop calling yourself lazy because you need to come home and rest after working a ten hour shift. You need to start caring for yourself as diligently as you monitor your bank account. Do not make energy withdrawals until you’ve taken care of yourself enough to make some deposits, and never let your funds run out, or overdraft your ‘account’. Most importantly, never be ashamed of your story. Endometriosis does not make you a broken person. It is a challenge but it is not who you are. Do not be afraid to share your struggles or your journey, it may inspire or educate others. Above all, be kind to yourself.