The I-Have-To-Get-Them-Something Gift List

We all have those certain gifts that are required of us each year. You know, the ones we have to buy but really don’t want to spend a lot of time or money?  We all have a few of them whether it’s our I-Don’t-Really-Know-You-But-Live-By-You-Neighbors, teachers, church friends, co-workers, or mailman. We still want to to say “I’m thinking of you”… but are sick of buying the same candle and hand soap. Here is your must-buy gift list for all those presents you are obligated to give (but want it to be something nice!).

This post is not sponsored. These are items that myself and other TodaysMama editors really love and are giving out to our friends!

neighbor gift list



These sweet, precious and unique collection of 20 can be the start to quite a few gifts. Buy an adorable pot (or don’t) and you’re all set!

Click HERE to buy!




Real cacti not their thing? Buy an adorable tumbler like these cactus double wall 24 oz tumbler. I know I can always use an extra lid/straw drink option in my house.

Click HERE to buy!





This fantastic recipe from Martha Stewart is a great option for all those neighbor gifts.  It makes a million caramels in just one batch and the gingerbread flavor makes it unique enough they won’t get bored from “just another holiday caramel”.

Click HERE for the recipe!





Teachers have come to expect gift cards for Christmas. I’m sure they don’t mind, but if you want to break out of the norm, try these bangled bracelets. You can personalize your appreciation. I love their simplicity and daintiness.

Click HERE to buy!





One of my favorite gifts given to me from a neighbor was a movie night on them. They provided a Redbox promo code and a microwave popcorn and/or 2-liter of soda for a fun family date night. I loved this idea because it was so simple and something I would have never thought of — and of COURSE it was getting used! Free movie and treats?! Yes, please!

Buy Promo Codes Online HERE!

(TIP: Email the purchased codes to yourself so you can hand them out using your own design and gift tag!)




Know someone who would rather hit the movie theater?  You can buy gift cards to most movie theater companies at your local grocer (look for their gift card section) or even online.

Click HERE to buy!





A sweet thought can go a long way. Share these beautiful words with your friends. And it is SO easy! Find a cute frame, download, print and you’re done!

Download Printables HERE!



8. TRADER JOE’S BODY BUTTER (Only $4.99!!)

We are IN LOVE with Trader Joe’s body butter. And we are even more in love with the price. You can’t beat $4.99 for a product that you actually buy and use for yourself. Don’t trick yourself in to buying this online because you will be paying WAY more than necessary. You have to hit up your local Trader Joe’s (or bribe a friend that lives close to one) to fetch these beauties for $4.99 each.

Find a local Trader Joe’s HERE!


Do you have a favorite obligatory gift? Please share your ideas below! 10 bonus friend points if you link to the product…because you know…I’m lazy.


See More on!

His and Her Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

Put THIS On Your List This Year (+ a Giveaway!)




Minion Chocolate Dipped Cookies

This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

One of my go-to holiday gifts for friends and neighbors are my favorite movies—added bonus when I can combine the holiday gift with something sweet and delicious!

Despicable Me 3, Minions, Kids Movies



A busy family…wrapping up homework and dinner dishes…when they hear a knock on the door. Someone (probably Mom) groans, “Uh. What now?” They open the door, expecting to hear about the benefits of “going solar” but instead there you stand, gift basket in hand. A gift basket that holds Despicable Me 3, the hilarious and heartwarming family-friendly movie full of characters we all love (Gru, his wife Lucy, their three adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions) AND the cutest little Minion cookies you ever did see. 

Despicable Me 3, Minions, Kids Movies


You just made their night.

Because everyone will enjoy the #1 animated comedy of the year, Despicable Me 3 Special Edition (available now on Blu-ray & DVD) that includes an all-new mini movie, Minion Moments, and more! Plus, if you purchase your copy at Walmart, it includes and exclusive gift set with a super soft, plush Minion backpack—but only for a limited time!

Want to know how to make those adorable Minion Chocolate Dipped Cookies? Here’s everything you need to know.

Despicable Me 3, Minions, Kids Movies

A few tips and tricks that I’ve learned:

  • Don’t get “candy melts.”  They taste awful and oreos and nutter-butters dipped in white chocolate are delicious!
  • Make sure to use oil based food coloring-standard food coloring will ruin your chocolate and make it grainy.
  • Lay out ALL of your supplies beforehand-especially the wax paper!

How to make these darling Minion Cookies:

Supplies Needed:

Wax Paper

Nutter Butters


White Chocolate Melts

Candy Food Coloring (different than standard food coloring, candy food coloring is oil based)

Googly Candy Eyes

Black Frosting or Black Food Coloring Marker

White Snow Sprinkles

Despicable Me 3, Minions, Kids Movies



Lay out Wax Paper.

Melt down melting chocolates according to instructions on packaging.  Split package into 3 bowls-one for white, one for yellow and one for blue.  Use oil based food coloring to color the yellow and blue white chocolate.

Dip Nutter Butters in the yellow chocolate first,  submerging only half of the cookie.  Add googly eyes before chocolate sets and refridgerate for 5-10 minutes until hardened.

Dip the other side of the Nutter-Butters in the blue chocolate and use a squeeze bottle or toothpick to add the blue chocolate overall straps.

Refrigerate cookies again to harden, 5-10 minutes.

Use the black frosting or food coloring marker to draw glasses straps, hair, mouths and overall details.

Dip additional cookies in remaining chocolate and then dip partially in snowy sprinkles.  Additional blue and white chocolate in a squeezy bottle can be used to draw patterns like snowflakes!

Enjoy!  This activity is so much fun for kids and grown-ups alike and anything that doesn’t turn out still tastes soooo good!

Despicable Me 3, Minions, Kids Movies

Bring home Despicable Me 3 Special Edition with an All-New Mini Movie, Minion Moments and more! On Digital Nov 21, Blu-ray & DVD December 5th.

Illumination, the studio that brought you Sing, The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise, continues the adventures of Gru and his family in Despicable Me 3. After he is fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to take down Balthazar Bratt, the latest evil mastermind to threaten humanity, Gru finds himself in the midst of a major identity crisis. But when a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother — a brother who desperately wishes to follow in his twin’s despicable footsteps — the former super-villain rediscovers just how good it feels to be bad.

Put THIS On Your List This Year! (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

I was so excited to buy my daughter her first Radio Flyer Tricycle.

It was one of several Radio Flyer purchases that have brought us hours and hours of fun and adventure.

Tricycle, wagons (plural…that’s how much we like them), and a scooter.

And now…my son has his very own Radio Flyer Adventure book…starring…HIM! 

“Joe’s Radio Flyer Adventure” arrived on our door as a wonderful surprise. I used the website to customize Joe’s book—picking his hair color, skin color, and favorite Radio Flyer toy (his scooter)—and didn’t tell him it was on its way.

He’s at that magical age when reading and recognizing HIS name on something unique is a huge thrill.

He was so excited and could not stop talking about it…it was the first thing he needed to show his Grandma when she came over.

The book is beautiful—with bright and whimsical illustrations—and packed with hidden pictures of Joe’s name throughout the book

It was such a hit that we’ll be getting one for my daughter to place under the Christmas tree, because she couldn’t get enough of the book either.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: you can get 15% off your I See Me Radio Flyer Adventure book with coupon code TODAYSMAMA15 

Does all this talk of our favorite Radio Flyer toys have you feeling nostalgic and hankering to get your shop on?!


You’re in luck! Radio Flyer’s 25 Days of Holiday Giveaways is HAPPENING NOW.


Each day for 25 days, you can visit the Radio Flyer website and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the toy of that day’s giveaway! 

Wagons, scooters, tricycles, build-a-horse, and even the Tesla Model S for Kids!


Radio Flyer has been such a treasured and trusted brand in our family and it’s no surprise that Radio Flyer’s founder Antonio Pasin started Radio Flyer in 1917 and his dream was to “bring joy to every boy and every girl.”

Mission accomplished, Antonio.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Radio Flyer. The opinions and text are all mine.

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we?

There are years when the gift giving is straight up MAGIC. When inspiration strikes early and often and you become a whirling dervish of holiday gift-giving awesomeness.

Other years? Not so much. I don’t think anyone is to blame for this—there are years when I can’t think of a darn thing that a certain person or family on my gift list needs. (I’m looking at YOU, DAD, and your frequent trips to the home improvement store and/or golf emporium.)

Maybe you’ve got someone on your list that is experiencing a bit of financial stress. Maybe they’ve worked hard to get healthy and have told you specifically not to be knocking on their door with your famous fudge.

Sometimes it’s a result of your own life circumstance. Maybe you have experienced the life altering joy of tidying up and the thought of bestowing more clutter upon your loved ones doesn’t seem like your jam this year.

Maybe you’ve just got gift giving block.

I have a solution.


Okay, maybe a more accurate title is:


Think about it this way…

You can spend $20 at Sephora and walk out a happy camper. (Because red lipstick makes the world go ‘round, people.) You can also spend $200 dollars at Costco and be annoyed at how few items that really amounts to. Bonus irritation points when you can’t eat any of what that $200 just bought.

So giving household items or supplies can actually be a really thoughtful way to show you care, because WHEN DID TOOTHBRUSHES GET SO EXPENSIVE?!

Here is a list of items I’ve given (or received) that turned out to be a big hit.

Here’s one more disclaimer on these…I bought these items in bulk because the key to the magic of these everyday items is that I was, in some cases, gifting a 6-12 month supply.

So great for pet owners, especially given the fact that lint rollers are marvelous for cleaning pet hair from furniture and auto interiors. But even non-pet owners will love all of the other uses for lint rollers (hello clean lampshades!) 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Costco carries giant bags in bulk and you can get 3-4 times the amount for the same cost as at the grocery or beauty supply store. That means you can gift a 6 lb bag for about $5. (Epsom salts baths are a gift from heaven. HEAVEN.) 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Our extended family is large, and we gather often for family birthdays and family camping trips, so believe me when I say that a $20 box of plastic silverware was well received!

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

My favorite is Kodiak Cakes. You can get a huge box at Costco for about $10. I gave these to neighbors last year with a tag that included some of my favorite mix-in recommendations (bananas, chocolate chips, pumpkin pie spice, apple sauce…) By the time I was delivering these on Christmas Eve it was a welcome break from the cookie onslaught. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

I defy you to find a person that doesn’t use, need, and get annoyed at the cost of detergent. Go with a relatively neutral scent and there’s no reason for anyone to be anything but overjoyed at the money you just saved them. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

People that love my dog have a special place in my heart. Dog treats are also a great gift for the person that “has it all” or is hard to shop for, but has a dog. I love to do this for coworker gifts — it’s not overly sentimental or expensive, and you don’t have to worry about food allergies. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

This one is for the ladies. Again…these are expensive! I would be thrilled to get a bulk package of razors or razor blades. And I don’t know any women that are super picky about these…therein lies the advantage of shaving your legs and not your face! 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Spoiler alert! If you’re related to me, you’re getting a solid stockpile of toothbrushes. Everyone needs them, and probably needs to replenish them more than they actually do. Especially if they have a kiddo in braces. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Everyone needs batteries, whether they have kids or not. I’m constantly swapping out my rechargable ones for my computer mouse…and not my kids have begun swiping those for their toys. Consider getting fancy and buying a pack of 9-volt batteries…because NO ONE ever has those when their fire alarm starts that annoying warning beep…at 3:00 A.M. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

The bulk pack is heaven-sent for parents of small (and not-so-small) kids. You can never have too many band aids. The variety pack that includes the big knee-sized ones, along with the tiny toddler pinky-toe size is the way to achieve true hero status. 

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

What did I miss? Anything else to add? Tell me in the comments.

10 Unexpected Holiday Gifts that People LOVE

Other posts you might enjoy…

Best Camping Gear + Gifts For Families

14 Outdoor Toys and Gift Ideas For Kids

20 Holiday Items from Trader Joe’s You NEED In Your Life