In December, consumers are bombarded by suggestions and recommendations for the "perfect gift" for every person they've ever shook hands with. I mean, do I really need to buy hand carved animal figurines for my neighbors' bookshelves??

I get that every business needs to advertise and sometimes, their tips and discounts can actually prove really helpful. My bone to pick is with the generalization: "gifts for men" or "gifts for moms" or "teenagers"or whatever -- as if the demographic can actually be stereotyped. For example, the mens guides all have some sort of beer paraphernalia, an expensive gadget, a collection of random BBQ tools and spices...

So basically men = beer, food, and toys.

No? Huh.

Even if they do break it down, it's into categories like "for the fashionista," "for the tech-savvy," or "for the busy mom." Can not a parent be all three - fashionable, tech-savvy, and busy? Last time I checked, "busy" did not automatically cancel out one's ability to be fashionable and tech-savvy as well. And if that is beginning too be the case in such a parent's life, well then, it would seem that gifts from other "categories" are probably just the ones she most desires after all!

So in light of attending to all the wonderful traits we encompass on any given day, I present this little gift guide for women of items all under $50 - each item caters to all the best parts of her personality and are sure to make her smile whether she's feeling nostalgic, sarcastic, stylish, or all of the above!

1. Project Life Photo Album and accessories

As a whole this would be >50 but is a gift that attends to a busy lifestyle without sacrificing the craftyiness, personal touches, and keepsake qualities loved by scrapbookers.

2. A customized camera strap

This is a great gift for the woman who's always carrying around her camera and wants to look cute while doing it - aka everyone. I bought mine from this Etsy shop for $20 and am so happy with it!

3. Fail button

Only for the woman with a good sense of humor - I can see this being the comic relief for a friend or first time mom - or wanna-be-Pinterest crafter like me. Find this one on Amazon for just $10. (Great stocking stuffer!)

4. The Random Crap tote

Beach bag, playground bag, diaper bag -- it's all random crap. Let her call it how she sees it. ($11.99)

5. Comical Coffee Mug

An invaluable dose of humor in the morning is sometimes more important than the coffee itself. Between $10-$20, these are a small but thoughtful gift that serves up a friendly smile along withs its practical use over and over. Find other funny options here and here.

5. JCrew Factory Sweater

You literally can not go wrong with a good quality, cozy sweater in pretty colors- JCrew Factory has awesome deals on the same clothing you'll find at stores but at a fraction of the cost. This sweater comes in at $44.50!

6. Gems

Jewelry like this is timeless, versatile, and high quality. Stella & Dot has amazing pieces and buying from their direct sales reps gives money back to your neighbors instead of chain retailers- bonus! These Amity Drop earrings in Aqua are just $34.

7. Make-up Pallet

Never underestimate the power of good makeup - for some, it's a luxury to go above drugstore brands or even wear makeup at all so a creamy neutral shades like this Smashbox pallet from Sephora ($22) will make any woman feel extra special, even for everyday daytime use.

Shop Local

And because I do try to advocate and practice shopping locally whenever possible, here are a few other options from local vendors that make great gifts just in time for Christmas!

1. Amanda is an amazing (like seriously AMAZING) artist- she paints, crochets, and makes all kinds of mind-blowingly (yes I know that's not a word) adorable things. Check out her artist page to see more of her work, especially for kids gifts that will be one-of-a-kind!

2. These earrings from The Dotted Fawn can make the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for friends this season - pick out a unique pair for each member of your bookclub or whatever you want - they are so reasonable priced ($5-$7 a pair) that you simply can't go wrong.

3. Simply Charming Boutique - located in Winchester, VA on the downtown mall, this shop is packed with pretty and wonderful finds for women and men- quality jewelry, charming home decor, fashionable clothing & accessories, and more.

4. These custom pillow cases are made from the most beautiful fabrics and handcrafted with care by the talented Toni of Stone Soup located in Charlottesville. A beautiful touch for any living room, nursery, bedroom --you name it. Check out her page for more samples of her work here.

And of course, don't forget that Firefly Photography offers gift certificates for sessions, products, and prints. Just contact me for details or to purchase a gift of captured moments for someone you love to cherish forever!

P.S.

This time last year we were busy learning all about our newest member of the family, Bourbon. It is so wonderful to look back at the past year and see how life has changed.

More recaps from 2014 coming in the next week so be sure to check back!

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