Hi everyone! Welcome to the Joyfully Jay Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway! The idea for this post has been percolating for a while, because I always have “favorite things” that I want to share with readers that aren’t books. So I thought I would bundle them all together into one big gift guide and recommendation post. And some of our reviewers here have joined in with their own recommendations!

Plus, what makes a gift guide even more fun? A giveaway! Sadly, unlike Oprah I can’t just hand out presents to all of you, but we are throwing in a giveaway! Leave a comment with your favorite item in the list (or any fun gift you would like) and be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card to get you started on the holiday shopping!

P.S. I divided this up between Travel, Tea, and then everything else that I couldn’t figure out how to organize, so bear with me here!


eBags Packing Cubes

Anyone who has ever roomed with me at a conference knows I am OBSESSED with these! These packing cubes are awesome for a few reasons. First, if you are like me and need to be an organized packer, you can divide things up among different cubes (pants in one, tops in the other…). I often keep clothes in the cubes in the hotel so I can find things quickly and easily. They are great when you have to live out of a suitcase, since it keeps your clothes from turning into a big pile of mess. The best part is that you can get SO much more into a suitcase using these. When we went to Disney, on the way there we had plenty of room in our bags, but the way home when we had dirty laundry just stuffed in the suitcase, we could barely close it. The difference is huge! My kids sometimes use them when they are going somewhere overnight and just throw clothes into a cube and carry it with a little handle.

They come in a a bunch of sizes and colors. We have several of the full sets, plus extras of various sizes we use a lot. I kid you not, we have about 30 of these and I swear by them!

Buy link: Amazon | eBags

eBags TLS Motherlode Mini

I love this suitcase and use it all the time for weekend trips or as an add on to a regular suitcase (I am a huge overpacker, you guys). I’ll admit, I was first drawn to this one because I loved the teal color with the orange lining. It rolls well, has a lot of pockets, expands nicely, and has held up to lots of abuse. It holds a medium packing cube easily, along with shoes and other stuff in the main compartment, plus a bunch of pockets in the front. And the orange lining is so cute!

Buy link: Amazon | eBags (this one is way cheaper on Amazon unless there is a special)

Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry On

Ok, this is the last luggage, I swear, but I love this one too. It is an underseat bag and great for super quick trips or as a carry on (though I read reviews of folks who are like, I took this for a month in Europe! Those people are… NOT me). I like that it has a lot of compartments and organization. I can fit a packing cube, my laptop, knitting, toiletries, pair of shoes, etc all in here if I organize it right. It has an area in front for wet items so you can put your travel size toiletries in there. I also like the side water bottle pocket. It also has one of those slip pockets in back so you can stack this on top of a larger bag.

I like this as an airport carry on so I don’t have to carry a big bag on my shoulder once I check my luggage. It fits under the seats in most (but not all) airlines. On Southwest, I can fit it under the seat if I’m a middle or window, but not under an aisle. But still worth it for the convenience, even if I have to put it in the overhead.

Buy link: Amazon | eBags

Hydrocell Stainless Steel Water Bottle

I was looking for a good water bottle that would keep drinks cold all day, particularly for conferences, as the hotels tend to be so dry. I looked at a bunch of options (Hydroflask is another popular choice) and I ultimately chose the Hydro Cell brand because it comes with both an airtight wide screw lid, plus a flip top straw lid. I put ice cubes in the water bottle in the morning and THE NEXT DAY there was still ice in the bottle! I am officially a convert! Plus, the bottles don’t sweat so they don’t make a mess of my bag. I have both the 24 and 32 ounce sizes.

Buy link: Amazon

Oster Travel Blender with Sports Bottle

I love this mini travel blender. I swear up and down by my Nutri-Bullet if you are looking for a heavy, industrial blender that will crush ice like a champ, but for travel, I wanted something smaller. This handles ice pretty well as long as there is enough liquid in there too. And I love that it comes with the sports bottles so I can make my smoothies (or other adult beverages) and then just pop on the lid and go.

Buy link: Amazon

Poweradd Portable Chargers

I bought these for everyone in my family after my children kept stealing mine. They are cheap, last for a long time, and are great for when you are going to be out all day. Best of all, they come in lots of colors so you know which is yours and which is your kids!

Buy link: Amazon

Tea Drinkers

I am a big tea drinker and have a drawer full of loose leaf tea. Here are some of my favorite things for tea drinkers.

Mug with Built-In Tea Infuser

I love these mugs because you can infuse the tea right inside. It comes with a fitted infuser chamber that you fill with tea, add the water, and let it steep. The lid helps keep in the heat while you are waiting. Yes, I know you can just buy one of those little ball infusers, but I have yet to find one that doesn’t leak tea leaves into the water. This infuser has a fine mesh that keeps the tea out of the water. I like a big mug and these fit in my hand well. And it comes in lots of colors! This is my go to tea mug.

Buy link: Amazon

ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot

If you don’t want a mug, but just want a good infuser, this is my other favorite. Just add the tea, pour in the water, and then hold the infuser over a mug or cup and press down on the rim. The liquid comes out the bottom of the infuser and the tea stays inside.It comes in different sizes and I have two of the 16 ounce size.

Buy link: Amazon

Spice and Tea Exchange

If you are a fan of loose leaf teas, I love the tea the Spice and Tea exchange. This is a chain store with locations all over, but you can also order online. They have one at the beach and my daughter and I regular visitors. The store also sells spices and sugars and other things too (try the black chocolate tea with the raspberry sugar). I have loved just about everything I tried, but some of our favorites are the Marrakesh Mint, Apricot Ginger Tea, and Emporer’s Chai.

Buy link: Spice and Tea Exchange


African Solstice Tea by Tea Forte

This is my all time favorite tea. It is a roobois tea and just delicious. My daughter and I both adore it.

Buy link: Amazon



Gadgets, Beauty, Pets (and everything else that didn’t fit somewhere!)

Plantronics BackBeat Wireless Headphones

I am obsessed with my wireless headphones. I am a hard fit for in ear headphones and I have tried SO many before finding these. They wrap around your ear and go slightly inside, so they fit snugly without trying to cram a piece into your ear. They are not fully noise cancelling, but that is fine with me. I can wear them running and they stay in, and I like being able to hear a little bit of my surroundings. I also wear them all the time at the grocery store to listen to my audiobooks. I also like that I can pause or answer the phone right from the headphones, so I can keep my phone packed away. I bought these for my husband and liked them so much, I got myself a pair too. I recommend them all the time. (Note: This isn’t the exact pair I have as they have been replaced by a new model, but these look pretty similar. Double check all features to make sure they do what you want.)

Buy link: Amazon

Haflinger Slippers

I’ll admit, these slippers are on the pricey end, but they are so worth it for my bad feet. I recommend them to everyone I know who is struggling with foot issues (though they are adorable enough to be worth it even if your feet are fine). I love them because they have a solid arch support, which means I can wear them around the house and be comfy, but without being barefoot (which my podiatrist says is a no no for me). I hate wearing shoes, so these are a great solution. They also have a thick enough sole that when I am being super lazy and don’t want to bother with shoes, I can wear them to run out to the mailbox (or even drive carpool, lol). Tons of cute patterns on Amazon, as well as on other shoe web sites.

Buy link: Amazon

DevaCurls On-the-Go Kit (Kris’ Pick!)

Curly hair needs extra care. So if you’ve got a curly haired person in your life who seserves a special treat, I suggest Deva Curl Curls on the Go Kit! Everything a curly haired person needs to give their curls some love, and not end up with a frizzy, unruly mess. [Note from Jay: I swear by DevaCurl as well! I use the light defining gel and the build up buster and love both!]

Buy link: Amazon

Boxy Charm Subscription (Kris’ Pick!)

Need a gift for someone who loves makeup and skin care, but don’t know what to get? How about a Boxy Charm subscription? Each month, the recipient gets least five full sized products–valuing at least $125–for only $25 a month. (And discounts if you buy multiple months at once.) It makes a great gift for anyone who loves to play with makeup and try new things!

Buy link: Boxy Charm

Pet Tent Soft Bed

For your canine and feline friends! My cats LOVE these! They both love to curl up in the little cozy tent and sleep all day. They are soft and fuzzy and don’t take up too much space. We have the 18×18 size and they are more than big enough even for my chonky cat.

Buy link: Amazon

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster, Adam Higginbotham (Sue’s Pick!)

If, like me you were riveted by HBO’s 2019 mini-series, Chernobyl, then consider this book the perfect supplement. It was my favorite history of book of the year and in riveting detail, it covers the event, the environmental impact and the series of increasingly poor decisions that led to the 1986 disaster.

Buy link: Amazon

The Last Kingdom Season One (Sue’s Pick!)

Based off the books by Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom follows the life of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Born a Saxon, he is orphaned as a boy and taken in by the Danes who ravish the independent kingdoms that will one day be Britain. Uhtred is wild and clever and ridiculous and Alexander Dreymon plays him to perfection. The show is well written and fantastically fun.

Buy link: Amazon

Cat Scratching Post and Hammock

I threw this one in because my cats LOVE this. I get people asking me all the time where I got it. They love the little hammock on top and their weight sort of curls it around them when they climb in. Also, my couch appreciates the added scratching post feature. This one is a big hit with the kitties!

Buy link: Amazon

Eight Color Folding Book Light (Michelle’s Pick!)

This is a great gift for a book lover. It can work as a night light, add a colorful ambiance, or just add some fun to a room. It’s also rechargeable and doesn’t require batteries. (The one I purchased is no longer available but this is a similar one)

Buy link: Amazon


Electronic Dictionary Bookmark (Michelle’s Pick!)

For readers that use paper books, think school age children, that want or need to know the meaning of all the words they read. It has thousands of definitions at your fingertips and is thin enough to fit between the pages of a book. A fun and also practical gift for the reader in your life.

Buy link: Amazon

Climb On (Michelle’s Pick!)

Do you have a ninja warrior in your family? I do. Do you have a rock climber in your family? I do. Or even for someone that works extensively with their hands? This was the find of the year.

Made from “100% plants + beeswax + food grade ingredients.”

It helps soothe and moisture calluses and can also soften whatever ails your skin. It’s an amazing product.

Buy link: Amazon


Ok, folks, there you have it! Some of our favorite things at Joyfully Jay! If you want a chance to win some shopping money in the form of a $10 Amazon gift card, leave a comment below! We’d love to hear which of these gifts you’d love, or what you are shopping for this year (or just say hi!). The contest closes on Sunday, December 15th at 11:59 pm ET.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to any Joyfully Jay email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize. In order to facilitate prize distribution, the winner name’s and email may be provided to a third party awarding the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format and U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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