Tuesday, November 26, 2013

20 Gift Ideas Under $20 for Christmas 2013!

20 Gift Ideas Under $20 for Christmas 2013
Wow, Christmas is less than a month away!
Did 2013 zoom by or is it just me? I can't believe it's almost 2014.
But before the new year begins, Christmas is on the horizon with all the goodies this season brings, including fun to give and to receive gifts! 
I thought it would be fun to share another 20 gift ideas this year, including some of my new and past favs. And all under $20. 
 I've included some products and books previously reviewed here at My Real Life Reviews and some new favs from the recent past.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping! :<)

As an avid reader, I don't think there's any better gift to give or to receive than a new book or ebook. A gift that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Here are some of my recent and past book favs and all under $20:
lace one skein wonders
crochet one skein
only $2.51 for the eBook version

only $2.91 for the eBook version

The print versions for both of these books are both under $20.

I've been a fan of the "One Skein Wonders" book series for a long time.

These two are new to me and I am loving the patterns in both of them. And what a great buy they both are right now.

Here's a gift idea for any knitter on your list:

Cast On, Bind Off

by Leslie Ann Bestor.
I must admit, I've been one of those "lazy" knitters who use the same bind-off and cast off techniques for most of my knit projects, year after year. But after getting this book, I've been expanding on my finishing techniques, thanks to the easy to understand instructions and photos (not hard- to- fathom diagrams, love it) provided in this knitting reference book.

Spiral bound so it stays flat at the page you're using too, I like that too.

As it says on the cover: this book really does provide: the perfect start and finish for every knitting project.
Speaking of craft books, here's one endorsed by the oh, so fabulous Mr. Cheddar:

Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya. 
A book to consider for all the cat-lovers on your list.

The easy-to-make crafts in this book are definitely doable by crafters and wannabe crafters alike, including some that would be fun for kids to make too (with adult supervision).  
How's this for a visual endorsement for collecting cat-fur from grooming sessions!
Read Cheddies' full review of this fun book. 

I'm a big fan of John Grisham's work and The Litigators continues to be my favorite of all his novels that I've read to date.

You can read my full review here.

What did I like about this book? In a nutshell: everything!

Entertaining from the first page to the last. Characters that literally "jump off the page" with their authenticity. And lots of (unexpected)laughs too, not the norm in most of Grisham's novels.

This is a real "page-turner" that I read in two days and that would have been even less time, if I hadn't had other things I had to do.

Grisham fan or not, this is definitely a novel to consider for the book lover's on your list.


 And now for a bit of "shameless" self-promotion. ;<)

My new haiku book: Haiku Reflections II  is now available in print and Kindle versions.

If you enjoy haiku poetry and/or know someone who does, I hope you'll check out this newest addition to the Haiku Reflections series.

PS: I don't know why the cover is showing up here as a bright lime green, it's actually a very pretty soft, spring green.

 If you click through to Amazon you'll see what it actually looks like. ;<) Blogger...what gives? 

For the cooks and wannabe cooks on your list:

The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker

is available in both ebook and print versions.

Click to enjoy sample recipes for Moroccan Vegetable Stew with Fragrant Orange Basmati Rice from The Groovy Green Kitchen.
On the supper menu here today! ;<)

I love using a slow cooker for all kinds of recipes. A great way to save time and bring out all the flavors in recipes. And at this time of year, saving time is even more important. .

You can check out all my books and ebooks at my Amazon author's page.


There are so many people forgoing gluten-containing products these days, for health reasons.

I don't have any problems with actual gluten-intolerance but I do think it's a very good idea to cut back on gluten-containing foods, for everyone.

One of the books that I've found so helpful in this regard is:

The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

 (click to read my review to enjoy a fabulous and personal fav, grain-salad recipe from this book).

There are a lot of gluten-free cookbooks out there that fall well short of delivering on their promises for delicious, gluten-free recipes. Happily, not the case here. This is a cookbook that delivers!

If you are shopping with gluten-free and healthy in mind this holiday season, make sure to check this one out.


The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman is a not only a treasure-trove of recipe ideas for all kinds of pickles, relishes, chutneys and preserves, it also provides a recipe section including main dishes,  salads and dressings of all kinds, incorporating some of the preserve recipes from the book.
For anyone who has been intimidated by the thought of making homemade pickles and preserves, this might be the cookbook to change their (or your) mind!

Another gift idea for the foodies on your list.
The Spice House is my new "go-to" online shop, for all my dried herbs and spices, including their fabulous blends. Using quality herbs and spices can make a real difference in how a recipe turns out. I know! ;<)

Superior products with great selection, reasonable prices and exceptional service.

They have lots of beautiful gift ideas too.
And for a limited time, for Canadian shoppers, The Spice House is offering a shipping promo discount. Use the code CANADA at checkout for 15% off your order.
Here's my previous full review of The Spice House. 

After giving those cookbooks a "workout" ;<) here are some easy ways to get and stay fit!

I am loving the: Jane Fonda Prime Time fitness DVD series!

 Here's my complete review for Fit & Strong.  

This DVD helped me to transition back into working out on a regular basis, when I had lapsed (big time) in that area.
Jane Fonda, now in her mid- 70's (amazing, but true, she looks fantastic) continues to inspire people, including me, to get up off the couch and just do it. No matter what age you are or what your present fitness level is.

Jane Fonda: Prime Time - Walkout

I also purchased the Jane Fonda Walkout another DVD in this series and use it on a regular basis. This DVD features 2 aerobic workouts, each providing the equivalent of walking 1 mile. Again, a great way for anyone to ease back into a regular exercise program.

 Jane is so personable, encouraging and inspiring. I look forward to my exercise time these days and rarely skip. Not something that's always been the norm in the past. A wonderful gift idea too for anyone who is trying to shed their "couch potato" persona and get moving again!
Both of these DVDs are priced at less than $5. at Amazon now! What a great bargain.

The Happy Face Yoga DVD has been a very popular review, here at My Real Life Reviews. 
Most of us work at keeping fit from the neck down, but often give up on fighting the battle of the sags and bags, from the neck up.
After trying Happy Face Yoga, I'm a believer in this facial exercise regime, it worked for me! In only a few weeks time, I saw significant improvement in my neck and chin areas in particular:
Before Happy Face Yoga
this photo btw, is from 2 years ago

and after!
photo taken in late August of this year
Read my full review, including a link to order the DVD here.

A unique gift idea that will definitely give the recipient a special lift! ;<)

Mr. Cheddar is back with another gift suggestion, this one for the cats and d-o-g-s too!

Mr. Cheddar is a big fan of Zuke's treats, he reviewed their Hip Action Natural Cat Treats a while back and continues to enjoy them (a lot!) on a regular basis.
Available in a variety of types, flavours and purrfect for adding to your fav feline or canine's stocking this Christmas.


And speaking of stocking stuffers here are some of my new and old favs in that gift category:
What would any holiday be without plenty of good chocolate?
 I recently found out about Theo (organic and fair trade) chocolate bars and now I'm hooked. They are so delish. Silky smooth texture, unique ingredient blends, I even love the wrappers. Stack a few of these together and tie with a ribbon and you've got a lovely little gift!
I've tried the: Nutcracker Brittle, Gingerbread Spice and Coconut Mint so far and there's a Peppermint one in the fridge that's calling me right now. Hard to ignore!!! ;<)
Made in Seattle which I think is pretty cool too, by some of our talented neighbours to the South.
If you like superior chocolate and want it to be organic and fair trade too (don't we all?)  plan to stock up on these yummy treats for yourself and for gifts
 Stop by their website to see all their products.
Wow, that's my kind of sweet shop!
I'm not usually a fan of herbal-type teas but Four O'clock Teas are changing my mind about these kinds of beverages and in a big way.

I just love having a cuppa of Four O'clock Tea, after a long session on the computer or coming in from the cold. Wonderful, flavorful and oh, so soothing too.
 I've tried the Licorice Spice and Chocolate Spice (organic and fair trade) flavors so far and I just love them.
Stop by their website to see all their fine products, including their holiday-blend teas.

 Only in Canada from what I read but hopefully they will be expanding their distribution, at least to include the U.S. This is a superior product!

I've been a big fan of Caf-Lib Organic Grain Beverage for a long time (click to read my complete review). In the past year, I've kicked the regular (caffeine) coffee habit completely and am enjoying Caf-Lib Organic on an even more frequent basis.

I've tried a lot of coffee substitutes over the years and this product (click to visit their website) is by far the best.

Great taste, no caffeine and organic too! Love it. Would make a great stocking stuffer or gift basket addition, for anyone trying to kick the coffee habit or as a delish coffee alternative.


I reviewed the Seven Year Pen, after receiving one as a gift (mine's the pretty mauve one with the feather). I'm happy to report that after using mine of a fairly regular basis for the past 2 years, it's still working fine.

 I think this is one of the coolest little gifts for yourself or someone else, that $$ can buy. And for less than $10 too!

Considering the millions and millions of pens that are discarded each year, this is definitely an easy way of putting a personal dent in that particular "waste pile"!



 I've tried a lot of foot lotions, creams and rubs over the years and Badger Foot Balm is definitely at the top of my favs on that list.

Who doesn't need more TLC for their overworked and under- appreciated footsies?

I love the attractive tin that this natural product comes in too, great for gifting! Nice for sharing too, with someone you love.

For the full scoop on this soothing, foot pampering product, read my review: Badger Foot Balm.

There's something so special about getting a foot rub, isn't there?
Just don't forget to return the favor! ;<)


Another product that has become one of my personal, must-have favorites.

Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel (click for full review) .

Natural hair gel/styling products are few and far between, when it comes to those that truly do "walk the talk" and deliver with ingredients that (I'll say it again!) don't make a person cringe and still deliver great results.

I had been looking for a better option when it came to hair gel for a long time and this one is definitely a keeper! Available at Amazon for less than $10.And you don't need a lot of product (and I have thick hair) so this 6.8 oz. tube goes a long way!!!



I hope you find these gift suggestions helpful and inspiring. And do share if you can too!

Wishing You a Magical 2013 Holiday Season :<)


  1. I see a few books I'll write on my reading list....especially the John G. book. Great ideas! I love the books best...in case Santa reads this! Sweet hugs!

    1. I'm sure Santa will read this list! ;<) Sometimes, we've gotta give "the big guy" a bit of a nudge in the right direction lol.

      Hugs back to you Diane

  2. Great list, this is very helpful. You've got a good variety of gift ideas here and all reasonably priced. that's important too.

    1. So many goodies that can be bought for $20 or less, it was hard to decide what to put on this list. I hope I did pick a good variety that's helpful for my readers. :<)

  3. Good list to remember for gift giving.

    1. I hope it helps with your holiday shopping!

  4. I love it, love it, is John Grisham on kindle? how cool would that be, and I love the art with cat's hair i mean gosh the things i can do....yeah I buy myself presents 'cause except for my son, when he can I don't get many so who says you can't treat yourself, gosh I'm so in Love with my kindle can you believe I've learned 2 new words, I who thought Iknew everword and don't need to find the dictionary, must still be in the box 'cause all I have to do is press for definition I love it...everything there, should i get lucky and should anyone send me money sometimes my ex-mother-in-law, who i love dearly sends me money ...here's to hoping, fantastic list, made just for me well except for the cooking and the crocheting and you know the good stuff however, count me in as soon as your Daisy-covered Haiku book comes out, make it on both amazon ca and com 'cause i can only order on amazon.ca but if i create a wish list they usually come up with thebooks for kindle yay...you're awesome I'll shut up now

    1. Yes, John Grisham is definitely on Kindle, all of his books I believe. If you haven't read the Litigators, you will love it, I'm almost sure of that.

      thanks re: my new haiku book, it should be up in both print and kindle by end of the weekend. I hope you enjoy it and yes, I also have to download books via Amazon.ca but I still visit Amazon.com a lot, to browse and of course to write reviews. I write a lot of reviews at Amazon.com as well as here at MRLR.

      Happy Reading L and yes, I completely understand why you love your Kindle. :<)

  5. Good news i switched to Amazon.com so simple and so many more books to access...alleluia

  6. in the long winded regulations and settings, there is a place where it asks you if you're from Canda or you US I unclicked Canada and clicked US...it's that simple I can choose where I want to purchase something, they have no right to say but you're in Canada....works like a charm

  7. Now I am going to have to make a list, and check it twice..those are all great products. Thanks for putting this together.

    And we have snow...supposed to b e-19 next week.


    1. I hope it helps with your holiday shopping Jen.

      Yikes, -19, that is cold! Brrrr...hope they are wrong with that forecast, they often are. ;<)

  8. The Happy Face Yoga must really work. Wonderful profile photo! Thank you for your kind comment on my blog :)

    1. Hi Loredana ( I love your name btw) thanks re: The Happy Face Yoga, yes it really does work. Thanks for your kind words. I'm all for fighting the battle of the sag! ;<)

  9. Replies
    1. Hope you find the list helpful! I love your blog btw. always makes me feel peaceful, stopping by over there. :<)

  10. Thanks for all these brilliant ideas! :-) I like the cat.

    Greetings from London.

    1. Mr. Cheddar says" thank you" . Glad you enjoyed the list!

  11. wonderful suggestions Geraldine. your book cover is lovely and wonderful for Haiku!

    1. Thanks Tammie. RE: my book cover, it still won't show up here with the correct color, go figure. It's definitely NOT lime green, in reality. ;<)

  12. Hello,

    I had a such great time reading your life review. I even chose a few things I would love to have. I am thinking about Haiku Reflections II and a few things more.

    Big Thank you Geraldine for this wonderful review! Oh, I love it very, very much!

    Warm hugs to you and best wishes from Kaya.

    1. what a lovely comment, thanks Kaya ( I love your name btw, have never heard it before). I'm so glad you found this list helpful. :<) I'm glad I found your blog too.

  13. I am returning the car as I'd had to face the fact that I can't afford it...but I read
    A new year begins
    Fresh palette, possibilities
    Raise a glass of cheer!

    I hang on to the possibilities....

    1. Yes, we all have to hang on to the good possibilities and opportunities that a new year brings.

      I like New Years, it seems like such a hopeful, positive time!

      Glad you liked my haiku for this theme too.

  14. Oh and Kaya isn't G awesome and G isn't Kaya awesome... ok that's just an aside
    but Kaya buy the 4seasons Haiku is has helped me so much, now back to G...Ok it's probably a stupid question but you know me it's raw or microwave so for your recipe book must I have a slow-Cook dish thing or will any cooking pot do, I think I have one somewhere....I know sounds ridiculous, but it's a real question ;)

    1. It was great to find Kaya's blog, I'm really enjoying visiting over there. :<) Fun when we find new blogs, via our old favs, isn't it?

      I have never used a microwave, even when they were at the height of their popularity. I don't like what they do to the composition and nutritional value of food. I'd rather eat everything raw than go the "nuking" route. There's been a drastic drop in sales for microwaves in recent years and I'm not surprised.

      I'm glad Haiku Reflections II is helping you L and that you are enjoying the poems! :<)

  15. well too expensive, the slow-cooker that is I'm sure somewhere there's a cook book for dummies, although that's not true I can cook...but i hate the dishes so much I prefer a platter of fresh organic veg with black olives, a bit of brie, a few slices of chips, and voila supper ready but money is tight now so I don't shop there anymore, I can't afford it still i try to mostly eat veg and fruits and dark chocolate with sea salt in it, yum!!!!and when I'm too broke i buy those 99 cents frozen dinners on sale, I know there' s more nutrition in the box, or maybe those rice noodles with ginger now that I like a lot, and cheap too....

    1. Too bad you don't enjoy cooking Lorraine. I find it so relaxing and restful myself. But there are a LOT of people who don't enjoy cooking. It's not everyone's 'cup of tea' .

      There's always fresh salads, fruits, good sandwiches, wraps...lots of nutritious and easy things that can be enjoyed, even if you don't like to cook. You're right about the boxes having more nutrition in a lot of the so called convenience dinners out there. A lot of junk that does a person no good. I feel so much better when I eat well, even if it's just simple things. :<) And I am looking for ORGANIC everything, these days, that's SO important too.

      Hugs, G

  16. I like those 7-year pens. I have two of those and they work pretty well. lots of good products for making people happy and refresh. thanks for the recommedations.

    hope you have a great holiday.


Thank you for your visits and feedback! :<)

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