Thoughtful, budget friendly gifts

thoughtful, budget friendly gifts…3869b654-f4b1-4a80-8e29-3da11df56c3c

a leggett sibling tradition…

Stressed about what to give this Christmas season? On a budget, but want to give something thoughtful?

I was fully planning to create the perfect gift guide for you all. I wanted to do one for him and one for her, with different price points and everything!, but I got a bit overwhelmed (see ‘my mind’ above :)).

So, I’m taking you down a simple and trustworthy road instead – a Leggett sibling family tradition.

I honestly think it started because my parents weren’t the biggest fans of us ‘buying’ each other elaborate gifts (with their money) when we were growing up. A book swap seemed reasonable. Every Christmas Eve, my brothers and I would go to Barnes & Noble and sneak around each other to pick out books for one another…

We started doing this when I was in middle school. (Technology) things have evolved a bit since then. We’ll often still make the trip to B&N, but the boys now just ask for a printed out piece of paper with the name of the book so they get it on their e-readers. I (not surprisingly) enjoy making them work a little bit, so I maintain my request for the ‘real version.’

One year, Andrew and Carter got each other the exact same book. That was super cute, but that’s never happened with me. I would say my favorite years have been giving Andrew Go Ask Alice when he was only in the 6th grade. Mom definitely did not approve (which clearly made it way more fun to do).

And giving Carter Gossip Girl (before it was a TV show!). There’s something really special when you get to chat with your genius brother about whether he would rather date Blair or Serena, and who should Nate pick?! To be more realistic, I think he refused to answer my questions, but he definitely did read more than one book in the series after I got him onto it.

book recommendations for your christmas list

I admittedly haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to this year, so we did a bit of crowd-sourcing for the below recommendations. Hopefully these will work for a few people on your Christmas list!

For your history buffs… All the Light We Cannot See – amazing stories all folding into a coherent narrative heading toward a climax, with characters who will stay with you for a long time. (recommended by Amanda Anders).


For your BIG history buffs (who only read non-fiction) – Citizens of London – history comes alive in the biographies of 3 men who did much to help the English in WWII. (recommended by Amanda Anders).

For your ‘fireside’ readers (the best I could come up with for a ‘beach read’!) – Fates and Furies – intriguing with shades of Gone Girl. Or, The Husband’s Secret. (recommended by Susan Porter).

For your foodiesThe Remarkable Life of Julia Child – Did you know that Julia Child had never cooked before she was in her twenties (there’s hope for me!), that she put public TV on the American roadmap, and that anyone could call her home telephone number on Thanksgiving and ask how to cook a turkey? (recommended by Mary Claire Wall and Susan Porter).

For the soulful in your lifeBenediction (and others from the Kent Haruf series) – these are not action stories, these are stories of life in a fictional town in Colorado, about the way quiet people live deeply and step up for each other (recommended by Nancy Covington and Amanda Anders).

For your favorite financierRed Notice – as in the notice that the INTERPOL puts out to member countries when there’s a warrant out for your arrest. It’s about a Wall Street maverick who heads to Russia just after the break up of the Soviet Union. (recommended by Charley Hodges).

For those who need to not sweat the small stuffLittle Victories – Wall Street Journalist’s hilarious and heartfelt ‘perfect rules for imperfect living.’ (one of two on the whole list that I have read, loved, and highly recommend!)

For the lover of New York CityCity on Fire – one of 2015’s “it” books. Be warned – it is a 900 page commitment. It takes place in NYC in the 1970’s before NYC was “cool”. Great punk scene and characters. Good for anyone who knows and loves New York. (recommended by Nancy Covington).

For the lover of New York City who doesn’t love to read a lot – for those who need less pages, Rules of Civility – took place in NYC in the 1930s. It involves a 25-year old, Katy, a handsome banker, and life in the upper echelons of New York society. (recommended by me).

For your sci fi nerd – Hell’s Foundations Quiver – it’s a new book out in David Weber’s Safehold series. (recommended by Lauren Brantley).

if you can’t decide, there’s always unplugged

Did you draw secret santa for a new in law you don’t know very well? One of my favorite friends bought unplugged last week to help her get to know her sister-in-law better. Next year, she just might be ready to pick out a book. This year, she’ll be giving the gift of deeper dinner conversations (and those kitchen scissors she asked for!).


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