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2019 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

  • Our annual holiday gift guides are here! You’ll find some thoughtful, special finds that work for everyone on your list. Hopefully, you will get a good jump on the gifts and enjoy a little breather during the busiest time. 

    holiday gift ideas 2019

    We are not very far away from the holiday. Are you prepared? This time of year can be a little hectic, but we try to enjoy the little moments whenever we can, and with gratitude for all.

    In this holiday gift guide, you’ll find some really cool recommendations, from eco-friendly essentials, smart gadgets, fun gifts for kids, best kitchen tools and so on. They are our tried-and-true favorites, so we hope you have a chance to check them out and get a little head start on your own holiday gifting.

    Holiday Gift Guide 2019 – Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List!

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    Namiko Chen standing in front of kitchen cabinetNami’s Picks


    yeti mug

    1. YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug with Lid 

    Mr. JOC and I drink cold brew coffee in the morning and I sip all morning with my YETI rambler. It stays cold and fresh till afternoon! Then I switch to hot Genmaicha in the afternoon and decaf buckwheat tea at night. The drinks stay nicely hot to keep me warm. I basically use my YETI rambler all day long, every day! I use this mug type, but they do have a tall 20 oz size that fits in the cupholder of your car.

    2. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s ORA Recovery Slide 2 Sandal 

    This is THE UGLIEST shoes I ever owned. Recommended by my chiropractor, I purchased this pair of sandals as indoor shoes to ease my back pain while I stand in my kitchen for long hours. I could not believe how comfortable these sandals are! Ever since I bought this pair, I haven’t complained much. I also bought a pair for Mr. JOC who stands all day to film our videos and for my mom who also has back pain. Thanks to the sandals, I do look a bit taller in the videos. 😉
    Apple Airpods pro

    3. Apple AirPods Pro 

    I love that this new AirPods Pro comes with noise cancellation. As our family work and study in the same office, it comes in handy when I need to shut off the kids’ noises. You can easily switch between noise cancellation and transparency modes. The quality is definitely much better than previous AirPod models.
    Images of clothing

    4. StitchFix 

    I have been purchasing my clothes through StichFix since 2014! As a busy mom and business owner, I don’t have time to go shopping anymore. I’m doing $49 Style Pass (yearly fee) which allows me to enjoy endless Fixes without styling fee! Basically, I receive a Fix with 5 items every 2 weeks. I tell my stylist what types of clothes I need, and she sends them. I’ve been with the same stylist for over a year now. StichFix also allows me to find some clothes that I don’t normally pick on my own. It’s been fun doing fashion shows at home!

    Mr JOC w150MR. JOC’s Picks



    kindle oasis

    5. Kindle Oasis

    Our kids love their Kindle Oasis. They both enjoy reading so it’s a great way for them to have a digital library with them when we travel. It’s lightweight, bright, and best of they can search up words they don’t know easily on the device.
    garlic press

    6. Dreamfarm Garject

    This is the ultimate garlic press, it crushes, scrapes, and ejects the garlic peel. A perfect holiday gift for the person who already has everything in their kitchen, except for a Garject.
    SanDisk ssd

    7. SanDisk Extreme Exportable External SSD

    For those of you with Apple laptops, this is a very cost-effective way to expand your storage without paying Apple’s ridiculous pricing. These drives are super portable, shock-resistant, and fast enough for video editing.
    belroy wallet

    8. Belroy Wallet

    Belroy wallet is the perfect gift for anyone who hates thick wallets. They are designed to disappear into your pocket so you don’t even feel them, the best part is they hold just as much as the big bulky wallets.

    Reese | JustOneCookbook.comReese’s Picks

    Sushi Go Playing Card game

    9. Sushi Go – The Pick & Pass Card Game

    I bought a set of this Sushi Go card game for my friend’s 6-year-old last year and it was an instant hit! My friend reported that they love playing the card game as a family after dinner. It’s fun for kids and adults and makes a great activity when you host a sushi party.

    watercolor brush pens

    10. Watercolor Brush Pens

    Know a budding artist in the family?  You can’t go wrong with this vibrant set of brush pens. They can be used for calligraphy, coloring, painting and more. I use them to make art projects for my son and love how easy they are for making quick crafts. They are also non-toxic and odorless, which is a great plus!

    organice beeswax lip balm set

    11. Organic Beeswax Lip Balm Set

    While on the hunt for the best lip balm to keep my lips from cracking in the winter (I live in Minnesota!), I discovered this set of Organic Beeswax Lip Balm from Sky Organics.  It has changed my life since. Bye-bye chapped lips! The balm goes on smoothly and keeps my lips moisturized the entire day without feeling waxy. The cute set also comes with 6 delicious flavors – Tahitian vanilla, cherry bomb, eucalyptus mint, tropical coconut, strawberry bliss, and tangy citrus. It definitely makes a great stocking stuffer or a gift pack for your kids’ teachers!

    The Body by Bill Bryson

    12. The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

    Any Bill Bryson’s fans out there? I grew up reading his books and the latest was A Short History of Nearly Everything, which was eons ago. When he released this latest book The Body, I knew I just have to get a copy. If you’re interested in learning more about how our bodies work, you’d enjoy the book! I have already ordered a few more copies for my reader friends.

     The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up…This book will have you marvelling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again. – Review by The Good Reads. 


    sutton duffle bag

    13. Sutton Duffle Bag by Herschel Supply Co. 

    This Herschel Sutton Duffel bag is super stylish and sturdy. It can be used as a weekender bag or a carry on for a longer trip. With classic colors like black, grey and camo to choose from, you can never go wrong to get this as a gift for the traveler you know.


    KayokoKayoko’s Picks


    cold brew tea bottle

    14. Hario FIB-75-O Cold Brew Tea Bottle

    I’m not a juice or soda drinker, but I always have cold brew tea in my fridge year-round. It rotates on a rough cycle of barley tea (麦茶), Korean corn tea (コーン茶), soba tea (そば茶), green tea (緑茶)… The Hario bottle doesn’t take up too much space, easy to separate and wash, and best of all, has a firm handle. 

    japanese iron tetsubin teapot

    15. Iwachu Japanese Iron Tetsubin Teapot, Gold/Black

    Tetsubin 鉄瓶 (てつびん) are cast iron kettles to boil water, traditionally used for Japanese tea ceremony. Like a sturdy cast iron skillet, it can last for decades if well maintained. This particular brand is expensive compared to the cheaper versions out there, but you can be sure of its craftsmanship. Iwachu (岩鋳) has been making ironware for over a century, so you can be sure it will retain heat or leave a metal aftertaste. FYI, this is a teapot, so don’t use over direct heat! 

    japanese pickle maker

    Want to make Japanese pickles AKA Tsukemono at home? This size is perfect for small batch quick pickles for that day. It’s made of glass, which means no stains or lingering smells. Plus the lid is hefty enough to press down whatever vegetables you’re pickling. Perfect for first-timers. 


    A woman smiling for the cameraSeimi’s Picks

    Magnetic letter board

    17. Magnetic Letter Board 

    As someone who writes lists for nearly EVERYTHING, this letter board has been so useful! I love the wooden frame and foam magnetic letters (they remind me of those classic refrigerator magnets I used to play with as a kid). I keep it in my kitchen so I can write out grocery lists, to-do’s, or doodle while I’m waiting for water to boil or my oven to preheat. 

    the noma guide to fermentation

    18. The Noma Guide to Fermentation

    I’ve been experimenting with various types of fermentation this year (pickles, kombucha, kimchi, miso, etc.), so I was really excited when this book came out. I love how detailed this book gets about the fermentation process, and the time lapse photos are great. 

    Japanese ceramic planters

    19. Japanese Style Ceramic Planters, Set of 2

    These little planters make wonderful homes for my succulents. They look great on a shelf, desk, countertop–just about anywhere. (The pot also has a drainage hole, which is perfect–no more overwatering!)

    Wine glasses

    20. Stemless Wine Glasses, Set of 4 

    I’ve always had a soft spot for glassware, and I love the look of this lightly tinted set. Being stemless, it also feels more multi-functional. 


    Richard | JustOneCookbook.comRichard’s Picks


    swell water bottle

    21. S’well Water Bottle

    As someone who spends a lot of time on a bicycle, or trail on a hike, a good water bottle is essential. And for a long time, I settle for good or good enough plastic water bottles for ages.  But after reading some frightening stats, my wife and I have made eliminating plastic from our lives a mission. Now I make sure to have a S’well water bottle with me everywhere I go! It’s made of high-grade 18/8 stainless steel, BPA-free and keeps drinks cold/hot for ages. It comes with different sizes and super cool designs too!
    ball mason jar

    22. Ball Mason Jars

    We eat lots of almonds, cashews, dried figs, and assorted trail mixes as snacks and I’ve always been dismayed that you had to either buy these healthy foods in a sealed plastic pouch when buying in bulk. After a bit of research and consulting with the friendly workers at the local Whole Foods, we came to a solution – buy a mason jar and use it instead of a plastic sack.
    Steps to do this are 1) buy the mason jar 2) have the customer service people weigh it  3) wash the jar at home and put a piece of painters tape that you can write onto on the lid 4) bring it back to WholeFoods or similar and scoop it full of whatever you like from the bulk section and note the product code. When you check out, tell the cashier the weight of the jar and the product code. Voila! A plastic-less way to buy snacks! This is a pretty new practice but is catching on!
    bamboo toothbrush

    23. Compostable Toothbrushes

    A good toothbrush is just as essential as a water bottle. Unfortunately, the ones that most dentists give you are made of plastic, not easily recyclable, and only have a limited life-span. After a bit of research, I found a company called Kooler Things that makes toothbrushes made from bamboo. They are biodegradable, ecologically sustainable, and are just as kind to my teeth and gums as the ones I formerly received from my awesome dentist (Hey, Dr. McKinzie)!
    A close up of a person holding a plant

    24. The Gift of Trees via One Tree Planted

    I recently completed a musical project that was never meant to generate any cash revenue. More or less by accident, my collaborators and I ended up with a small but still substantial bit of money. As a group, we decided to find a non-profit to donate all of this money to a good cause that would do something tangible. We settled on One Tree Planted which can translate a $1 dollar donation into the planting and maintenance of a tree.
    One Tree had projects all over the world to counter climate change. We picked a reforestation campaign in Southern Ethiopia and the Amhara region in the North. Both are areas where environmental degradation is threatening livelihoods and biodiversity. These regions face challenges like dry and unpredictable climates, poor soil fertility, ineffective land management, and lenient regulations. I hope you’d join forces to do something meaningful this holiday season.


    What is on your Christmas list this year? What types of gift recommendations would you like to see more from us? We’d love to hear from you! 

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    Our Recommendations for Buying Sashimi Online

    When we have a sudden craving for sashimi we usually buy from our local Japanese supermarkets. If you don't have a reliable shop to purchase quality sashimi nearby, we would recommend buying from Catalina Offshore online. They've been in business for over forty years and all the sashimi products we've tried from them are outstanding. The products we love are the saku cut tuna, hamachi loin, and all types of salmon. Disclosure: We earn a small percentage commission from your purchase of products linked to Catalina Offshore. Catalina Offshore Products banner with salmon

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