My Favorite Things 2011

in Holiday Gifts

To the tune of “These are a few of my favorite things!” here are my holiday gift recommendations for 2011.  Some are duplicates from 2010 but I just can’t help it – they’re awesome gifts!


Medal Display:  I love, love, LOVE my Allied Metal medal display.  Before, all of my running medals were just tossed in a box, but now they’re hanging proudly in the hallway.  I love looking over each medal and remembering the specific race – it’s especially nice to see now that I’m not running as frequently.  The medal display is also a good conversation piece when we have guests over (“You ran Disney? So did I!”)  I love ordering from Allied Metal because it’s a small, American company, and you can even get personalized medal displays!


Pretty SLR Camera StrapDiana gave me a camera strap last year, and I love it – it’s easier to find my camera in my bag.  Plus, it’s comfy!  There many beautiful camera straps on Etsy, but I really like this blue one.


The Bell Motivator:  A really, really great gift for the triathlete or cyclist in your life.  I hate to ride outside when it’s cold, so the only way I’m going to spin my wheels during the winter is if I can do it indoors.  Hence, an indoor trainer!  Trainers can be very expensive, but the Motivator is affordable and effective.


Books:  Books, books, books!  So many good books.  Even though The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke came out in 2005, I refer to it all the time for questions about credit, mortgages, interest, and other confounding money topics.  Peas and Thank You is an excellent vegan cookbook by fellow blogger Mama PeaThe Happiness Project is an interesting non-fiction book that would be an uplifting holiday gift.  Shameless self-promotion moment:  I really, really believe you should buy my Operation Beautiful book for a teen or woman in your life – it’s inspiring, interesting, and motivating (and, amazingly enough, it’s ON SALE for less than $7 today!).  And last, but certainly not least, I am loving The SparkPeople Cookbook – it’s healthy and innovative and packed with simple recipes.


Riedel Swirl glasses:  Everyone needs a nice wine glass.  A nice wine glass with little indentations to help you swirl more easily?  Even better.


The Diva Cup:  Alright – so maybe you can’t give the Diva Cup to your boss.  But a sister or close friend will LOVE IT.  Even if they open the package and stare at you in disbelief first. I first wrote about the Diva Cup in the Green Your Period post, and I still believe that this menstrual cup is awesome for the environment and your wallet.  Plus – and I can’t even really explain why – it’s oddly empowering.  Tampons and pads, be gone!


Organic Cotton Sheet Set:  Sheets fall into the category of “I never buy them for myself but consider nice ones a luxury.”  And then, last week, I got a nose bleed in the middle of the night and ruined our snow-white sheets.  Boo.  I picked up these dark purple organic sheets from Target and have been lovin’ sleep even more than normal ever since.  So soft, so smooth.  A perfect gift!


A Bike Tune-Up:  Considering grabbing a gift card for a bike tune-up from your local bike shop.  I love gifts like this because it supports a local business and potentially creates even more revenue for the business down the road. 


The Boy With Pink Hair:  Beautifully illustrated, Perez Hilton’s kids’ book tells the tale of a book with pink hair… he was born that way.  Definitely not ‘pro-homosexual’ as some reviews have suggested (clearly they have not read the book!), the Boy With Pink Hair is about accepting others for who they are and celebrating their talents – a really, really great gift for younger kids.


The Kindle:  I feel like ‘a bad author’ by saying this, but I LOVE MY KINDLE.  It’s a great e-reader, especially for people who travel a lot.  The battery lasts forever, and I love having access to hundreds of thousands of books at my fingertips.  And… it starts at $79!


OtterBox:  If I didn’t have an OtterBox, I would’ve broken my iPhone ten times over.  The new OtterBoxes are even sleeker and more attractive, but honestly – I don’t care what they look like, as long as they protect my phone.  Considering that I’ve actually chucked my phone across a parking lot and it came out unscathed, I would say this thing really, really works (side note: I was just proving that the OtterBox works – I wasn’t chucking my phone out of anger!).


Fruit of the Month:  And last, but not least, a gift that I don’t have but have always wanted – a fruit of the month membership.  Imagine a fruit basket being delivered to your door every month for a year – awesome!  Maybe one day someone will get it for me (hint, hint Santa).


What are you coveting this holiday season?  What are you gifting?



  • Sana November 21, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Hummm, I would so buy some of these things for myself! my family does not celebrate Christmas 🙁

  • Brie @ Brie Fit November 21, 2011, 3:09 pm

    I’m coveting a positive pregnancy test! The husband has been duly informed, haha.

    …and also Lululemon gift cards, fuzzy slippers, a new wallet, and a new Camelbak water bottle.

    • CaitlinHTP November 21, 2011, 3:10 pm

      Now that would be an awesome Christmas present!!!! 🙂 Thinking of you Brie!

    • Therese November 21, 2011, 3:28 pm

      Love it!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 21, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I remember your cellphone cover praise from about a year ago and based on your recommendation I almost bought one but ended up going with something less tough but glad to know you still love it.

    I also love my comfy DSLR strap. My neck and back thank me 🙂

  • Kerry November 21, 2011, 3:11 pm

    A fruit basket a month sounds like a lovely gift!

  • Sarah November 21, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Where is your book on sale for less than $7? I’m thinking of buying it for my cousin 🙂

  • Army Amy* November 21, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I got my medal display after you mentioned it last year. I love mine! It’s getting full now, so I’m debating getting another one or looking for something else. Decisions, decisions.*

  • Jamie @ FoodinRealLife November 21, 2011, 3:12 pm

    I’m gifting this daily affirmations calendar to a few people. Louise Hay is one of my favorite people on the planet!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels November 21, 2011, 3:12 pm

    ohhhhhh the Bell Motivator is a good price hmmmmm who should I send this link to? who would want to gift that to me hehehe

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 21, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Great list Caitlin! Your medal display is awesome. This year, I’m loving the Lululemon Spin Me tank (great for running and spin!), my amazing thermos from David’s Tea that keeps tea hot for hours, and my Bath and Body Works wallflower air freshener. It smells divine and they have some amazing scents in this year!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 21, 2011, 3:17 pm

    My mom wants an indoor bike trainer so badly, thank you for posting this! Xmas gift = done 🙂

    PS-I know the Otterbox cases are amazing, my husband has one, but I can’t believe you actually chucked yours across a parking lot! haha

  • Layonda November 21, 2011, 3:25 pm

    These are all way too pricey for me. I can barely afford to buy a stick of deoderant for myself!

    Homemade cards for Christmas gifts?

  • Kelly November 21, 2011, 3:26 pm

    That fruit of the month club looks so cool!!

  • eliza November 21, 2011, 3:31 pm

    it kind of made me giggle that you had the wine glass with Red wine above the Diva cup.. i was a little disgusted for a quick second until I read on 🙂

  • Jamie @ A Healthy J.D. November 21, 2011, 3:34 pm

    Is your comforter from Overstock? I think I have the same one…in the same honey color (and green) because I love it so much!

  • Therese November 21, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Listing the Diva cup below the half-full glass of red wine was possibly not the best choice 😉 That being said, I finally bought a Diva cup and despite my skepticism, it actually ended up being far less gross than tampons and the like!

  • Nicole Mullins November 21, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Great list! I love my Diva Cup and never would have tried it if it weren’t for you!

    So… this is random but in case you haven’t tossed your sheets, you could try this removal tip for blood stains:

    Spray diluted dish-washing soap on the stain and let sit. Rinse in tepid water.

    Sounds simple but it works! Even if the blood has dried!

  • Ker November 21, 2011, 3:48 pm

    My roommate’s mom bought us a fruit of the month membership. It reminds us that produce exists, which is definitely something you forget as a college student.

  • Sara November 21, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Hey Caitlin,

    I’ve heard that the Bell Motivator is pretty loud. Can you confirm? Are you able to listen to music, a tv show, etc while using it?


    • Caitlin November 21, 2011, 3:51 pm

      It’s as loud as a vaccumm. I can watch TV if I pump the volume up.

      • Marissa C November 21, 2011, 8:16 pm

        Is it a wind resistance trainer? My hubby had one. My mom and I got him a magnetic one for Christmas before we got married. It was a gift for me too 🙂

        • CaitlinHTP November 21, 2011, 8:17 pm

          I don’t think its magnetic.

  • Kim L. November 21, 2011, 3:49 pm

    I was looking at the Diva Cup at Earth Fare yesterday and considering buying it. Then I had a dream about it last night! Too funny that you mentioned it in your Christmas Gift suggestion list. I don’t think anyone will buy it for me, so it might be a Christmas gift from me, to me : )

  • Amanda November 21, 2011, 3:53 pm

    Great list, Caitlin! And I love the photo of James all tucked in your bed. Looks very similar to my bed most days. I sometimes even find my dog with her head on my pillow like a little person. 🙂

    I like to give donations to friends’/family’s favorite charities around the holidays, and also bake them something special. Most people I know are so blessed already, I think it can be a good time to share the love with those less fortunate.

  • Cheryl November 21, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I bought myself the Harry & David fruit of the month club this year (I am big on self-gifts :-p). It was kind of disappointing. It was pretty expensive and I was definitely not wowed by most of the fruit.

  • Emily G. November 21, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I just bought my Christmas gift!! I opened it a little early! LOL! I have ALWAYYYYYYYYS wanted a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and I got a heck of a deal on for a white refurbished one. It was listed on the site for $161 but after all the discounts they give, I paid $164 and that included shipping!!!!

    • Luv What You Do November 21, 2011, 3:59 pm

      I have wanted one for YEARS and finally got one for my 30th birthday! Enjoy!

    • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) November 21, 2011, 5:26 pm

      Oh, kitchenaid mixers are the best! Merry Christmas to you! 🙂

  • Luv What You Do November 21, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I REALLY want a wetsuit and maybe a wireless SD card. I am gifting lots of home made goodies and Sugar Cookie tea!

  • Johanna B November 21, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Thanks for the tip about the Otter Box. It will be perfect for my daughter who has gone through more iphones than I care to count.

    • Angie November 22, 2011, 9:46 am

      I have the smaller otterbox (I think it’s called the commuter), and I tripped over someone at the beginning of a 5k with my phone in my hand and fell hard right on that hand. All I got was a small scratch on the edge of my phone where the inner layer peeled back a little, but I got huge scrapes on my knee and elbow. The otterbox is the best!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 21, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I love the idea of a bike service for Xmas!

  • Allison November 21, 2011, 4:15 pm

    i’m a huge divacup fan! (3months now) although i wont be gifting one, i definitely tell people about it and highly recommend it! it has relieved so many problems for me

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 21, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I LOVE that medal display. Pinned it for my mom to get me for Christmas – LOL!

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) November 21, 2011, 4:23 pm

    I don’t care how much I trust my case, I’m not sure I’d ever chuck my phone in a parking lot. You live on the edge Caitlin HTP 😉

    I guess I should really start thinking about Christmas…

  • Meaghan November 21, 2011, 4:27 pm

    LOVE that you plug the Diva Cup! It’s great for your body, great for the environment and great for your wallet!

  • Sarah November 21, 2011, 4:28 pm

    In my experience, Harry and David fruit is really icky, so you’re not missing out much there.

    A better option would be a local CSA membership. That way everything they get is fresh and in season.

    • Caitlin November 21, 2011, 4:29 pm

      What a wonderful suggestion!

  • Candice @ Sailing on Paper November 21, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Thanks so much for the book recommendations! I actually work in book publishing but I love my Kindle, too. So even though you’re an author, don’t feel bad about liking your e-reader. 🙂

  • Jen November 21, 2011, 4:55 pm

    This is just my opinion, but I don’t think something like the Diva Cup is ever an appropriate gift. If someone wants to switch to using something like that, I believe they would buy it for themselves. Giving it as a gift comes across as kind of forceful and “I know better than you, so use this”. Personally, I prefer tampons, and if a friend gave me that out of the blue I wouldn’t know what to say. If we had talked about it beforehand and I expressed my disinterest and they still got it for me than I would be kind of pissed. Think of it this way… would you buy someone a box of tampons or pads or make an appointment for them to get an IUD? I really doubt that anyone would, so why would this be different?

    I think those kinds of gifts (while perfectly well intentioned, I’m sure) can come across the wrong way, so it’s best to steer clear.

    Again…just my opinion, and I really like all of the other suggestions on the list, especially the Kindle and the wine glasses.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 21, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I LOVE the race medal display! Since I have negative income (live off of student loans…) my favorite gift ideas are baking things for people!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife November 21, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I would totally love a race and medal display and the indoor bike trainer. THose would be perfect!

    Also some more Zumba clothes (I teach a lot!)

    I am gifting a sports bra (to a sister), clothes, books, and DVDs to friends/family.

    Love your suggestions!

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas November 21, 2011, 5:14 pm

    This holiday season I am wanting a camera-an awesome one! I don’t know quite yet what I am gifting though–I’ll have to ask the receivers first! 🙂

  • Hillary November 21, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Instead of buying gifts this holiday, my boyfriend and I are going on a trip to celebrate our five year anniversary. I. Cannot. Wait.

    Oh, and I’d love a pair of $268 JCrew boots and a $350 JCrew purse that I saw in the catalog, but I’m going to assume those are out of Santa’s budget ; )

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count November 21, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I’ve really wanted a Nook but now that the Kindle is so cheap, I’m really thinking that might be the better way to go. Hmmm…

  • stevie November 21, 2011, 5:46 pm

    The fruit of the month club is such a great idea but it is sooo expensive. I couldn’t imagine asking a family member to purchase me a $200 and up fruit membership.

  • Kiran @ November 21, 2011, 6:26 pm

    I need to get a DSLR strap. Pronto.

  • Anna Crouch November 21, 2011, 7:30 pm

    I got my husband a pair of REALLY nice headphones, with a microphone attached…Had to buy it early because they were 50% off! It’s for when he plays his games on the xbox and play station. I didn’t think about it until after I purchased them, but they will actually be very nice for me too….I won’t have to hear all the swearing, anger, dirty jokes and annoying guys talking on the game!!! hahaha I’m just glad my husband doesn’t part take of that stuff, or I would be stuck.

    You suggestions are great here. Especially the diva cup. hahaha I might need to buy that for myself for Christmas.

  • Mary November 21, 2011, 8:00 pm

    I would love a fruit of the month club too, but I doubt anyone will spend that much!:(

  • susan November 21, 2011, 8:14 pm

    Ohhh — thanks for the reminder about the medal display thing. My dh is impossible to buy for, but he has a bunch of race medals. Perfect!

  • Linz November 21, 2011, 9:55 pm

    i learned about the divacup from your blog and have been a user ever since! i know i am saving money and the environment! we have a rather large extended family, so i think for all non-immediate relatives i am going to make some of julie’s delicious granola, put it in a jar, and wrap some festive ribbon around it!

    • Caitlin November 22, 2011, 9:59 am

      Oh yeah – granola sounds like a lovely gift 🙂

  • Natalie November 21, 2011, 9:59 pm

    Loved the Happiness Project. Could read it over and over again and get something out of it everytime I read it.

    Another great book for those people who love reading is “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” by Nina Sankovitch

  • Ashley @ Cooking for John November 21, 2011, 10:07 pm

    Looove all your suggestions! I actually might consider getting my sister a diva cup for Christmas!!

    Also, I bought the same sheets from Target a month ago, love them! 🙂

  • Rachel November 21, 2011, 10:42 pm

    Great suggestions! I have the organic target sheets too and they are pretty fabulous… especially for the price!

  • Mama Pea November 21, 2011, 11:46 pm

    I’m so honored to be on your list! Thank you!

  • Khushboo November 22, 2011, 12:39 am

    Great suggestions- especially the wine glass..although I think it would make me want to drink more :)!

  • Christina @ Just Running November 22, 2011, 2:17 am

    I know this is a list of gift recommendations, but I just wanted to share my $3 medal hanger for those of us who can’t afford to spend $60-80 on one of the fancy ones:

  • Sarah November 22, 2011, 3:08 am

    Great list, especially the book recommendations, thanks!

    Also, kind of random, but the blood from your nosebleed should wash out of your sheets with a bit of hydrogen peroxide and cold water (you can let it soak for a bit before throwing it in the wash). Not that you shouldn’t buy yourself nice new sheets too, though!

    • Caitlin November 22, 2011, 10:00 am

      Darnit. I already tossed them. They were pretty grungy anyway. 🙂

  • Jessi @ Quirky Cookery November 22, 2011, 3:29 am

    The best thing about the once-a-month gifts is that the love is felt all year long. Every time it comes, you think of the gift-giver and feel loved all over again, holidays or not! Love it. <3

  • Tracy November 22, 2011, 5:41 am

    I love those purple sheets!

  • Sara November 22, 2011, 9:12 am

    We have a set of the organic cotton sheets. Love them!

  • Kirsty November 22, 2011, 10:26 am

    Just bought the OB book on Chapters for my 13 yr old niece.
    Here in Canada it was $15.00 and since I was ordering other books I got free shipping. I could have bought a “gently used” copy as well for $7.50 but because it ships from elsewhere, they were adding 6.50 for shipping which came to $14 anyways, so I just went with the new one 🙂

  • Amber K November 22, 2011, 1:02 pm

    What a great list of suggestions. I haven’t been coveting anything that anyone can afford to get me 😉 But I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my friends and hubby this holiday season.

  • Ari November 23, 2011, 8:47 am

    Why do you make a point of saying that Hilton’s book isn’t pro-homosexual? Isn’t it important to teach our children to be accepting of all people?

    • Caitlin November 23, 2011, 8:58 am

      Well, first of all, I’m totally accepting of all groups. I say that because in a lot of the Amazon reviews that I’ve read, people were like “Oh, I would never give my kid a PRO-GAY book.” Um, hello. It’s not a pro-gay book (and even if it was, I would still think it was cool). Anyway, I just think that’s a common misconception that people have about Perez’s book… that is has this secret vendetta to make kids accept homosexuality (“pink hair”) but its not really about that at all. I just wanted to clarify that in case some people mistakenly believed that was the theme of the book!

  • Lisa November 23, 2011, 10:25 am

    I have those exact sheets and I looooooovvveeee them!

  • Shell November 25, 2011, 4:45 am

    I am an author who also loves my Kindle. I read much more these days, and so does my entire family…nit’s always in my handbag. So authors SHOULD love Kindles and other e-book readers…, they get people reading more!

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel November 25, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Ahh, so many people love Kindles, but I just can’t bring myself to try it! I love that opening a book is an escape from technology….though I definitely get the perks of Kindles in occasions like traveling.

  • ally November 27, 2011, 2:29 pm


    What font is your medal hanger? I want to get one in that same one…though it looks different on the webpage for customizing when I try to do it now.


    • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 2:40 pm

      Not sure 🙁 Maybe you can email the company and ask? they are very responsive.

  • Alett November 27, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Great and thoughtful list Caitlin. However, the way you’ve been talking about chips I swear I thought that I was going to see BBQ chips on this list!


    …p.s. I think I may have to buy one of those medal displays -> really nice! AND! We both did WDW marathon “together!” Hubby and I did the Goofy challenge that year!

  • Alett November 27, 2011, 4:44 pm

    addendum: I just ordered a custom medal display for my husband! Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Gabby November 30, 2011, 11:15 pm

    Did you order a custom Allied Medal Display?? I want one EXACTLY like yours but can only find ones that say “pain is temporary, pride is forever” rather than just “pride is forever.”

    • CaitlinHTP December 1, 2011, 8:45 am

      @Gabby: mine wasn’t custom but i got it a year and a half ago 🙁

  • Aly March 4, 2012, 10:07 pm

    Hi Caitlyn, I’m so glad I’ve found your site. Wow, you have a huge amount of useful info on here. I have just commenced a blog, with the aim to build it up one day at a time with great, useful info like yourself. Meanwhile it’s great to ‘meet’ someone who has achieved so much, and is also having a baby-many congrats to you all. I’d love any feedback on my blog as I am a beginner, I’ve always thought you if you need anything done, ask a busy person! Have a great day. Cheers

    • CaitlinHTP March 4, 2012, 10:45 pm

      Thanks Aly 🙂

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