2017 Holiday Gift Guide

By Polly Conner

We’ve tried to curate a wide-range of quality toys, books, games, and more for all ages that have had staying power in our homes or our friends’ homes.

We've curated quality gift ideas that we've used and loved in our own homes. Plus, enjoy promo codes and deals just for Thriving Home readers!

Note: This post did have a giveaway on it, but it has expired.

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

We don’t want Christmas to be about stuff, as we wrote about in this post recently. Giving meaningful gifts, however, is one way we can show love to our people and make Jesus’ birthday a joyous celebration that points to him as the greatest gift of all.

These may not be the most flashy, new gift ideas, but we’ve tried to curate a wide-range of quality toys, books, games, and more for all ages that have had staying power in our homes or our friends’ homes. The following gift ideas are things we genuinely recommend and/or use personally.

And because we love you and know you’re trying to spend wisely, we reached out and asked many of these businesses to offer you a special discount or deal. Keep an eye out below for our special promo codes for Thriving Home readers.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure

For Ages 3-7

Magna-Tiles 32 Piece Set or 100 Piece Set

Polly: Though Magna-Tiles are a bit pricey, they have been worth every penny in my opinion. The creative possibilities are endless and every age (including the adults) enjoys these.

An Elephant and Piggie Biggie

Rachel: There are a handful of children’s books that my husband and I truly enjoy reading aloud to our kids again and again. Mo Willems‘ books (one of the original writers for Sesame Street) prove over and over to be clever, engaging, and downright hilarious. My now 7-year-old son who just learned to read is obsessed with them, but they are also perfect to read aloud to younger children.

Hot Wheels Motorcycle Launcher

Polly: I snagged this last minute for my 4-year-old son last Christmas, and it has been a toy he has played with all year long. The small launch pad sends motorcycles flying surprisingly far.

Melissa and Doug Floor Puzzles

Rachel: The best quality puzzle we owned during this stage was this one. My kids have solved it many times over. Another great brand of puzzles for this stage are the Crocodile Creek ones.


Polly: When my 6-year-old daughter asked if there would be Hatchimals in heaven, I figured I better add one to her Christmas list.


Polly: I can’t tell you how many times parents have seen how much fun my kids have on their ziggle and then proceed to buy one of their own. It is by far the most used riding toy in our house.

Do-A-Dot Art

Rachel: Kids love paint. Moms do not. These do-a-dot markers keep the paint mess contained but allow children to be as creative as they want. Best for preschool and young elementary children.

Melissa and Doug Giant T-Rex Dinosaur

Polly: This one seems a bit random but my kids have had so much fun with this toy. It is a bit firmer than the normal plush toy and has proven to be a character in many make believe scenes around our house.

The Usborne Big Book of Drawing and Doodling

Polly: I cannot say enough good things about this drawing/coloring/doodling book. It’s HUGE. The pages are thick, the images are so fun, and it gives a lot of room for creativity. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this coloring book.

Me Reader Books

Polly: These have remained popular all year long in my house. There are all different kinds of sets too!

Lego Duplo

Rachel: My kiddos would regularly pass up Legos to play with Duplos a few times a week well into elementary school. They used these to build hideouts for their super heros and all other kinds of creations. If you have a little one, I HIGHLY suggest starting to collect these from early on because they definitely have staying play power.

Kidizoom Camera

Polly: My big kids each got one of these last Christmas and the continue to be something they play with. Even my toddler gravitates to it. This camera takes pictures, videos, face filters, and even has some games on it for them to play.

For Ages 7-11


Rachel: This fun, fast-paced, simple dice game can be played with all ages from 5-105. It’s also a great travel game to take on vacation. If you have a group bigger than four people, then you’ll want this Tenzi party pack.

Snap Circuits, Jr.

Rachel: This is one of those toys that isn’t used every week in our house. But, every time my children bring it out of the closet, I am amazed at what they are learning about electrical circuits. This set is definitely for elementary-aged children and may require some parental oversight initially. Now that my kids have the hang of it, though, I feel comfortable letting them play by themselves with it. If you have an older elementary-aged child, you might consider this more advanced set instead.

Image result for snap circuits jr

Lego City and Lego Friends

Rachel: A group of neighbor kids come over daily and work on a huge Lego city together in our basement. Currently the favored sets are Lego City (my 7-year-old son) and Lego Friends (my 9-year-old daughter) in our home. I’m awe-struck by the engineering skills and imaginative play at work when they gather around Legos.

Wooden White Board/Chalkboard Easel

Rachel: My daughter and her friends use this easel regularly to draw pictures, practice writing letters and words, create maps and play school. The key to the lasting value of this toy has been having a variety of colors of dry erase markers and chalk on hand.

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Ticket to Ride

Rachel: This is one high-quality strategy game our family plays again and again. I would say it’s doable for an 8-year-old and older, but our younger guy just plays on a parent’s team. If your family likes a good sit down game for an evening, this won’t disappoint. Our other current fav is the old school Clue game.

Guinness World Records

Polly: I loved it as a kid and now my kids are loving it. A fun book for parents and kids to flip through together.

Wooden Chess Set (with Interior Storage)

Rachel: This gift could be for the whole family. We got our wooden chess set two decades ago in Poland, but this one on Amazon is very similar. It sits on our coffee table most of the year and is constantly played with by adults and children alike who enter our home. It’s beautiful, educational, fun, and interactive–all the keys to a good gift in my mind.


Polly: This simple card game has been the family favorite of 2017. Every family should have this classic in their home.

Rechargeable Walkie Talkies

Rachel: My kids got these affordable and very fun walkie talkies last Christmas and still play with them repeatedly in different ways. They’ve worked really well for us. An added benefit is that I use it to stay connected with my kids if I go on a walk around the neighborhood. They reach for up to 3 miles.

Boxcar Children Books 1-4

Rachel: I secretly wanted to be part of the Boxcar children family and learn to survive in a train car in the woods. These classic chapter books have been favorites of our younger elementary children (and me). You can’t go wrong with this investment for boys or girls.

LED Head Lamp

Rachel: My son and the neighbor kids use their head lamps often. Whether it’s reading in bed, on a camping trip, or playing “capture the flag” at night, this head lamp has come in handy often.

Flint and Steel Fire Starter Set

Rachel: My almost 11-year-old son prides himself on his survival skills. He loves the woods and the idea of being able to start his own fire. Now this gift isn’t for young kids or every kid. But, if you have a fairly responsible one who is an adventurer, he/she will love this flint and steel set. I let my son start all of our fires in our fire pit with it, while all the neighbor friends look on in awe. 🙂

Washi Tape Set

Rachel: My daughter’s room is overflowing with craft project supplies. One of the most enduring and most versatile supplies is her washi tape. It comes in so many fun designs and colors! My favorite part is that it can be used on walls and doesn’t take off the paint.

Seeds Family Worship CDs

Our families love Seeds music and have listened to it in our cars for years. A Seeds CD would make a great stocking stuffer and would be a gift that potentially makes a lasting impact in your child’s life. All the songs are word-for-word scripture songs that help families learn and memorize God’s Word.

Order any Seeds products now and use promo code “Thrivinghome” to receive 15% off + free shipping.

For Tweens

Double Play by Ben & Julianna Zobrist

Here’s a gift idea for the tween or teen boy in your life who loves baseball. I bought this for my 5th grader, because I read it last year and knew he would love it. Ben Zobrist, who plays for the Cubs now, and his wife, a Christian musician, speak very openly about their own stories growing up in Christian homes and about their dating relationship and marriage. (FYI, they are upfront about waiting to have sex until they got married.) Lots of behind the scenes baseball stories that boys will enjoy, too. It’s a great story and very inspiring.

Raw Spice Bar

Polly: I’m a sucker for the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Last year I gifted a Raw Spice Bar Subscription to my dad but secretly wanted it for myself. This is a great gift for someone who likes to dabble in cooking new things or trying out new flavors.

The Good Byline by Jill Orr

Rachel: One of the best fun reads of my year was this delightful mystery/romance/comedy. Perfect gift for any 20-something but also for a mom like me. I couldn’t put it down, and I couldn’t stop giggling throughout. Do yourself a favor and take this on your next vacation, road trip, or read it by the fire over Christmas vacation (or gift it to a reader in your life).Read the synopsis here. P.S. The second book in this series comes out in April, and you can pre-order it now. Yippee!


Polly: PopSockets are great for enhancing the grip and capabilities of your phone. I have a few friends who have this, and I really want one! It secures grips for texting, calling, photos, and selfies – compatible with all smartphones and tablets.

Lotus Soy Candles

Rachel: These handmade candles (by a good hardworking mom friend of mine) are all over my house and tick off all the checkboxes for a great candle gift:

  • poured in beautiful recycled (and reusable!) materials like the Milk Glass Hobnob candle pictured below
  • made with soy wax, which is clean burning and safer than traditional candles
  • locally made in Mid-Missouri
  • they smell AMAZING! (check out all the scents available here)

Order yours here and use promo code “thrivinghome” to receive 10% off through December 31, 2017.

Instant Pot

What is a 2017 gift list without this hot, hot kitchen item? We both have and use ours every.single.week. Oh, and we’re writing a second cookbook right now that will feature freezer meal Instant Pot recipes for you! If you don’t know what it is, which one to buy, or where to start with this appliance, read our Instant Pot 101 post.

KitchenAid Slow Cooker

Thanks to the recommendation of America’s Test Kitchen and Food&Wine, this cooker is what we are using for our recipe testing for our next cookbook.

Noonday Revelry Earrings

We both have a pair of these and wear them ALL the time. Love them and love that they come from a business that we feel good about supporting.

From Freezer to Table by Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer

Our cookbook, From Freezer to Table, is the ultimate guidebook for transforming the way your family cooks, eats, and freezes. The chapters are packed with freezer cooking basics, practical tips for Freezer Cooking Parties and Freezer Clubs, and plenty of motivation and tools to make freezer cooking second nature.

Sugar Scrub

Polly: Anytime I am in St. Charles, MO, I swing by this lovely store, Providence Soapworks and snag one of their sugar scrubs. In the winter, I use this on my hands almost daily and it leaves them soft and smelling oh-so-delicious.

Chemex 8-Cup Coffee Glass Coffee Maker

Polly: Oh man, this makes good coffee. Simply pour boiling water over ground coffee and you have some delicious brew on your hands.

Noonday Leather Tote (or Purse)

Polly: I have been eyeing out this Leather Tote for quite some time now. I already have the purse and get compliments on it all the time. This company is doing meaningful things in the world, too.

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Rachel: This is one of my go-to kitchen tools, because it saves me from having to transfer hot foods to the regular blender. I use it to make Tomato Bisque, Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup, and Creamy Autumn Soup from our cookbook. But, it works as a mini food processor and a blender for small batch smoothies.

Cocktail Courier

Rachel: I ordered a few months of this cocktail subscription service for my husband’s birthday this year, and it was a big hit. We were blown away by the detail in the packaging, the instructions, and all the liquor, condiments, and even fresh fruit that was included for each drink. You can pick and choose what drinks you want to try or be surprised. We enjoyed creating and drinking our delicious concoctions with friends, too!

Sign up for a subscription (you can cancel at any time) and use promo code “THRIVINGHOME” to receive 20% your first box + free shipping.


Your man will enjoy a month’s worth of better meat delivered right to your door. With no antibiotics or growth hormones, this is the best meat you’ve ever had for only $6.00 a meal.

Image result for butcher box

Yeti Coffee Mug

Rachel: My hubs likes his hot drinks really hot and his cold really cold. We have gone through more insulated mugs than I care to number. Finally. This Yeti Rambler with Lid IS IT. The winner.


Rachel: My non-game-playing husband came home from a guy trip and said, “We played this great game you should check out.” Codenames is a social word game with a simple premise and challenging game play. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their codenames. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first…Read more here.

Note: This post did have a giveaway on it, but it has expired.


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19 replies
  1. Shelley Creed says:

    I great addition to the Tenzi Game is the set of cards for Tenzi. Not a necessity BUT they add a wonderful element of variety (as well as fun). In our family, we LOVE to play – ages 4 to the grandparentals! When I gifted to families, I included a rubber-backed placemat for each family member; makes the dice throwing area a bit easier to manage and quiets the activities. LOVE your suggestions (always)!

  2. Debbie says:

    Some great gift ideas there – thanks! Went through all the steps but the final “entry” closed before I could finish – not sure how to retrieve where I left off; same thing happened when I pre-ordered 3 copies of the cookbook and never got the freebies. Oh well! No biggie – someone else is meant to have them.

  3. Rust says:

    I closed the box too quick for “subscribe to email newsletter” and my email didn’t fully complete. I am subscribed with the same email as the one in the rafflecopter form. Thank you, and sorry about that.