I LOVE the holidays. I LOVE giving gifts. My gift list consists of at least 35 names and it would have so many more on it if I had unlimited resources. I don’t just grab something that fits the age and price-range. I LOVE finding the perfect gift for each person on my list. You won’t be getting a body lotion set from me… unless I know it’s your absolutely favorite and you would be excited to receive a lotion set.

Retro Toys

Target has recently released a lot of retro toys including Holly Hobby Colorforms and Stretch Armstrong Action Figure. These toys could be for the 40-year-old or the 6-year-old in your life. Stretch Armstrong was released in 1976 and was hugely popular for about a decade. Those who grew up playing with it are in their 40’s and 50’s now and this re-release would be a great throwback to their childhood.

Photo Items

Think beyond the framed picture. A Personalized pillow case and blanket could be the perfect gift for anyone in your family. My cousin had photo blankets and pillow cases done for her children and nieces and nephews. Although several retailers offer this, she used York Photo.

Provided by Abby Kessinger

Provided by Abby Kessinger








My husband and I have had a photo book made for our granddaughter (age 2) for the last two years and plan to continue that tradition. Each page has a picture of her with a family member with a caption to coordinate like “Grandma loves Eden.” We order this from Pinhole Press each year but know that other places offer a similar service.

Keep your best friend or family members with you at home even when you live thousands of miles a part. Several places make these including Walmart, Walgreens and Shutterfly.

Provided by Sarah Miller-Hair













Second-hand Christmas

This involves shopping at second-hand shops. Don’t think of it as giving a used gift but instead giving a very unique gift. You never know what you are going to find. You might come across a toy or household item from the recipients youth, an old type writer, an amazing picture or even a vintage T-shirt. A friend of mine does this every year with her brother. One year she purchased a painting and added to it with her own art work. Her brother loved it!

Local Art

You can find one-of-a-kind gifts from local artists, whether it is jewelry, pottery, ornaments or yard decorations. I might be bias but my favorite local artist is Bridewell Art. DISCLAIMER: The owners are my brother and sister-in-law but the opinions are of my own.

Provided by Bridewell Art








Annie Brown, owner of Upspiral Creative Etsy Shop and Fort Thomas resident, is one of the most creative people I know. Her metal work would make a  very unique gift.

Illustrator Becca Stadtlander is another favorite local artist. Check out her Etsy Shop for a unique prints and greeting cards.

Provided by Becca Stadtlander

Experience Gifts

I love experience gifts. The memories of an experience are forever and so much better than a pack of socks.

My entire family enjoys ziplinging. We have been at least a half a dozen different places. It’s hard to pick the one that is my favorite because I love them all for different reasons. I suggest purchasing tickets or a gift certificate at a discounted price on Groupon or CincySavers. Both offer ziplining packages on a regular basis. We have zipped over Hocking Hills, Manmouth Caves, Red River Gorge, rural parts of Boone County and more. You seriously can’t go wrong with this adventure.

The African Safari Drive and Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio, is a five hour drive from Northern Kentucky, but if you are going to be in the area, this is a must see and a great gift for the whole family. You will not only see camels, giraffes, elks, llamas, zebras and bison up close, you will get to feed them from your car window. It also has a kangaroo encounter, gem mining, camel rides and much more. Check Groupon for discount tickets and be sure to choose dates when everything is open.

Provided by Josh Stegner

Provided by Josh Stegner

Provided by Josh Stegner

Season passes or tickets to local attractions like the Cincinnati Zoo, Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati Museum Center, Kings Island, Totter Otterville and the Conservatory also make great experience gifts. Concert and play tickets are always a fun gift too.

At the Cincinnati Zoo                  Provided by Jordan Stegner

Gift of Genealogy 

Ancestry DNA, 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA and National Geographic DNA are just some of the tests available to find out more about your ancestry. Some focus more on ancestry while others look a family medical history. Either way, you can find out a lot about yourself which will help you get started researching your family tree.

Gifts for the College Student

Most people don’t like to give money as a Christmas gift but as my freshman in college says “don’t look at it as giving me cash for Christmas but instead as investing in my college education.” She is also asking for Barnes and Noble gift cards since that is the bookseller on her college campus. B&N gift cards will help her purchase her spring text books. She says gas and food gift cards are great too.

Hobby Related Gifts

My friend’s 11-year-old daughter is intrigued with cacti so she ordered her a  succulent fairy garden terrarium (not the one pictured). Her grandson loves NCIS so he is getting an at-home forensic lab.

What are some of the most unique or favorite gifts you’ve given or received?

Gina Stegner is the public relations coordinator for the Kenton County Public Library. She has four adult children, a teenager and a granddaughter. She is crazy about Christmas and giving gifts.

Note: The Kenton County Public Library does not necessarily endorse any of the businesses or products mentioned in this post. These are the views of the author.


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