CAWLM 2019 Gift Guide


Each year, the CAWLM staff and those who work for our publisher, M3 Group, love to share their holiday gift ideas. Read through them and there is always common thread: gifts from the heart and giving back.


Rich Adams

I think gifts that have an impact beyond the Christmas holiday are ideal, so I have tried to focus in on the causes a person supports and make a donation in his or her name to that cause. I have been the recipient of donation gifts to the Wounded Warriors Foundation, and I know that contribution helped disabled veterans long beyond Christmastime.


Jami Anderson

My family picks a charity to donate to, so instead of buying gifts for each other we donate the money or use the money to purchase from the organization’s wish list. If you are buying gifts, you can spend time together shopping for the items!


Lauren Brumbach

I think gifts should reflect the giver and the receiver, and Christmas is a time to show how much you’ve paid attention to the people around you. As a painter, I’ve always found special meaning in a handmade gift unique to the person I’m giving it to. If you have a special talent, use it to make someone feel like they mean a little more!


Michael Cagney

You can go the Jim route or the Pam route. Diamond bracelet or homemade comic book. $$$ or DIY. If you do DIY, make sure that you plan it months ahead so you really knock it out of the park. High risk, high reward! Similarly, with the Jim gift try to personalize it a little bit instead of just throwing money at something. And don’t listen to Phyllis. DIY doesn’t mean you don’t have money. It means you have a great big ol’ heart.


Kyle Dowling

When I’m looking to get somebody a gift, I usually go for a movie on Blu-ray. Most people have a Blu-ray player and most places have movies. The trick is to pick movies that you know the person would like or that you would love to watch together. Just be sure to keep the gift receipt in case you’ve accidentally chosen their favorite movie that they already have three copies of.


Tiffany Dowling

I like to add someone’s name to a gift they will use and appreciate over time. Personalization says so much about your relationship because you have to take time to seek out the perfect item and then have enough time to receive it prior to the gift-giving day. For instance, adding a friend’s last name to a serving platter is something she could keep and pass on for generations.


Pat Dowling

Boutique and specialty local shops are a great place to find unique gifts. As I’m out and about, I like to stop into local shops and look for specialty items that are unique and fit the personality of the people I’m shopping for.


Cody Fell

A French press along with a bag of your favorite beans is a great gift for the coffee lover on your list. French pressing coffee is a simple and delicious way to enjoy your brew, plus then they never have to worry about buying filters again!


Zach Dowling

I like to get people a gift that gets them outside being active with friends and family after all the snow goes away, like baseball tickets or golf passes.

Carey Jarvis

For those on my list that haven’t given me ideas, I like to give homemade treats like a jar of peach salsa or apple butter with a cool label with their name on it, or maybe some homemade treats inside a mug they can keep. Something tasty to eat or drink inside a fun container.


Megan Fleming

I always find it difficult to find a gift for my dad and brothers. They always buy the things they need when they need them, so it’s hard to cross something off their want list since it’s never very long. For them, I like to grab them a ton of lottery tickets! I’ve never seen them get more excited to fish for a quarter to begin seeing if they have a winning ticket.


Alicia Frank

I prefer to give or get a gift that has thought behind it. The first thing that comes to mind is quality time. Take time out of your busy schedule to show someone you care by spending time and creating some memories with them. That memory may be one to cherish for a lifetime. Enjoy life with someone and give them that memory to take with them when they go.


Chelsey Freedman

Being extra is the way to go with gifts. I say go all out and don’t hold back on special occasions. Spend that extra dollar to make that person’s jaw hit the floor and jump out of their seat screaming! The look on my girlfriend’s face when I got her that new Fenty Beauty foundation, setting powder, lip gloss and brush set by Rihanna was the best face ever!


Mary Gajda

Taking an idea from popular services where several items come in one package, like Ipsy and FabFunFit, I like to personalize large custom boxes for each member of my family. Last year was the first year I’ve tried this, and it was a huge hit. For those that want to donate to a cause, I recommend contributions to the PSP Foundation of America at


Jennifer Hodges

I like to give gifts that I make. I love crafts, so I enjoy making something special that reminds me
of the person. While I am making the gift, it gives me a chance to think about the person it is for. This takes some planning so I am not scrambling on Christmas Eve.


Avanti Kantumuchu

An oil diffuser with essential oils would be a perfect gift for Christmas as they spread the aroma just like Christmas spreads joy.


Zack Krieger

My wife and I like to give to different charities on behalf of our daughters. We surely go the Santa route with them too, but donating to local organizations during the holidays and explaining the impact of that to the kiddos is an amazing experience to share.


Adam Lansdell

Everyone knows a Disney fanatic – and if you don’t you surely know a superhero nerd. So, what better gift for them than a subscription to the latest streaming platform to hit the market – Disney+, which launch this month. For just $7 a month, subscribers will have more than 7,500 episodes and 500 films from the Disney vault right at their fingertips.


Morgan Larson

DIY/handmade gifts are my favorite to give. They are more meaningful and thoughtful, so fun to make, and usually a money saver. Plus, you can personalize them more to make it perfect for a specific person. A win-win for everyone!


Kelly Mazurkiewicz

I love giving cookbooks! There are so many out there with great pictures and themes. Cooking with beer, the paleo diet, date night cooking – the list goes on! They’re not only a fun gift, but a useful one!


Matthew McDaniel

I always find myself making things for people that I care about. I illustrate things all the time, and sometimes I just make them a card or a small art piece that I’d think they would like. I think the main thing to think about is the person and what they would like to have as a gift. Honestly, having purpose and thought behind any gift is what really matters.


Christopher Nagy

Late on Christmas Eve, I like to sneak downstairs and just add my name in the “from” section on gift tags. I save so much money by doing that. But seriously, I enjoy giving back a bit during the season. The Salvation Army where I live participates in the Angel Tree program, where kids write a few of their Christmas wishes down on cards that are hung on a tree. I try to grab a few of those cards each year.


Liz Reno-Hayes

The gift of fun is something I like to share with friends and family for the holidays. Give ’em a good old-fashioned board or card game!  “What Do You Meme?” is a hilarious party game.


Joyce Ruttan

I say it every year, but it’s because I give this idea every year! I love to buy ornaments for milestone events that have happened during the year like engagements, weddings, new babies and more!


Mark Warner

The old throwback gifts are the best. My favorite one-and-only sibling Matt is my big brother. We used to watch a lot of kung fu and action movies growing up, so I found a great throwback gift –  a Chuck Norris quotes calendar. Somehow we both gave each other the same Chuck Norris calendar. No joke; it was hilarious! When in doubt, remember: Give a throwback from the heart.


Jeanette Wummel

I like to give the gift of experience. You can usually find a fun experience for everyone. Things like tickets to the movies, laser tag, escape room passes, tickets to a sporting game or music event or theater are all great things to give.

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