SALT LAKE CITY — Every year, as December swoops in, Santa gets a little panicked, thinking about all the people on his list, the sorting into naughty and nice, the balancing the budget and figuring out just how much work the elves can actually handle.
And every year, the Deseret News tries to help the old guy out with some suggestions that are sure to delight the happy recipient. We comb store shelves, browse online offerings and work our way through hundreds of pitches to find something for everyone, regardless of what the family budget is.
Our 2018 edition is a mix of quirky, colorful, practical and fun. This year's big ticket item is a Yamaha Transacoustic Guitar that features a built-in actuator that creates reverb and chorus sounds and sells for around $939.
This year, we haven't pointed shoppers to specific stores because there are so many options by simply going online, and the prices are current as of publication. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a great sale!
FOR THE FAMILY
TappLock fingerprint smart padlock can be unlocked by fingerprints (it can store multiple), a rhythm of your choice or remotely with the app. You can also give remote, temporary access to others. $99.
Tailgater Tire Table attaches to your car tire, needs no tools needed and holds 50 pounds. Perfect for camping, tailgating, picnics and more. MSRP $139.95.
HYPERX Cloud Mix is an impressively versatile headset. It’s wired for gaming, and works on Bluetooth with up to 20 hours on a charge. The boom mic is removable, too. MSRP $199.99.
Inflator and Vacuum 2-In-1 by Slime is lightweight, portable and durable. Around $100
Dimensions Personalized Home Fragrance Box includes a diffuser and three fragrances to suit your mood. Starting at $24.95.
Square Off Kingdom Chess Setuses artificial intelligence to provide endless chess fun. No opponent? Play the board, where pieces seem to move by magic. Have friends far away? You can connect. This is a high-tech take on the classic game. MSRP $369.
Rowkin Ascent Charge+ True Wireless Headphones, the Qi pad will charge the earbuds and other mobile devices, and the earbuds can hold their charge more than 50 hours. And in case you lose these tiny sound powerhouses, they have a locator app to help you keep track of them. MSRP $139.99, micro version $99.99.
The Sophie Bag by Baby Benjamin is messenger bag meets diaper bag functional. Tote, backpack, clutch — it’s whatever you need it to be, with plenty of room. Water resistant. About $50
Key Smart uses Tile Bluetooth technology to help you find your keys on a map on your phone — and can make your lost phone ring, even if it’s turned off. Holds up to 10 keys and easily attaches to car remote. MSRP $59.99.
Lay-n-Go Cosmo bags open flat so you can see everything at a glance. Then pull the drawstring and it’s a bag again. Store cosmetics, travel supplies, even small toys. $19.95-$38.95 depending on size.
"Vertellis" Family Edition card game. Vertellis means “meaningful conversations” in Dutch and this card games is about relating. It includes three editions: Family, Relationship and Holiday. Get to know each other better. $19.99 each.
Pawscout Smarter Pet Tag works with a smartphone app to track your furry friend, recruit neighbors to keep an eye out, more. App stores your pet's medical and other info. $19.95.
AutoDogMug is a lightweight water “bowl” for Fido that you can take on hikes, and even fits in the car cupholder for travel. MSRP $14.99.
Premium shortbread cookies by Honolulu Cookie Company in pineapple-shaped cookie box that includes dark triple chocolate macadamia, guava, coconut, passion fruit and many other flavors. $25.95
Flip-It!® Bottle Emptying Kit lets you get every last drop from condiments, honey, even shampoo. $5.99 and up.
The Ritual of Advent Exclusive Calendar contains 24 different lotions and other beauty products, specially packaged and half off the retail value. While this gift might arrive too late to take advantage of the full Advent experience, this is a treasure. $89.99
Sweatopause cooling scarf can be a scarf or a headband, and cools you down when you start to sweat. $30.
Fuchsia Shoes are crafted by and benefit Pakistani artisans using sustainable practices. More designs than you can imagine. $75-$120
Effortless SleepPhones is a wireless, rechargeable Bluetooth headband, where high-tech high-quality sound meets your pillow, MSRP $149.99.
REBE jewelry, handcrafted, ethically sourced. Beautifully packaged, no wrap required. Starting at $38
Tightwad Money Clip, Lightweight and almost completely flat. $29.95-$79.95 depending on material.
Manscaped Grooming Kit provides tools to shave, clean, moisturize and deodorize. Kit configurations vary, but this one’s about $80.
BetterBack is an ergonomic marvel that improves posture and off-loads back strain whether you’re cross-legged on the floor, sitting on a bench or perched in a chair. It looks a little clunky, but it’s a gem! $49.
Fine & Raw Confection Box features a sampling of craft chocolate treats, from almond chunk to truffles and classic bars. $50.
DAZI skinny ties and bow ties, handmade, cotton, unique patterns. Ties MSRP $28, bow ties $20.
Modarri Delux Street Track bundle lets kids build the track and the cars. Customized and great fun for all ages. MSRP $69.99. Additionally, Modarri has many different options, prices.
Gelli Arts Feather Printing Kit, has everything to create unique feathers. Or try a different kit and print paper quilts, holiday cards, or more. Great variety, fun for crafty kids. Ages 8+. Varied prices. Feather Kit $21.99.
Dry Baby clothing is made of soft, chemical-free liquid-repelling cotton, created by a former NASA scientist and keeps even colicky babies dry and odor-free. Bodysuit, $14. Prices of items vary.
Oddbods Funny Makers, based on Emmy-nominated kids series, features odd figures who do five stunts, with all the bells and whistles. Lots of variations, $12.99 to $39.99 depending on the set. Target.
"How Do You See the World" card game helps tweens and above leave their comfort zone and learn what others think. Dice selects category: Reflections, Relationships, Aspirations, Life’s Purpose and Beliefs. MSRP $24.95
Squishmallows soft stuffed critters by Kellytoys are a collectible, huggable favorite and they’re everywhere. Lots of different animals, prices range from $5-30, depending on size.
Blochair inflatable chairs are sure to be a favorite with teens. Think beanbag chair without the beans — or the weight. These tip the scale at 2 lbs. $24.99.
ETY·Kids™ Safe-Listening Earphones provide exceptional sound at safe levels. $44.95.
Kids Ergo active seating stools are light, bright and made of recycled material. Sturdy enough to hold adults, too. MSRP $75.
Alex DIY Paper Swirls Swirl Station lets crafty kids quill. They can make art, jewelry, cards and more with strips of paper using this machine, which rolls the strips. MSRP $24.99, ages 8+.
myFlipShade attaches to iPhone to provide screen shade, folds back as a stand and serves as a privacy screen. $9.99.
Lavish Leather earrings are lightweight, hand cut and stylish. Starting at $11.
Panda’s Dream Day and Night Duo by Tony Moly features a sleep pack and cool eye stick. $19.50.
City Harvest chocolate bar is genuinely bitter-sweet. It’s milk chocolate with “pleasant bitter cocoa nibs.” The proceeds go to the New York City-based organization City Harvest, that helps feed the hungry across the five boroughs. $9.
Inspirational socks by Posie Turner are premium quality, designed in Seattle and crafted in Peru. And they have words to live by. Price varies by style.
Skooob earbud covers are tangle-free and colorful. Just wrap them onto your favorite earphones or headphones and no more mess! MSRP $6.95-$8.95.
FIXD Diagnostic Sensor works with a smartphone app to tell you what that check engine light means and monitor vehicle for problems. Plug it in. MSRP $59.99.
Spoon Buddy is one of the hardest-working little kitchen helpers around. It’s a spoon rest, a suction handle that can turn plates into lids and a jar opener, too. $9.99.
HELPS A CAUSE
Earth Bands are hand-rolled beads from sand and soil originating in a location of your choice, and then placed to make unique bracelets, anklets. A portion of each sale goes to support one of these charities: Rainforest Action Network, Protect Our Winters Charity or Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. $10-$15
The Wonderbag is a unique heat-retention, no-power slow-cooker from South Africa. Start food conventionally by bringing it to a boil or heating over a fire, and let it continue to cook slowly in the bag. Food can finish cooking on the way to the feast. Portion of sales benefit women in underdeveloped countries. Around $50 for standard bag.Comment on this story
National Park Foundation FirstScope is a lightweight, easy-travel beginner telescope that benefits America’s national park system. $59.
Buy bed nets through World Vision to protect someone in Latin America or Africa from mosquito-borne Zika virus or malaria. $21. Or give ducks for eggs or a share of a bike.
Hope Fragrance Hand and Body Creme, with net profits all donated to Hope for Depression Research Foundation. $40 for the set.
Lockets, handcrafted from the Locket Sisters, which donates one-fourth of proceeds to a different charity each month. $48-$200.