Harry Potter Gift Giving Guide

The Holidays are upon us. It seems that every year goes by faster and faster, even though each Monday feels like three years by itself. Such is life, I suppose. Every year around this time gift giving guides crop up like ma and pa Christmas tree stands. When I was younger I would flip through women magazines to see the holiday gift guides. They were usually broken down by types ofpeople-  get the girly girl in your life get XYZ, or for the Bohemian lady in your life get these chic grass earrings. While these were entertaining to read one thing that struck me (even as a bratty teenager with barely any knowledge of personal finance and budgeting) was how expensive everything was. Don’t get me wrong, the people in my life deserve the world, but advocating spending $10,000 on a personal computer seems absurd. Even small stuff like jewelry had diamonds in it that would run easily up to $1000. Meanwhile last year I colored pictures and gave my parents homemade candles (Love you Mom and Dad!). 

So I wanted to take a departure from the traditional gift giving guide by sharing a Harry Potter themed one. I broke it down by house. If you don’t know what house you belong in (or your friend doesn’t either), get thee over to Pottermore and get sorted! I am apparently a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin as I had previously thought. (Let me know what house you’re sorted into in the comments!) I’ve tried to include things from all price ranges, including homemade items or experiences, or offering help in some way.

The Hogwarts Crest

The Hogwarts Crest

Here is a list of famous people and their Houses if you need inspiration: 
Slytherin- Lin Manual Miranda, Emma Roberts
Hufflepuff- The Rock, Kristen Bell
Gryffindor- Idris Elba, Maisie Williams
Ravenclaw- Kendrick Lamar, Daisey Ridley

Gryffindors are known for being brave hearted. They are also loyal, courageous, and adventurous. Gryffindors motto is “do what is right.” 

1.) A bottle of Macallan 12yr a classic Gryffindor scotch, it is bold and will be a scotch you will always reach for even in uncertain times. - Prices Vary $50-70 depending on where you live. 

2.) A collectors edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -$30

3.) A Gryffindor house snuggie (I am currently wearing mine and it is wonderful)-$26

4.) A classic hat, every good adventurer needs one, I’ve chose and Indiana Jones style hat for Gryffindors. -Prices can vary from $15-$60

5.) A Coupon for grabbing pints with your mate. Make sure you go somewhere you can actually talk. -Probably around $10, you can make it cheaper buy buying a six-pack and drinking at your house too. 

Slytherins are known for being cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherins crave power and love being leaders. Their motto is “do what is necessary.” 

1.) The Ardbeg 10yr Scotch, a nice expression for the cunning Slytherin, it is peaty and slightly smoky but with a smooth finish, perfect for those nights when you are discussing clever plans with your fellow Slytherins. - $40-$60

2.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu. A must read for every Slytherin- $4

3.) Slytherin Robes- $23

4.) A trapper hat to keep their ears warm in the winter months or when they are visiting Durmstrang- $20

5.) A homemade coupon to pet sit their owl or snake while they are away. 

Ravenclaws are known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Ravenclaws value brains over brawn and are often quite quirky (a la Luna Lovegood). Their motto is “do what is wisest.” 

1.) Talisker 10yr is definitely the Ravenclaw of scotches. This scotch comes from the Isle of Skye and is as slightly salty with a nice medium finish. Perfect for playing a game of wizards chess with a fellow Ravenclaw. - $80-$90

2.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A classic for the Ravenclaw in your life- $9

3.) Ravenclaw Robes- $31

4.) A Porkpie Hat for when their studies take them all across the globe- $20-$70

5.) A coupon for board gaming and beer. 

Hufflepuffs are known for their hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuffs are sought for being just and true. Their motto is “do what is nicest.” 

1.) Highland park 12yr sure to delight any Hufflepuff. Highland Park is slightly grassy with a sweetness to it, that is always nice to drink. - $50-$70. 

2.) Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin is a perfect read for Hufflepuffs just graduating- $13

3.) Hufflepuff snuggie- $65

4.) A slouchy beanie is ideal for fitting in with just about anyone- $15

5.) A coupon to make them a home cooked meal of their favorite dish. 

Don't forget to tell me what house you are sorted in below! 

Book Club

My mom has been in a book club for as long I can remember, I think her book club has actually been together almost 25 years. It hasn’t been the same group of people for the last 25 years, mind you, but that is still pretty damn impressive in my book (no pun intended, ha). I remember seeing books on her night stand that rotated monthly (I also remember not being that interested in those books because they weren’t Harry Potter). Once a month she would meet with her book club members and discuss different books. As a teenager I didn’t really appreciate this because the only books I was really interested in wasHarry Potter and other YA series, and all my friends were reading those books too. That meant that I already had people to discuss them with, but then life gets busy and people’s tastes change and you no longer have a built-in book club.  

The dream <3

The dream <3

I’ve always been an avid reader because I adore getting lost in the world of a book. I enjoy spending an afternoon that turns into an evening that turns into the wee hours of the night finishing a book. Reading a book is its own vacation in a sense, I get to take a break from my world and enjoy the more fantastical world of someone else. The problem with my reading style is that if left to my own devices I would read Science Fiction and Fantasy books all the time, and wouldn’t bother with anything else (I like what I like). After graduating college and entering the real world, I realized there might be excellent books from different genres that I was missing out on. Despite this being an absolute fact, I continued to read my SF and Fantasy books as usual. Then I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and everything changed. This book was so amazing that I wanted to talk about it with someone else, but it seemed as if none of my friends had read it. That’s when I decided I needed to join a book club. 

I knew I wanted a book club that met in person and that read a variety of books. After looking through meetups and just googling “Book Club Seattle” I wasn’t having much luck finding something that I thought was a good fit for me. So I decided to start my own book club. This proved to be tricky because it turns out people have busy lives and don’t always have time to read. Even at once a month it can be hard to pick a day that everyone can meet (being an adult sucks, am I right?).  I finally found 5 other ladies who were interested in being in a book club. I chose our first book Wild by Cheryl Strayed (also a book you should check out) and found a day and time for everyone to meet and thusly the Read or Die Book Club was formed. 

Our official unofficial logo. We joke that new members have to get this tattooed on them ;)&nbsp;

Our official unofficial logo. We joke that new members have to get this tattooed on them ;) 

I would love to say it was smooth sailing from there, but that would be a lie. The first meeting went great, there was a lot of good discussion. It was so much fun to discuss the differing viewpoints of the book and ask questions about stuff I didn’t understand, and really just to hear other people’s opinions of the book.  After that first meeting I was feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of Book Club. The next meeting there was only three of us…  Even though only three of us showed up it was still a ton of fun and we had some really insightful discussions. It was still everything I thought book club would be, just smaller. It stayed just the three of us for about a year and a half. We rotated who picks the book every month and then met up, had some awesome food and drinks, and chatted about all sorts of books. Even though it wasn’t exactly how I imagined it would be, it was better because it was real. I get so much personal fulfillment out of book club, and reading the wide of a variety of books we have over the years has allowed me to expand my interests and grow as a person. Right now Book club is back up to 5 people. It’s nice to have more people with differing viewpoints.. Even if you can only find one other person to read books with, I say it’s worth it though.

Another delightful thing that’s happened with our book club is that one of the founding three members started a food blog! This means that she does the cooking and cocktailing for our book clubs, and it’s typically on theme with the books we’ve read. Rachel is so talented and it’s so much fun to have themed meals to enjoy while we talk about our books. You can find all of Rachel’s book club posts and recipes here. I highly recommend you try the German’s Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from the Tin Drum post, they are the most delicious cookies I have ever had.  I would never be able to assemble even a quarter of the stuff Rachel provides for our book club on a monthly basis. I think I put out cheese and cracker and store-bought macaroons for our first meeting…lol. 

photo courtesy of www.rachelpounds.com

photo courtesy of www.rachelpounds.com

Even if you don’t have a food blogger to provide personal themed dishes, I highly recommend you join or start a book club. It forces you out of your comfort zone with your reading choices and it’s fun to talk about a shared experience with people, even when you disagree! I’ve had so many laughs and good times with our Book Club, and it’s been fun watching our book club grow. 

Rachel and I have a joint Pinterest board for all of the books we have already read, I encourage you to check it out. It also has reviews from her blog and will soon have some from here. Some of my favorite books have been The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and Better by Atul Gawande (three books I never would have chosen on my own). Last month we read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and if you would like to follow along we are reading “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami . I will share my post from our next book club, after we discuss. 

I make these bookmarks as an end of year gift for the book club members, and so we can all remember what we read that year. (we didn't name the book club until last year :) )

I make these bookmarks as an end of year gift for the book club members, and so we can all remember what we read that year. (we didn't name the book club until last year :) )

Are any of you in a bookclub? What’s your favorite book? Let me know in the comments.