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! 

Signature Drinks*

James Bond has Martinis, Carrie Bradshaw has Cosmopolitans, and Ron Swanson has Scotch.  Drumroll please… I also have Scotch. I haven’t always loved Scotch, this is a recent hobby/drink that I picked up over the last couple of years. Why did I decide to settle on what could possibly be the most pretentious drink in the world (I’m sure you’re asking yourself)? It started as a desire to find a signature drink. I had recently entered the “adult” world and I thought that having a go to signature drink was something that “real” adults do. First of all not every adult has a signature drink, so don’t feel like you need to find one. It’s all a matter of personal opinion. I didn’t know all this quite yet so I embarked on a not so epic quest to find my drink.

One of the many Scotches I have tried and loved on my journey.

One of the many Scotches I have tried and loved on my journey.

So I did what any good millennial does and took to the internet. I read a lot of articles about cocktails, drinking, and did some research on various types of alcohol. Before I considered Scotch my go to drink, I used to drink whiskey and ginger ales with a lime (I still enjoy this drink very much). So how did I end up on this particular alcohol? Well it was a couple of things really:

1.)    I really like Ron Swanson. Parks and Rec is one of my favorite shows and Ron Swanson is everything I want to be, and he almost always has a glass of Lagavulin 16 with him (Lagavulin 16 was the first Scotch I tried, and one of my favorites to this day).

2.)    The more I read about scotch and this article in particular, the more I fell in love with the craftsmanship and dedication to detail. Before I had even had my first taste I was already in love. There was this romantic picture that my online Scotch research painted in my head. There is a heritage that the craftsmen who are involved in the Scotch process are very proud of (as well they should be!) and I enjoy honoring their craftsmanship with every sip.

Another one of my favorite Scotches!

Another one of my favorite Scotches!

3.)    It is a little painful/embarrassing to admit that part of me wanted to be “the cool girl.” I found article after article talking about how awesome it is when girls drink whiskey or scotch, and thought what an easy way to be awesome, all you have to do is drink! While I think I am pretty awesome (I can say that here, right?) I would think the fact that I drink Scotch is only a tiny little part about what makes me awesome.

Spoiler alert: drinking whiskey doesn't make you cool.

Spoiler alert: drinking whiskey doesn't make you cool.

Then because I’m a geek and have zero chill, I got super into Scotch. I started reading everything I could about it and fell in love with it. I have another good friend who was already into scotch and loves Ron Swanson too, and she invited me over to drink Scotch and make waffles one night. That was the first night I tried Lagavulin 16. It took my breathe away… mostly because I was trying to swallow without coughing it back up. It is a pretty intense Scotch. I probably should’ve told Ellen that I’d never had scotch before I jumped into the deep end, but my desire to be “the cool girl” drove me to pretend like everything was fine. It was because I got to try something new that I did come to enjoy and appreciate, it just took a little bit to find my stride with the tasting.

This is a blind taste test Ellen and i did at my place, which was hella fun! (I encourage you to try a blind tasting with your spirit of choice!)

This is a blind taste test Ellen and i did at my place, which was hella fun! (I encourage you to try a blind tasting with your spirit of choice!)

My Scotch journey eventually ended up with a podcast. The Scotchy Scotch Scotchcast to be specific. I wanted to take all this Scotch knowledge I had learned and share it with the other ladies who might be interested, but are put off by the air of pretentiousness that Scotch invokes. You can find the podcast on iTunes and here. Stay tuned for another post about the podcast!

This is the podcast logo!

This is the podcast logo!

While I’ve learned that you certainly don’t need a signature drink of your own, sometimes it is nice to have one anyway. There’s something comforting about knowing you have a drink you can always order no matter what mood you’re in that you’ll always love. This doesn’t preclude you from trying other drinks (I also love a good craft cocktail, doesn’t matter what alcohol as long as it is interesting), but it is fun to feel like James Bond every once in a while.

Go explore what is out there and find something you enjoy, craft distilleries are popping up all over the place. I know in Seattle there are some cool local Gin, Vodka, and Whiskey places to check out.  Once you find your drink you can start your collection (be careful because alcohol can very easily be a budget buster). The most important thing is to make sure you really enjoy it, because if you are going to be spending $10-$20 on a drink you really want to love it.  If you can find a friend who is into the same drink, you will be able to double the amount of drinks you try :).

If you already have a signature drink please let me know in the comments!

*Please Drink Responsibly.