As a person who puts a lot of thought and mindfulness into her gift giving, the holiday season is often an extremely stressful time of year for me since I’m always trying to purchase things that are truly meaningful to each individual and chosen specifically with their likes/needs/wishes in mind.
That said, I also know that every year there are always those people on my list for whom I am just completely and totally stumped on what to gift them, and I figured you may be in the same boat as well. Which is why I created this gift guide out of items that Joe and I either own and love ourselves, have gifted to family members and received rave reviews about, or currently have on our own personal wish lists.
Gifts Under $50
Rechargeable Flashlight & Flame Emulator Lantern: We purchased this lantern a few years ago in preparation for a camping trip and I loved it so much I’ve gifted it several times since then! My favorite feature is the flame emulator setting which puts out a soft flicking candlelight glow, which is such a handy feature when you just want a bit of soft light.
KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack: I grabbed this bag off of Amazon a few years ago with my fingers crossed and I was blown away by the quality you get for the price. I love that it’s small enough to not look like I’m headed off to school, but large enough to hold everything I need it to (with tons of great interior pockets to keep everything tidy). I’ve traveled around the world with this thing and it’s still going strong.
Mini Ceramic Travel Flat Iron: Speaking of traveling, I grabbed this little travel flat iron a few years back when we took our big trip to Egypt and I was really impressed with how great a job it did for something so tiny! I love that it’s dual voltage as well so I can easily use it around the world.
Tobacco & Musk Whiskey Glass Candle: Listen, normally I am the girl who only buys candles on clearance or at discount home good shops, but for this candle I make an exception. I am OBSESSED with how warm and inviting this candle smells. (I swear to you it does not smell like bad men’s cologne even though musk is in the name) Best of all, when you’re done burning the candle the container is designed to be used as a whiskey glass! (Their “Old Fashioned” scent is another favorite)
Men’s Person Fragrance Discovery Set: Ok, as some background, I’ve done freelance work for a high end men’s boutique for years now, and when they started carrying these fragrances in the shop I was so impressed with how good they smelled. Normally I don’t find men’s cologne very appealing, but these are different. Each one is incredibly rich and earthy smelling. I love the idea of gifting this little sample pack as a present to your gent as a way to let him test out their various fragrances and discover the one he prefers!
Accidentally Wes Anderson Coffee Table Book: This coffee table book is one I have on my personal wish list for the year. The images and accompanying stories inside are so beautiful and the entire book is just such an incredible way to explore the world (and get ideas for where you want to add to your travel bucket list!).
Stila Triple Play Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick and Eye Liner Set: While I am not a big make-up person, when I do get dolled up, these are my three go to cosmetic items which magically I found come all together in a little gift set now! I personally love how long lasting and smudge proof this red lipstick is. This stuff does not budge. I also find it to be a true red without any pink or orange undertones to it.
Warrior Alpaca Socks: If there is one thing I am passionate about, it’s staying warm (and keeping my feet nice and toasty in particular). So after a lot of research, I have added these alpaca socks to my wish list this year. And to be honest, I’ll probably end up just buying myself several pairs because now that I found them I don’t know that I want to wait till Christmas, I need to get them on my feet ASAP.
Electric Hand Warmer: Did I mention I am passionate about staying warm lol? A friend of mine recently picked up one of these bad boys and as soon as she told me about it I immediately went on the hunt to find one to add to my wish list this year.
Gifts Under $100
Ranger Station Holiday Candle Set: Hi, it’s me again and I’m still obsessed with the candles this company makes and I love this little holiday gift bundle they sell if you’re looking for something more substantial than just a single candle to gift. The set even included my favorite Tobacco & Musk scent along with a Balsam Fir scent and their North Pole candle. I love that each candle comes with a perfectly paired cocktail recipe to enjoy using the glass once the candle is burned through!
Able Mare Phone Wallet: This is my favorite wallet I’ve ever owned, the leather is amazing quality, but also I love this company. An ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women, they train, invest in and education women so they can earn a living and break the cycle of poverty.
Massage Gun: My husband and I bought this massage gun on a whim a few weeks ago and have not stopped raving about it since we got it. It’s a game changer. I love all the different attachments that it comes with best suited for use on various muscles. (My hubby wants me to tell you that every runner in your life needs this as a gift this year as it’s amazing for massaging those leg muscles after a long run…)
L.L. Bean Women’s Wicked Good Slippers: Last year I was on the hunt for the WARMEST possible slippers I could buy. I did a lot of research and ended up purchasing this pair from L.L. Bean and was not disappointed. I love that they cover my ankles as well and cannot believe how warm they keep my feet even without socks on. Sizing wise I’m a 7 1/2 and sized down to a 7 and they were perfect after I broke them in. (They do also sell a version with a rubber sole for those who prefer that)
Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones: This is another recommendation from the hubby who is currently obsessed with these headphones. They are amazing for runners, or really anyone who would like to listen to music (or their fav audiobook/podcast), but also still wants to be able to listen and stay alert to their surroundings as well. He loves using his set for his work conference calls and finds them more comfortable than having earbuds or headphones covering his ears for an extended period of time as they are light and don’t fit too tightly on his larger head. (He also says the sound quality surprisingly good).
Able Roseli Belt: Again I just love this company’s mission to support and empower women and when I saw this belt on their site the other day I immediately added it to my wish list as a classic staple piece for my closet.
Gifts Over $100
Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds: Listen people, when I tell you I LOVE these earbuds I am not joking around. I am obsessed with my pair and practically live with these on my head. For me, I adore the fact that THEY DO NOT BUDGE, MOVE, FALL OUT, SHIFT ever, like ever ever. They are the most secure headphones I’ve ever owned. I could do gymnastics in these (I can’t even do a cartwheel so that isn’t actually happening), and they wouldn’t budge an inch. I also have tiny ears and they came with a set of three various size earbud attachments, I didn’t even use the smallest ones! So super small ear friendly. And they sound amazing. Ok I’m done now….
Menu Brass Salt & Pepper Bottle Grinders: When we moved into this house we knew we were going to have to change how we lived in our new kitchen since it was so small. One of the changes we’ve made is to upgrade some of our utilitarian items, to versions of the same thing that are more aesthetically pleasing and can therefore live out on the counter instead of having to take up cupboard space. So when I saw this set of brass salt & pepper grinders, I knew I had to have them. And if you’re not into the brass look they come in several other color combos too!
Richard Brendon + Jancis Robinson Wine Glasses: After downsizing into a smaller home, Joe and I came to the decision that (for the most part) instead of gifting each other new things, we would thoughtfully start upgrading older items we had for higher quality versions of the same thing. So for our anniversary this year we upgraded our wine glasses to this universal set designed by Richard Brendon in partnership with world renowned wine-expert Jancis Robinson. Not only are these glasses beautiful, I love that they are designed to be dishwasher safe and created to use with any type of wine. You can listen to Jancis talk about the design here if you’re interested in learning more. (As an aside, you can find find these glasses other places online but Harrods seems to have the best price, that’s where we ordered ours from).
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine: When Joe got sent to work from home last year, one of the comfort buys we made was this small but mighty espresso machine. Again, our kitchen is tiny and I didn’t want a huge machine taking up all the counterspace, and this little guy packs a lot of bang for the buck into an incredibly tiny package (and came HIGHLY recommended by some very knowledge coffee experts we follow). Joe has really loved everything about this machine and LOVES the auto milk frothing capabilities for those mornings he doesn’t want to play barista.
Sony Alpha a6000 Camera: I often get asked what a good starter camera is for anyone looking to dig more into photography and I ALWAYS recommend starting with this guy. After purchasing one for myself several years ago to use as a travel camera (instead of lugging all my professional equipment around europe), I was BLOWN AWAY by this little dude. It manages to pack all the bells and whistles of a big bulky DSLR into an incredibly tiny package at a very affordable price point. Bonus points that this camera also works great for creating video as well!
Allbirds Wool Runners: I have never been as obsessed with a shoe as I am over this shoe. I own three pairs and have gifted them to multiple people. I LOVE them. I love the incredibly minimalist logo free design (the black on black pictured here is my fav combo). I love how comfy they are. I love that you can wear them barefoot since they are made out of wool and breathe. I love that you can just throw them in the wash machine to clean. I love that they are incredibly light and pack down super flat for traveling. I love that you can wear them, try them out, and still return them if you’re not in love and that they donate any used returns to Soles4Soles. I’m obsessed. (hubby has the black and cream Men’s Wool Loungers and loves that style too!)
Gelrups Men/Womens Wool Shoe Slipper: When I was on the hunt for the perfect slippers I found this company right after purchasing the pair I mentioned above already. But I loved these so much I actually bought a pair and gifted them to my mother last christmas. She has reported back that she loves them and that they also keep her feet super warm. I personally love how minimalist these look and they come in a bunch of fun colors too!
Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike: At the beginning of the year Joe and I were considering investing in a Peloton bike, but after a lot of research we landed on this bike instead and honestly, we love it. It’s perfect for us and our needs. Here’s what sold us: firstly if you get a peloton bike, the only thing you can watch on the giant screen are things on the peloton app, nothing else. This bike in contrast has a simple holder for a tablet (not included), which allows you to play whatever you like in addition to streaming cycling classes. Because honestly, sometimes I just want to a stream a movie and move my legs. I also like that this bike comes with normal caged pedals that you don’t need to invest in special shoes to use. And if you ever wanted to, you could upgrade the pedals to work with clip in shoes. Then we just paid for the monthly fee to use the Peloton app and stream all the exact same classes on our iPad using our much much cheaper bike. This video really helped us compare the quality between the two and make the decision we did.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells: Let’s just say that Joe and I have very different levels of fitness and I LOVE that fact that this set of dumbbells works for both of us to use and enjoy equally. With a range of 5lbs (hello this is where I live) up to 52.5 lbs (closer to where Joe lives lol) for each dumbbell they are an incredibly versatile space saving set that don’t take up much space in our teeny tiny basement gym.
Oculus Quest 2 – All-In-One VR Headset: A good friend of ours was a VERY early adopter of virtual reality gaming, so Joe has had several various VR gaming rigs over the years but this one has been his favorite. We love it so much we actually gifted it to several family member that live far away for Christmas last year so we could use it to all hang out and play games together. Joe found that it’s been an incredible way to stay connect with friends who live on the opposite side of the country. So if you’ve been considering one for a family member, but are on the fence, take this as his glowing review for this gaming rig.
Johnson Coat in Camel by Sézane: The last few months I have been on the hunt to track down the PERFECT long camel coat to put on my holiday wishlist as a long term investment piece I can add to my capsule wardrobe, and I ADORE this one I found from a french company called Sézane. As a quick note, I do feel like the pictures of the coat on the site don’t 100% accurately reflect what the coat looks like in person? (unless the 2021 version is a bit different that previous iterations) For comparison here’s pictures this fashion blogger posted of the coat as well from 2015.
15lb 100% Cotton Weighted Blanket By Bearaby: This is another investment item I’ve been on the lookout for and I really love this one I found from a company called Bearaby. I love that the blankets are all made with no fillers and just created out of organic cotton. And the knitted design is a beautiful aesthetic touch that makes this blanket perfect to keep out as a beautiful decor item as well! (Comes in 10, 15, 20 & 25lbs and also in 6 & 8lbs for kids.)
Do you have a favorite holiday gift item that you’re obsessed with? Have you already purchased any of the above items and have a review you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
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