We’ve all been there the moment holiday shopping loses its festive sparkle.
One minute you’re twirling down the aisles to holiday music, the next you’re in a department store the night before Christmas playing tug-of-war with a mom who might as well be a linebacker over the last medium cashmere sweater.
That’s where we come in. We recognize that finding the right gift for the right price for all your people is a unique challenge — one that we firmly believe should be a fun and panic-free part of the holidays.
Our editors did the research for you so you can avoid those last-minute trips to the mall and give gifts that are meaningful, creative, and easy to personalize.
Here are the 14 gifts that we’re the most excited to give this year.
- $ = under $35
- $$ = $36–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Catherine Clark, Updates Editor
A few of my friends like to swap handmade or small business-made gifts. This year a friend is being gifted an homage to one of her faves, Lizzo. When in doubt, turn to the wisdom of this icon: “If you really, really don’t like my ass, you can kiss it.” – Lizzo
Samantha Kostaras, Assistant Editor
Price: $-$$, depending on customization.
Last winter, my friend brought a puppy home and I have gotten so many pictures that it’s time to send some puppy love back! I found this sweet, unique necklace on Etsy that features a custom engraved print of your dog’s paw in silver, gold, or rose gold.
You don’t even need to wrangle your pup to get their paw print — you can just send in a photo of their paw (maybe catch them while they’re sleeping upside down..) and MYMILLIEjewelry will create a print based on it for an extra (worth it) fee.
This shop can also do nose prints (which would be easier to get a photo of if you don’t have an accomplice to snag the paw photo) as well as customized rings, bracelets, and keychains!
Rita Mauceri, Editor in Chief
These tiny cacti are so irresistible, I might just gift one to myself! I’m all about plants this year and think we could all do with more greenery in our lives to keep us calm and grounded.
This is the perfect size for anyone who has limited space — and c’mon, how adorable is it? (Made you smile!) I’m also committed to only buying from indie shops and artisans this holiday season. It’s been a tough year and we need to support these makers in a big way.
Ashley Sepanski, Demand/Market Editor
My fiance got me one of these for my birthday and I’m paying it forward to all my pals for Christmas. They’re made from sustainably harvested cork tree bark and a percentage of every purchase supports an environmentally-friendly charity.
The bracelets also come with two capsules. One is filled with something significant to the charity you chose—for example, the Elephant Legend Bracelet has a capsule filled with sand from an elephant sanctuary. The Sea Turtle Legend Bracelet capsule contains plastic from fishing nets removed from the Indian Ocean—and the second is empty for your gift recipient to fill with something meaningful.
This gift is eco-friendly charitable giving wrapped into a fashionable, heartwarming package. Make it extra special and buy a paired set — one for you, one for your giftee. Buying two gets you free shipping!
Carley Millhone, Demand Editor
If your friends are devoted to the church of pop culture, these hilarious celebrity prayer candles are a real hit to add to any fangirl shrine.
This wild (mildly blasphemous) take on the traditional prayer candle replaces the good shepherd with your favorite musicians, athletes, actors, or political figures.
Does your BFF need a Crying Kim K prayer candle? Absolutely. Should you light a candle in tribute to JVN while watching Queer Eye? Duh. You can even buy the entire Golden Girls prayer candle set to light up Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia when you need to channel their wit and wisdom.
Seriously, these will have you laughing all year, and they are the best way to say a prayer for the end of 2020.
Amanda Page, Senior Editor
Friends keep you grounded, healthy, and focused on the good things in life. Give the gift of a shiitake mushroom log and infuse your bestie’s life with flavor, woodland magic, and essential nutrients –– because you love them!
Emily Gadd, Newsletter Editor
Now that we’ve been regularly eating most meals at home, I’ve noticed some kitchenware areas that could use a serious upgrade in my household.
We’re huge ramen fans, and assembling the broth, noodles, and fixins that are essential to this signature dish requires a special kind of bowl that’s up for the challenge. Unfortunately, we only have one.
To end our one-bowl crisis, I’m giving my crew this set of hand-painted beauties that can handle all the most impressive bowl-based foods, from ramen to burrito bowls to salads.
Jill Campbell, Copy Editor
My husband and I have a penchant for putting our cat’s face on things. We have a blanket, a pillow, and a painting of him. So of course when I saw ads for these pet-portrait puzzles on Instagram, I thought, “We need that!”
In addition to being super cute, the puzzle will be a fun activity for our pandemic Christmas, since we have no plans with family this year. Knowing us, we might just frame the finished puzzle and hang it on the wall.
Rebecca Eisenberg, Freelance Food Editor
TEVA’s ember slippers look and feel like cozy sleeping bags for your feet. Where some slippers are definitely “indoor only,” these are designed to go outdoors, too.
They’re made from lightweight, waterproof materials and have thin-but-sturdy soles that keep your feet supported from lounging to running errands. You can quickly slip them on as clogs, or pull the backs up for a more secure fit, making them the perfect all-purpose “house shoe.”
We’re all spending a lot more time inside these days and having a pair of slippers like this is a small luxury — no more changing shoes just to pick up mail, take out the garbage, or walk the dog. Trust me, your friends’ feet will thank you.
Adam Felman, Updates Editor
Last year changed my life. One sitting of Netflix’s “A Christmas Prince” sent me down a disgusting, saccharine, blissful wormhole of Hallmark-esque Christmas productions from which I would never return.
And while, yes, Netflix does offer dreadful festive fare by the bucketload (because all we wanted for Christmas was, in fact, a sequel to “The Princess Switch“), Hallmark films are… well, the hallmark for this particular genre of film-making.
If you want movies with absolutely no sense of self-awareness, that you can laugh at until you weep, and that you will immediately want to follow up with another, this collection will tide you over. This is a joke present that the recipient will secretly fall in love with.
Besides, have you ever seen a movie title as amazingly clunky as “Time for You to Come Home for Christmas?” It’s time to ask the person you love to put self-respect to the side and douse themselves in Christmas-flavored syrup.
My wife will be getting these. So I can watch them, too.
Jamey Powell, Lead Market Editor
I used to think that pajamas were a waste of time — give me an old T-shirt from college and some Old Navy boxers and I’ll be juuuuust fine. But that all changed this year when my fiance gifted me with washable silk PJ’s from Lunya for my birthday.
See, not only are my Lunya pajamas so cool and breathable that they make me feel like I’m sleeping in a cocoon of chocolate mousse, they’re also safe to toss in the washing-machine. So I get to feel like a fancy-pants adult wearing really nice PJ’s and not stress about ruining them after a few wears.
I’ve since bought another pair for myself and I’m never wearing anything else to bed, ever.
The only downside to these buttery soft jammers is that they’re relatively expensive. Only one person on my list will be receiving them this year (and it’s my mom, duh).
Ginger Wojcik, Assistant Editor
Dipsea is a female-founded app that makes audio erotic stories. I love them for the quality of their content, which is skillfully written and acted. All the stories I’ve listened to feel authentic, unforced, and very sexy, which is hard to find with erotica.
I’m used to scrolling endlessly through mainstream porn sites to find something that interests me (read: doesn’t totally repel me) so having an app where I can reliably find content I like is really refreshing.
Naomi Farr, Copy Editor/Books Editor
I’ve been the family herbalist for years, which means I love whipping up homemade salves, balms, infusions, and more.
The process of making and pouring different formulations is calming, meditative, and allows me to continue my life-long love affair of learning about herbal remedies. Plus, making things by hand means I can cater to my loved ones’ specific needs and give them a fresh product that’s made with love.
No worries if you’re not an herbalist yet — get started with Plant Powered Beauty for a beginner’s guide to bath and beauty creations.
14. Straight-up cash and gift cards
Christal Yuen, Senior Editor
I’ve given away money and gift cards more than anything else this year. If that’s out of the norm for you, send them as “experiences” — think Etsy gift cards, astrology readings, and Doordash or Caviar coupons. Whatever makes your friends feel pretty, seen, and fed, you know?