I don’t want this to come off snarky, but some of the gift guides I’ve seen floating around showcase…dubious gifts. Like, the featurettes always look so fetching and stylish, but when I think about it, I wonder: “Would I actually give someone an iPhone case or a pair of sneakers?” No…no I wouldn’t. I also don’t know anyone aside from my husband that I’d drop over $100 or maybe $150 on a Christmas gift for, and a lot of the guides feature *splurge* items like $350 cashmere throws. Who are these people who gift so generously?!?!? Can I be their friends, too?!
So below are gifts I am planning on actually giving the people I love in my life, mixed in with a few items I would give them if we didn’t do a Pollyanna Christmas in our family (there are so many siblings and siblings-in-law, we were all spending a fortune on gifts, so we decided we’d each draw one sibling/sibling-in-law’s name and buy him/her a nice gift instead):
For a new parent — I’d easily get this for my sister, who just gave birth to her second son: 7AM Enfant Stroller Gloves ($40). These things are basically my best friend. I’ll pre-empt your question by saying that these are better than actual gloves because the number of times I’d remove my gloves to adjust something on mini or feed her a cracker or bottle or get something out of my baby bag is, like, a lot. These mean you’re not tucking your gloves under your arms as you’re doing these things. Sounds silly, but really does simplify life. Plus, they’re luxurious and bougee. I got mine in basic black (all black errrrrythang), but I like these heathered ones, too.
For a well-traveled sibling — I have been eyeing these chic packing cubes ($55) for my insanely stylish sister who lives in London and travels basically every weekend all around the world, both for work (she’s a badass entrepreneur and I can’t wait to share what she’s working on soon) and for pleasure. Like, she’ll FaceTime me on any given Saturday from the Canary Islands. “Ho hum, we just popped over here for a night.” GET OVER YOURSELF. Just kidding, I’m incredibly jealous. And these cubes will help keep all your chic clothing organized. Y’all KNOW I am obsessed with packing cubes, and these from Amazon are incredible, but there’s something a little more stylish, less utilitarian about these ones from Paravel. My only wish is that you could monogram them in the corner — the PVL comes standard.
For the talented cook — Mr. Magpie gifted me this exact Shun knife ($69) for Christmas a few years ago, and it was a brilliant addition to our Shun knife set. (We’re Shun enthusiasts — Mr. Magpie loves the heft of the handle; if it’s too heavy for your taste, try Globals). This particular Shun knife is specifically for slicing bread and tomatoes, which sounds weirdly specific but gets a TON of use in our home. And I can pretty much guarantee you that even the most fancy of cooks will not have this knife — it’s so specific. But SO USEFUL.
For the techie — If I’d drawn my brother-in-law, I would 100% have bought him this cool wi-fi enabled video doorbell ($100). It gets strong reviews and I can just imagine how happy it would make him.
For a beauty snob — I’m thinking along the lines of my bestie or my mother for this one, but I’m considering buying them either a box of 30 m-61 power peels ($62) — MY NEW OBSESSION IN LIFE — this Tata Harper skincare kit ($75), or a small La Mer cream ($85). I bought the latter for my sister on her 30th birthday and she flipped out — it’s not something she would ever splurge on for herself. My only gripe with cosmetics is that they look so small and dinky. Be sure to wrap yours in cellophane with an enormous satin bow.
For an avid reader — I wish to God I’d bought a Kindle before this year. The last two months notwithstanding, I was reading between 5-10 books a month thanks to this magical piece of equipment. Can’t recommend this as a gift enough to a luddite book-lover like myself who has been reluctant to try the e-reader route.
For your gifted-with-great-hair sister: Does everyone else have these? All three of my sisters have way better hair than I do, and all three would look amazing in this pearl-encrusted headband ($50 — SOLD OUT; new version here), but all three would scoff at the pricetag if purchasing for themselves. I might throw in my latest haircare obsession alongside it — it comes in a mini size! — or my favorite travel brush ($10).
UPDATED 12/18: I’d also recommend this satin pillowcase, which I recently gifted my best friend for her birthday, and apparently prevents hair breakage and bedhead, while extending your blowout. She was super excited about it; in her words: “it’s a luxury I’d never buy myself.” It comes beautifully packaged, too. If the price tag on that one is a little steep, opt for this one from Drybar.
For your design-loving stay-at-home-mom-friend: I’m thinking of my sister-in-law here who loves the Scandi vibe and cares for two babies at home and therefore needs all the coffee. This chic mini saucepan ($49) is perfect for heating up milk in the morning to serve with your coffee. Also, I’ve learned with time that the mini versions of most kitchen utensils/implements/pots are EXTREMELY HELPFUL. I use my half-size cutting board and baking sheet DAILY and my mini-whisk and ramekins as frequently. You might include my go-to frother with it, or maybe some really good coffee beans.
For a co-worker / friend / etc who you don’t want to spend more than $25 on —
+I find a cookbook is usually well-received by any gender if they’ve expressed interest in food/cooking, which is pretty common nowadays. I’ve shared my favorite cookbooks here, but think this one would be an especially attractive gift for a girlfriend. You could always throw in some good vanilla or sea salt to round out the gift.
+For a tea enthusiast — there’s always one in your office or among your friends! — people lose their minds over this loose tea filter ($15) and I lose my mind over all the ridiculously delicious teas at David’s Tea. I got into a MAJOR tea obsession during my pregnancy and spent a fortune on loose tea here. I gifted my mother in law a sampler and she LOVED it — we were both surprised that we enjoyed the cheesy sweet sounding ones. They’re all so good! I even got Mr. Magpie briefly hooked on my tea obsession. At any rate, the tea filter and a nice tin of loose leaf tea would be a fab gift. Or, you can buy a pack of one-time use filters, which I have used for a long time. There’s something soothing about the ritual of measuring out your scoop of tea and putting it in your own little sachet. Also, people say this loose leaf tea is basically the best.
Miscellaneous + Stocking Stuffers
+I know this is random, but I’m thinking of buying my bedside carafe for my mother or maybe my mother-in-law. It’s definitely random, but it’s such a lovely everyday (or, everynight) luxury. It makes me feel like I’m living in a hotel.
+Mr. Magpie and I love giving little kitchen gizmos and implements to one another in our stockings. These are the best peelers and could easily make their way into a stocking.
+For a cook who does not yet have a cookbook stand…this would be a great and very useful gift.
+I gifted my brother-in-law this terry sweatshirt ($45) last year, and he loves it. It comes in great colors and wears well. Incidentally, my sister would love receiving a few of these basic tees in good colors — what a great gift!