Holiday Gift Guide
When we were growing up, my family and I didn’t have the means to have a big Christmas tree with elaborately wrapped gifts sitting underneath. There were years we didn’t even have a tree or any gifts and there were other years we did have some small gifts to open. It wasn’t until I was much older that my parents’ businesses began to thrive that we were able to afford the entire Christmas experience – with tree, decorations and all.
As far back as I can remember our restaurants were always open on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Of course, they weren’t busy days at all because many families were cooking their own feast at home. We had a rare customer that ordered take out, but for the most part, the place was deserted. Eventually, Mom and Dad decided to stay closed on those days and take a rest day. That was the best part and I have fond memories of us taking road trips to Boston and upstate New York – just driving around. Since my parents worked 7 days a week, we never spent much time with them at all, so having a day was wonderful. The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. There are so many things to be grateful and thankful for. It truly is a time to show your significant other/ family/ teacher/ fill in the blank how much you care about them. I have curated a Gift Guide for Everyone on your list with every budget in mind.
As you wrap your last present, know that it really is the thought that counts – the true meaning of the holidays is the time you spend with the ones you love and care about.
Coyuchi Organic Sateen Eye Mask ($18)
Great for relaxing and sound sleeping, the eye mask is lustrous on one side, slightly matte on the other, loomed to a 300-thread count in a silky weave that resists wrinkling. The eye mask is fitted with a gentle elastic and lined with cotton terry. https://www.coyuchi.com/sateen-eye-mask.html
Ten Thousand Villages' Andes Night Blanket Shawl ($59.99) can be used as a shawl, scarf or cozy blanket. Handmade by artisans in Ecuador working with Ten Thousand Villages’ Fair-trade partnership, the scarf is soft and beautifully woven. The scarf comes in 2 colors: Night and Dawn. https://www.tenthousandvillages.com
One of my favorite companies is Coyuchi, which offers luxury home goods with a focus on design, sourcing the highest quality organic goods and a commitment to the planet. In my book, they truly provide one-stop shopping because in addition to home goods, they also offer luxurious apparel. The Undyed Alpaca Luxe Sweater ($348) uses fiber that is sourced from small ranches in the mountains of Peru, where the animals are raised sustainably and humanely. Luxurious and soft, Mom will love the simple classic silhouette. https://www.coyuchi.com/undyed-alpaca-luxe-sweater.html
For the Home Chef
Tasty, the world’s largest social food network has an 11-piece non-stick cookware set, which includes everything from fry to sauce pans. Not only is it affordable, they are high-quality with soft silicone handles for easy an easy grip and steam vents to prevent overflowing. The set is dishwasher-safe which is my favorite component. The set comes with a Tasty recipe booklet for fast and easy recipes. The 11pc cookware set is available in 3 bright colors exclusively in Walmart stores and Walmart.com. (Prices range from $82 to $88)
For the baker, William Sonoma’s Silpat Perfect Baking Molds is the perfect present. Available in five different shapes (the Mini Loaf, Tartlet, Mini Muffin, Muffin and Madeleine), the food-grade grade fiberglass mesh coated in silicone which allows for an easy transition from pan to plate ($49.99) https://www.williams-sonoma.com/
Le Creuset’s Limited Edition Ombre Dutch ovens incorporate the quality the brand is known for along with rich colors that soften from light to dark. Made with cast iron for slow-cooking, braising and roasting, the Dutch oven is a kitchen necessity for any home chef. Prices vary. https://www.lecreuset.com/
For the Fitness Fanatic
I’ve always been a fan of Carrie Underwood, so when she partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods to launch her apparel brand CALIA, I was super excited. The products are made of high-quality fabrics and have a flattering and consistent fit. Gift the fitness fanatic in your life with some items from the most updated line.
For the girl on the go, CALIA Women's Effortless Duster Cardigan ($79)is a great sweater to layer with and it is extra functional with front hand pockets and a hood for colder temperatures.
The Effortless Cozy Cardigan ($50) is soft and comes with BODYFREEZE technology so you stay cool, dry and comfortable, which is perfect post-workout. https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/s/calia
Bindle Bottle ($40) is not your average water bottle. It is the first fully insulated water bottle with integrated storage. Smartly designed, each bottle keeps 24oz of water hot or cold for hours and has a hidden bottom container with 450 cubic centimeters of space for another snack such as carrots or crackers. Stylish and fashionable while staying hydrated, the Bindle Bottle is a great gift for your fitness friend. https://bindlebottle.com/
The Zöe bag is functional and luxurious, with over 18 compartments to fit all your everyday necessities from workout to the office. There are separate sections for shoes, clothes and laptop with an external water bottle holder, luggage strap, and key holder. (Prices vary $445 - $699)
For the Kiddos
The Crème Shop x Sanrio carries the cutest beauty and skincare products for kids or even adults. The collection features Sanrio’s most beloved characters such as Hello Kitty and My Melody on the packaging of lip balms and hand lotions. Many of the items are under $10 and make great stocking stuffers. The macaron lip balms in various flavors such as mixed berry and pineapple sherbert are as irresistible for kids as adults. https://www.thecremeshop.com/collections/hello-kitty
Osmo’s Genius Kit includes 5 of Osmo’s mind-sharpening games which can be used at home on iPads. The diversity of each game allows children to have hours of fun while staying focused and learning about math and words. Osmo’s Genius Kit is available for for $99 at https://www.playosmo.com, as well as on Amazon, at Target and Best Buy.
For the Fashionista
Kut from the Kloth has some of my favorite denim that is super stretchy and comfortable without creating muffin top. Along with bottoms, the brand does an excellent job with their tops. For the Fashionista in your life, the Diana Relaxed fit skinny jeans ($89) in black have a mid-rise fit that is super sleek and stretchy for casual day wear that transitions into night time. Another winner is the Beatriz Diamond Quilted Jacket ($98) which is in a flattering silhouette for all sizes with enough room to layer underneath. The Fredrica Furry Knit sweater ($98) is super cozy and is crafted in a luscious cream body with a faux fur collar that is resonant with current fashion trends. https://www.kutfromthekloth.com/
Dagne Dover’s bags are great for everyday use because the brand carries 3 different lines for versatility – Coated Canvas and Leather for a professional feel and Neoprene as a casual carryall. The Landon Carryall comes in 3 sizes and variety of colors and prints is a great fashionable gym bag to store all your essentials. The Allyn tote, a leather handbag that also comes in 3 sizes, is perfect for the young professional as the interior provides organizational structure with pen loops and an efficient water bottle holder not to mention a key leash! Prices vary $100 and up https://www.dagnedover.com/
Cougar Shoes, a family-owned Canadian footwear company that has been making quality and stylish footwear since 1948. They design boots with the latest construction technology and use waterproofing techniques to ensure your shoes are comfortable and long-lasting. Give the fashion friend in your life the Kensington Chelsea Boot ($70), which is an ankle rubber rain boot with a rounded toe for comfort. The boot is easy to pull on and has memory molded insoles for optimal comfort.
Another great option is the Vera Suede Shearling Boot ($240), which is a mid-height suede boot with genuine shearling collar. Not only is the boot lined with polar plush lining for warmth, but it’s also waterproof – perfect for all types of weather.
Lightbox jewelry emerged as an alternative to pricey diamonds. The innovative company specializes in impeccably made, laboratory-grown diamond jewelry that is just as beautiful as the real thing. Their signature halo earrings and pendants come in three colors to choose from – pink, blue and white – and are available in 2 sizes. Each stone is inscribed with a security tag that verifies its authenticity. Prices range from $500 to $900 www.lightboxjewelry.com.
For the Best Friend
Otherland candles are deliciously fragrant made from a custom soy and coconut blend that makes the ideal smooth-burning base. Their latest collection Manor House Weekend features new limited edition scents such as Cardamom Milk and Tapestry, a burnt maple and smoky oud. What’s more, the candles are as beautiful to look at as they are to burn! https://www.otherland.com
She will love all the natural and small-batch made products from Olive Branch Body care, but the Luxurious Shea Body Butter ($29.50 for a big tub) will keep her moisturized in the winter months.
Recently the Seattle brand also launched their Natural Collagen Boosting Lip, Cheek and Eyeshadow along with a luxurious All-Natural Anti-Aging Body Scrub – you’ll love this brand so much, you will want to keep some for yourself. Prices vary ($16- $30) http://www.olivebranchbodycare.com
Kari Traa Ringheim Sweater (Prices vary $89 -$110) is a warm and cozy knitted sweater with a Nordic design. Made from a wool and alpaca blend, the sweater provides excellent warmth and is perfect for layering on chilly days. It has a round neck, side split hem and will easily become a fall and winter favorite. https://www.karitraa.com/
For the Foodie
It’s no secret that Alter Eco is one of my favorite go-to brands for snacks with a sweet twist.
Alter Eco’s Be the Change Vegan Gift Box ($24.99) is a festive array of Alter Eco’s feel-good, fair-trade vegan chocolate. Comprised of Swiss-made chocolate bars that restore the rainforest and is convenient to ship, all of the chocolates are 60% or higher cocoa.
Another great option is the Best Seller Gift Box ($49.99), which includes best-selling fair-trade chocolates crafted with rich Swiss-made chocolate bars, truffles and clusters. For every holiday gift box purchased from Nov. 1 – Dec. 25, Alter Eco will plant a tree in the Peruvian Amazon where its fair- trade farmers grow the organic cacao.
Adams Apple Eatables Box O’ Butters gift set is the ultimate gift for the for person who loves all things food! The gift set even comes with recipe suggestions and an adorable signature gift spoon. The gift giver can choose from any combination of 3 butters and jams to include in this box...just indicate in the "additional comments" section when ordering!
For the Do-Gooder
Globein is an online marketplace that enables consumers to purchase fair trade and sustainably made products, while empowering artisans in developing countries around the world. The product offerings are diverse and good quality handmade items. The Goa Shopper Basket ($55) is a jute handwoven item that can be used as a shopping basket at the farmers market or at home to store magazines or towels.
The Aqua fish serving platter ($49) is hand painted in Tunisia and can be used for a dinner party or as a decorative centerpiece in the home. https://shop.globein.com/
Fair Trade USA, an internationally-acclaimed social organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains in partnership with over 1,300 leading brands and retailers. This year it has partnered with such companies as West Elm, Patagonia, and Athleta and many more so that for every Fair Trade Certified product sold, the business selling it pays an additional amount of money into a Community Development Fund, which goes directly back to community of origin.
Visit www.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.
For the Host/Hostess
Le Creuset Metallic Collection’s Set of 6 Mini Bowls ($50) is the perfect gift for your host. The set of bowls comes one of each color in Purple, Grey, Red, Green White and Blue and is beautifully packaged in a hat box for gifting
Available at LeCreuset.com, Le Creuset Signature Stores and high-end retailers
Coyuchi Men's Plaid Organic Pant ($78) is made of organic cotton and yarn-dyed so color won’t fade after washing. https://www.coyuchi.com/mens-plaid-pant-gray.html
The Kitsbow Icon Shirt V2 ($220) is functional enough for a bike ride, while versatile enough to wear to a nice dinner. With articulated shoulder vents, stretch gussets, subtle reflective hits, bigger cuff openings and made of American Pendleton wool, the shirt is hand-sewn in Oakland, California. https://www.kitsbow.com/
Mizuno’s BR-D4 Stand Golf Bag ($199)
Your Dad or significant other will love this bag for Golfing. A lightweight, stand bag with a magnetic pocket, matching rainhood and cooler pocket, this bag is a pleasure to own. Other features include an apparel pocket for ample storage, large ball pocket, cart strap channel for secure fit without restricting access to pockets, double shoulder straps and a bottom grab handle for easier lifting. https://www.mizunousa.com/
For the Newlywed
Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towels (prices vary $8 to $148) are traditional lightweight Turkish bath towels with a high/low weave for excellent absorption. Woven from yarn-dyed organic cotton and edged in hand-knotted fringe.
Coyuchi Handwoven Jute Place Mats, Set of 4 ($98) are perfect for the couple entertaining. To make these place mats, artisans weave thick jute yarns on hand looms for slubby texture, and then finish the edges with short, hand-knotted fringe. https://www.coyuchi.com/home/kitchen/handwoven-jute-place-mats-set-of-4-neutral.html
For the Techie
Think about the Muse® 2 as a personal meditation assistant that is designed to provide real-time feedback on brain activity, body movement, breathing patterns and heart rate during meditation. Muse® 2 uses built-in biosignal, inertial, and heart sensors to create real-time audio experiences in
four key areas to help users find focused calm, improve posture, and increase breath and heart awareness.
Along with the companion app, Muse® 2 translates meditators’ internal states into immersive soundscapes to provide subtle guidance during meditation. ($249) www.choosemuse.com
For the Office Mate
Rituals offers many affordable gift sets of all sizes either for the body or home. The Ritual of Sakura Renewing Treat ($29.50) gift set includes a foaming shower gel, body scrub, body cream, and hand wash: all enriched with renewing cherry blossom and organic rice milk. https://www.rituals.com/
Sun Basket a healthy meal delivery service caters to a wide variety of dietary needs and preferences, which is perfect for everyone – families, couples, or the single person. The meal kits offer healthy, delicious and easy-to-make meals that are paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, mediterranean, vegan, diabetes-friendly and pescatarian.
The delivery kits save time for those that are too busy to find recipes or go to the grocery store but want to enjoy a healthy and delicious recipe. The meal kit just came out with their Super Speedy menu with recipes that take no longer than 15 minutes (3 steps or less). https://sunbasket.com/
Glerups are the most fashionable slippers you can find. Made of felt to keep the feet toasty in winter months, the designs are based on a tradition of hand felting, which is done manually and requires skill and time. The beautiful slippers are available for Men, Women, babies and toddlers. The signature grey felt boot from the company’s inception in 1993 has evolved into many rich color assortments as well as boots that have rubber soles as well. Prices vary ($95 to $135) https://www.glerups.com/