Our 2014 Gift Guide: 10 Pretty & Practical Presents for Those You Love (including Yourself)

Our 2014 Gift Guide: 10 Pretty & Practical Presents for Those You Love (including Yourself)
Out of all the gift guides that we publish throughout the year, our annual holiday gift guide is one of the most popular -- because we really choose carefully a short list of recommendations of products that we think you'll love to give, and get. Products good for the soul.
This year, as always, our theme is pretty and practical, which is part of a quote Plum Deluxe staffer Margo Millure told me years ago, and it's always stuck with me since.

Someone recently equated my annual choices as "Andy's Favorite Things" in a nod to Oprah. I'm flattered by the comparison.

While it is the season, all of these gifts are perfect to give year-round, so don't hesitate to patronage any or all of these purveyors as often as needed. Let's get into the gifts, shall we?

"Farm to Table" Candles

Candles are always a nice gift, assuming you take the time to purchase candles that don't make people sick. These candles from Vineyard Hill pass the test, but even better is that the art deco display reminds me of candles that I always used when I lived in Amsterdam -- and people loved getting them as gifts, because they're so pretty and so nice to upcycle when the candle is finished. Meyer lemon, yummm...

tea spa kit

Plum Deluxe "Sip, Soak, Scrub" Spa Kit

This year was the year we launched our first Plum Deluxe product, our loose leaf tea line. And for the holidays, we wanted to do something special: new tea-infused spa kits! Each kit allows you to mix-and-match three products: 1 oz of tea (sip), a 4 oz bag of tea-infused bath salt (soak), and a 4 oz bar of tea-infused soap (scrub). It comes in a lovely bag perfect for gifting.

Elegant Silk Bedding

My mom always used to say that one of the things you should never go cheap on is your sheets -- and heck, yeah, why not upgrade the space that you spend 8(ish) hours a day in! Check out the mulberry silk lusciousness of Elle & Alix. Silk has come a long way and is no longer so difficult to take care of (and no, these are not those sheets where you feel like you're sleeping in a slip-n-slide). I can't tell you how many times I've read about mulberry silk being the "next big thing" -- these are medical journalists and PhDs talking here -- so you heard it here first. Sleeping on silk is good for your skin (some say it reduces wrinkles), it's naturally hypoallergenic, and there is also compelling research that mulberry silk bedding can help reduce your stress levels. Upgrade your sheets, change your life.

Destination-themed, Reusable Wine Bags

Wine is always an easy gift, especially when it comes with a thoughtful wrapping -- like these cute, destination-themed wine bags. An Oregon bag for your Oregon blend, a Washington bag for your Washington blend. So pretty, useful, and you can reuse them for gifts or upcycle them as decor for your next wine and cheese party.

Truthbomb Affirmation Cards

Many of you are no stranger to the wisdom of Danielle Laporte, a truth seeker and book author. Danielle just released her latest product, called the #Truthbomb Deck, beautiful cards with affirmations and messages of positivity. This is a great gift for yourself or for those who host, and I think it's a nice -- yet powerful -- alternative to something like a tarot card or angel card deck, which can be a little intimidating. And these cards are so beautiful.

baguette baker

Stonewear Bread Baker

Is there anything better than freshly baked bread? Yes: the satisfaction that you made it. You could get one of those bread making machines (taking up precious counter space), you could build a bread oven in your kitchen (slightly unpractical), or you could get an amazing baguette baking dome. Coddled from all sides by stoneware, your breads and baguettes will plump and crust just perfectly, every time. Not to say this is foolproof; just take a look at the amazon reviews for a plethora of tips on tips for getting it right. And when it's right... oh yeah.

Raft Cocktail Syrups

Most supermarket or cheap liquor store cocktail syrups are basically flavored high fructose corn syrup. Nobody wants flavored corn syrup in their cocktail; that's totally not en vogue. Enter Raft Cocktail Syrups, made small-batch in Portland, Oregon with only the best ingredients. While they only have a handful of flavors right now, this is a reminder that quality over quantity, every time. Their site also provides a rainbow of cocktail recipes, not to mention Plum Deluxe's own cocktail ideas.

Possibility Journal

Every year I tend to include some sort of paper or journaling product, because I have a slight obsession with them. They also happen to make excellent gifts for you or someone special; as we've explored before, writing out your thoughts and intentions is an express lane towards living the life of your dreams. Make your journaling time feel like gilded bliss with this divine spiral notebook of possibility from Jessica Swift. Jessica is a well known pattern designer here in Portland who has expanded her product line to include all sorts of delicious goodness. Shop early and often.

Magic Crystal Earrings

We love spotlighting members of the Plum Deluxe community, especially when they're doing unique work. Rainstone Jewlery produces the most wonderful, almost magical, gemstone jewelry that ranges from rings to pendants. Many of their products are one-of-a-kind, in addition to custom orders. We're all loving these quartz earrings, available in different colors. The styling is simple and elegant, but also practical (they're made so they won't accidentally fall out easily).

Libre Tea Mug

Last but not least is the lovely Libre Tea Mug, the perfect tool to help you enjoy loose leaf tea on-the-go. You may recognize this mug from our guide on how to make iced tea, which is just one of the many uses for this fabulous mug. It has a nice strainer inside the lid which allows you to easily strain and sip loose leaf tea. They recently released some additional colors and styles to help you pick the perfect one for your next tea moment.
All photos courtesy of featured providers. Some products include affiliate links which give Plum Deluxe a small percentage of each sale -- thank you for your support.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe. He authors our award-winning weekly email newsletter, The Blend and curates our popular organic tea of the month club.
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