Last year we changed our focus on holiday gift guides to the theme of “gifts great for yourself or someone special” and never looked back. Here is last year’s list (still some great items available) – this year we are continuing the tradition.
Our two filters for inclusion are:
- Featuring independent businesses when possible: Some items just aren’t feasibly made by smaller companies, but given that we’re a small business, it’s important to us to highlight the community in which we thrive, when we can.
- Items that are both pretty and practical: such a great phrase, which is the handiwork of one of our editors, Margo Millure, and it’s a great standard to which you should apply most purchases!
With that, let’s get into the goods.
Organic Lavender and Flax Linen Eye Pillow ($28)
Recently, I had a little migraine episode. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it does… it’s not pretty. Winter Solstice Dreams saved the day with this super-luxurious (but affordable) lavender & flax eye pillow. You can use this pillow both heated or chilled, and it comes in a lovely linen sachet to avoid scorching your face or giving your forehead freezer burn. It’s great as well if you just need a zen moment. All the items are lovingly handmade in Maine; I’m checking out their other aromatherapy products, like the organic room sprays – perfect for that dinner party you can book now that you are migraine-free.
Mason Jar Dispenser and Mixed Colors Jar Glasses Set ($54.95)
It’s hard to ignore the fact that almost everyone wants a farmhouse kitchen full of mason jars to cook in, even if you don’t have a Pinterest account or watch HGTV. This mason jar pitcher + glass set from Wine Enthusiast is perfect for parties, whether you are pouring spa water or margaritas. And the splash of color means these will look great stored in public view between uses. A 4-pack of extra glasses is available for an extra $20.
The Next Big Thing Notebook ($16.95)
I’ve always confessed that I am addicted to journals – I have so many of them, for various purposes and topics. I think a good journal is the perfect tool to help you make those great ideas in your head a reality. Out of all those journals I have picked up this year, the Next Big Thing notebook from Compendium is one that impresses me. It’s a nice size and with a sturdy hardback, and the interior pages are blank with exception for a touch of motivating quotes, something that you’ll find in all of Compendium’s “Live Inspired” product line. Love it.
Robin Charlotte Air Plant Trio ($32)
When it comes to buying someone something that is living, we often go for flowers as opposed to plants because it’s just easier to guess what your special someone might like. But there is no guessing with the very chic “air plant” trio from Robin Charlotte – they are the perfect accoutrement for a home office, to give your bathroom a zen spa feeling, or to spruce up a nightstand. Plus, these plants really do fall into the “next to impossible to kill” plant category – important for those of us without the green thumb.
glassbaby Candle Holder ($44)
While gifting a candle holder isn’t the most inventive gift ever, there’s something special about the sleek handblown glass votives from Seattle-based glassbaby. The company’s holders come in a rainbow of colors and hues, making it easy to match any household need, and 10% of all sales go to “organizations dedicated to healing.” glassbaby has a cult-like following, with photos of glassbaby holders on gorgeous tablesettings in places far and wide. Don’t forget to pick up a box of their beeswax tealights ($14 for 12) – you or your gift recipient will want to use this product as soon as it’s out of the box.
Cook on Clay Flameware Platter ($99-160)
When it comes to giving gifts, those that serve dual purposes means your gift recipient gets to feel the love all the more. One great kitchen product recommended to me is the wonderful clay cookware from Cook on Clay, based in the state of Washington. I’m totally in love with their platter, which is a fantastic way to bake a pizza or cookies, but also doubles as a killer serving tray for fruits, cheeses, etc. when not roasting in the oven. This is one of those kitchen gadgets that you’ll want to leave out on display – put this fab product on full-time kitchen duty (and pick up an extra while you’re shopping).
Rosa Statement Charger – Orange ($22)
Not able to zip over to Amazon (the rainforest, not the website) to pick up your holiday purchases? No worries, Nayariva has you covered, featuring galleries of handmade goods from Peruvian artisans living in a small village in the Amazon rainforest. The company’s claims of “style with substance” are certainly true, and this is a trustworthy operation for ensuring that profits do make their way back to those villagers who need it. My favorite product from their galleries is this orange charger that is guaranteed to be a great conversation piece for your next dinner party (how about a Peruvian-themed menu to pair with it?). The site also has some unique bowl creations that rotate on a regular basis.
Cool Weather Warm Drink Mix ($10)
I almost hate sharing this find, because it’s my secret weapon for giving my friends and our team a surprise treat. Who could be disappointed by a lovely surprise treat inside a mason jar!? Happiness by the Jar features a monthly subscription program, sending you jars of happiness – that is, specifically, “stuff that makes you feel good inside and out.” While you can book by subscription, they also have some excellent options a la carte, including their cool weather warm drink mix. A secret blend of sweet and spicy flavors, this is perfect in your hot tea, on top of oatmeal, and makes a wonderfabulous topping for ice cream. Get an extra jar or two – trust me on this.
Recycled Wine Punt Tumblrs ($9/each)
One of my great obsessions of 2013 has been Portland-based Schoolhouse Electric Co. (And Pinterest.) Their collections of vintage-inspired-yet-wonderfully-modern products make me want to buy an empty house just to furnish it with their products. Alas, until I am independently wealthy, I’ll have to stock up one product at a time. A great place to start is with their awesome upcycled wine punt tumblrs. They are the perfect gift for that friend who is always hosting a great party; you might have seen those tutorials on how to make these yourself, but believe me – it’s better to just buy them. You can mix and match styles, but every glass is unique.
ChappyWrap Couch Blanket ($110)
It has a bit of a cheeky name, but ChappyWrap solves an age-old problem: the need for a high quality, all-purpose outdoor blanket that doesn’t suck. Most blankets aren’t big enough, aren’t warm enough, break down after the first use – leave it to The Grommet to solve this problem for us. Chappy’s oversized cotton blankets up the game and are worth the upgrade – and with a variety of styles and designs, they’re perfect for staying warm on a cool day at the beach, or bundling up apres-ski. It’s enough to make you want to plan a bonfire party just to buy them.
Pure Unrefined Shea Butter Tin ($5)
There are few singular products better for your outsides than shea butter; extracted from a the nut of an African tree, it is good for your hair, nails, skin, and lips. Some African tribes claim it has medicinal properties (anti-inflamatory, pain relief), and you’ll find it in a variety of cosmetic products. But, you can buy it by the tin, inexpensively, and use it to supplement other products. It makes the perfect ingredient for putting together a gift bag or stocking stuffer. Get a small tin from all your friends at Spotted Hill Farm – their tins are high quality and ethically sourced, and you pay just for good product and support an independent business.
Phew – that’s all for this year’s gift guide! Did we miss something?
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All images courtesy of supplier.