As if holiday shopping weren’t already stressful enough, this year we have to worry about navigating a global pandemic along with it. To ease some of the burden, the editors of BRIGHT put together our annual gift guide featuring our favorite suggestions for all the important people in your life.
Whether you’re shopping for your significant other, a dog lover, kids or a makeup queen, we’ve got you covered with no shortage of good ideas.
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Lisa De Pasquale, Founder and Monday Editor
The theme of 2020 is cozy (if we’re being polite). Whether it’s being comfortable in the home office or going on an organizing streak to calm the chaos, these are my favorite items to give her.
Think what you want about the Kardashians, but KKW’s Skims loungewear and pajamas are seriously comfortable. This combo of a Henley Sleep Shirt and Rib Leggings is my absolute favorite. I am eagerly waiting for more colors to be available on the Skims website. Until then, Nordstrom has the black and grey in stock.
If she binge-watched “Getting Organized with The Home Edit” on Netflix, she’ll appreciate this Sunglasses Organizer that marries organization with admiration of things.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with adding some glamour. More often I find myself adding a simple pair of Kate Spade earrings to level up a casual outfit before leaving the house. These “Pearls of Wisdom” drop earrings are a steal at $25.
I always have the hardest time buying for men. Gift guides have only seem to have a few categories of men – drinkers, sports lovers, and those who wear shirts.
The guys need something cozy, too. These North Face Water-Resistant Slippers are cozy and functional.
Screenbid is my favorite place for buying gifts (admittedly mostly for myself) because you can buy actual set items used in movies and TV shows. Some of the current offerings include “Mad Men,” “Empire,” “Gangs of New York,” “Justified,” “Breaking Bad,” and more.
Another frequent gift guide category for guys is grill accessories. Sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason—guys love accessories and gadgets. These Flavor-Infusing Grill Wraps add a smoky flavor and make grilling vegetables more manageable.
Best Virtual Gifts
If you won’t be seeing someone in person and don’t want to deal with possible shipping delays, these are my favorite slightly-more-creative-than-a-giftcard ideas.
Bright readers know I love Audible, so an Audible membership (or credits if they already have a membership) is a great gift. You can buy a certain number of months, so you don’t have to worry about a reoccurring charge. If you want to give a specific book, here are some of my favorite audiobooks where the narration really adds to the enjoyment of the book: “The Right Stuff” (written by Tom Wolfe, narrated by Dennis Quaid), “Greenlights” (written and narrated by Matthew McConaughey), “Daisy Jones & The Six” (written by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer and more), “A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World” (written and narrated by David Spade).
I’m kind of obsessed with giving friends personalized videos from their favorite reality stars, actors, and sports stars via Cameo. You can use my code for $5 off your first Cameo. When writing your note to book the Cameo star, be specific about some unique things about the recipient. The good Cameos always include random information that makes a video extra thoughtful.
Finally, this is a tangible gift but a way to send virtual love and good thoughts at any time: a Long Distance Friendship Lamp. When you touch it, the other lamp (on the other side of town or the other side of the world) lights up. You can customize with different colors so that multiple family members can show someone love.
For Those on a Health Journey
Obviously, these are meant for someone who is open about this topic. Gifts aren’t meant to give unsolicited advice.
The FitIndex Scale is a fun gadget for tracking progress other than just weight. It also measures BMI, body fat, muscle mass, and resting metabolic rate.
Looking for keto or low-carb stocking stuffers and snacks? You can’t go wrong with anything from ChocZero. My favorites are the keto bark and peanut butter cups. They even have an Advent Calendar! I also love the Legendary Foods savory almonds and sweet almond butters. This varietypack is a great way to try all their best flavors.
Best White Elephant Gifts
They’re funny, useful and sure to get the virtual or in-person party started.
I love this Pooch Selfie gadget for the avid dog photo sharer.
This crazy political year can always use some levity and I’m partial to my parody book, “The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials and Generation Z.” Another favorite that may invoke tears of laughter or nostalgia is my favorite “children’s book,” “Thump: The First Bundred Days.”
The Work From Home Survival Kit is a nine-piece set and I can’t decide which thing is my favorite—the pants or pajamas flip coin or the webcam cover.
For the Delivery Folks
Every year I keep a box of snacks and water by my front door with a note of thanks. This year, I am especially thankful!
Kristin Tate, Tuesday Editor
An Investors Business Daily subscription (in one year, I went from knowing very little about personal investing, to being a confident investor thanks to IBD).
A Bean Box subscription (best subscription box ever—someone got this for me last year and I love it. Every month you get a fresh, high-end coffee delivered from a different part of the world).
A Drybar blowout kit (especially useful in this COVID world, when we can’t always get to the salon for an on-the-go blowout)
A Whistle GPS pet tracker (this is SO great for dog lovers… I have one and it gives me such peace of mind. You put it on your dog’s collar, and can see where your dog is at all times on your phone using an app. If your dog ever gets loose or runs away, you’ll know where he is and can see him moving in real time)
Lou and Grey Softblend set (the only thing I wear during quarantine—so comfy and soft).
“Goodnight Christmas” (really cute book for kids, they also make “goodnight” books customized for every U.S. city).
Custom dog portrait (another one for dog lovers… I ordered one of these for my mom last year, and this guy is amazing! He makes the portrait look just like your pet, but it’s still fun/cartoon-y. Really great prices, too).
Inez Feltscher Stepman, Wednesday Editor
The watchword for my choices this year is definitely “cozy.” Regrettably, we’re all going to be spending a lot more time cozying up by the fire or TV this holiday season than attending parties. Generally, I’d rather be dragged behind a bus than go shopping on Black Friday (prayers up for retail workers this year in particular), but there are usually lots of good deals online through Cyber Monday.
This cashmere jogger set with matching hoodie from Summersalt for when regular clothes seem pointless. There are five colors to choose from, but my favorite is the pinot/lava. Add these cashmere pom pom slippers on sale over at Saks, and you’ve got yourself (or your loved one) a hell of a “Christmas in” outfit.
I usually recommend stalking up on “experience” gifts for the holidays, and there’s still some that make sense this year, like grabbing annual passes for any national or state parks nearby. Shenandoah National Park, for example, is just $55 for the year.
This is a really great year to pick up gift certificates to support all your favorite restaurants and hand them out like candy.
For special gifts, I’m a big fan of Tiffany & Co’s sterling silver jewelry. Often, you can find a beautiful piece for a reasonable price, and a silver bracelet or pendant will look lovely peeping out from behind cozy pajamas
Kelsey Bolar, Thursday Editor
Eberjey PJs. (They’re the softest in the world.)
Beyond Yoga space dye pants. (Bonus: these work well when you’re pregnant, too!)
A Kiehl’s skincare set. I don’t spend a lot of money on skincare or beauty products, but when I splurge, Kiehl’s is my go-to brand. During the holidays, they offer amazing gift set deals, so now is the time to take advantage. My two favorite products are the Ultra Facial Cleanser (which this gift set includes), and the Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Face & Neck Cream (which this gift set includes).
A gift card to a local interior designer for her to redecorate her home office or another room. (No link…shop local! I can assure you; she’ll have fun with this.)
If your man is a MAGA supporter, you’ll want to get him a “Make the house smell great again” candle. It’s both funny and practical.
A men’s manicure set. (He might not act like he appreciates this present, but he’ll use it every day and more importantly, he’ll stop using yours.)
A pair of L.L.Bean men’s Wicked Good Moccasins. My husband can confirm, they’re wicked good.
For the kids
Magnetic blocks. These are expensive for a set of blocks, but the endless hours of entertainment they’ll provide for kids makes them worth every penny. (Also, don’t be surprised when you discover that you enjoy playing with them, too.)
Anything from Maisonette, which is having a 30% off cyber week sale. For baby girls, I’m in love with this strolley. (Sorry for the lack of boy suggestions… #GirlMom) For older kids, this play dough looks super fun.
Books, books, and more books! As a new mom, I can assure you that we’re always on the hunt for more books to add to our children’s libraries, so this is a gift that will make kids and the parents happy. For babies, I highly recommend a set of learning books they can hold themselves, and for kids of any age, I cannot recommend “The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be” by Joanna Gaines more. (Yes, of course Joanna Gaines is good at writing children’s books, too!)
For expecting parents, I recommend gifting them a copy of Jim Trelease’s “Read-Aloud Handbook,” which educates parents on the importance of reading aloud to their children, along with offering helpful strategies and book recommendations along the way.
Paulina Enck, Friday Editor
Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara and Intense Gel Eyeliner from bluemercury. These are the best eyeliner and mascara you will ever purchase. The eyeliner goes on smoothly and can be anywhere from subtle to bold. All of the colors are great, though “Arabian Nights” is especially fun. The mascara is long-lasting, providing volume and length without clumping. Further, it is easy to take off with water.
The Holiday Event at Tory Burch offers 30% off total purchase, up to 60% off on specific sale items, and with free shipping and returns. Tory Burch’s ballet flats are a classic, and there are some exciting variations on the theme. The patent cap-toe ballet flats, available in three colors, balance soft and patent leather to charming effect. The quilted flats add nice texture, as do the the suede offerings. The 90mm Lug Sole Bootie balances stability with a high heals in a cute combo. On the clothes front, the printed smock dress is very chic, and fits fantastically.
Ted Baker’s Black Friday Sale offers up to 50% off on, in their words, “just about everything.” Those of smaller sizes be warned, some dresses and tops have sold out of the 0s, 1s, and 2s. Among the many excellent dresses, some standouts include this baby pink lace dress and the elegant green and white floral smock dress. The floral T-shirts are also wonderful, with great patterns and fun colors.
For any runners on your list, JackRabbit has great deals on their collection of shoes, apparel, and recovery gear.