Are you tired of the “Christmas Gifts You Can Find On Amazon” gift guides full of cheap, made-in-China gadgets and affiliate marketing disclaimers? Me too. That’s why I decided to make this: your anti-Amazon gift guide for all the ladies and gents on your list this holiday season.
Recently, I’ve made an effort to do my research and invest in items I know I won’t have to replace for years or ever, even if they cost more up front than the replaceable impulse-buy versions. Five of the suggestions below are ones that I or family members personally own and love.
And before you come at me in the comments … yes, one or two of these items can be bought on Amazon in addition to the company’s own website. I can’t begrudge businesses for playing the game they gotta play to survive in Joe Biden’s economy! But if you do purchase any of these items, consider putting in the 30 seconds of effort to go to the company’s own site and actually type your address in (I know, I know!) to dodge the cut that Amazon takes out of every sale.
For the One Whose Office Is a Coffee Shop
For high-quality leather products that only look better with each scratch and crease, check out Parker Clay. Founded by the Bentley family and named for their two children, Parker Clay employs at-risk women in Ethiopia to construct durable leather products, backed by a lifetime guarantee.
The women’s Merkato tote is the perfect size to fit a laptop and books or serve as an overnight bag. This zipped laptop sleeve is a durable, unisex gift. (Parker Clay has a nice selection for men, too — including this versatile weekender — but be forewarned that the prices are higher due to the use of more leather.)
For the Girl Who Goes to Bed at 9:00 p.m.
This pajama set from Piglet in Bed is 100 percent linen, comes in a handful of solid and gingham colors, and is available as a traditional pajama set, a shorts set, or a button-down nightshirt. Or try this simple nightgown version. (Both come recommended by the folks at Buy Me Once, a site that tests and aggregates gifts that will last for life.)
For the Outdoorsman
Sure, a knife isn’t that novel of a gift idea, and there are plenty of cheap pocketknives to be found in nearly every hardware or gift store. But if you’re looking for a gift he’ll never have to replace, Benchmade’s hand-assembled, Oregon-made knives are unbeatable.
The men in my family swear by the 940 Osborne, and the Bugout is another great option at a slightly lower price point. Plus, Benchmade will resharpen, clean, and oil your knife for free when necessary.
For the Girl Who Never Takes Her Jewelry Off
Amazon boasts plenty of nice-looking jewelry pieces that cost less than a Chipotle bowl, some of which may even claim to be plated in “gold.” But read the reviews and you’ll probably find that these cheap alternatives’ longevity matches their price point.
If you’re not looking to drop hundreds on solid gold but still want something that will last a lifetime, check out Hey Harper (I own these earrings and this necklace, and have been impressed with both). Coated in a gold alternative, each piece is waterproof and backed by a lifetime color warranty.
If you do want a solid gold piece, the offerings at Mejuri are delicate and simple enough for everyday wear.
For the Man of Simple Taste
Alternate heading: for the guy you know who’s slowly converting from basketball shorts to an adult wardrobe. Or for your college-age son who says he doesn’t know what he wants. Or for the boyfriend you want to gift with something he’ll actually use and you’ll actually like.
A high-quality leather belt that won’t crack or peel promises to be one of the most-used gifts ever. Don’t assume just because that Amazon listing says it’s “real leather!” that it’s a quality piece, either.
The belts at Hanks Leather Goods — which began as an Army/Navy store in 1949 — are made in America and backed by a 100-year warranty. Try a more formal, stitched dress belt or a simple everyday style. (Oh, and they offer a military discount!)
For the Home Chef
This versatile, four-piece utensil set from Earlywood is crafted from hardwood in Montana, in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountains. (Earlywood also sells lovely serving spoons, rolling pins, and more solid wood cooking utensils.)
For the Expecting Parents
Skip the plastic toys and try this wooden, made-in-Vermont shape sorter set from Maple Landmark. Or gift a high-quality baby blanket like this washable cashmere one that will be treasured for years to come (even better, knit one if you know how!).
For the Art Lover
Unlike with leather or metal, a lifetime warranty probably isn’t your top concern for art prints. But a thoughtfully designed print is still likely to be kept and treasured for longer than the generic wall art you can find at Target.
I love how this print from Massachusetts-based artist Anne Shah reminds of me the American landscapes of Thomas Cole. And these prints from Rooted In Truth pair art with scripture in ways that don’t look like “Live Laugh Love” threw up on your wall.
For the Sports Fan
Instead of yet another team T-shirt, do some digging and try to find a vintage felt pennant from your giftee’s favorite team for him to display in his room or office.
For the Skincare Addict
Ditch the prepackaged lotions and soaps full of harmful fragrances, and give her something that won’t end up in the guest bathroom or the regifting closet. Try this beauty oil or body butter from Florida-based small business Natural Oats.