My family and I have reached that point where gift giving becomes more of a chore than a joy. All the kids are growing up (or grown), many of us have our own traditions at home before gathering for the holiday, and frankly, we are blessed enough in our day-to-day lives to have everything we need or want, and then some. All that to say, there’s not a huge need for shopping or sharing lists these days.
That doesn’t preclude a girl from window shopping! As I see influencers and others post affiliated links to things publicists convinced them to place in their annual gift guides, I decided to give it a shot myself with a few of the items I’ve been enjoying this year and/or wouldn’t mind finding under the tree on December 25. Maybe you’ll find an idea or two here yourself.
BARBIE on BluRay
I have a solid three weeks to finalize my Best Films of the Year list, but I know Greta Gerwig’s Barbie will be on it. My question going into it was how would Gerwig (and co-writer Noah Baumbach) create a narrative for a children’s toy where none exists, and the film answers it handily and with aplumb. While there’s sadly no filmmaker commentary to enjoy, the Blu-ray version features several bonus Barbie featurettes you can’t get on streaming. Read my full review.
Diptyque Sample Set
For the fancy candle folks in the room, French brand Diptyque sets the bar, with candles that are as lush in fragrance as they are expensive. The company offers many starter packs that are a bit more affordable and offer the chance to sample several of the company’s scents. From an indulgent votive candle Advent calendar (just a cool $510) to a 5-set that features their signature scents ($100), even if you never light these little delights, they look great on any shelf, mantel or nightstand. (Pro-tip: if you’re ever in Paris, visit any Diptyque boutique for a candle you can only get there.)
I’ll admit I’ve been influenced into trying make-up brand Merit by the gals I follow online, and truthfully, I’ve not been disappointed. I started with a lipstick and mascara, the latter of which has easily become my favorite brand for my lashes. The real keeper is their new Solo eyeshadows, a matte cream that is perfect for shaping and shading on the lid that lasts. Several of their products come bundled together, including their holiday Gloss Set (which appears sold out, but perhaps they’ll restock).
Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons – Criterion Collection
If you’re looking for something for the French New Wave film lover in your life, I’ve got my eye on this gorgeous box set of filmmaker Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons. Made in the 1990s and featuring a film for each season, each one is a different yet poignant journey through the heart and the ups and downs of relationships. Rohmer is a master of characterization, making it a true joy to watch his actors navigate their comings and goings in each movie.
Two-Piece Jogger Lounge Set
I don’t love buying my clothes on Amazon (I always picture some poor kids somewhere piecing them together for pennies), but I discovered this two-piece jogger lounge set this year and love it so much I have it in three colors and am probably going to get it in more soon, too. Definitely not the highest quality, you’ll probably notice some pilling after just a few wears/washes, but for $36, that’s to be expected. What I love most about the set is that it’s both super comfy to wear working from home all day (be gone, leggings!) and to polish up with sneakers and some jewelry to wear running errands.
Paris Calendar & Guide
One of my favorite creators online is Rebecca Plotnik with Everyday Parisian; I’ve been following her for years and really enjoy all her recommendations. If someone were to ask me for the best resources and info on visiting Paris, I’d send them Rebecca’s way, and she’s made it possible to capture all that in her official Paris Guide. If you’re not traveling abroad any time soon, you can bring some of the City of Lights home with her 2024 Paris Calendar.
skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
I must have discovered these under-eye patches online at some point, but I can only say that I’ve been using them for years to refresh my sad, tired under-eyes each week. Without needed to be refrigerated, these little strips of self-care are cool to the touch and make your whole face a bit brighter after use. They’re not cheap, so I usually stock up at Dermstore when they’re on sale, and I only treat myself to using them once a week (or before special occasions!).
Plants or Flowers
I’ve noticed since being settled in my new condo that I have a desire to choose more permanent accessories and decorations for the space. Since I won’t have to be worrying about a lease or moving again soon, it makes sense. I’ve been enjoying experimenting with which plants thrive in which parts of the house (I have lots of windows, but with short, cold days in winter, things are always changing!); a new houseplant would always make a great gift! Alternatively, companies like UrbanStems offer fresh flower subscriptions that deliver seasonal, colorful bouquets each month to brighten up any space.
Gifts from People I’ve Loved
To support small artists, I’d recommend the fine folks at People I’ve Loved, a consortium of creators who offer everything from prints and mugs to notepads and apparel. I have their “So F*cking Blessed” doormat on my back deck and love seeing it each time I walk in; and I recently added this “Plants in a Room” print to my dining room gallery wall. I love the homespun aesthetic and knowing that this work is one-of-a-kind.
Bon Vivant Gift Cards
For those in Chicago looking to gift experiences instead of things, I can’t recommend a cake or cookie decorating class with Bon Vivant Cakes enough. I’ve been twice and not only learned so much about technique and ingredients but had a blast while doing so. Emily and her crew make every class a party, with apps and drinks, a killer soundtrack and even a post-decorating photo shoot for your creation so you’ve got Instagram-ready beauty shots of your handiwork.
I’d love to know if you gift (to yourself or someone you love) any of these ideas, and what’s on your wishlist this year, too!