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‘Tis the season to do some shopping! The holiday season is here, and you’ve probably spent weeks (or even months!) trying to figure out what to give your nearest and dearest. If you’re feeling stumped about your holiday shopping list, these picks from stylish folks may spark your gift-giving spirit and help you find the perfect present for anyone on your list. (Or, you know, for yourself — we don’t judge.)

Beauty director Kathleen Hou says she doesn’t often give skincare, perfume, or candles because they’re so personal, but lip balm is a “universal crowd pleaser” — namely the Buly 1803 balm she loves to gift. “Everyone gets dry lips, has lost many lip balms, and could use a new one,” she tells Apartment Therapy. “This from French brand Buly 1803 is nicer than any lip balm they’d buy themselves, which makes it a perfect gift. It comes in an old-fashioned tin, with embossed vegetable leather, that you can personalize with the gift recipient’s initials and is small enough to slide into a pocket.” The balm comes in a variety of embossed leather cases and colors, making it feel like a luxury treat at an accessible price point.

Beauty writer and co-host of the podcast Smell Ya Later Tynan Sinks also loves to gift a good balm, and his pick is Glossier Balm Dotcom Trio. “I always want to gift my friends something luxe, something to take care of themselves with, and something that they wouldn’t buy themselves,” he says. “Something fun and safe is always your best bet. For this, I say Glossier Balm Dotcom Trio is the best gift.” Sinks is a huge fan of the balm and always has a tube in his bag, coat, and desk and says he has nine on his nightstand. 

Husband and wife Josh Gondelman and Maris Kreizman are big fans of giving custom sneakers for a gift that blends sentimentality with practicality — everyone needs shoes! “For our most recent anniversary, we exchanged custom Vans. Maris, host of The Maris Review podcast, got Josh, a comedian and writer, a pair with a citrus pattern (four years is the fruit anniversary!), and Josh got Maris a pair with our dog painted on them by Jim Tews, a comedian/artist friend,” the pair shares. “The visuals don’t have to be super intricate either. Josh got his agent and editor a pair of custom Nikes that matched the color scheme of his book when it came out.” 

According to Josh and Maris, “Custom sneakers are a way to be lightly sentimental and lightly practical. Plus, even if the recipient doesn’t love wearing the sneakers, the forethought and consideration still shines through.” The recipient will smile every time they look down at their feet.

Delicious Things to Eat or Drink

Nikita Walia, founder of BLANK in New York City, likes to upgrade her loved ones’ kitchen game. “I like to give people gifts that feel like they add to their space, or help them be present — or are something they already love, but wouldn’t ever spring for a slightly fancier version of,” she says. Her go-to picks include herbal Dram Bitters for cocktails and mocktails, Spicewalla Spices to “make cooking more fun,” and Chaiboy tea. “I’ve been trying to cut back on coffee lately and have been getting more in touch with my heritage and drinking chai — I love Chaiboy’s approach to branding and their chic black packaging, and I know more than one person in my life who’d appreciate these chic tins,” she shares.

If someone on your list has a green thumb — or is trying to cultivate one — give them the gift of greenery with a plant subscription. Walia is a fan of The Sill’s subscription boxes, saying, “A plant subscription is another gift that’s always appreciated — I gave my mom one for Christmas a few years ago, and her plants are still going and growing strong.”

A Cooler-Than-Average Candle

Candles are a go-to holiday gift, but if you want to think outside the box a bit, try a custom portrait candle of a pal. Writer, editor, and author Coco Romack opts for a twist on the classic candle gift. They recently ordered a candle from New York artist Janie Korn, who makes candle sculptures of celebrities and household objects. Korn takes commissions for a truly unique present, too. “I recently asked her to create a portrait of my partner based on a few blurry iPhone snapshots I emailed over,” Romack explains. “The wax bust I received a little over a week later, with its lobbed-off hair and unevenly bulging eyes, was deeply unsettling in the most delightful way, like looking at a clown or slipping into toe socks. We will never burn it, not because we’re precious about those things, but because we think a soul might legitimately be trapped inside.”

Writer, podcaster, and film and TV consultant Fran Tirado will be giving the gift of encouraging words via Adam J. Kurtz’s book “You are Here (for Now): A Guide to Finding Your Way.” “My friend Adam was one of the first people I ever followed on the internet back in our Tumblr days,” Tirado explains. “After I moved to New York, we became friends and he’s given me some of the best advice I’ve ever received — to have a whole book of his sage wisdom is a gift to you all!”

Everyone loves a cool new drinking glass, especially one as Instagrammable as this. Freelance fashion editor and consultant Diana Tsui’s gift pick is a set of colorful rippled glasses that will complement any decor style. “I’ve been really into Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s ripple cup but they’re a little small for my needs so when I discovered these on Amazon, I was super excited,” she says. “While they’re not identical, they have the same blobby vibes and they’re really affordable. They come in an array of colors and make for a great gift that won’t ding your budget. My only caveat: they’re not on Prime and given shipping delays, I recommend ordering them now.”

Kara Nesvig

Contributor

Kara Nesvig grew up on a sugar beet farm in rural North Dakota and did her first professional interview with Steven Tyler at age 14. She has written for publications including Teen Vogue, Allure and Wit & Delight. She lives in an adorable 1920s house in St. Paul with her husband, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dandelion and many, many pairs of shoes. Kara is a voracious reader, Britney Spears superfan and copywriter — in that order.

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