This time of year is essentially the “Influencer Olympics” as we all share our favorite gifts and recommend top picks to our friends and followers. While it can definitely be overwhelming to see so many people sharing gift guides, I think it’s also a great way to parse out which creators really reflect your interests and priorities. If you’re looking for a steal there are so many great influencers who shop amazing and affordable deals, or if you’re looking for high-end luxury gifts there are lots of people who know where to get the best quality designer items. There are baking influencers and home decor influencers and pet influencers who all have incredible recommendations to meet every need!
As I’ve grown as a content creator the past few years, I’ve tried to focus more on small and local businesses at a variety of accessible price points in my guides – I always try to highlight female and minority-owned stores as well. In addition, I try not to have my guides be gendered, but rather based on individual interests. I’m a firm believer that gifts should be personalized to the individual, not just assumed by their gender/familial role. (For example, my dad would NEVER touch a tool kit or a whiskey cocktail flight…but get him a lovely rosemary beard oil or scented candles and he’s happy!) You can see my previous gift guides in 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 for reference – I try to make gift personas for the different individuals I see in my life, and that I feel might connect with my followers, too!
Fun Fact: “Gift Giving” is my love language for showing love (I prefer “Words of Affirmation”/”Quality Time” for receiving love) and there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone’s face light up when I’ve gifted them the perfect present! It’s one of the best ways to show you truly know and understand someone.
So while my gift guide may be smaller, I hope you find inspiration or are introduced to a new small business via this post – happy shopping!
- Tea Forte Warming Joy Presentation Box ($26 – 30% off) – this limited edition tea box includes a detailed tasting menu and 20 pyramid tea infusers, four of each blend: Raspberry Ganache, Sweet Orange Spice, Cherry Marzipan, Harvest Apple Spice and Winter Chai. All teas in this collection are Kosher Certified.
- Hungry: Avocado Toast, Instagram Influencers, and Our Search for Connection and Meaning by Eve Turow-Paul ($25) – a great book I read earlier this year and a must-have for any foodie! Turow-Paul weaves “evolutionary psychology and sociology with captivating investigative reporting from around the world, she reveals the modern hungers—physical, spiritual, and emotional—that are driving today’s top trends.”
- Neighborgoods Apron (other options available) ($30) – created by a DC small business, these aprons are lightweight yet durable100% cotton that has you covered to withstand all of your kitchen messes and grilling stresses! They’re also hand screen-printed with eco-friendly water-based inks.
- Christmas Popcorn Advent Calendar ($45) – Over the course of 24 days, follow the poem on the back and collect all the elements to create a popcorn party you can enjoy on Christmas Eve. Behind each door, you’ll discover top-quality popping corn and seasonings from family-owned Wabash Valley Farms.
- Droppin’ a New Recipe on Your A Oven Mitt ($18) – for your favorite chef who loves experimenting in the kitchen!
- Mocktail Club Variety Pack ($17) – I love this sampler of Premium Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Variety Pack with all natural ingredients – great to give as a gift for friends or family that don’t drink or you can use it as a drink mixer!
- Cocktails & Other Drinks Print by Marcella KriebelArt (other drinks/foods available) ($25) – a digital reproductions of original watercolor illustrations created by DC-based artist Marcella Kriebel.
- Capital Candy Jar Gift Box-Deluxe Holiday ($74) – deluxe gift box contains a large assortment of treats to satisfy any sweet tooth! You can also get mini sizes of their delicious peppermint bark for $16 or $8!
- Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark Trio: Original, Salted, & Dark ($96) – A delectable combination of Original Peppermint Bark, Salted Peppermint Bark, and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark.
- The Anthropologie Mulled Wine Candle ($24 – now 30% OFF) is my MUST-BUY gift for friends, family, coworkers, and myself every year! The smell is simply perfect and this year’s iteration has three wicks!
- District Mineral Large Rose and Rose Quartz Bundle ($28) – Beautiful bundles with ethically sourced rosemary, rose petals, palo santo and rose quartz wrapped up in a vintage fabric from one of my fave DC small businesses.
- The Hygge Holiday: The warmest, funniest, cosiest romantic comedy of the year by Rosie Blake ($14 paperback or $3 ebook) – this seems like such a perfect, lighthearted book to curl up under a blanket and read!
- Nordstrom Bliss Plush Throw ($20 – 30% OFF – comes in 5 colors) – my favorite affordable, cozy blanket! I have two and convinced my parents to buy versions for themselves as well!
- The Comfort Book By Matt Haig ($22) – a truly great present for yourself or your loved ones, this book is uplifting, hopeful, and reminds you of how meaningful and beautiful life is.
- Shop Made in DC Mini Me Day – Gift Box Program ($50-65) -treat yourself or your loved one to this locally-sourced gift box featuring sweet orange showers steamers, citrus body butter, tropical smelling Hawaiian Vacation room spray and a Green Tea & Lemongrass candle!
- Sarah Flint X Yves Delorme Bathrobe ($395 – $50 OFF with code SARAHFLINT-BAOPALS) – get cozy in this beautiful limited-edition collaboration cozy, organic long-staple cotton and natural modal bathrobe with a navy Jardin embroidery.
- Dolly Parton Advent Calendar ($40) – we all know a Dolly fan – what better way to help them ring in the holidays than with this cheerful advent calendar they can hang in their home!
- Escape Into Cottagecore: Embrace Cozy Countryside Comfort in Your Everyday by Ramona Jones ($19) – this book rekindles a love of nature and rediscovery of simple, satisfying joys, from home décor, house plants, and herbology to mindful self-care rituals, eating and cooking with the seasons, spiritual magick, and much more.
- Book Lovers by Emily Henry was one of my favorite books of 2022!
- Book Club candle ($26 – ON SALE) – I love the mix of warm nutmeg, amber, and sandalwood.
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus – one of Barnes & Noble’s best books of 2022, while I haven’t yet read it I seriously can’t wait!
- Personalized Birth Month Flower Bookmark ($13) – such a cute, personalized gift that will ensure your favorite bookworm thinks of you with the turn of every page.
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – I loved how thoughtful this book is – it truly makes you think about all the different choices we make and how our lives could be so different with a simply changed decision. (photo)
- The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser – while I haven’t yet read this book, it looks like such a cute read!
- Cats & Books 2023 Calendar 16-Month Planner ($17) – I actually have the 2022 version of this calendar – it always brings a smile to my face whenever I see it!
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – a must-read novel with SO many twists and turns at the end! Also, it’s being made into a movie, so I highly recommend reading it ASAP.
- Bookstore Soy Candle ($22) – a soothing mix of earthy fragrances like mahogany, leather, and coffee are the perfect pairing to your next read.
- Of course, you also can’t go wrong with a gift card to a local bookstore!
- Pop Art Paints Passport Holder Luggage Tag Travel Set ($19) – I love the handmade, personalized set that will protect your passport, keep all your cards safe and in one place, and help you easily identify your luggage.
- Slip Black Frequent Flyer Travel Set ($150) – this gift set is the perfect thing to get your most well-traveled friend. Whether they’re flying for business or fun, you can ensure they get some well-deserved shut eye with these comfy silk additions.
- Travel Adventures Journal ($26) This book is a Bucket List Travel Notebook, Personalized Book, Traveller Gift, and Travel Planner all in one! A perfect gift for the planner in your life!
- W&P The Virtual Happy Hour Cocktail Set ($36 – HALF OFF) – kick off your vacation early with these adorable cocktail starter kits! Just add your drink of choice and you’re all set on relaxation mode in-flight!
- Jet Lag Mask Mini Travel Size ($26) – I swear by this super-hydrating face mask whenever I’m traveling and honestly all winter long. Just a small amount really does the trick to protect your skin from drying out.
- World Traveler Ornaments, Set of 6 ($32) – even if you’re not traveling this holiday season, these adorable, chic ornaments will transport you across the globe from the comfort of your own Christmas tree!
- Change Quotes Print by Marcella KriebelArt ($25) – All prints are digital reproductions of original watercolor illustrations created by DC-based artist Marcella Kriebel.
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson ($24) – a must-read for all Americans, “Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched, and beautifully written narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.”
- T-Shirt (Equality DC) – District Co-Op ($30) – show your support for DC statehood
- Mug (Shirley Chisholm) – Yolanda Renee Spears/ Down2Earth Pottery ($60) – Down2Earth Pottery is a small business based in DC. One-of-a-kind handmade functional and wearable ceramic art with the intention of bringing joy to the everyday routines.
- Print (RBG) – Maggie O’Neill Art ($20)
- Sticker – G Qulture ($4)
- Black Lives Matter Pin ($13)
- ACLU See You In Court Sweatshirt ($68) – the perfect wardrobe item to stay cozy at home or fighting for your rights in the courts!
- Our Bodies Our Choice Print by Kaisa Lily ($55) – 100% of the proceeds will go to the National Abortion Fund.
The Wellness Guru:
- Better Skin Epik C Serum: Power Trio Complex ($26 – ON SALE) – this serum is so incredibly brightening, I get compliments after every time I use it!
- CALM Bath Salts by Herbivore Botanicals ($20) – a romantic, lightly floral, and perfectly sweet bath salt that I’ve gotten my mom before and she’s loved!
- Sephora Gingerbread Face Mask ($5) – I always love the limited edition Sephora Collection holiday masks! They make perfect stocking stuffers!
- Well Kept Shave Oil ($42) – whether it’s your legs or your face, this nourishing, moisturizing product that helps reduce irritation from shaving. It’s my dad’s favorite gift I get him!
- Advent Calendar Crystal Set ($175) – this collection features a range of American mined pieces, high grade tumbled stones (including peridot and rhodochrosite), mini palm stones, geode slices and more!
- C Body Cream from Josh Rosebrook ($40) – Helps to improve the appearance of crepiness, visible scars, dark spots, and redness, all while strengthening and nourishing the skin barrier.
- Happy Challahdays Card by Marcella Kriebel Art ($6) – cute holiday print by DC-artist Marcella Kriebel.
- Jacques Torres Happy Hanukkah Kosher Bonbons ($28) – Celebrate the Festival of Lights with these exquisite confections from Jacques Torres, iconic chocolatier and James Beard Award–winning pastry chef. Each beautiful treat is handcrafted in New York using traditional techniques and the finest ingredients.
- Lana’s Shop Menorah Dish Towel ($26) – Decorate your kitchen for the holiday season with this charmingly illustrated dish towel featuring an original design.
- Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights ($11) – “This picture book is the perfect way to show little ones all about how and why people celebrate Hanukkah – from eating latkes, spinning dreidels, exchanging gifts, and lighting the menorah. They’ll learn why it’s celebrated – from the destruction of the Temple, the bravery of the Maccabees, and the miracle of that little bit of oil that lasted for eight nights.”
- Capital Candy Jar Gift Box-Deluxe Winter ($74) – deluxe winter gift box is a beautiful way to show anyone you’re thinking of them.
- Delight Patisserie Happy Hanukkah Shortbread Cookies ($39) – These adorable and delicious Happy Hanukkah cookies are the perfect gift to celebrate the festival of lights or used as party favors for the Hanukkah gathering!
I love when gifts are able to be personalized for an extra special touch of thoughtfulness! Here are three options that I have personally used if you’re looking for personalizing options at a variety of price points!
- BaubleBar Block Font Custom IPhone Case ($68) – I personally have this lilac and white combination for my own iphone, but it comes in a variety of color combos and font types for you to really personalize! I never worry about grabbing the wrong phone ahaha!
- Theresa Kelly Art Custom Illustration ($100) – as an art lover, there’s something extra special to me about having a unique piece of art done to capture your favorite moments. Theresa Kelly is a local DC-based artists who I have loved working with before (see her sketches from this year’s birthday party, above) – all she needs is a picture or pictures for reference to make your custom design. Illustrations start at $100 for one figure size 8X10.
- Anthropologie Arctic Monogram Ornament ($12) – I absolutely love giving these monogram ornaments as gifts! It’s a simple, easy way to add a personal touch – I actually am starting the tradition of getting my nephew a new “A” initial ornament every year!
May this gift guide assist you in your holiday shopping this year. Happy Holidays!
All photos of me were taken by Kathleen Marie Ward Photography.