Don’t Give Up
Finding a not overly personal gift for your office Secret Santa (or an appropriately personal one for your mother-in-law) can be almost as overwhelming as the actual money you’ll spend during the holiday season.
Luckily, we scoured the Internet to find just the right present for everyone on your list — even the trickiest recipients, from your boss to your shrink.
Office Secret Santa
No one will be let down by this high-interest gift that’s also low-cost (it fits nicely within the usual $20 Secret Santa spending limit). Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo’s new guide to decluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is one of the hottest books this winter. Based on principles of the KonMari Method of organizing, storing, and throwing things out, her tips promise to create a home that will “spark joy.” The first thing to toss? Last year’s Secret Santa gift.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, $11.17
For the Significant Other who claims to be low-maintenance but is actually choosy about clothes (just try to replace that threadbare sweater from college), one of these luxe UGG Australia robes promises to hit the spot.
Made of comfy cotton with a touch of spandex to maintain its shape, the robe also has a shawl hood for extra warmth. Plus, it serves double-duty with durable jersey on the outside and plush pile on the inside. It’s so soft that even the fussiest won’t shove it to the back of the closet.
Brunswick Robe, $145
Someone You're Dating
You’re kinda serious with someone. Sort of. It’s still early. Your mission: finding a present that no one can read too much into. Let music speak volumes and gift this cool, retro-looking Crosley Radio Executive Portable Turntable.
The look is vintage, but the technology is state of the art. Not only will it play your date’s favorite vinyls, it can convert them to digital files via its USB port. It’s also capable of playing MP3 and portable audio songs. Make a “mixtape” to go with it.
Crosley Radio Executive USB Portable Turntable, $94.99
Keep it simple with a versatile gift that will fit any personality. This white marble platter from Max & Moritz not only looks chic, but it can be used for almost any occasion. It could be a cheese platter one day and a serving plate for sandwiches the next.
It’s made from Carrara marble (a white or gray stone found in the quarries of Tuscany’s Carrara area), which has been used since ancient Rome for everything from sculptures to the Pantheon. The classic material contrasts with the platter’s bold decagonal shape.
Max & Moritz Marble Platter, $130
Your Best Friend
She’s always got your back. Give her something that has hers — in yoga class. New York photographer Eric Cahan uses this mat as his canvas, part of a collection of yoga mats designed for the online shop of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Cahan’s inspiration? As part of his Sky Series, the picture captures the sunset in East Hampton at exactly 7:22 p.m. on a summer evening. Om to that.
Eric Cahan Yoga Mat, $90
Your Kid’s Teacher
Thank educators for enriching your child’s mind with an elegant caffeine delivery system (a.k.a. a coffee mug).
This classic cup is from Heath Ceramics, a 60-year-old company known for its iconic midcentury design. The pieces have been made the same way since 1948: in small batches in Sausalito, California. It’ll put those stained, chipped “#1 teacher” mugs in the teachers’ lounge to shame.
Studio Mug, $30
Getting a gift for your boss depends on your office culture and overall relationship. If you work in a staid environment where gifts haven’t ever been exchanged, this is not the time to trailblaze.
However, if presents are common, look no further than this comprehensive Phaidon compilation called, succinctly, Cookbook Book. Compiled by authors Annahita Kamali and Florian Bohm, it features one important recipe each from 125 groundbreaking cookbooks of the last 100 years.
Cookbook Book, $60
Stay with me here. Tiffany & Co. may appear to be a real splurge for your intern, but who else hand-delivered documents to you at home when you had strep, stayed late collating folders for the presentation, and ran out to get a new white shirt after you spilled a latte before the big meeting? And all for little, if any, pay.
When your intern is indispensable, show your appreciation with a thoughtful splurge like this chrome ballpoint pen. When her career soars, she’ll remember everything you taught her even more fondly.
Chrome ballpoint pen, $75
A Special Client
Show gratitude to the customer who gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling (thanks to all the business she brings you) with this classic Pendleton Woolen Mills throw. Since the early 1900s, this Glacier Park National Park Blanket design has been in production at the very same mill in Oregon’s Blue Mountains.
Though it’s made of 100 percent merino wool, it’s not rough or itchy. Pendleton brushes the fibers until they’re soft, giving the blanket a fleece-like, almost velvety feel. Prized for its craftsmanship, handsome look and longevity, it makes just the right statement to a special client.
Glacier Park National Park Blanket, $149
Show how precious you consider your sis with a glorious necklace of retro-inspired Czech glass beads. The Susan Fin Tassel Necklace measures about 15 inches long and boasts enough sparkle to draw eyes to the décolletage.
What’s more, a portion of Saint Vintage sales goes toward fighting cancer. Founder Paige Jansen-Nichols, a two-time cancer survivor, started the company in 2007 with a commitment to giving back that makes this present even more meaningful.
Susan Fin Tassel Necklace, $125
Back in the day, he was your ride to high school. Now he crawls around with your two-year-old on his back, pretending to be an elephant. Give him the energy you require of him with a Japanese-made Kinto Carat coffee dripper.
This dripper is more than a pretty coffeemaker. Made from heat-resistant glass and stainless steel, the Carat is specially designed for a brew as rich and tasty as if a barista made it. (It’s also paper free!) Add a Blue Bottle Coffee subscription to sweeten the pot.
Your Office Spouse
You and your coworker are so chummy that people joke it’s like you’re married — and from 9 to 5, you practically are. Show him or her how much you appreciate the sanity that friendship brings to the office with a cheeky gift reminiscent of many happy hours. It hints at postwork drinks and is just tempting enough to keep stashed in your desk — as a joke, of course.
Stainless Steel Flask, $15.95
The holidays are the ideal time to show your gratitude to those who may not be the dearest, but are definitely the nearest — and often the most helpful. Here’s to that neighbor (tenant, landlord, or super) who accepted your packages or let in the cable guy.
Since you don’t know the person that well, it’s best to keep the present less personal — and that’s where the cookies come in. Opt for a crowd pleaser like Jacques Torres chocolate chip classics or, even better, bake them yourself.
Jacques Torres cookies, $18
Maybe it’s because you now have your own kids. Or because you’ve finally scored your first big promotion. Either way, you know how important the right bag can be (and it’s not about fancy logos). That’s why it’s time to update Mom’s favorite with this versatile Cuyana tote.
Made of luxurious leather by a company that means “to love” in Quechua (an Andean language), this bag comes in a variety of hues. It also has the width and depth to fit all her day-to-day essentials, from a scarf to a novel, without looking bulky. Splurge on a monogram for an extra $10.
Cuyana tote, $150
If your pops is one of those no-frills, nuts-and-bolts types, he might be the last person you’d think to buy jewelry for. That’s why these cuff links are an indulgent surprise — something he’d never get himself. Made in brass that you actually have to unscrew to attach to a shirt cuff, he’ll be as impressed by the craftsmanship as he is by their timeless elegance.
Giles & Brother Nuts and Bolts Cuff Links, $100
Should you get a present for the person who knows you best? (Well, how does it make you feel?) If you decide yes, we love this hand-blown glass Oaxifornia carafe from Mexico. The gesture of appreciation can be for the office or to bring home (not that you know anything about that, since the relationship is pretty one-sided). Still, it’s a lovely token — at once refined and free of any overly personal meaning.
Oaxifornia carafe, $75