Every year, my book group has a holiday party and we hold a Favorite Things gift exchange. We buy something little that we love (no more than $8)–maybe it’s a favorite nail polish, fancy lip balm, a homemade mix CD of songs, or high-quality chocolate bar–and bring one for each person. We take turns distributing our gifts and explaining why (a la Oprah) it’s one of our favorite things.
It’s a holiday tradition I look forward to every year–and I always discover a new favorite myself. So I thought it would be fun to round up some of my all-time favorite things in a gift guide for the holidays (this time, with no $8 price limit!) in case you needed ideas to give OR add to your own list. So here is an altogether random assortment of some of my faves:
FAVORITE THINGS TO WEAR:
Uggs Brooks Boots: THESE BOOTS. I cannot say enough about these Uggs Brooks boots. I bought a pair 12 years ago and wore and wore and wore them. In fact, they’re still wearable–they just look a bit beat up, so it was time for a replacement pair. This year I found them on Amazon for an amazing price that’s far below what they are in stores (and no, they’re not fakes!). If you want the comfort and warmth of Uggs without the typical Uggs-boot look, snatch these up before they’re gone. I promise, you won’t be sorry! (My friend also swears by these snuggly Uggs insoles, which she wears in her rain boots to keep her feet warm.)
Athleta La Viva Pants: These come in regular and capri length, and I lived in the capri version of these all summer long. The fit is super flattering, they’re as comfortable as any yoga pant, and they pack and wash like a dream. I recently convinced my friend Katie from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook to buy a pair, and now she lives in them too (hi, Katie!). Yes, they’re a splurge. But Athleta pieces are such high quality that in my book, they’re well worth the price.
Map Pendant Necklace: A good friend gave me one of these a few years ago. One side of the pendant has a map of the small town we both grew up in, and the other side has a map of the city we both live in now. It’s such a special piece of jewelry for me, and I often wear it when I travel to keep both of my hometowns close to my heart. Though this Etsy shop can’t take any more custom orders in time for the holidays, you can choose from a bunch of maps now or order a custom design for the new year.
Cozy Wrap: The only thing better than this super-soft, super-warm wrap that comes in several pretty colors and that (if you’re like me and are perpetually freezing) you can take on the plane, to the movie theater, to restaurants, and to your over-airconditioned office building in the summer? The price: $12!
Stitch Fix: This personalized online shopping service is such a treat–and makes a perfect gift for someone who likes clothes but hates to shop. You can give (or get) a gift card for as little as $20, which covers the styling fee for one box, or a higher amount to cover both the styling fee plus items in the box to keep.
Balega Running Socks: I splurged on a pair of these when I started running, and they blow my cheap athletic socks out of the water. They’re soft and pillowy and fit snug on my feet so there’s no uncomfortable bunching.
FAVORITE THINGS TO USE:
FitBit: I love the way my FitBit encourages natural movement and exercise. I’ve had mine for two years, and it still motivates me to park farther away, take the dog for an extra stroll around the block, and hit the stairs instead of the elevator. Already have one? Get a fun replacement band for extra motivation to wear it. There are newer and fancier versions, but I like the classic (and cheapest) FitBit Flex.
Cuisinart Griddler: My mother-in-law bought this for me a few years ago, and I honestly didn’t think I would use it. Then I discovered its magic: It instantly elevates boring ol’ sandwich night into fancy-pants Panini Night! It also makes super-quick work of burgers.
Jamba Quiet Shield Blender: I own many blenders, but this one earned the coveted countertop, everyday-use spot. The shield muffles the sound so my family doesn’t cringe when I make a morning smoothie. And though it pulverizes like a pro, the price tag is much more doable than a lot of other high-speed blenders.
Donut Pan: My friend Katie (the one who now lives in her pair of Athleta La Viva Pants) convinced me that I needed to own one of these. It’s such a fun addition to my kitchen–and turns out, my family likes baked donuts just as much as the fried kind, especially warm out of the oven.
Wet Brush: I’ve got long, fine hair that tangles into a nest, but this thing comfortably brushes through it after showers.
Blowpro Dry Shampoo: I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, so I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos. This one is my favorite.
Bullet Journal & Fancy Markers: If you are a pen-and-paper gal like me, but your desk is littered with little pieces of paper with assorted to-do lists and reminders, a Bullet Journal (or BuJo as the cool kids call them) may just change your life. It neatly organizes all the stuff on those notes (and inside your head) in one place. Watch this quick video at BulletJournal.com to see what’s it’s all about.
Avon Moisture Therapy Lotion: I brought tubes of this to the book club Favorite Things Night one year because it’s the best hand lotion I’ve used–and judging by the comments on the Avon site, it’s a fan favorite! Since it’s very thick, I only use it at night, and my hands feel so good the next morning.
Got someone on your list who loves to read? Here are the 12 Books I Couldn’t Put Down in 2016.
More Holiday Gift Ideas:
If you made a list of your favorite things to give or get, what’s one thing that would be on it?