T-25 days until Christmas and I am so excited I can barely contain myself!
I love E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. about the holidays. The lights. The music. Christmas cookies and holiday cocktails. Cheesy Christmas movies. Party snacks. Fires in the fireplace. Gift wrapping and gift giving. The smell of Christmas trees. Time spent with loved ones. The list goes on!
And I know I may be in the minority when I say this, but I absolutely LOVE Christmas shopping! Gift giving is one of my love languages and something I look forward to all year long. But as much as I live for the challenge of finding the perfect presents for the people on my list, the research process involved in deciding what to buy is a time consuming endeavor. Between the massive selection of items available, price ranges that can vary dramatically, and a whole host of mixed reviews, it can be quite a daunting task. I’m also not an impulse shopper, which means I have to do allllll the research before I feel comfortable pressing that purchase button. And anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a very thorough researcher who doesn’t make a decision until I’ve read every review, compared prices, and feel confident that I’m making the right choice.
Over the last year, this skill has been put to the ultimate test. Although I haven’t shared a lot about the process publicly, I’ve been in the throes of renovating my grandfather’s old house down on St. Simons Island. And when I say renovating, I mean a complete gut renovation. There had been no updates made to it over the last 35 years, so although I kept the external structure of the house intact, literally everything else has been redone. From replacing the wiring, plumbing, walls, doors, and windows to putting in new bathrooms and a new kitchen to refinishing the original hardwood floors to furnishing and decorating the entire house from scratch, it has been a massive project. Which as you can imagine has required an inordinate amount of time and research.
And which is why I’m taking a new approach to my gift guide this year.
Instead of rounding up a list of ideas that I think would make good gifts, I’ve compiled a selection of my favorite items purchased over the last year. Between my beach house project, the content creation work I do, and my own personal purchases, I’ve made more buying (and returning!) decisions in the last year than I ever have in my life! So if the time I’ve spent doing my own shopping can help make your buying decisions a little easier this holiday season, then I feel like it was time well spent.
None of these items have been gifted to me, they are all things I have researched, purchased, and personally recommend. And they run the gamut in category to hopefully help you find something for everyone on your shopping list! From cocktail making tools to home décor to exercise equipment to everything in between, there’s a little something here for everyone.
In addition to this list of my favorite buys, you can also find a whole host of gift ideas in my Amazon shop! Again, everything I’ve included in my various lists there are things I’ve bought myself and can personally vouch for. So if you have a question about anything, feel free to email or message me and I’d be happy to offer any input you need.
Now enough babbling, it’s time to shop!
For the most stunning sustainable flower arrangements you’ve ever seen in your life, look no further than Mela Fleurs. Owned by the insanely talented Melissa (‘Mel’) Diaz, this little floral design studio in Hoboken, NJ is making big waves in the world of flowers. Mel specializes in custom, everlasting arrangements made with preserved florals that combine bold blooms with unexpected textures to create unique, one-of-a-kind looks for your home, office, or event. She has pre-made arrangements available for purchase, or you can collaborate 1x1 with her to design one specific to your needs. These sustainable arrangements would make the perfect gift for those hard to shop for people in your life and would also be a beautiful housewarming or host/hostess present. I’ve been working with Mel on several designs for the beach house and am blown away by her intricate, thoughtful, and sophisticated eye, and her impressive ability to combine the unexpected to create the extraordinary. Mel also happens to be one of my dearest friends from NYC who turned a job loss during COVID into a chance to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a flower shop, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
Leave it to New Zealand to make one of my favorite sneakers for running errands or for casual days/nights out! I own several styles in several colors and not only are they super comfortable, you can throw them in the wash when they’re in need of a refresh. Allbirds makes its products using 75% sustainably sourced natural and recycled materials, which is part of the company’s active initiative to reduce its carbon footprint. These sneakers would make an excellent gift for anyone who likes to combine style with comfort, or for anyone who is passionate about sustainability. I have a pair of the Tree Runners on my own Christmas wish list this year, and there may or may not be a few pairs under the tree for some other lucky folks at my house!
Zoom meetings and catchups with friends are clearly here to stay, and one of my favorite discoveries over the last year and a half is this adjustable cell phone stand. My computer is one of those where the camera is located in line with the keyboard, which gives everyone on Zoom a view straight up my nose! So until I found this stand I was having to use my phone for Zooms and either hold it up until my arm hurt, or maneuver piles of books to prop it up against. Finding this is the best $13 I’ve ever spent because you can adjust it however you want while you work and chat, and it frees up your hands so you can do other things at the same time. It's also small enough to place anywhere you might need to use it (aka in the kitchen when cooking and you have to call your chef friend to figure out why your food doesn’t look like his.) This little stand would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone on your gift list that's a content creator or who works remotely. (Coupon available!)
If I could be in love with a pan, it would be this one! It cooks evenly and perfectly and is SO dang easy to clean. But the best part about it is its price point! Despite its amazing reviews, I was actually hesitant to buy it because it's so inexpensive. Pots and pans are one of those things where price typically makes a difference, but I went with my gut and bought this for the beach house and loved it so much I had to get one for my mom and my sister, too. It is an absolute must have for anyone in your life who loves to cook. (Coupon available!)
For the health and fitness focused folks on your list, I cannot recommend this rebounder more. After attending Tony Robbins’ virtual Unleash the Power Within in the spring and learning about the extensive health benefits that come with daily rebounding, I immediately purchased this trampoline and have been bouncing ever since! I admittedly used to giggle at the idea of doing a trampoline workout, but I have definitely noticed a difference in how I feel since I've incorporated it into my daily routine. I0 minutes of rebounding per day is all you need to reap the rewards, but I enjoy it so much I usually do it for a whole lot longer. (Currently on sale!)
For clear ice made easy at home, True Cubes is the way to go. I’ve tried a number of different brands and although these cubes take a little finesse to get out of the trays, True Cubes is far and away the best clear ice cube option out there. These are the perfect gift for the home cocktail enthusiast and a must have for whiskey and Old Fashioned lovers. (Currently on sale!)
If you're looking for a unique and personal gift for the traveler in your life, look no further. You may recall that I included MAPLANTIC Maps in my gift guide for travelers last year, and I love this company so much that I had to include it again! Not only have I had the privilege of becoming friends with the founders of the company and believe in what they're doing, I think the concept they’ve created is absolutely genius! Using their backgrounds in architecture and design, they create maps of major cities and small towns across the globe, which are purposely left nameless so that they look like artwork and tell a story of their own. And this year they've launched their new MAPLANTIC Trails line of maps to commemorate significant races, bike rides, or hiking trails that are meaningful to you. A MAPLANTIC Map of NYC was on my own wish list last year, and after being gifted one by my sister, I can personally attest to the brilliant design, quality, and love that founders Amelie and Dean put into their products. And the best part is that they take requests and will create a map of any place or trail in the world that’s special to the person on your gift list. (Currently on sale!)
The travel lovers in your life also NEED this little gadget! With hopes of global travel resuming next year, I’ve started making tentative plans for a New Zealand trip in May. My NZ bestie is getting married and I’m meant to be in the wedding, so I’m already thinking ahead about how long I can stay, which directly translates to how many suitcases I can check! I have a tendency to over pack, plus I like to bring souveniers home from my travels, so I rely on this digital scale to help me with the process. It is THE BEST travel purchase I’ve ever made because it takes the guesswork out of the equation and keeps you from having to pay exorbitant excess baggage fees or from crying at the airline check-in desk while trying to remove items from your suitcase to meet the weight limit. Not that I've done either of those….
Y'all know I love a good cocktail, and while I have many years of practical experience making drinks behind the bar, I also read a great deal about the subject. The world of booze is vast and varied, and what makes one spirit different from another is nuanced and unique. So for anyone in your life who is relatively new to the subject and interested in better understanding things like the herbs and grains used to make spirits or different types of distilling methods or the history of where spirits began and how they've evolved, this book by Amy Stewart is a great place to start. It's a mix of biology, history, and mixology with fun stories and simple, approachable cocktail recipes that offer an education of where spirits begin and how they end up in your glass.
I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS MIRROR. I bought this for one of the bedrooms in the beach house and I absolutely love how weird and unexpected it is when you see it hanging on the wall. I’m the kind of person who sometimes gets an idea in my head without any clear picture of what I’m looking for until I see it, and this mirror was exactly that. I had to wait 6 months for it to be restocked and delivered, and it was most definitely worth the wait. So if there's anyone in your life who is redecorating or has recently moved and is in need of unique home décor, this mirror will make a distinctly beautiful addition to any room.
In keeping with the mirror and home décor talk, I absolutely love, love, love this full-length mirror as well. I wanted something simple yet sophisticated, and full sized yet able to be hung on the wall, and this mirror checked every box. I bought this in silver and not only did it meet my size and style criteria on paper, it greatly exceeded my expectations in person. It's a great option for anyone with limited space since it can be hung, and also a lovely way to add dimension and depth to any room.
There are few things more iconic in NYC than coffee. From street carts to diners to fancy brewed coffees at the most exquisite of restaurants, coffee drinking in the city is a way of life. You rarely watch a movie that takes place in the Big Apple without at least one scene where the characters have a coffee in hand, and you NEVER walk down the streets of New York without bumping into heaps of people bustling to and fro with cups in their hands (or carrying one in your own!). But this cup is particularly iconic as it was the first ever to-go cup to find its way to diners across the city! Designed by Greek immigrant Leslie Buck in 1963, it's known as the Anthora and is recognizable for its Greek-style, Ancient Athenian lettering that states "We are Happy to Serve You," and its blue and white colors that pay homage to the Greek flag. With hundreds of millions of these paper cups sold every year, the Anthora became an integral part of the city's coffee identity. This commemorative ceramic replica is a fun little gift that every coffee lover in your life needs to have in their mug collection. After all, that one diner in the city did win the award for the World's Best Cup of Coffee!
(Items linked to Amazon are included in my Amazon storefront.)