It’s been too long since we had a thread listing the best gifts we’ve received (or that we would recommend to or for other people as gifts) — so here are the prompts:
Best makeup/skincare/nail polish product:
Best jewelry or accessory:
Best travel-related purchase (business travel or other):
Best pajamas/lounge/athleisure item:
Best kitchen item:
Best pantry/shelf-stable food item (e.g., fancy olive oil):
Best wine, beer, or liquor:
Best shippable gift basket, flower delivery, etc., you’ve received:
Best home item (e.g., blanket, Roomba):
Best thing you received or bought where Social Media Made You Do It:
Best gift you hesitated getting/keeping but now love:
Best restaurant meal or giftable experience (please note city):
Best play/musical/event experience (please note city):
Best hobby-related gift (e.g., a wetsuit for your love of kayaking):
Best $20 or under you’ve spent (or estimate a gift to have cost):
(Looking back) – What gift(s) have you received or bought for yourself for graduation(s) that you adored?:
(Looking back) – What gift(s) have you received or bought for yourself for milestone birthdays that were amazing?:
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Some of My Favorite Gifts and Purchases
Best book: I read a lot of romance — some of my favorite newer ones I read this year, many on Kindle Unlimited (possibly another great gift idea): The Worst Guy and In a Jam (both Kate Canterbury), anything by Ali Hazelwood (particularly if the recipient likes really strong heroines in STEM).
Best makeup/skincare/nail polish product: I think I got Guerlain’s Meteorites about a year ago now — it continues to be one of my favorite “must use before leaving the house” kind of purchases. It banishes any shininess, gently color-corrects, and gives a healthy lit-from-within kind of glow. I’m surprised how much I like it, to be honest. On a more expensive scale, I really love my new Shark blow dryer — my curly hair is diffused dry so quickly.
Best pajamas/lounge/athleisure item: I now own two sets of Nordstrom’s Moonlight pajamas — they’re super comfortable and wash nicely. Recommend.
Best kitchen item: On the smaller side: We’re really into popping our own popcorn at the moment and this big air popper is my favorite if you have the space — it never burns the kernels! Infinitely smaller: a collapsible microwave popper* (but you do have to listen carefully). On the bigger side: We’re enjoying our new Cuisinart toaster oven (although I’m not sure it’s replaced my Ninja air fryer like I’d hoped it would). (*Note that the exact collapsible popper we bought is now unavailable, but there are a ton of similar ones; I’ve also heard great things about the one from Pampered Chef.)
Best wine, beer, or liquor: I got a bottle of Angel’s Envy Rye and loved that — I’d also say our Shaker and Spoon subscription is one of the most enjoyable gifts we’ve gotten for ourselves.
(Here’s my Shaker & Spoon referral code if you’d like to get 50% off your first box…)
Best shippable gift basket, flower delivery, etc., you’ve received: If you have any fruitcake lovers in your life, we just got my mom this fruitcake from Goldbelly — she recommends!
Best pantry/shelf-stable food item (e.g., fancy olive oil): A friend turned me on to Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha, from Bushwick Kitchen — we’ve made three or four orders over the past year. Delicious. We also love our Rancho Gordo bean subscription, as do my in-laws!
Best home item (e.g., blanket, Roomba): A reader recommended this stylish happy light and I must say I really love it. Remote control and a really stylish look.
Best gift you hesitated getting/keeping but now love: (mostly for the parents) We resisted going to Disney for a long time, but we finally went and had an absolutely stellar time with the kids. We just planned another trip.
Best restaurant meal or giftable experience (please note city): Le Colonial, Chicago (vacation)
Best play/musical/event experience (please note city): Bottom of the Ocean, NYC (closing soon though)
(Looking back) – What gift(s) have you received or bought for yourself for graduation(s) that you adored?: Boring gift, but I’ll always be thankful for fact that when I graduated college, my father set up a joint Schwab account for me and gave me enough money to start investing. Had it not been for that (and/or my friend Sue, who since my early 20s has been one of the most money-savvy people I know), I doubt I’d have gotten interested in investing as early as I did.
(Looking back) – What gift(s) have you received or bought for yourself for milestone birthdays that were amazing?: I have no regrets over my Cartier watch or Mikimoto pearls (both for my 30th). I don’t remember anything in particular for my 40th, though (hmmmn).
Best Book: an autographed copy of a novel I love, author long dead.
Best beauty: to me from me Amika blow dryer brush.
Hobby related: Noxgear for running in the dark.
Jewelry: diamond stud earrings as a milestone birthday present from my grandmother; Tiffany silver cushion hoops, to me from me, for another milestone birthday; a handmade silver necklace with my son’s birthstone.
Miscellanea: campaign memorabilia from an ancestor who was a US Senator.
All of my best gifts have been jewelry. My husband bought me a ring he saw me admire at the local jeweler’s. I had no expectation he would buy it, it was not a hint at all, and now I wear it every single day.
Kat, could you post a link to your Shark hair dryer? Curly girls want to know!
It’s added now! Thank you for reading!
The first holiday together back when we were broke newlyweds DH gave me a block of cheese that was mine all mine and several decades later that is still one of my favorites.
Hahaha, I LOVE that. Cheese = true love.
I once got cheese as a work present when everyone else got wine. I looooved that so much- I don’t drink and I loved that the boss took that into account when picking presents.
My mom was always about bright colors – the hotter the pink, the better. A few years ago my mom gave me a beautiful soft leather no-name bucket handbag in a mustard color. When I squealed with delight, she said, “I looked for the ugliest color and knew you would love it.”
hahaha this would also be me.
The Xtava black orchid hair diffuser attachment. I can fit so much hair into this! It looks comically large.
I didn’t get mine as a gift, but I have this one as well and love it!!
Mine wouldn’t stay attached, so I ended up having to tape it to my dryer. So it’s huge and has duct tape holding it on. Amazing.
Best makeup/skincare/nail polish product: Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, it’s the only thing that even touched the scaliness during Accutane
Best handbag: It’s a huge splurge but my Hermes Evelyne bag is SO useful and the leather really is beautiful
Best jewelry or accessory: I’m still sad I lost one but my Tiffany gold mesh ‘knot’ earrings that I bought myself for my 25th birthday were a huge splurge and very special to me. They don’t seem to make them any longer or I’d rebuy in a heartbeat.
Best pajamas/lounge/athleisure item: I wear the patagonia down vest every.single.day in the winter
Best home item (e.g., blanket, Roomba): We now have 5 of the Restoration Hardware ultra luxe faux fur blankets (and give them as gifts) because they are SO soft and warm I don’t even bother trying to find a dupe.
Best gift you hesitated getting/keeping but now love: Dyson hair dryer, it’s 4-5 years old now and still SO much better than any other one I’ve bought (and I used to burn out hairdryers every 2 years).
Best restaurant meal or giftable experience (please note city): I will always think back in amazement of the years I was working in PR (whole other set of stories about how wild that was in the early aughts) and got one of those amazing holiday gift baskets from a firm I sent a lot of business to that included a very generous gift card to Danny Meyer’s restaurants in NYC. I was 25 or so and could not afford to go to Grammercy Tavern on my own so that was SUCH an amazing treat.
TheRealReal might come to your rescue-
A leather jacket that says The Who on the back and has lots of studs and zippers and distress, from my parents, when I was around 21. I have loved classic rock (specifically British Invasion rock) since I was 10, and my parents really never understood my obsession. They thought my devotion to The Who (and the Beatles) was very weird. So when they got me the leather jacket emblazoned with The Who, it was not only the gift itself, but the implied acknowledgement that they accepted my tastes. I have proudly worn that jacket to The Who concerts and all around London, and it makes me feel so confident.
when i was a year old i was given a crocheted snowman made by my grandmother’s sister. it ended up being the only one she ever made.
it’s very special to me, and is one of the first decorations that get taken out.
i also collect vintage royal doultons and my husband has gifted me several of my favourites over the years.
Hand knit wool socks.
One year a vendor sent all female clients a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and a book about the founder of the the brand called Widow Clicquot by Tilar Mazzeo (https://www.amazon.com/Widow-Clicquot-Story-Champagne-Empire/dp/0061288586). The same vendor then sponsored a live webinar with the author discussing the book. It was great!