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Thoughtful Gifts for the Holidays

Thoughtful Gifts for the Holidays

Skip the socks this year

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The holiday season is officially here, and shoppers everywhere are beginning to brainstorm the perfect gift for those they love. While the holidays are about more than a stack of presents, there’s nothing quite like seeing a smile on someone’s face when they unwrap a gift they want, need and love.  From mixtapes to weighted blankets, here are thoughtful gifts for the holiday season that show your family and friends that you love them.

Cooking classes

Cooking classes

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Whether your loved ones are training to be the next Food Network star or they’re just beginning their culinary journey, cooking classes are a wonderful gift for every home cook. And like most events this year, cooking classes have gone virtual, so your loved ones won’t have to change out of their pajamas to make a delicious masterpiece.

Virtual tasting

Virtual tasting

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Joining your friends and family at your favorite cocktail bar for a holiday drink is off the table this year, but with a virtual whiskey, wine or beer tasting, they can still enjoy their drink of choice from the comfort of their couch. Virtual tastings are great for couples in need of fun, new date night ideas, or the up-and-coming sommelier in your life.

Family recipes

Family recipes

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Recipes are family heirlooms everyone wants to get their hands on. If your loved ones are always gushing about your gooey macaroni and cheese or your classic pecan pie, don’t just give them cooking tips — share the entire recipe. Create a DIY cookbook with a few of their favorites. 

Cookbooks

Cookbooks

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On the flip side, if your culinary skills begin and end with preparing hard-boiled eggs but you have an aspiring Alton Brown in your life, buy your beloved chef a cookbook authored by their favorite celebrity food star. Whether your friends and family are mastering the art of delicious soul food or perfecting their dessert recipes, there are plenty of cookbooks ready to be devoured by hungry cooks.

DIY alcohol kit

DIY alcohol kit

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A DIY booze kit is a perfect gift for beer lovers or mixologists in the making. Instead of shopping at the local store, your loved ones can learn how to brew their own beer or create their new favorite red wine.

Homemade coupons

Homemade coupons

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Coupon books are the long-forgotten gifts of childhood but are primed for a comeback. Remember how you filled out cards for mom and dad that promised you’d sweep the kitchen or wash the dishes if they decided to use a “coupon”? That’s still a perfect gift for anyone in your life. Depending on who you’re writing the book for, the tone of the cards can differ, so you can choose to make it funny, naughty or earnest.

Memory book

Memory book

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The happy memories we create with those we love most are worth a lifetime. Get crafty and create a memory book filled with photos, dates and small notes to help the ones you love relive some of their happiest moments. If you’re designing a memory book for your partner, include a visual timeline that documents your best times spent together. If it’s for your child, share the moments they made you proud. The possibilities are endless. 

Mixtape

Mixtape

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Mixtapes might sound like a gift of the past, but they’re a timeless treasure. Who wouldn’t love to hear the songs that make someone think of them? Include catchy songs that you and your loved one belt out the lyrics to whenever they come on or choose a mix of love songs that make your heart sing when you hear them. And if you don’t have a cassette player (honestly, who does?) use a streaming platform to collect your songs into a playlist. ​​​​​​

Lockets

Lockets

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Place a photo of yourself or of a photo from your favorite moment with your loved one in a locket so they can always keep a piece of you near their heart.

Coffee subscription

Coffee subscription

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Everyone knows a coffee lover or two. Take their Starbucks bill off their back and pay for a year-long coffee subscription that’ll deliver their coffee of choice straight to their door. 

Custom illustrated mug

Custom illustrated mug

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Pair the coffee subscription with a set of custom-made illustrated mugs. For the film buff in your life, add quotes from their favorite movie or sketches of their favorite character. If you know a pet lover joined at the hip with their furry friend, add personalized photos of their pets to the mug. And if you want to surprise an entire family, give personalized mugs that have artwork depicting each family member. Craft websites like Etsy offer many designs and options to suit just about everyone’s taste.

DIY winter set

DIY winter set

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Winter gear is an excellent gift idea for friends and loved ones who live in chilly winter wonderlands, but buying a set online might feel as impersonal as gifting a pair of socks. Instead of buying the gear, try your hands at knitting or crocheting and create it yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the time and effort you spend making the hats or scarves will show how much you care. You’ll benefit from the experience too — knitting is good for your health. ​​​​​​

Face socks

Face socks

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Out of all of the gifts in the world, a pair of socks might seem the most basic, but if you’re wearing shoes, you need them. Spruce up the gift and buy a pair of custom face socks. Use a photo of their pet or find a funny picture of them and make that the print on their socks. Be as creative as you like and give everyone a much-needed laugh. ​​​​​​

Pet portrait

Pet portrait

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During the coronavirus pandemic, animal shelters have seen an uptick in fostering. If your nearest and dearest added a new furry friend to the family, improve their art collection with a pet portrait. Keep it cute and simple with their favorite photo of their pet or go all out and recreate a Renaissance-inspired painting. ​​​​​​

Soundwave art

Soundwave art

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For your music-loving friend who owns every album and knows every song, give sound wave art as a gift. Sound wave art uses the unique sound wave from your favorite song to create a beautiful, colorful pattern. Some versions of the artwork even offer a barcode with a playback link so you can listen to the tune as you watch it come to life. 

Charity donation

Charity donation

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If you have someone in your life who constantly tells you they have everything they need, donate to a cause they care about in their name. This is a small act of kindness that you can do from your home, and your gift will help fund a greater good. ​​

Virtual concert tickets

Virtual concert tickets

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This year, summer festivals were canceled and concerts were postponed. Music lovers who rely on the connection they feel seeing their favorite artists live are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Restore that feeling with virtual concert tickets. Sure, they won’t be in the same room as their idol, but they can set up a stereo and blast the concert to recreate the experience.

Customized calendar

Customized calendar

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When you spend all your time indoors, the days can begin to bleed into one another. There might never have been a time when calendars have been so useful. Instead of picking up a generic calendar from the store, create a customized one your loved one can hang on their wall or set on their desk while they work from home.

Monogrammed blankets

Monogrammed blankets

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Monogrammed blankets are an excellent way to personalize an otherwise impersonal gift. For newlyweds in your life, you can add their new initials, and for first-time parents, you can add their newborn’s name and birthdate.

Custom city maps

Custom city maps

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No matter where they live, your loved ones probably have an unconditional love for their city that only locals understand. A custom city map brings that love home and adds a flair of unique art to anyone’s home decor.

Magazine subscription

Magazine subscription

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Thanks to social media, we can all get our news with the click of a button. But most publications allow you to read only a certain number of pieces before you’re hit with a paywall. For the news devourers and journalists-to-be in your life, gift a digital or print magazine subscription. Maybe giving them the paper copy will inspire them to unplug for a bit.

Skincare kit

Skincare kit

 

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Proper skincare techniques are more than a routine, they’re a lifestyle. If you know someone who prioritizes healthy, glowing skin above all else, a skincare kit shows you care about their interest and their health. Rather than choosing at random what products to buy, ask them which brands they love most and go from there. 

Plants

Plants

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According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interaction with indoor plants can help to reduce psychological and physiological stress. Gift a plant to your loved ones to help ease their worries and brighten their space. 

Weighted blanket

Weighted blanket

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For anyone struggling with feelings of loneliness or anxiety during the pandemic, a weighted blanket is a wonderful present that will make them feel warm and safe. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping under weighted blankets can help you get better sleep by promoting the production of melatonin and can trigger “happiness hormones” for feelings of relaxation and restfulness. 

Dawn simulator

Dawn simulator

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As the days get shorter and cold weather enters the forecast, many of your loved ones might struggle to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A dawn simulator replaces loud, obnoxious alarm clocks with a soft light that gradually brightens. Help them ease into the holiday season and the new year with this gift. ​​​​​​Buy thoughtful gifts on a budget with these money-saving strategies for holiday shopping.

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