Ahhh, the holidays. They have arrived! While I’m still trying to mentally suppress the unnatural amount of cheesy mashed potatoes I gorged myself with on Thanksgiving, it seems like everyone else is already checking off their holiday gifting lists with one glittery squiggle at a time. What’s up with these people? The over-gift-achievers. You people are gross. No one should be that ahead of the game with their gift shopping–it’s more unnatural than the amount of cheesy ‘tatoes that I clearly can’t get out of my head. Suppress, Alyssa, Suppressss.
But hey–everyone’s different. That’s what makes the world go ’round, after all. And what would the world be without the rest of us: the normal ones? Yes, we, the normal folks of the world. We, who at least wait until the first of December to dive into full-on carol-singing joyful idiot mode. We, who are terrified of shopping on Black Friday for obvious reasons. We, who tried to shop on Cyber Monday but still didn’t get much accomplished. We normal folks are the people who procrastinate gift-giving and may have been known to buy some last-minute gems at CVS on Christmas Eve. Some of us have lives to tend to, OK?! Do we think we’re better than the others? No. (Maybe.)
If you’re one of my fellow normals who doesn’t step foot in a mall until approximately December 15, I think you’re gonna love me (as if you don’t already). Why? Because I spent my precious time putting together a kickass gift guide for you, which includes cool gifts for everyone on your list so as to make it look like you actually tried this year. Some gifts on this list are obscure, some are weird, and some are just plain useful. Whether you’re shopping for dad or your twice-removed half-sister, you’re sure to find an awesome gift that beats out what everyone else is buying. And for that, you’ll love me.
(And if you’re one of those robots who had their shopping done before Thanksgiving… Well, no offense, but these gifts are way better than the ones you’re giving. No offense, though.)
*Disclaimer: Some of the links in here may be affiliate links, which means I get an itty bitty commission if you make a purchase.*
Gifts for the Guys
Whether you hate to love them or love to hate them, the guys in your life deserve a little sumpin’-sumpin’ on this holiday. Get your brother, dad, boyfriend, or dude-mate one of these goodies and they might actually give you a birthday card next year.
THE RUGGED GENTLEMAN HAUTBOX, $200
Hautbox is a small South-Florida based company that curates the crap out of some stunning themed boxes. The boxes are larger than you’d think and make a great first impression. The Rugged Gentleman box includes the must-haves for any guy who likes whiskey and doing dude things: Daneson toothpicks, Mason whiskey stones, Hudson Made beard tonic, Izola flask, Izola shoe brush, and a pack of matches. Get it here.
PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER, $39.99
Sorry, but the stereotype is true. Guys love gadgets. This handy little charger is really great for anyone, because seriously, who doesn’t need a little extra power boost sometimes? But if you have a camper on your shopping list, this portable phone charger is perfect for on-the-go charging when outlets aren’t a possibility. This product from Tzumi has two USB ports to charge two devices at once, so basically it’s a better multi-tasker than most of us. Buy it here.
STATE FISH ART PRINT, STARTS AT $35
OK, here’s the gift that adds a personal touch without you having to do any extra work. These cool art prints by Etsy shop Wooden Pencil Co., a.k.a. artist Suwachi, are hand-drawn and include neat locational details. Basically, you can personalize to the gift recipient’s state and Suwachi will draw a little map of the cities inside that state’s state fish (or state bird, if you’ve got a bird fan on your hands). Best part of all? Super affordable and totally unique. Order one here.
THE TAO OF BILL MURRAY, $25.99
Something about Bill Murray just makes some guys fangirl like… well, fangirls. You’ll know if you have a Bill Murray guy on your hands if he reads The Chive or wears a Bill Murray shirt (or wears a Chive Bill Murray shirt). Make his holiday wish come true and give him this book of life advice inspired by the one and only Bill. This delightful hardcover is full of stories about Billy (is that a thing they call him?), many of which have not been recorded elsewhere. The stories are then compiled into entertaining guidelines for life that hopefully don’t suck. Snag a copy here.
TRAVEL/SPORTS TOWEL, $16.99
Having trouble thinking of what to buy your gym rat brother? What about Sporty Sal? Any guy who sweats (see: every guy) will appreciate this quick-dry microfiber towel from Dock & Bay. It’s also lightweight and super absorbent, making any sweaty guy a happy, less-sweaty guy. Featuring a smooth texture, the towel also comes in a convenient carrying bag, giving off the illusion that you paid extra. Major key. Get it here.
TOPGOLF GIFT CARD, $20/HOUR DAYS & $40/HOUR NIGHTS
Buy your golf-obsessed dad or grandfather a whole new way to experience the game. TopGolf combines beer and snacks with a driving range. No golf carts here, just some benches and tables to lounge on in between turns. Make sure the recipient gets the most out of his TopGolf gift card and tell him to invite his buddies–it’s a competitive setup that encourages players to shoot for dartboard-like spots on the outfield for points. That means there will be a winner and a loser. There are currently 30 locations in the U.S., check for your location here, and buy a gift card here.
WATERPROOF PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $59.95
What’s better than a Bluetooth speaker? A portable one that you can also drop–I mean purposely dunk–in the water. For the adventurer who likes to have some tunes along for the ride, the JBL Clip 2 is a compact solution that comes with a clip for ultimate portability. Just hook it up to your Bluetooth and it’ll have enough charge for eight hours of playtime. Oh, and it’s waterproof. We went over that already, right? Get it here or at Best Buy or Target.
A POTTY-MOUTHED SELF-HELP BOOK, $24.99
Got a male millennial in your life who’s complaining about not succeeding in his career or another area of life? Give him the gift of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Manson is a dude who laced humor and swear words into this surprisingly research-based self-help book that encourages readers to throw up their middle fingers. It’s received great reviews and will actually help inspire a new way of going through life: f*ck-free. Buy it here.
HEALTHY BEARD-GROWING BALM, $14.95
Just in time to catch the tail-end of some Movember facial hair monstrosities, the beard balm from The Bearded Goon is made with all-natural conditioning ingredients to help those itchy beards stop itching. It also helps your guy grow a healthy beard. Buy it for your optimistic beard-growing boyfriend and consider it a gift to yourself, because his chin strands (and face) will be a lot smoother when he puts this stuff to use. Check it here.
Gifts for the Gals
They’re lovely and they’re impossibly impressive day in and day out. The ladies in your life need to know how much you appreciate them this holiday season–peek these presents to treat your sister, grandma, bestie, or mom. Am I biased towards women? Of course I am.
CHIC COASTERS, $165 FOR A SET OF 4
Maybe your sister just moved into a new home or your mom is the hostess with the mostess. Give her these gorgeous 24K gold-trimmed coasters to save her wood furniture and add a stylish flair. These are the ANNA by RabLabs Lumino Coasters, and you can purchase them here in a variety of color combinations.
MINI BACKPACK, $49.50
For the minimalist fashionista, a mini backpack is the perfect gift. No more guessing what size someone is, instead just gift this trendy sustainable backpack by M.R.K.T. to show your too-cool sister that you really do support her vegan-only style. This little backpack is sleek and made from a patented SUPR FELT for a soft composition and ultra-fashionable design with clean lines and a form-fitting silhouette. Pick it up here.
AN OLIVE TREE IN ITALY (AND ITS EVOO), $290
This is the gift for your Italian Nona or your friend who won’t shut up about her study abroad trip to Italy. It’ll bring a whole new appreciation to their Italian culinary creations. What is it? You, the gift-giver, buy the Welcome Pack, which allows your friend or Nona to pick an olive tree from one of seven groves in the Italian countryside. She “adopts” the tree for a whole year. Then, she gets a delivery of the adoption certificate as well as some olive oil from her very own tree! Bonus: this program supports traditional farming on the Italian countryside, making you look super thoughtful. Buy Nudo Adopt’s Welcome Pack here.
WHO RUN THE OFFICE? DESK PLAQUE, $29.99
Your girl boss gal pal needs to channel her inner Queen Bey if she wants to succeed in this world. Get her this fun pop culture-friendly desk plaque to remind her that she’s “Irreplaceable” and everyone else better get into “Formation.” Snag it here.
A DIAPER BAG THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ONE, $250
“I’m not like regular moms. I’m a cool mom.” If someone on your list is a new mom or will be soon, she’ll appreciate your help supporting her quest for staying fashionable even if her newest accessory is a puking baby attached to her hip. This pretty diaper bag from Vaalbara Designs doesn’t look like one, making the whole having-a-kid thing a lot chicer. There are two open interior pockets and two outer side pockets for handy storage. Buy one of many fabric designs here.
“FANCY” TULIP GLASS, $12
Chances are we’ve all got a fancy betch on our lists who needs to be reminded of her title daily. To save you from the constant pandering, give her this glass from Easy Tiger Co. that will do the dirty work for you. This little gift will surprisingly go a long way. Order it here.
WHEELCHAIR TOTE BAG, $15
If a lovely lady is wheelchair-bound in your family, don’t give her something that will only make her life more difficult. Instead, gift this adorable Bea-Dee Tote Bag from Non-Scents Flowers, which is designed to easily fit over wheelchair armrests, putting all of her needs at arm’s reach. Genius. These innovative bags are handmade (with love, of course) and are ideal for the loved ones staying in nursing homes. Get it here.
DIP A DO DA BOWL, $14.25 SINGLE CONTAINER OR $26.50 FOR DUOS
Another super-smart gift that takes ordinary items one or two notches higher. Meet the Dip a do da Bowl, a stylish dip bowl (left) that makes it easy for your favorite hostess to make her store-bought dips look homemade. The bowl allows the hostess to keep the store-bought dip in the original container and place it right into the bowl, no mess included. It has a convenient hole at the bottom, enabling her to easily pop it out and throw away after the booze is gone and the dip is done. Get it here.
TRENDY SUNNIES, UNDER $15
You don’t have to break the bank to make your fashionista friend happy. Trendy sunglasses are a great gift that’s always fun. Grab a brow-bar pair and some funky oversized ones–even if you buy a few, you’re still not spending a lot at Sunglass Warehouse. These people understand that sometimes cheap sunglasses are just better. Pick some trendy ones here.
KNIT BEANIE, $17.99
Winter is coming. (Confession: I don’t even watch Game of Thrones. Gasp! The horror! OK, are we done now?) With the onset of cold weather comes the need for a cozy beanie. This knitted one is awesome for any lady on your list who could use a little help keeping her head warm. It’s stylish and actually functional. Who would’ve thought such a thing were possible?!
LUXE LOUNGEWEAR, $200
Got a serial lounger on your hands who loves all things luxe? She’s going to swoon over these uber-comfy kimonos handmade in the USA by New York-based brand Sunday Forever. They’re one-size-fits-all, robe-like masterpieces that come in a variety of chic prints. Complete with an “obi belt” to keep your goodies safely hidden, these kimonos will have anyone feeling like the most stylish wizard in all the land. BONUS: Lyssters get a special discount code just because they’re so cool. Enter LYSSTLOVES at checkout for an exclusive 20% off. You’re welcome. Get one here.
Cool Gifts for Everyone Else
Maybe your neighbor reeled you into a weird gift exchange or you’ve got a White Elephant to attend. These affordable presents are perfect for wow-ing everyone with your unique gift-picking skills. Warning: They might get you invited back next year. Sorry.
(Click the gift name to head to the site to purchase.)
DOCK & BAY BEACH TOWEL, $44.99
Large round beach towel that dries super-fast. Let’s be honest: People who don’t like the beach are probably narcs.
UTTER NONSENSE GAME, $25
Ages 18+. Players act out ridiculous phrases while speaking in hilarious stereotypical accents. Great for fans of Cards Against Humanity.
A portable back massage tool great for anyone who gets “tech neck” or is a plain-out lush for scheduling massages. Put the ball between your back and the wall, and roll up and down. This handy little tool won a Fitties Award this year, so you know it’s good.
UBER GIFT CARD, $15-$500
The gift of sober transportation will delight any party animal.
SNARKY COFFEE MUG, $14.99
It’s like this whole “That’s All” line of mugs was made for me. With plenty of phrases available, these mugs will pack a punch to any recipient. They’re made by Santa Barbara Design Studio and are currently being sold at most Nordstroms. You can find a nearby store where they’re sold by clicking this link.
Turn those pessimists’ frowns upside-down! This game forces people to find a “pro” in every “con.”
SRIRACHA COOKBOOK, $16.99
Self-proclaimed Sriracha enthusiasts are going to get fired up over this cookbook. Complete with 50 spicy recipes, the Sriracha Cookbook will hopefully teach these spice freaks a lesson or two about adding too much heat to a dish.
Ready to get some shopping done?! I also have some stocking stuffers coming your way soon. Ha, and you thought these were the only gifts I’d recommend! I’m full of surprises–you should probably get used to it.
Happy Holidays, you ridiculously smart and stylish people.