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The No-Brainer Holiday Gift Guide

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Photographed by Alexandra Genova

When it comes down to it, there are only two factors that really matter for gifting: the recipient and your budget. One of those things is easy—you know who you want to treat. Factoring exactly how you’re going to treat them, i.e. your budget, is another story. You could go big for your loved ones with some high-priced goods and go super cheap for everyone else. Or! You could land in the sweet spot of reasonably-priced presents for most of your list, toss in a cheapie or two for the folks you don’t know well, and then maybe splurge on one great thing. Or maybe everyone should get a cheapie! Or nothing at all! Obviously it’s up to you, but no matter who you’re angling to give to this year, you ought to be able to find a good gift for everyone, regardless of budget. Dear old dad could get the $30 back massager or the $250 weighted blanket. Your mom will get a kick out of the $48 self-watering planter or the $210 pair of cashmere gloves, no problem. Everyone gets a gift and you spend what you’re willing to spend. What are you gifting this holiday season? We’ve got some ideas conveniently sorted by price for you.

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Under $30

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The best kind of cheap present is one that punches above its weight class. Cheap in price but not cheap in value. Like Urban Outfitter’s claw clip—$14! Grab one for that coworker of yours that’s always got her hair up in a pony. Alternatively, Iles Formula’s hair turban is made of the softest cotton money can buy. Fortunately for you, that amounts to only 28 bucks. Looks good, too. Everyone has to dry their hair, just saying...

For some more fragrant options you’ve got two to choose from: Papier d’Arménie’s paper incense to give the gift of the great outdoors with just one whiff, and Le Feu De L’Eau’s kaleidoscope of tealights, where each of the set’s 12 candles is fragranced with a delicious, crowd-pleasing scent. Now doesn’t that sound relaxing? Well, not everyone wants to relax. For those guys, consider Areaware’s 500-piece gradient puzzle. Give it to the smartest person you know on the condition that they don’t brag about how they finished it every time you see them.

On the tech side, Etekcity’s back massager is possibly the best electronic back massager on the market. It certainly doesn’t look like it costs $27 either. Pair it with a pretty airpod case and just like that, you’re a gifting god.

From 1: Urban Outfitters Illusion Pearl Claw Clip, Areaware Gradient Puzzle, Native Union Curve Case for Airpods, Etekcity Back Massager, Papier d’Arménie, Iles Formula Signature Hair Turban Towel, and Le Feu De L'Eau Scented Tealights

Under $100

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A carafe is the quintessential gift. No one needs to have one because cups exist, but it’s damn sure nice to have. Fork over $65 for this Maison Balzac one which, look! Comes with it’s very own cup. The amber color is the most neutral of the three, but you can get it in green or pink, too. Oh, sorry, what’s that? They’ve got their hydration situation covered? OK...what about their plants? That one’s harder but it doesn’t have to be. It’s called the Wet Pot, and the plant takes care of itself when you fill its outer glass vessel with water. No need to worry about striking the perfect balance between overwatering and under-watering. The inner terracotta planter absorbs as much water as it needs to and it looks mighty fine while doing it, making it equally suitable for the person with a green thumb (the elegant design!) and the person with a black thumb (there’s no way to mess it up—not even laziness or long work trips will).

Or, here’s another idea: make sure your loved one gets a real moment to his or herself this holiday season. A candlelit bath filled with body oil is truly revelatory, and Fur’s bath drops are spill and leak proof. No fuss, no mess, just a bath that leaves you feeling like a slippery dolphin upon exit. A skincare routine gets totally simplified with Glossier’s skincare edit—it’s oddly satisfying to look at (the molded paper! the minis!) but is also totally TSA approved and a home run for every skin type. And for the child in your life, or the mom who’s tired of having their bracelets go missing and necklace chains tugged to their breaking point, there’s Super Smalls.

From 1: Fur Bath Bundle, Wet Pot Self-Watering Pot, Glossier Skincare Edit, Super Smalls Jewelry Set and Maison Balzac Bedside Carafe

Right Around $100

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A drink is a classic gift, but you’ve got to be smart about it. Any old liquor store buy won’t do (OK it will, but it helps to be thoughtful about it). The simplest choice is wine, but why stop there? How about three wines? And make it organic! That’s what you’re getting with the Primal Wine 3-pack when it’s time to find something for Aunt Fun. Or, you could go a step further with an oo la la apéritif. Haus has it covered with its Holiday Artist Trio, which comes in your choice of two flavors, Citrus Flower and Bitter Clove.

It’s true that drinking isn't for everyone, however Rihanna definitely is. Her two-foot, 500-page book of photos clocks in at $100, but honestly, isn’t it kind of priceless? Trust us, your sister will love. And if you could throw in some pretty Dior goodies you’d really be winning this Christmas—not that it’s a competition or anything. All we’re saying is that between the beautiful polish bottle and the textured lipstick, you’re going home with some bonus points.

From 1: The Rihanna Book, Haus Holiday Trio, Primal Wine Subscription, and Dior Diorific nail polish and lipstick

Under $200

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If you’re spending more than a hundo on a gift, you probably know this person pretty well. Well enough to know, say, if they can work their way around a stove. Elevate their cooking habit with Our Place’s Always Pan—it’s beautiful to begin with, but the kicker is it’s eight-in-one design that makes cooking, cleaning, and storing a little less mind boggling. Or maybe they prefer to curl up with a good book while someone else does the cooking! A yearlong subscription to the Book of the Month Club is a book club they can’t blow off because of “the weather” or “I completely forgot we were meeting this week.” They’ll send three books (of your giftee’s choosing!) each month. Relatedly (or maybe unrelatedly), the pot enthusiast in your life will love Edie Parker’s stash jar that’s literally too beautiful to stash away. And the stuff enthusiast will love that, aside from pot, you can really put just about anything in it—jewelry, cotton balls, emergency cereal… you get the gist.

If doing nothing is more their bag, consider the humble Entireworld sweatsuit. It’s incredibly cozy (it is a sweatsuit, after all), and a bright color (your choice of 12 monochromatic pairings) makes it suitable for outside of the house wear. And even kind of chic? Alternatively, go a totally different direction: Costa Brazil’s resin, as minimalist and elegant as you can get, for the person who wouldn’t be caught dead in sweats. Just put a chunk on the white tile it comes with and treat it like a stick of incense: light, then blow it out. It’ll glow like magma and release a beautifully woody scent that’s never overpowering—a sophisticated gift for the sophisticated.

From 1: Our Place Always Pan, Book of the Month Club, Costa Brazil Resina De Breu, Entireworld sweatshirt and sweatpants, and Edie Parker Flower Medium Stash Jar

$200 And Over

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You’re gifting to impress—it needs to be a substantial purchase, different from what’s everywhere, and useful enough to be well-loved. (Hey, no one wants to spend a lot of money on that thing someone will maybe use once and forget about.) For the frequent meal prepper or aichmomaniac, Korin’s three-piece knife set. For the one whose hands are always cold, leather and cashmere gloves that are as cool as they are cozy. And an unexpected gifting angle will turn basic presents into extraordinary ones. Coats get fuzzy—please look at this one, from Apparis, that will instantly turn its wearer into J. Lo. It’s made of faux fur that looks expensive and feels incredibly soft. And blankets get heavy, because they’re weighted. Bearaby’s version features a breezy open weave that’ll stand up well to hot sleepers and SAD. It’s the best looking one on the market.

If all else fails, go for a pair of gold earrings. Annelise Michelson updates a traditional hoop—they’re simple enough for everyday, but people will ask where they’re from because they’re not at all basic. And the adventurously adorned and strong-lobed in your life will love Alexandra Hakim’s gold-and-pearl oat-inspired drops. Uniquely beautiful, just like they are.

From 1: Apparis Mona Belted Faux Fur Coat, Korin Togiharu Molybdenum Three Piece Set, Bearaby Napper Weighted Blanket, Imoni Swing Glove, and gold earrings from Annelise Michelson and Alexandra Hakim