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Ah, the holidays. It's usually a time of year for family, sparkly parties, and unbridled cheer. And while some of those things may still be true—we have Zoom dinners to attend, pine-scented candles to burn, and twinkly lights we can see from our bedroom windows—this year is, of course, different. And while we can't drink holiday-inspired cocktails inside a cozy bar or celebrate the year that was (it was shitty, we can say it), we can provide some delight by way of holiday gifts. We have to order them earlier (shipping delays) and sign a card instead of giving a hug, but it's still something. And it's still nice.
With that in mind, the Byrdie team got together (virtually, of course) and brainstormed some of the best offerings on the internet right now. There's skincare, candles, makeup, and PJs, as well as a few other more unexpected favorites. Join us in celebrating the end of the year and the ones who got you through it with the best gifts for the holiday season. Plus, these are also great if you're looking to give yourself a little love as well.
Faith Xue, editorial director
"I think the best gifts are the things you'd use daily, but might not necessarily splurge on for yourself. I recently received the Canopy humidifier and I'm obsessed. First of all, the design—it's sleek, will fit in with anyone's design aesthetic, and the rounded corners really do it for me. I can think of 10 people off the top of my head I'd immediately gift this to. Who doesn't want a chic, self-cleaning humidifier that makes their skin better? Plus, for the holidays, they're including an aroma kit that allows you to turn your humidifier into an aromatherapy diffuser. It's the universal gift anyone will appreciate, trust."
"Yes, you could gift someone a Byredo candle and they would love it. But, for the coolest person in your life—the one who always has everything, and is the hardest to buy for—I highly suggest one of Byredo's new eyeshadow quads. First of all, they look like works of art in and of themselves (they're also much bigger than you'd expect, so they're just begging to be photographed for a #Vanities shot). Second of all, the eye shadow colors are so unique, silky and blendable. It's the perfect gift for anyone in your life who you really want to impress. You can thank me later!"
"Gifting someone a fragrance is hit or miss, because how well do you really know what someone wants to smell like? But when you get it right—well, then you're officially best gift giver of the year. That's why this luxe gift set from The Harmonist is so perfect. It comes with three of the fragrance line's best-sellers, so chances are high there'll be a new favorite—or, better yet, your gift receiver will now have a different fragrance for every mood. Metal Flower is a soft, subtle scent that's great for daytime, Hypnotizing Fire is perfect for a cozy (or sultry) night in, and Yin Transformation an intoxicating scent with notes of almond milk (!), orchid, and rose for the person who wants to be stopped in the street and asked what they're wearing. As a fragrance lover, you can't go wrong with this set, I promise."
"If you associate Crabtree & Evelyn with your grandma, it's time to wake up. The brand recently revamped their entire vibe, and the new look might just make them a new favorite when it comes to bath and bodycare. The gift sets from this brand are genius because they do the work for you. From fragrant shower sets to my favorite, this Scent to Sleep collection that include incense from Bali and a nutmeg-scented candle, you can't go wrong gifting any of these to anyone on your list."
Hallie Gould, senior editor
"My favorite gifts are always the practical ones, the items I'd buy myself but the gifter saves me the trouble (and money). I am nothing if not devoted to my skincare routine, so much so I practically weep each time I finish a product (i.e. if someone gifted me my favorite products I'd love them forever).
"I've long discussed my love and admiration for Dr. Barbara Sturm's products—and this time is no different. The woman behind the celebrity-loved collection launched a holiday set so perfect I've been drooling over it since its launch: The Winter Kit. It's no secret the temperature is dropping and winter is on its way, as thus a quick swap of skincare formulas is necessary to maintain hydration and skin health. All of these products are created with the dry air and low temperatures in mind, featuring comfortable, soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients and truly beautiful blends of hyaluronic acid (hydrates), purslane (reduces redness and irritation), and vitamin E (to smooth skin).
"I'm especially fond of the Enzyme Cleanser, a fine-grained powder (it transforms into a foam with water) I hadn't tried before opening this set. It has nixed every last lingering breakout and kept my skin soft and happy, regardless of the time I spend wearing a cloth mask. Then, of course, there's my usual favorites: the Balancing Toner, Face Mask, Hyaluronic Serum, Calming Serum, Face Cream Rich, and the Lip Balm."
"I moved into my first solo apartment a little over a year ago, and every moment since then has been dominated by an unbridled obsession with home decor. I like to shop mostly vintage and small businesses—a way for the items to feel special and curated. Right now, I'm conquering the pretty little things (i.e. glassware, vases, and the like). I just bought this wavy incense holder from Rachel Saunders Ceramics, and plan on gifting it to a few friends before it sells out."
"I have been looking for the perfect silk pajamas since the moment we all started working from home. I know some suggest we all still get dressed for the day—apparently it helps separate "work" time from "home" time and is good for focus and productivity—but that's just not realistic for me. I need soft, comfortable clothes to feel good while I get things done from my couch. Now, I have just the thing: Lisa Says Gah launched the Bailey PJ Set, a set of silk pajamas with artist KJP's signature Blue Daisy Check print. They're cozy, they're happy, and they make me want to get up in the morning just to put them on. If that's not helpful in focus and productivity, I don't know what is."
"This is perhaps the most beautiful body brush I've ever seen: the marble, the firm bristles, and the undeniable luxury. It's a gift that not only looks beautiful, but also helps increase energy and offer some self-love and care for a few minutes every week. Dry brushing boasts some other pretty wonderful benefits—things like an increase in circulation, lymphatic drainage, and exfoliation (which helps your post-shower moisturizer more effective as well). All you do is take a body brush and use it to gently massage your body in an upward motion."
Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"I haven't been able to get my hands on a Slow Burn candle since it launched, which feels asinine to me considering Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour album is probably my most-played on Spotify. The singer partnered with Boy Smells to create a scent that elicits the feeling of savoring every moment, "like the last sips of a Negroni at the bar down the street." Even without ever smelling it, I know its cozy notes of incense, berry, black pepper, and amber will be right up my alley. This particular bundle is perfect for gifting because it also comes with a chic wick trimmer which serves as an accent piece all its own."
"Oui the People's rebrand is one of the best I've seen in the industry, so much so it was hard to decide on a product for this gift guide (as most of them are sold out). While I'm clamoring to get my hands on the fan-favorite single-blade safety razor and Featherweight Hydrating Body Gloss (both out of stock), I'd still consider the ingrown-relief toner a worthy gift, especially given the fact that ingrowns have been a constant in my life for as long as I've been shaving. Based on the reviews, it sounds like this tonic might be the solution. It also doesn't hurt that it comes packaged in sustainably-chic Italian glass which will add some curb appeal to my shower stash."
"I buy duvet covers and end up hating them after a week or so. Nothing ever looks, feels, or fits just right, and I'm back at square one with less money in my bank account. However, I have a good feeling about this set from Parachute. The soft, not overly "rustic" look of the crisp white linen will look perfect in my bedroom. I'd probably go with a queen (even though I have a king-size insert) because I've heard sizing down helps evoke that fluffy display-bed look you see in stores and magazines."
Leah Wyar, GM/VP
"Save this luxury combination for the skin-obsessive on your list. Jillian Dempsey's Gold Bar has become a Byrdie favorite this year, taking the place of our trusted facialists' fingers. Just turn it on and run the vibrating tip up and out to flush away excess bloat along your cheeks, jawline and under-eyes. For that last zone: Use these cellulose eye patches—soaked in hyaluronic acid and almond oil—to smooth dryness and temporarily create a plumper, more reflective surface."
"My husband has been stealing my hyaluronic acid creams post-shave for years, so I'm finally getting him his own. This one promises 24-hours of hydration and a soft, powdery finish that won't leave him looking greasy. Plus, the packaging is so chic, I won't even care when he forgets to put it back inside the cabinet."
Star Donaldson, social media editor
"This toothbrush makes an excellent gift because it's the perfect mix of luxury and practicality. It's not only a massive upgrade, but also a pretty addition to any bathroom vanity. It efficiently cleans every tooth—and even has the technology to maneuver safely around crowns, fillings, and braces. Equipped with a timer and a 21-day battery life (!), the M Sonic takes all of the guesswork out of brushing. I love a gift that will continue to give, and this will do just that—every day (twice a day)."
"Not only does this gift set come with a silk pillowcase, but it also comes with a silk scrunchie and eye mask too. It's the perfect gift for someone who has dry skin and/or hair and wants to make a low-maintenance change to their routine. It's also super comfy!"
Holly Rhue, associate editor
"This duo featuring the brand's The Rich Cream and The Body Cream is at the top of my list this year. I can't think of anything more luxurious for the winter months (and inevitably dry skin) ahead. So if you need me, I'll be sinking into a tub of TCF8 until things start to thaw out in March. But seriously—for anyone in your life who's serious about skincare, you absolutely can't go wrong with Augustinus Bader, and The Tandem features two bestsellers packaged together (as they should be experienced)."
"Truly heavenly, truly luxe. These are the makeup brushes as far as I'm concerned—they feel like suede and blend even the most matte-foundations seamlessly. I'm fairly novice when it comes to creating more formal makeup looks, but these brushes make me feel like a professional makeup artist. In this set, you get $145 worth of brushes (so, four of them) for $38. Try them, love them, and become a Heavenly Luxe convert."
"I'll admit it... I love the packaging. But inside that little gold bear is something even better—a honey-infused deep conditioning mask. I credit this mask to restoring my hair's life and luster after some botched highlights in 2019, and I've never been able to fall in love with a different hair mask since. In this limited edition holiday set, you'll also find Briogeo's original Don't Despair, Repair mask and the Be Gentle, Be Kind superfood mask. Nothing makes my hair feel softer than Briogeo, and this set is the perfect way to try three of the brand's best-sellers and find your favorite."
"I've admittedly purchased this set for a few of my friends and family members (I'm a repeat gifter, sue me). It's the kind of gift that seems expensive and thoughtfully curated, but in reality it's under $50 and comes in this adorably pre-packaged set. Everything is refillable too (except the deodorant)—so one day, when we can travel again, you can just refill from your full-sized jars without having to purchase the minis over and over again. Guaranteed to impress for anyone you know that's been dying to try the brand."
Jazmine Ortiz, news editor
"Louboutin just released their first fragrance collection and it's every bit as luxe as you'd imagine. Every single one of the seven fragrances included in the collection has the making of a signature scent, so this gift is practically universal. The bottle itself is aesthetically pleasing, so it doubles as a centerpiece on any vanity. My favorite is Loubidoo—it’s floral, fruity with notes of strawberry, rose bouquet, and cedarwood."
"Why not give the gift of ponytails? Because we'll all be in the house a lot more this winter, there’s plenty of time to switch up your look (and take selfies for your own viewing pleasure). I refuse to succumb to the winter blues and if ponytails make me happy, I’m adding them to my wishlist. INH's Best-Selling Trio (Ariana Grande is a fan) is the way to go for the hair-obsessed person in your life—trust me."
Karli Bendlin, email editor
"It seems like every stylish person I follow is obsessed with this Byredo Hand Wash—including Byrdie's senior editor Hallie. It's the perfect gift in that it's too extravagant to justify buying for myself, but something I'd absolutely love to unwrap."
"After watching a single episode of The Queen's Gambit, I immediately Googled "chic chess sets" knowing full well I do not know how to play and have no real intention of learning. But, I also firmly believe the best gifts are impractical (see the $65 hand wash above), and while I may never actually use this set, it will bring me endless joy to look at it on my coffee table."
Olivia Hancock, Byrdie Contributor
"I’ve always had love for candles—not only do they make my room smell amazing, but they also make me feel cozy and calm. I picked up Alexandra Winbush’s Sunday in Brooklyn candle, a lemongrass and wild basil scent, on Black Friday and have been burning it nonstop since it arrived. The brand’s candles are a perfect gift on their own, but if you want to send your loved ones something extra, they also offer candle and tea bundles.
"Even though I’ve been home all year, I still spritz on a bit of fragrance every day to boost my mood. I gravitate towards sweet scents when it comes to perfumes, and one fragrance I’ve been eyeing is celebrity hairstylist Kahh Spence’s namesake scent. The unisex fragrance has notes of vanilla mixed with tropic and florals, and it’s available in both travel-size and full-size options. This is a gift any fragrance lover (including myself) will be thrilled to unwrap."