With the holidays fast approaching, it's time to start getting serious about shopping — whether you're looking for the perfect present for your hard-to-impress friend or a stocking stuffer for the sister who has everything, here are some suggestions to get you started:
Island to East Side
Island to East Side custom clutches
Who is this a good present for? The glamorous friend who lives for sparkle.
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle with this fully customizable clutch. You choose every detail, from the shape to the color of the beading to the chain style. It's a thoughtful gift that you can approach two ways — find out in advance your friend's favorite colors and use those for the clutch, or get creative and design a bag you think best represents the recipient. Have a blast trying out different color combinations and pretending to be Stella McCartney for the afternoon.
Starting at $158, Island to East Side
Create Your Own Reel Viewer
Who is this a good present for? Your nostalgic relative who loves to reminisce over photo albums.
The classic View-Master gets an upgrade with this custom reel viewer. Instead of seeing pre-selected pictures, each viewer comes with a redemption code for one reel of seven images. The recipient can pick photos from their recent vacation, various snapshots of their kids, a random selection of wedding pictures — the possibilities are endless. Additional reels can be purchased separately, to relive even more memories.
$34.95, Uncommon Goods
In Good Taste
In Good Taste Wine Advent Calendar
Who is this a good present for? The wine aficionado, or the newbie looking to develop their palate.
The only thing better than one mini-bottle of wine is 24, and that's how many come stocked in this hefty advent calendar. Behind the 24 windows are wines from around the world, and it's a true adventure that keeps you guessing — will tonight be a sauvignon blanc, or maybe a rosé? Starting on Dec. 1, recipients will get an email filled with information on that day's offering. Tasty and educational? That's a win-win.
$149.99, In Good Taste
Eat Sleep Doodle
World map color-in tablecloth
Who is this a good present for? The family that never stays home during school breaks.
Lunchtime can double as an art session or geography lesson with this colorable world map tablecloth. It comes with 10 fabric markers that wash out, so it can be used over and over again, with a different color scheme each time (or, if they really like what they come up with, it can go up on a wall). As they color, kids can point out the places they've been to before — and destinations they hope to one day enjoy.
$29.95, Eat Sleep Doodle
Penguin Random House
Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture From My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martínez
Who is this a good present for? The home cook looking to try new dishes.
The bright and colorful cover is a hint of the bold — and delicious — recipes inside Rick Martínez's Mi Cocina. It's a beautiful book, thanks to its vibrant photography and captivating personal essays from Martínez. The more than 100 recipes were inspired by the author's travels through Mexico, and dishes like Tacos Gobernador (made with buttery shrimp) and Albóndigas en Chipotle (meatballs in a spicy sauce) would make anyone want to go loco in the kitchen. Wait about two weeks after you give this gift, and then start hinting around for a dinner invite.
Take Me to a National Park gift box
Who is this a good present for? The outdoor enthusiast who's always exploring.
If you can't afford to send them to every single national park (Jeff Bezos, you can stop reading here), give them the next best thing: the national parks in a box. This gift set includes an enamel camp mug; Take Me to a National Park tin candle (it smells like freshly cut fir, cinnamon, caramelized oak, and a hint of sweet berry); a pack of playing cards adorned with park illustrations; a journal; and a checklist to mark off all of the national parks visited. After they light the candle and fill up their mug, they can get cozy and start writing down in their journal all the parks they plan to visit, from Acadia to Zion.
$98, Parks Project
Murder Mystery on the Train game
Who is this a good present for? The couple that loves to host game night.
Everyone loves a good whodunit, and Murder Mystery on the Train takes the puzzle to the tracks. This is a great activity for a large group (there can be five to 13 players) and since it has three alternate endings, the same friends can play multiple times. Set up is also easy — the pieces include murder weapon props, accusation forms, and trophies for the winners — giving everyone more time to get in the mood for crime-solving.
History by Mail Subscription
Who is this a good present for? The history buff, or your most curious friend.
Once a month, the past will be delivered to their mailbox, in the form of replicated historical documents. Each packet contains records related to one topic, which were found by a team of archivists and painstakingly copied by graphic designers, as well as additional information to give further context to the documents. The material is fascinating — a recent example is the police report filed during Rosa Parks' bus boycott — and thought-provoking.
Starting at $40, Uncommon Goods
Bug Bite Thing
Bug Bite Thing
Who is this a good present for? Anyone who has ever complained about being attacked by mosquitos.
It's true what they say — good things come in small packages, and the Bug Bite Thing is proof. This tiny reusable suction tool provides the gift of relief, as it quickly extracts insect saliva and venom from under the skin, which causes itching and swelling. There's a lot of buzz around the Bug Bite Thing for a few reasons — it was on Shark Tank, and most importantly, it works. This is a great stocking stuffer that anyone who has ever sat outside during a summer night will appreciate.
$9.99, Bug Bite Thing
Inkbox temporary tattoo marker
Who is this a good present for? The creative teen who is experimenting with their style.
Tattoos are permanent, but this marker is not, making it the perfect gift for the teen who is dying for some ink but still needs parental permission to get it. They can draw their own designs, or invite some steady-handed friends over for help. The marker is filled with plant-based, cruelty-free For Now Ink, which lasts up to two weeks — a good amount of time to see if it's truly a design that should be immortalized forever.
Sculpd pottery starter bundle
Who is this a good present for? The hobbyist who wants to dip their toes in a new activity.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime; teach a friend how to do pottery, and you might end up with some vases in the future. This pottery starter bundle comes with everything necessary to create smaller items, like cactus pots and trinket dishes: clay; carving, cutting, and shaping tools; paintbrushes; and a sponge. You choose the paint (classic, pastel, earth tones, or floral tones) and varnish (gloss or matte). No pottery wheel is necessary, although if they end up having a knack for ceramics, you can spring for one next holiday season.
Surprise Party! Treat Puzzle
Who is this a good present for? Your favorite canine.
A bored dog can often become a destructive dog, so for the sake of both your pup and your home, pick up a Surprise Party! Treat Puzzle. This interactive toy offers mental stimulation, as it has four different compartments that open in different ways — in order to get the treats tucked inside, your dog will have to slide, flip, swivel, and pop each section. Made from BPA-free materials, it's easy to clean, and bonus! It can also be used as a slow feeder.
Happy and Polly
Moonlight Cat Tree
Who is this a good present for? Your favorite feline.
With the adorable Moonlight Cat Tree, your kitty can play hard and then immediately sleep hard. The tree comes in six different versions, all with the night sky theme but some more well-equipped than others — the deluxe edition, for example, has toy attachments, a bed, a hammock, a nest, scratching posts, and a tree hole. As soon as your cat gets sleepy from all that swatting and scratching, she can curl up in one of those nooks and catch up on her Zzzs.
Starting at $59.99, Happy and Polly
Samples were provided for some of these products.