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Affordable Holiday Gifts That Will Impress Your Friends, Neighbors, and Colleagues But Not Your Mom Because Your Mom Can’t Be Impressed

I’m not one to make a wishlist for people to buy from. I think it’s kind of tacky and, if I’m being honest, I think a person should only buy a gift if they know the recipient well enough to pick something special for them.

But as our gift-giving lists have expanded to colleagues and neighbors, I realize that choosing the perfect gift for someone we may not know intimately is one of the biggest stressors of the holiday season. So I’m here to help.

Here’s my curated list of items that even a snob with too many conflicting personality traits (like me!) will love;

The following post contains affiliate links. As an Affiliate Marketing Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases. This helps me keep the free content coming.

Thanks for your support! xoxo


Who Goes There Candle Holder by BluDot, $30

I am beyond obsessed with BluDot. Their modern powder-coated furniture and home accessories straddle the line between simple and artistic so, so well. My wife actually bought me a pair of these candle holders last Christmas and I was impressed, you guys.

The company is based in Minneapolis and is known for their compelling design work.

I happen to really love them because I have insider information that their work environment – for office, retail, and manufacturing line positions – is bar none. They treat their employees well and that really means something to me.

While some might consider diamonds and designer bags to be luxury, I’m a simple gal. My definition of luxury is: anything that makes me feel nice. The best home decorating luxuries are soft textiles that cuddle my skin.

This chunky knit throw is a bargain at $20 but it looks and feels like luxury to me. For a more impressive gift, pair it with a nice candle or a mug for tea. But even if you add nothing, this throw blanket is enough to impress on its own.

Don’t buy anyone a pet. Never do it. It’s not cool. They don’t want a new responsibility for Hanukkah or Christmas. If you have the urge to gift someone a pet, give them this instead.

These adorable balloon dog sculptures come in an array of colors to match any home decor and they’re just, like, really fun. Who can remain in a bad mood when looking at these guys? No one. Not even The Grinch. Not even I.

I love coffee table books as gifts. They’re expensive (for a book!) so we tend to not buy them for ourselves, making them the perfect gift to give.

This hardcover coffee table style book is full of inspiration and calming photos for your recipient to enjoy over and over again. There’s just something about flipping through a real book of photographs that Pinterest and Kindle can’t compete with. It’s a luxury in itself. Plus it’s heavy as shit so the recipient will mentally clock it as noice.

I’ve linked to my local bookseller (who offers shipping!) above but here are some slightly less expensive but still nice coffee table books that you can get from Amazon;

As always, I appreciate when you shop through my links but I also would really encourage you to shop locally whenever possible. A dollar spent in your local economy is worth so much more than a dollar spent with a global corporation. That said, you do what you need to do. If bargain gifting is what your budget allows, I’m not judging you.

I have a sentimental set of wine glasses from my wife’s aunt. But if I didn’t, I’d have these in every color available. I love them so much.

They’re lightweight but look substantial on display. The muted colorways add a little fun to every bar. If you have a wine and design lover in your life, this is the gift.

Plus they’re from DWR which is known, almost exclusively, for being expensive so that box is going to feel special for the recipient.

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I have two digital google calendars, a day planner, and a wall-mounted monthly calendar. What do I want? MORE CALENDARS.

I really want this full-year overview calendar from Schoolhouse. It’s not meant to track daily life. It’s meant to provide your year at a glance and I truly believe it could help us all feel more positive by looking forward to the upcoming months’ fun ahead of time.

When the year is over, your recipient can flip the calendar and frame the gorgeous blueprint artwork on the backside. This is the gift that truly keeps on giving. Buy me one. kthx.

Wherever I find collections of items, I am compelled to contain them. Whether by the front door for mail or on my desktop for incoming task items, I have stashes of little gathered paper items everywhere.

But I’m not a paper hoarder and here’s why: The stacks of responsibilities don’t mimic the chaos in my brain because I use attractive storage systems like these little powder coated trinket trays from HAY Designs.

Oripura Laptop Stand, $42

Y’all my back hurts. Because I’m a dummy who sits at a computer all day long, contorting her body to zoom in on the tiny little design details that go into every moment of my job. Where does my laptop sit? Wherever I am at the moment and directly on whatever horizontal surface I can find.

Friends don’t let friends need daily chiropractic adjustments. Get the dummy in your life this laptop stand. It’s really cool looking and it folds up to travel in your dummy’s laptop case. Let’s end the epidemic of Dummy Posture this holiday season.

My love of corralling items doesn’t stop at horizontal surfaces. Wall hooks are literally one of my favorite human inventions. If you think this wall hook obsession means my entryway is cluttered with hanging coats, you are incorrect. I will install hooks in literally every room. Entry for coats? Of course. Bathroom for towels? Check. Bedroom for robes? Duh. Kid’s room for artwork or other miscellaneous BS? Most important.

This wall-mounted rack is a knock-off of a popular Eames design. It’s smaller which makes it easier to fit into your decor. It’s roughly one-third of the cost, too.

Every scatter-brained neurotic knows that keeping up with time is the most important part of any day. I’m just realizing it’s currently 1:00 am because 30 minutes ago, I told my wife I was coming to bed and 30 minutes ago was 9:45. I need clocks. Your pals need clocks.

This clock can be wall-mounted or can sit on a desk or bedside table. It also has a handy thermometer which, in my opinion, makes it the perfect clock for your bathroom morning routine. Timeless yet also stylish, it feels like a more expensive Schoolhouse piece but it’s actually from Target (the collection which shall not be named don’t judge me). It’s freaking cute, you guys. Perfect for your work spouse so they never forget lunch dates again.

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I used to think wine enthusiasts were the most obnoxious snobs on the planet and then the IPA got popular and let us off the hook! Beer drinkers love talking about beer but don’t you dare try to buy them a case of beer. You will not find the one they like. You will think you found the coolest beer and you will be wrong. You are not cool.

Get them a really neat bottle opener instead. Like this tasseled bottle opener from Whitney J Decor.

Whitney is one of my colleagues; a fellow Interior Designer from New Orleans, and good friend. She’s a bursting ray of sunshine every morning. I really mean that. For months after finding out I’d been struggling with depression, she texted me every morning to remind me that I was bringing good to the world and how much I was loved. I adore the lady.

Go buy everything in her shop. You won’t be disappointed.

Fancy people like Beyonce so they’re going to freak out when you tell them you’ve purchased them a pair of earrings that were featured on Beyonce’s blog. BECAUSE THESE EARRINGS WERE FEATURED ON BEYONCE’S BLOG.

It makes me feel fancy when I wear my Bobbi Made This earrings. I’m a devotee. I own five pairs now and you’ll see them a lot if you follow me on instagram. You’ll also notice I’m wearing them in my headshot photo on the blog. I’m not kidding. They’re my favorite earrings.

Don’t let the vibrant colors I’ve chosen here scare you either. She offers neutrals as well.

Wine drinkers are still fancy. Throw around words like “lush” and “bouquet” and “tannins” and try not to sound fancy. You can’t, NPR.

I actually own one of these fancy wine stoppers from DesignPretty and it perfectly complements my glitzy personality just right.

While you’re browsing Oneka’s shop on Etsy, check out her entire line of geode home decor items. I have bookends and have also really always wanted one of her lamps. hint hint

One morning, in my early 20s, I stumbled into boy BFF’s bathroom all hungover and discovered Kiehl’s. He had a whole toiletry kit full of little white bottles of magic. I’m not sure what made it feel fancy to me but my first thought was “Is he rich?” Kiehl’s came from the mall and not the drugstore so that made it special. Or maybe it was the branding.

Either way, Kiehl’s products are now my favorite skincare products and I think you should share that love with your friends or yourself.

For anyone who has never used Kiehl’s skincare line before, this gift set is a great introduction. It’s a wash and a lotion. No complicated routines. No overwhelming scents to irritate or cause breakouts. And it feels fancy because it’s from The Mall.

Okay bedding is expensive. But it should be expensive. You sleep there. Your skin touches it. Your sleep dictates your health in a lot of ways. If you’re going to splurge in any facet of someone’s life, make it their bedding.

I love linen and washed cotton sheets. But have you tried velvet????? These velvet shams from Ballard Designs are a lot less expensive than they seem.

Ballard is a staple brand in any designer’s home. Even those of us who tend to sway more modern will return to Ballard for basics. They’re quality. They’re reliable. We trust them.

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Even people who don’t love playing games will be charmed by the cute nostalgic design of these game sets. Giving a colleague a game as a gift is also a subtle way of challenging them. Be the tiger.

Showing up with a gift set from Williams-Sonoma is an advance-level power move for any office gathering.

You see, a gift set from Williams-Sonoma doesn’t just say something about the person you’re giving it to. It’s actually a statement about you. They open the gift and immediately, they have a visceral experience. Ooohhh it’s faaaannncy in here. I guess [insert your name here] must really love to bake. I bet they host large gatherings at the holidays and have sets of table linens and shit.

Your recipient won’t be the only one paying attention here. The boss is going to see this too. Give someone a gift set from Williams-Sonoma this holiday season and get yourself that promotion. *Results may vary. Promotion not included with purchase of this gift set but you can bet your ass they’re gonna assume you wash your legs.

There are two types of coworkers who deserve something from this Tranquility Gift Set Collection;

The first is your work buddy. Because you know what they’ve been through and they need a break. Here you go, babe. Take a long bath and light this candle and pray that the healing powers of these crystals can wash off all the evil this workplace has put upon you.

The second is your work enemy. Pray for peace, my dude. You’re gonna need it.

I don’t know who needs this book, but you do.

Beer Tasting Flight Set, $15

Know someone who’s waiting to humiliate their friends because they can’t tell the difference between a cold Coor’s Light and a local microbrew? This tasting flight set is going to rock their world.

It’s also the cheapest thing on this list so it makes the perfect gift for the guy who works in IT whose hobbies include bashing people who get error messages from the printer and whatever Tom Delay is up to these days.

I hope this list of 20 items you can buy for someone you don’t know or potentially don’t care about at all has made your holiday season just a little brighter and easier.

Happy Whatever,


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