Yes, we know all about the global shortages and supply chain woes wreaking havoc across the holiday season. There are no chips, books are hard to come by, and if you’re mailing any presents, the time to get them to the Post Office was likely yesterday.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try our darndest to give you the hap-hap-happiest holiday since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*cking Kaye. We’ve rounded up some of our most favorite and desired goodies, from puzzles and cooking gear to gorgeous prints and gifts that won’t irrevocably break your budget.
What’s more, we’ve tailored our gift guide for the ultra-specific creative in your life with a keen eye for design (or maybe just your own discerning gaze). Hopefully, some of the gift suggestions below are still available for your purchasing pleasure.
Now, on to the beautiful things!
For the Designer Who Adores Paper
Give the gift of opulent organization with the 2022 Portobello Agenda from Smythson, the same folks that made Queen Victoria’s stationery back in the 1890s. Available in five classy colors, this planner features Smythson’s signature gilt-edged, pale blue Featherweight paper, bound inside cross-grain lambskin.
If you haven’t been taking your notes on gold-gilded paper, this is your chance to right that wrong. The 9″ Wire-O-Notebook from the luxe-or-bust stationery store Graphic Image promises your words will be as sumptuous as the paper you’re writing on. Besides, everyone knows diary entries are juicier within goatskin leather.
This rare, out-of-print box set of postcard prints features 25 famous pop art images by the brilliant American contemporary artist Jean Michel Basquiat. Printed by Fotofolio in 2015 with the licensed authorized rights of The Estate of Jean Michel Basquiat, you can rest assured that whoever you give this to won’t be receiving the same thing from anyone else!
Make someone feel small this holiday season with the ALL IN Poster from Rice Store featuring an outer space-view of our dear planet Earth. From designer Joshua James Breidenbach, the poster found inspiration in a 4-year-old who, in response to a photo of Earth, sagely said, “We are all in the circle,” along with the phenomenon astronauts have experienced called the “overview effect.” All proceeds from the ALL IN poster will get donated to Conservation International.
For the WFH Warrior
Class-up your work-from-home set-up with the Limited Edition Retro Classic BT & Palm Rest Set from Azio. With a sleek retro design nodding to the keys of vintage typewriters but with modern features, this keyboard is the ultimate amalgam of past, present, and future. Featuring genuine Napa leather and a gold aluminum frame, this stunner is sure to put your current dinky keyboard you’ve had since the 90s to shame.
All other wall calendars can kindly take a seat. This vintage 1970s “Ring-A-Date” Perpetual Calendar was designed by Giorgio Della Beffa in Italy and is truly a thing of beauty. With child-like charm mixed with minimal cleanliness, it’s clear they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
The animated Pixar desk lamp has finally met its match. The 12” Ceramic Table Lamp from Entler is available in 15 different colored glazes and comes loaded with personality. Who wouldn’t want this little guy keeping them company on their desk?
Everyone knows you can’t effectively work from home with a crappy sound system. The Halo One Bluetooth Speaker is the best co-worker you’ll ever have and gets made out of aluminum with a beech wooden texture body finish. The speaker’s sleek and smooth organic shape is not unlike a spunky sonic mushroom, sure to bring some auditory sophistication to your space.
For the Coffee Table
Sneaker Freaker from the art book publishing powerhouse Taschen has been a mainstay within the global sneaker scene for nearly two decades, overflowing with photography and historic details about the grooviest shoes out there. Get your copy now before it’s all SOLED out!
The iconically unassuming Bill Cunningham was a street style photographer in New York City and Paris. He captured the evolution of style, trends, and everyday life from atop his bicycle between 1970 and his death in 2016. The New York Times Bestseller, Bill Cunningham: On the Street, serves as a celebration of Cunningham’s eye, containing a collection of his most beloved images along with never-before-seen work across five decades.
The beloved Tex-Mex eatery in Austin, El Arroyo, made a name for itself beyond guacamole and fajitas by updating its retro marquee sign periodically with jokes and witticisms to brighten the spirits of motorists. El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs: Volume One compiles 158 photos of the restaurant’s best signs, perfect for leafing through for a laugh.
This clever Cheeseburger Coaster Set from the fun-lovers at Edie Parker is the perfect coffee table addition and a great conversation piece when hosting. The cheeseburger contains five coasters—a top bun and a bottom bun, lettuce, cheese, and a meat patty— and gets made of 100% hand-poured acrylic. Ketchup and mustard sold separately.
For the Nostalgia Obsessive
Lay back in retro style with this classic folding chair by Lawn Chair USA. If there’s one thing they know at Lawn Chair USA, it’s, well, lawn chairs. We love this green and orange color scheme, and it folds up for easy transport to sporting events, outdoor concerts, or wherever you need a seat.
You know the design is on point when the MoMa approves. These vintage travel wine coolers available at Coming Soon New York were designed in 1980 by Australian designer Richard Carlson and are now part of MoMa’s permanent collection. They’re available in 13 bright colors and come with sleeve inserts to keep your wine cool and refreshing, no matter how hot the beach gets.
With the vintage charm of analog and the modern luxury of sounds that gently lift you out of sleep, the OneClock hits the sweet spot between old and new. Plus it’s made from sustainably sourced materials available in red, white, or black.
This Pepsi Polaroid camera is the crossover episode we never knew we needed. It’s built from the refurbished internal components from vintage Polaroid cameras from the 80s and 90s and then wrapped in a design meant to mimic the body of the original Polaroid 600 camera. The result oozes nostalgia and makes us yearn for a bygone era.
For the Typography Lover
The “You Are You” print from British visual artist Shantell Martin is perfect for the minimalist art-lover in your life. Martin is best known for her large-scale, black-and-white drawings, and her work has been shown at the 92Y Gallery in New York City, the Albright Knox Gallery, and the MoCADA Museum. While she performs many of her drawings for a live audience, this piece comes pre-written.
A membership to the Font of the Month Club is the ultimate gift for any designer in your life. Members receive a fresh new font every month designed by typography maven David Jonathan Ross. Gifted subscriptions are available in twelve-month, six-month, and three-month increments and come with a keepsake letterpress envelope and club membership card.
Make a letter lover in your life rejoice by gifting them this box set of 100 postcards, each featuring a beautifully designed capital letter by the heralded letterer Jessica Hische. Each design is distinct and meticulously crafted in bright colors with ornate flourishes. Mail them as letters to worthy recipients, or use them as decor!
Cheeky artist Lara Fowler captures a universal mood in this gold-framed print. Who among us can’t relate to this sassy sentiment?
Embrace the questionable scraps of paper and scrawled notes on your desk by sticking them under this brass question mark paperweight. The defiance of brass coupled with the uncertainty of a question mark makes for a silly antique token, perfect for the dad you still have no idea what to get.
For The Designer Who Lives For Game Night
Lisa Congdon’s designs are manifestations of pure joy through colorful, witty, and spunky illustrations. Gift this wooden puzzle to someone who’s always on the go, constantly has kids galavanting around, or is a lover of all things tactile.
Often, playing cards have masculine associations; think decks within cigar-fumed poker rooms blotched with bourbon. However, LouLou Baker’s whimsical watercolor playing cards completely flip the script. Gift this intricately illustrated deck to your most fashion-forward, watercolor enthusiast, and Anna Wintour-loving friend.
Nothing gets a game night going quite like a game of Jenga. The warm sunshine inspires this luxurious lucite set and definitely will brighten up any space. Perfect for a tropical-influenced lover of color.
Every Le Puzz puzzle is ideal for your most nostalgic, eclectic, amusing pals. Honestly, you’ll easily be able to find a puzzle for anyone on your list. Plus, who doesn’t love receiving a gift on Christmas morning that they can enjoy right away?
For The Office Holiday Party/Happy Hour
While finishing a whole bottle of wine in one sitting isn’t entirely out of the question, it’s essential to be prepared for the moments when one or two glasses are all you need. These sphere and dome-shaped cork stoppers are stylish enough to add a hint of luxurious pizzaz to your unfinished bottles.
Inspired by the stars, these coasters are made of recycled rubber and are dishwasher safe. Beyond the immense practicality points and the saving of your surfaces from beverage ringage, these coasters will add a sparkle of whimsy to any tabletop or coffee table.
Handmade, hand-cast, and hand-finished, this champagne bucket with leather handles is a gift to give to someone who loves to celebrate big. Available in both light and dark tones, this bucket will suit anyone’s taste.
Drinking might be a societal ritual, but Kin is a brand that ensures you don’t have to drink alcohol to be social. Gift these beautifully designed non-alcoholic cans to your wellness-loving, jovial pals. And even if they do enjoy drinking alcohol, they’ll still enjoy Kin. A win-win gift for everyone.
The Under $25 List
The Standard Baggu bag is a gift giver’s dream with endless patterns, colors, and prints. Perfect for your friends who shop at the farmer’s market, are always on the go, or love convenient yet sustainable choices, this bag is sure to be loved by everyone.
Weirdly, martini glasses are hard to find. Even harder to find are price-friendly martini glasses. This set of two postmodern glasses get made from recycled plastic. Plus, they’re chunky, unusual, and full of charm.
These Terrazzo Geo Soaps are a gem of a gift, sustainably harvested and made with plant-based ingredients. Best for your friends who love to host, cook, or entertain, these sweet little soaps are sure to be a hit.
If you have a designer friend who has a kid in their life, this shirt is the most epic gift of all. A Cooper Hewitt exclusive, this shirt is one of a kind, letting everyone know that their child is the future leader of the design critic world, and maybe just a teensy bit pretentious. Er, precocious. You tell us.
For The Color Fanatic
This deck of colored cards promises to help you tap into your intuition through the divine power of color. If you have a friend who loves color and is in tune with their emotions, this deck is basically for them. Not only is the deck insightful, but each card is beautifully illustrated and has shining metallic edges.
Ideal for your colorful friend known for always packing their lunch, this bento box is adorable yet wholly practical. The minimalistic design paired with vivid colors makes this zero-waste accessory shine in all its glory.
It doesn’t get any brighter than this brilliant book. Ibiza’s refined hippie lifestyle comes to life in this book that showcases images exploring the Mediterranean getaway. If you have a color-loving friend with a case of wanderlust, they’ll treasure this 300-page tome.
Sometimes, all your space needs for a good refresh is a new and exciting print. This poster makes for a timeless gift for work-from-home warriors needing a spark of colorful inspiration, mystical-inspired artists, or someone who’s a chronic blank-wall antagonist.
For Making Your Home More Beautiful
Plants are highly personal, and often hard to pick the perfect one to give. On the other hand, gifting a planter is a sensible choice for many reasons; most notably, the gift never dies. This gorgeous stacking planter and saucer are unique and fitting for the people on your list who have funky yet refined aesthetics.
The Betty Sky Blue pillow is what fringe lovers’ dreams are made of. Half tame and funky, the hand-crochet pillow will add a hint of pizzaz to any sofa, space, or seat. And if the blue isn’t tickling your fancy, the brand sells plenty of other colors in a range of shapes.
Everyone, regardless of age, fancies making their space appear more spacious through the simple method of adding a mirror. This ripple lacquer mirror from Jonathan Adler is a superb way to add a hint of luxuriousness to any space. Plus, it doubles as a piece of art.
This hand-blown glass watering can is absolutely sumptuous. No matter the decor, this watering can will fit in, blending in with the glass, yet standing out through its beautiful form. So if you have someone on your list who lives for simplicity, is a plant mom or dad, and loves design, this might be the perfect present to give them.
For The Foodie
You likely know Molly Baz from when she was making mouth-watering thirst traps over at Bon Appetit. She has since left the embattled magazine and released her own cookbook. That’s great and all, but she also has merch. If you’re anything like us, you’re food prepping for the week, and that means making broth and soaking a pot of beans. Well, here’s the perfect shirt for the bean lover in your life, because yes, you CAN eat them straight from the pot, dammit.
Tinned fish is not only a thing of beauty to ogle (you know we’re right, packaging lovers), but it’s the perfect midday snack. Just toss one of those filets on a Matzo Cracker slathered in dijon with a cornichon, and you’ve got a feast. Everyone loves a stocking full of canned fish. Trust.
You go to Dusen Dusen for insanely loud and bold prints that make a statement. So, if you’re cohabitating with a demanding creative director or exacting freelancer that likes for you to refer to them as “chef” in the kitchen, well, they need to chill out. However, this is a gorgeous apron you can buy with contrasting Penrose patterns perfect for your personal Gordon Ramsey tyrant.
The Joy of Cooking has been in circulation since 1936, and across nine different editions, the Irma S. Rombauer tome has inspired folks to get in the kitchen and create. Now, do you have an extra person in your life that can’t even heat soup or hard boil an egg? Well, this edition comes in gold metallic leather. Bon appetit!