I am so excited about our very first gift guide of the season. (I hope it was worth the wait! I feel like the demand happens earlier every year!)
This is my big Oprah-style “Jess’ Favorite Things” guide featuring all of MY tried and true favorite things that would also make great gift ideas for all the women in your life! From friends to sisters to mothers, mother-in-laws, co-workers, you name it–I think you’ll find something for everyone here!
As I do every year, I really wanted to curate a selection that was original and unlike the guides you see elsewhere–I hope you love it! Of course, you’ll see quite a few repeats, because there are so many amazing standbys I still love. But also plenty of fresh new options as well!
As with all my blog posts, this guide contains affiliate links, so if you purchase through my gift guide, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. As a small woman-owned business myself, this helps contribute to our family’s income and I appreciate your support! However, please don’t feel the need to go out of your way to use my links–knowing I’ve introduced you to something you’ll love is the biggest win of all! ♥️
So…without further adieu, let’s jump in! (Side note, if you see any incorrect links or glaring typos, just DM me and let me know!)
Gift Guide: Jess’ Favorite Things + Gifts for Her
(Click on the links below to jump to each section)
Jess’ Favorites Under $50
Custom Planner or Journal:
I got these as gifts for my MIL and mom last year and they’re so cute! Small, affordable, but super special and something that will make them smile every day! Code JESSHOLIDAY23 gets you 20% off plus free shipping on this and most other gifts + holiday cards from Minted through December!
Salt and Pepper Grinder Set:
I searched high and low for bougie salt and pepper grinders that fit my aesthetic, and lo and behold I find the winners on Amazon for just a few bucks. A great gift for any foodie, a fun housewarming gift, etc. Read my review here.
ALL My Favorite Socks: (Make great stocking stuffers!)
Fair Isle socks to brighten your day (and warm your feet, of course!)
No-show socks (that never slip!) for sneakers
Smartwool socks for the coldest snowy winter days. (The Bombas def rival them though!)
This marled Amazon three-pack for great all-purpose winter boot socks!
Swedish Dish Towels:
The cutest little stocking stuffer. I don’t remember who even turned me onto Swedish Dish Towels but they aren’t just functional–they’re cute, too! They’re very absorbent and can help you cut down on your paper towel usage! You can find the in just about any design imaginable and that always makes me smile!
Elevated Soap Dispensers:
I know many of us are prepping our spaces for guests this season! These soap dispensers are so chic and elevate your guest bath/kitchen/etc. Would also make a sweet gift for a new homeowner/hostsess gift! I got these for our kitchen sink and our bathroom. Come in other colors and have different labels for whatever you want to put in them!
The Best Cold Brew EVER:
OK maybe a box of cold brew isn’t the most traditional “gift” but I think any iced coffee lover would LOVE to receive a box of this— and perfect for hostess, office, party gifts, etc. Also, if you’re hosting an iced coffee lover for the holidays, there is no better way to say “I love you” than having this on hand! Truly all other cold brew has been ruined for me and even when I get some from a bougie coffee shop, I still wish it was this.
PalmPress Single-Serve Coffee Maker:
Speaking of coffee — HOT coffee this time, one of my favorite things I reach for whenever I want a cup of hot coffee for one. (Makes 8oz per batch). If you’re like me and don’t have an electric kettle (I didn’t want one taking up more room on the counter) It’s so handy, you pop the cone portion out, fill it with coffee, pour over hot water, let steep for 5 minutes, then tip it over the top of the mug and PRESS. It’s so small it’s great for travel and fits easily in your drawer!
Marin White Low Bowl:
Neal and I call these “bowl plates” and we use them for almost every single meal. (And usually the only reason we don’t use them is if they’re all dirty. 😂) They’re truly the best everyday dishes. Deep enough for a stew or pasta, but flat enough to be used as everyday plates. They’re so pretty and not to mention affordable at under $10 a pop.
Carlyle Lane Glassware:
What is cuter than custom glassware!? The owner is a family friend (a small mom-owned biz!) and she makes the cutest stuff. Of course her latest addition is for all you Swifties, but you can customize however you like! (Cute for a mom, newlyweds, grandma–whatever!)
Rey To Z Hat:
As you probably know by now I am a HUGE Rey to Z fan. (Speaking of local mom-owned businesses!) Our sweet friends gifted June a baseball cap for her birthday and I was hooked ever since and I have several myself, now!
Quince Organic Cotton Fisherman Crew Sweater:
I discovered the wonderful world of Quince earlier this year — and this sweater was one of my many amazing finds! It’s such a great price point, comes in a bunch of colors, is the perfect weight to tuck in the front without looking bulky, and works for all four seasons. I would size up (runs fitted). I got size large.
Ceramic Box Cutter:
Highlighted in a reader favorites roundup here – I had to order and try one for myself. Dare I say it’s one of the most practical things I own and also DELIGHTFUL. So much easier (and safer) than opening packages with scissors. A very good stocking stuffer.
R&CO Spiritualize Dry Shampoo:
A miscelar water for your hair. It’s amazing. The best dry shampoo ever. Spritz on roots, rub in, then shoot with a blow dryer and your hair looks freshly washed. MAGIC. See more in this post.
Merit the Minimalist Stick:
For any “no makeup makeup” lover, anyone short on time, or anyone who wants their makeup as foolproof as possible–this is your product. I’m a huge fan of this clean brand in general, but this is my favorite product they make. It’s a concealer and foundation in one, and it’s impossible to mess up. Coverage is buildable and super natural, and works for all skin types. (I wear shade linen.) Tip: You can also buy a set (which you’ll find further down in this gift guide!)
Cashmere Blend Amazon Beanie:
I love me a chic slouchy beanie–and the price point on these is hard to top! I have multiple colors so I always have one that goes with my outfit. You’ll never feel like a kid out to recess ever again with these stylish beanies!
Wine bottle Coasters:
After constantly scrubbing out red wine stains on our counter, I knew there had to be a solution. Turns out that a wine coaster is actually a thing. I found this beautiful wooden one on Etsy and I’m in love. It’s unique and perfect for all wine lovers.
Vacu Wine Savers:
I can’t believe when I go over to friends houses and they don’t already own these nifty things. The little cork and vacuum pump suck the air out of your leftover bottle of wine so it lasts for days. No more spoiled leftover wine!
These do take a BIT of a learning curve, but I have grown to love these press-on-nails. They are perfect if you don’t want the hassle or cost of a manicure, look really nice, and easily stay on through a long weekend! No glue needed–even a novice (me) can figure them out. (I also like this short nail shape!)
Old Navy “Built in Warm” Jeans:
An absolute essential for cold winters. This is my favorite line of winter jeans–from Old Navy of all places. They’re lined with a super soft brushed fleecy material and they are a game-changer for those bitter cold days. Couldn’t get through Chicago winter without them. I find them to run slightly roomy so go with your smaller size if you’re in between.
Minimalist Baseball Cap:
I love this simple baseball cap–no words, no logos–it goes with everything and looks very chic even when you haven’t washed your hair in like a week?
Anything from Maya would make such a great gift for so many on your list! They have two subtle everyday scents that are enigmatically engineered to never, ever smell the same on anyone, so you’re gifting a personalized scent- how cool! They offer roll-on bottles, sprays and candles! (FWIW I love both scents, their original “base” is a fresh, clean scent that can be layered with other perfume as well. The second scent is more beachy and equally heavenly.)
Flyaway Taming Stick:
Speaking of hair–if you are plagued by flyaways (postpartum or other) you will love this stick. It’s perfect for slicked back hairstyles and updo’s and keeps your flyaways slicked down.
Rishi Lavender Mint Tea:
I loved this tea before I found out it was a small midwestern brand, and I love it even more now! This flavor is to DIE for. It really feels like a spa in a cup, and it’s become my favorite part of my bedtime routine. It would make a lovely gift for anyone who loves tea! Would also be a nice alternative to a bottle of wine as a hostess gift!
Refillable Silicone Travel Bottles:
I got these for my last trip to Paris and love them! Cute, functional, and super easy to fill with your favorite shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, etc–so you’re never without on the go!
Clear Travel Pouch Set:
Another item I bought for Paris that was a slam dunk. I love these for toiletries and as a catch-all bag in a larger backpack or tote to hold all your essentials! Would be great for diaper bag, too!
Waterdrop Flavored Water Tablets:
I love these little tablets! Naturally flavored and lightly sweetened with stevia, they turn any boring water into spa-like flavored water and help me stay hydrated. Such a fun stocking stuffer! My favorite flavors are VIBE (my ultimate favorite) followed by a tie between BOOST, YOUTH, ZEN and GLOW. Use code JK15 for 15% off!
54 Thrones Hand + Body Butter:
I have been a fan of this 54 Thrones hand and body butter for years now! They source African-grown and organic botanicals from cooperatives and artisans across the continent. (Think shea butter from Ghana and Uganda, argan oil from Morocco, and jasmine and neroli from Egypt.) It smells SO GOOD and is so, so effective on dry hands and rough patches like elbows, ankles, etc! Plus the packaging is stunning–anyone would love this stocking stuffer!
Great With Child Book:
This book is a wonderful gift idea for soon-to-be or new moms! Writing to a newly pregnant friend, the author goes beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of other parenting literature, in letters that range in tone from serious to sisterly, from lighthearted to downright funny. They’re basically like reading letters from a big sister about all the amazing things you have to look forward to!
Posh Chicago Wine Glasses:
These little bistro glasses always transport me to Paris each time I use them. They’re so affordable and from one of my favorite local Chicago shops, P.O.S.H. which sells tons of beautiful French housewares and gifts!
Minted Personalized Aprons:
The sweetest gift for anyone who loves to cook. (They also make big and little sizes–my MIL, mom, June (for when she’s a little older!) and me all have matching personalized ones and they’re so pretty and special! Use code JESSHOLIDAY23 for 20% off almost everything + free shipping!
Lanolips Coconutter Lip Balm:
I discovered this lip balm years ago and I declare it the most moisturizing lip balm of all time. It’s truly the best–I’ve found nothing to beat it. I get such dry lips in the winter and I have about 3 different tubes of this scattered throughout the house so it’s always within arms reach! A great little stocking stuffer and they have really cute packaging!
Amazon Tunic Sweater:
I like to call this my Diane Keaton sweater as it’s quite a lot of volume and material but still makes me feel very chic. The long length makes it the perfect thing to wear with leggings (it’s even longer in the back!) Take your normal size or go a size down, it’s very oversized! See how I’ve styled in this post!
10 Foot USB Charger:
This is the exact charger cord I bought to bring to the hospital with me (one of your most popular reccos!) This is a really reputable brand and not a cheap one that will stop working after a few months. Great holiday gift for anyone on your list!
Melissa Wood Health Subscription:
The workout that got me through pregnancy and covid! Melissa’s workouts are very short and sweet-most are around 20 minutes but some are as quick as 10 and others range up to 45. They are all yoga and pilates based, I would describe them as “pilates flows.” I would say I see more of a mental health benefit to MWH than I have with any other at-home workout. They are just very “chill”–they aren’t super highly produced videos, no music, it’s just her, and her voice is super soothing–there are many reasons to love her! The best gift for anyone who is wanting to get back into a movement routine. (Or new mom/mom-to-be!) This is the only workout that has felt palatable to me in a long time.
I raved about these bangles earlier this year! They are perfect for intensifying the burn when you’re doing small, repetitive movements like in barre or pilates (or Melissa Wood Health, P.Volve, etc). Check out my full review here!
If you’re looking for a super affordable gift for all your girlfriends (or a little treat for yourself), look no further! As one reader described it, “it’s the most incredible thing I never knew I needed!” Check out ice roller benefits in my post here!
3D Contoured Sleep Mask:
OK I am a big fan of sleep masks. I love the bougie Slip and Lunya ones but when I tried this Amazon version it beat both of them in the light blocking department. Literal blackout status with this mask. Pair this with the ice roller above or gift it on its own! Perfect for avid travelers, moms, and self-care lovers, this mask molds to the shape of your face without putting pressure on the eyes and blocks 100% of light. Bonus: it’s $10!
Necessaire Eucalyptus Body Wash:
I gave in to all the hype about this brand and purchased this body wash + body lotion duo as part of the Nordstrom sale a couple years ago. Was not blown away by the lotion, but LOVE the body wash and have repurchased many times since. Clean ingredients and it makes you feel like you’re at a fancy spa–the Eucalyptus scent is so, so good, and the formula is very gentle! Great gift for anyone who could use a little zen moment.
I love my Ray-Bans (Keep scrolling for my top picks!), but I also love these look-a-likes for hikes, travel, etc. so I don’t have to worry about breaking/losing my nice ones! These are a great price, come in several colors and look just like my real ones!
The Defined Dish Cookbook:
Since it came out a couple years ago, the Defined Dish cookbook, written by my friend Alex who is an incredible food blogger, has been a staple in my kitchen. I love this book because everything in it is health-forward (it’s Whole 30 approved) but it doesn’t feel like a Whole 30 book. Quite on the contrary, I have made SO many things in it (I often carb-i-fy them) and every recipe is a home-run. Most of the recipes have minimal, easy, staple ingredients, too. Plus, you’re supporting Alex’s business and if you purchase via Bookshop.org, it can benefit the local bookstore of your choice! (But also sometimes you need things fast, so you can buy it on Amazon too.)
GrossyPelosi’s Let’s Eat! cookbook:
Also a cookbook, but very different–Let’s Eat, which came out a few months ago, is one of the most delightful cookbooks I have ever read. Maybe I’m biased because I adore Dan and have been a @GrossyPelosi fan (and friend) since his early days of food instagramming (which he started during the pandemic), but it really is a heartwarming book that will make anyone smile. I was not remotely surprised when in made the NYTimes bestseller list! (GO DAN!! So proud of you!)
The recipes are a mix of Italian classics and new dishes I’ve never seen before, along with super helpful tips, and lots of anecdotes and stories about his childhood. (If you’re gifting a book to a fellow Grossy fan, you can find a list of where you can buy signed copies on his website!)
Microdermamitt Deep Exfoliating Mitt:
I have always been leery of physical exfoliators like this (because they can be so harsh on your face and irritate the skin), but this one is made of 100% natural silk and is really gentle. I have both the face one and body one and love them both! Makes skin SO smooth and helps your products absorb better. The body one is also excellent to do before sunless tanner! It’s also a small, woman-owned brand but they sell on Amazon!
The Best Candles:
I couldn’t decide which candle to feature here, so here are a few!
First, I love Thyme’s Frasier Fir candle–it’s an incredible foresty holiday scent! It’s only $30, you can get it on Amazon and apparently it has an underground cult following. For another around the same price point, I was recently gifted two candles from KK Lume (a local Chicago brand!) and they are LOVELY.
Third, the Hotel Lobby Candle line inspired by the bougie scent of five-star hotels. You know what I’m talking about right? HEAVEN. I’m obsessed with this concept and the scents are so good!
Based in Chicago, ships all over! My favorite is their Calypso blend–the perfect gift for yourself or any coffee lover! A great way to support a local Black-owned business!
Another local Chicago favorite, I especially love their Coconut Creme coffee! They have tons of flavors if flavored coffee is your jam. You can also order on Amazon if you’re in a rush.
Remember when I posted on IG stories and I said, “What’s your favorite item I’ve ever recommended to you?” I can’t even TELL YOU how many people said TISSUE TURTNELECKS!! Really, they’re insanely budget-friendly (especially bc J.Crew is so often on sale!) and they’re the best layering essential. They keep you warm outside as a base layer, and are thin enough to ensure you don’t overheat inside! Order your normal size.
The perfect gift for friends on your list who live anywhere COLD- trust! These are really comfortable and warm for cold winter days. They come in a bunch of colors and you can get them with or without side pockets! I wear these so much in the winter.
Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel:
A miracle in a bottle, readers say this is one of their favorite products they’ve ever bought on my recommendation! (Makes me so happy!) This is probably my #1 favorite beauty product…ever? If you have issues with dull, flaky, patchy, uneven, dry winter skin, this bottle will take care of that real quick! (Plus, Beautycounter is a B-Corp, so you can feel extra good about your purchase!)
Actually Curious Card Game:
These cards are such fun conversation starters–great for a date night or would be great to play with a group, too! (The one I have is the “Happy Hour” edition. The cards are meant to foster meaningful conversation and connection.
I’ve had one of these for YEARS and it makes such a difference in taming frizz, breakage, and getting excess water out of your hair much better than a regular towel. Plus, it nicely gets your hair out of the way while you do your makeup, and before you’re ready to dry your hair!
Beautycounter Brow Gel:
My favorite brow product of all time! You will be SHOCKED at how good your brows look after using this. It’s super natural looking but also really buildable. I’m obsessed! I haven’t left the house without this product on since I started using it when it first came out last year! (I wear the medium shade.)
Cheers hangover capsules:
A holiday party staple. They’re essentially vitamins that you take after a night out or anytime you want to indulge in an extra glass but want to lessen the after effects! I take these in tandem with a glass of their hydration mix and it really makes a difference. (They were lifesavers on my Napa trip!) An excellent stocking stuffer for the wine or cocktail lover who has everything. I used to love the hangover patches but I think these work even better!
Small Packages Gift Boxes:
Small Packages is a woman-founded and owned brand that makes beautifully curated gift boxes for ALL occasions (good and bad ones!) with goodies made by small, women-owned brands. Many boxes start at $55 and go up from there!
These “Lululemon Align dupes” are UN.REAL. They are one of my top sellers of the YEAR because they are that good. They are buttery soft (feel identical to aligns) incredibly affordable, and come in a variety of fun colors. They run true to size! (I have the small!) They’re also almost always on sale!
Olive and June Mani System:
I got the Olive and June mani system a couple years ago and I think it would make an excellent gift for anyone who loves doing their nails. It definitely makes at-home manis easier and more enjoyable, and I love, love their nail polish colors. I don’t think it lasts longer than any other polish (although others tell me differently) but I love the products otherwise, and really appreciate that they’re nontoxic and a woman-owned brand!
Pear Nova Nail Polish:
Another polish brand to add to your list is Pear Nova! They also have some stunning colors–I love “Michelle Our Mama” which is a beautiful creamy beige hue. They’re a Black and woman-owned brand from Chicago AND last year they made the list of Oprah’s favorite things!!
Jess’ Favorites Under $100
Stasher Silicone Reusable Bags:
Another great stocking stuffer I’m obsessed with. I LOVE these bags–I use them for snacks, for marinating meat and veggies, for keeping a travel bag or tote organized–they have so many uses and can be washed in the dishwasher. You can buy individually or as a set! This set of 7 for $100 would make for a generous gift or you could split them up into individual stocking stuffers!
Personalized Phone Case:
Tons of different styles to choose from–this would be cute for anyone, but especially a Grandma with her “Grandma name” on it!
Jack Russell Bookends:
From one of my favorite local stores, POSH Chicago, which feels like the most thoughtfully curated French flea market full of only the most fabulous things. I picked up these bookends last year and they make me so happy. For all the dog lovers out there. (I grew up with a Jack Russell, Zia, so they remind me of her!)
Alice & Wonder Chicago Merch:
My friend Ali’s amazing shop, and she makes the cutest Chicago merch–from sweatshirts to tees, mugs, hats and more! All under $100. (Also have my eye on this sweatshirt, too!)
One of my favorite Christmas presents to date and one I use EVERY day during the fall and winter. Keeps your coffee hot! Even before June I could never manage to finish my coffee when it was hot! (And for whatever reason, reheated coffee in the microwave is bleh!) This makes all the difference.
The BEST gift for any mom or mom to be, or just someone who wants a super functional belt bag. I LOVE my Kibou! It keeps you hands free and holds all the essentials and nothing you don’t need. Has a fold-out removable changing pad, a key clip, slots for credit cards, and can fit diapers, wipes, a bottle, your phone, Paci, you name it. It’s so cute that I wear it when I don’t have June too! They also have an optional “dog mom” add-on! (They also make a “mini” version now, too!)
Hanna Andersson Family PJ’s:
Not just for littles! The patterns and quality of Hanna Anderson PJs can’t be beat! Their holiday PJs are amazing and they come in sizes for women, men, even your dog! They also have really cute daytime wear for little ones. Use their “matching family pajama builder” to outfit the whole fam.
Brightland Olive Oil and Vinegars:
The world’s most Instagrammable olive oil (that also tastes divine!) Hitha and Grace first introduced me to the brand and I fell in love with their products and their founder’s story! Founder Aishwarya Iyer has a background in the beauty industry (which explains why the branding is SO stunning). After learning that most of the olive oil in the US is rancid and low quality, she set out to create a new kind of olive oil brand, made from a family farm in California. My favorites are the garlic olive oil and the champagne vinegar, but I also love their other olive oil flavors as well as the balsamic! They have so many cute gift sets to choose from as well. The most special gift for anyone who loves food! All are meant for drizzling and finishing dishes, salads, crostini, etc!
Your favorite hometown comfort food, shipped from Goldbelly:
I had never heard of Goldbelly before, I think I saw an ad for it somewhere, but it’s the most genius thing ever. They’re kind of like a GrubHub but for restaurants to package and ship their specialties all over the country. So you can say, get a dozen of your favorite New York Bagels from your favorite bagel shop, or your favorite Chicago deep dish pizza, Phillies from Philly–you get where I’m going with this. What an amazing gift for anyone who is homesick for a hometown comfort food, plus, an amazing way to support a restaurant from afar! (We love ordering Essa Bagel from NYC and they were my saving grace during pregnancy.)
Lululemon City Adventurer Belt Bag 2.5L:
This would make a great gift for so many people on your list! Love that it’s both sporty but also has a bit of lifestyle look and is easy to style with jeans, coat, trench, etc. Great for travel, mom life, outdoor adventures, etc. and comes in several colors! A particularly great size for a toddler mom, especially.
Slip Silk Pillowcase:
This silk pillow case is a great luxurious gift and just makes going to bed feel like a fancy spa experience–it’s supposedly much better for your skin and hair than regular cotton and helps prevent wrinkles and frizz! Plus, it’s a treat that a lot of people wouldn’t normally buy themselves!
When I say CBD has greatly improved my life, I’m not exaggerating. Equilibria has majorly helped my sleep quality and manage my daily stress. I subscribe to their products each month which is what I recommend to those starting out–because consistency is key to getting best results. I cannot think of a better self-care gift for yourself or anyone you love! They have a quiz to help you narrow down the best products based on your (or a loved ones!) health goals. Use code JESSKEYS for 15% off your first purchase!
Zwiesel Wine Glasses:
For anyone who needs to upgrade their wine glasses. We were gifted some as an engagement gift and have been converts ever since. I love them because they’re a classic design but the angular quality makes them a bit different, they’re dishwasher safe and shatter resistant, but also not expensive and sold tons of places for when you inevitably break some and need to replace over the years!
Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas:
I own so many pairs of these pajamas and love and wear them year-round. They are chic, so, so soft and also don’t make you overheat, which is key! If you don’t yet own a nice pajama set, I can’t explain what a difference they make. Sounds silly, but it’s a small upgrade that makes a big difference in the self-care department! Order your normal size!
Jess’ Favorites $150-$300
Rothy’s “The Square” Flats:
OK admittedly I like MANY pairs of Rothy’s shoes, but my most worn (and I think the most chic and comfortable of their flats) are “the square” flats. I have them in their cap toe “tuxedo” design and they give off major Chanel vibes. I love the squared-off toe, which also makes them very comfortable and easy to log lots of miles in. I think flats can easily feel “frumpy” when paired with the wrong things, but these never feel frumpy to me! Plus, they’re sustainable and washable, like all their items! You can see them and all my favorite Rothy’s reviewed in this post.
Barefoot Dreams Robe:
The ultimate blanket-meets-robe that comes in lots of neutral colors! I got a BD robe at the start of quarantine and it’s without a doubt one of the best things I’ve treated myself to this year. Don’t bother with a cheap robe, this is worth every penny.
Rothy’s Driver Loafers:
I also think the Drivers get a spotlight here because I love them so much as well–and I think that perhaps this is a more universal shoe option to gift a mom, MIL, etc! They come in so many cute colors, are great for travel, and she’ll love how functional they are and that she can throw them in the washing machine to clean! Again, more details in my Rothy’s review here.
Legend™ Sweater Shirt:
It’s hard to pick a favorite Faherty item, but for this time of year, I think the Legend sweater button up is VERY hard to beat. It’s so, SO soft. It can be worn buttoned up (like you see here) or thrown over a tee or tank as a second layer for that perfect “tomboy” look. (Very Virgin River in the best way.) Runs TTS, I size up to M for an oversized fit.
Merit The Base Set:
As you know I am a HUGE fan of Merit beauty, and this set comes with three of my favorite products–the serum (which is an amazing base for their minimalist stick), the minimalist stick (which is a magical concealer foundation all-in-one product that looks great even on my dry skin!) and their bronzer (the most impossible to mess up, absolutely no mess bronzer ever!)
The Best White Sneakers:
Eda d’Orsay sneakers: I call these my warm-weather sneakers. (Due to the cutout sides!) I love these super comfy feminine and chic sneakers. I wear them nonstop anytime the temp is ~60 degrees or above.
Madewell Court Sneakers: My newest pair of all-purpose white sneakers. They did take a few wears to break-in, but now they’re perfect! Ideal for year-round wear, the leather on the outside is sturdy enough to withstand rain, and they’re comfy enough to log lots of miles in. These will be my go-to sneakers this fall/winter (until it’s warm enough to wear my Edas again!)
Kizik Hands-Free Sneakers:
And because I’m the queen of comfortable shoes, I had to include this sneaker gem too! I love a lot of things about Kizik sneakers. I’m sure you’ve seen them online—they’re the sneakers with a spring-back heel that lets you slide your foot right inside, no bending over or unlacing necessary. The style is modern and simple, and honestly just works with a lot of casual or new styles when you want a sneaker look–they look really cute with any athletic/athleisure option and are so cushy to wear all day! (No break in!) IMO they can run big, go down 1/2 size! My favorite styles are the Lima and the Athens!
My code JESSKEYS is likely expired by now but worth trying for 15% off!
I’ve been a Kindle lover since they first came out (was I in high school??) and I can think of no better “gift that keeps on giving” than having access to thousands of books at your fingertips at all hours of the day, wherever you are in the world! The paper white is amazing because it really does look like paper (no backlit blue light!) I also love that you can share books in your library with family members or friends!
J.Crew Cashmere Wrap:
I have been featuring this wrap in my gift guide for years. I got one for my MIL years ago and it was a big hit–she still wears it! It’s so pretty and soft–makes a great go-to for everything from formal events to travel! (Makes a great blanket!) Comes in lots of colors.
Audiotechnica Record Player:
Many of you said this is your favorite gift you’ve ever given OR received from my recco! Yay! (I’ll be putting this on the guys gift guide too, because it’s amazing for everyone). We have an Audiotechnica and it’s hard to beat for the price. (We had a cute Crosley first but this is much better quality!) I think this would be a great gift for either a parent who has a vinyl collection but got rid of their record player years ago or a music lover who hasn’t gotten into vinyl yet––giving them this with a few classic albums would be SO COOL. We connect and play this via our Sonos speakers.
Sézane Reversible Gaspard Sweater:
I think this is hands down the most beautiful sweater I own and I’ve since bought it in red in addition to the blush color! (See how I style it here and here and here!) it always makes me feel beautiful. One of the few sweaters that can pull off being “sexy” and also appropriate for any occasion at the same time. I wear my normal size but it’s a bit slouchy, size down if you’d like it more formfitting.
Quince Cashmere Boyfriend Cardigan Sweater:
I snagged this cardigan earlier this year and wow has it become a wardrobe staple! I even ordered two colors (black and brown) and honestly am eyeing more. I wear this all the time — I find it’s super versatile, soft and comfortable. It’s oversized, I got size small. I even wrote an entire blog post chatting all about it. Check out my whole review here + ways to style it!
Blondo Waterproof Boots:
My #1 most loved reader product!! You’ve all heard me rave about these for years! AND this year they also came out with the most beautiful chocolate brown color! Yes, they are suede AND waterproof AND salt proof! You don’t need to do anything to do them–you just wear them straight out of the box. You can wear them through the rain and sleet and slush without worry–they have tread AND are BEAUTIFUL (which I think we can all agree can be a rare combo when it comes to true winter boots!) Sizing: TTS!
Reader-Approved All-Purpose Winter Boots:
OK so these are reader favorites, but I wanted to include here because I get so many questions about good boots and you all always have great reccos! (Also read this post about the most comfortable shoes)
Blundstones: Favorite with rave reviews in the boot category! One reader said they were the only pair of shoes she took to Ireland and they were the only pair she needed! Even did great on a hike. If you’re looking for casual, comfy, and ready-for-weather–look no further! Sizing: normal size unless you have wide feet, then consider going up a size! (They have a ton of styles, by the way!)
Freda Salvador Brooke Boot: Another popular suggestion–one reader said “steep, but the cost per wear=pennies!” These come in several colors and are water-resistant!
Rothys Water-Resistant Lug Boots: Another Rothy’s fan favorite! Water-resistant, comfy, AND washable!
Nisolo Classic Chelsea Boots: another super popular reader suggestion. Designed for comfort and sustainably made, these boots are perfect for work and play. Also they’re on major sale right now!
Thursday Boot Co: A brand I haven’t heard of before, but readers really love! They have an amazing selection of boot styles and colors at a great price point!
ABLE ALEM Backpack:
I use this backpack as my diaper bag for June and also for work and travel! It’s an amazing all-purpose, full-sized backpack. (Not a purse–like the Abera!) See my full review of it right here! This would make a great gift for anyone who is back at the office, loves to travel, a mom, etc! Use code JESSHOLIDAY40 for 40% of almost all ABLE items!
ABLE Maha Leather Jacket:
One of my favorite 2021 finds — ABLE’s Maha leather jacket! I have both the whiskey and black colors and they’re both just so good! The leather this jacket is made out of is really beautiful and soft, but it’s also durable and can withstand some beating up. My other leather jacket from Italy is more of that “buttery” leather, which means it stains and scratches, so it’s nice to have this piece in my wardrobe knowing I don’t have to worry about it! (Reviewed with more details in this post!) Use code JESSHOLIDAY40 for 40% of almost all ABLE items!
Abera Backpack Purse:
My go-to backpack purse! Love it SO much and cannot recommend enough. Very roomy for the size, especially great for travel and anyone who needs to be hands free! Reviewed in this post! Use code JESSHOLIDAY40 for 40% of almost all ABLE items!
Dagne Dover Bags:
You all know I’m a huge fan of Dagne Dover bags! I’ve been fortunate to work with them multiple times this year and test out many of their bags! Anything DD would make such an amazing gift! A fanny pack for a new mom, a duffle for your partner or a siblings group gift to get a parent new luggage?! My all-time favorites are the Landon Duffel, Indi Backpack and Mila Toiletry Case. Check out my IGS highlight for all the details!
Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets:
I love these sheets! They are amazingly soft and have temperature-regulating qualities to keep you cool all night (I run hot ever since I had June) and these are the real deal! They’re 300 thread count and made of sustainable tencel and nontoxic, OEKO TEK certified botanic dyes! Come in several colors/stripes!
J.Crew Cocoon Coat:
Probably the warmest non-puffer coat money can buy you–not to mention, it’s just an adorable coat! I reach for this all the time and love how classic and elegant it is! It goes on sale often, so wait to buy it then. Sizing: It does run big- I would suggest sizing down if you prefer your coats more fitted. See my full Cocoon Coat Review!
Zipper top: I’ve had my Transport Tote for 4+ years! I love the look and how much stuff it holds! It’s also really durable- I’ve pretty much beaten it to hell and it’s still going strong. If you’re looking for a tote with a zipper top, it can’t be beat!
Open-top: For an open-top tote, I love ABLE’s totes (especially the ABERA crossbody tote, which has a clip-off crossbody strap so you can wear it multiple ways!) Ideal for travel, commuting, work–you name it! Use code JESSKEYS15 for 15% off almost all ABLE items
Barefoot Dreams Blanket:
I know, I know–another gift guide with a Barefoot Dreams blanket. BUT–I gave into the Barefoot Dreams hype at the beginning of quarantine and as it turns out, it is actually that good. This blanket is probably an item most people wouldn’t buy for themselves because it’s a very expensive blanket (except me) but would use and cherish profusely when gifted! It’s like being enveloped in a cloud and would make the most luxurious, cozy gift! Even Neal loves it and he used to be a big eye-roller about “blanket obsessions.” GET. THE. BLANKET.
Cuisinart Air Fryer AKA Agatha Crispy:
I had to include my girl Agatha! I can’t shut up about the amazingness of an air fryer and it would make an awesome gift for many on your list! Check out my full review here! Also linked here and here! (This was a popular submission for “reader favorite gifts” this year!)
Clare V Grande Fanny:
I snagged this beautiful bag earlier this year and have worn it nonstop! I have the woven cream color, but it comes in a bunch of woven/perforated/leather options. This bag is a splurge, but the cost per wear is pennies (for me!) It’s incredible quality, such a great size and I love how it lays very flat so you hardly ever feel it on you, but it holds a good amount of stuff, too! You can also purchase different straps/accessories to change up the look/make it even more versatile. See it styled in this post!
Another upgrade a lot of people probably won’t buy themselves, but would greatly appreciate as a gift! I upgraded my AirPods two years ago to the Pro noise cancellation and they’ve been a game-changer- especially for working in the same house as your significant other!
At the beginning of the pandemic, I discovered P.Volve via an Instagram ad and bought it on a whim because it looked like the kind of small-space friendly, cardio-hating, low-impact workout I was looking for. I’m one of those people that struggles to work out if I’m not going to a class, and this is one of the few workouts I can actually stomach from home! They have tons of streaming workouts to choose from and most are around 20-30 minutes! You can use code JESSKEYS for a discount! (Fingers crossed my code still works!)
I know everyone has been losing their minds over this coat for the past couple of years, and now I see why. It is astonishingly warm (especially for the $150 price tag!) But the best part is that it expands at the sides, making it perfect for a bump or baby wearing! (Which is why I bought it, to wear with June!) Would make a great gift for any new mom or mom to be, BUT even if you have no children now or on the horizon, you’ll still love this coat! It also has a billion pockets so no need for a purse which I wholeheartedly appreciate. I got my regular size–small! It’s very roomy. If you don’t have a baby or a bump you may want to size down for a more fitted look.
Ray-Ban Round & Hexagon Sunnies:
I’m a Ray-Ban loyalist! I love SO many of their sunglasses, but these two pairs are what I gravitate toward most often! I have the 53mm Rounds, and I love how they feel retro and classic at the same time! They go with everything, every time of the year, for every occasion. Note: they come in two sizes–50mm and 53mm! I also love the Hexagon frames! Check out Neal & Jess’ Ultimate Ray-Ban Guide for more of our favorites!
Dudley Stephens Turtlenecks:
I don’t know how I ever got through a Chicago winter before Dudley Stephens vello fleece turtlenecks. The Cobble Hill Turtleneck is so soft, so warm, such a flattering tunic cut and it has pockets! (Great to wear with leggings!) I can’t say enough good things! I also love the Park Slope Turtleneck, which is such a classic style! It has a cute structured collar with the same cozy, low-maintenance fleece in a shorter, tuckable cut!
Chappy Wrap Blanket:
I would say Chappy is a bit similar to a Pendleton blanket, but much softer! They come in tons of different designs (many preppy, but they’ve branched out to suit all kinds of styles!) I love their kids’ blankets too. (We have one for the car and one we love for the stroller!) They’re stylish AND super warm! Linked in my “shop small” storefront right here, along with my other favorites from small, women-owned brands!
More awesome gift ideas
A perfect gift for any professional, teacher, or any loved one who likes to write notes! They have TONS of designs to choose from. Use code JESSHOLIDAY23 for 20% off almost everything + free shipping!
The Prettiest Electric Wine Opener:
I am always shocked when I go to people’s houses and find they’re still using an old-school corkscrew. Upgrade their wine opener to this pretty automatic one!
Candle Warmer Lamps:
My friend Dallas (who has impeccable taste) absolutely INSISTED that this affordable candle warmer be included in the gift guide. It eliminates the need to light a candle, so it’s much safer for households with kids and pets. Plus, they look so stylish and cozy! (Scroll up to my “favorites list” for candle reccos!)
My friend Krista’s needlepoint company makes some great needlepointing kits for the needlepoint enthusiast in your life! The cheeky designs crack me up, but there are plenty of more classic versions, too.
Fly by Jing Starter Kit:
I have been seeing this AAPI woman-owned brand everywhere and my friends rave about how delicious it is! I would LOVE to receive this as a gift–and I’m sure any other cook would say the same!
Ghia Non-Alcoholic Spritz:
My favorite non-alcoholic spirit! Would make a great hostess gift for anyone who doesn’t drink! It’s the only NA spirit I’ve tried that really tastes enjoyable, like an aperitif should–it’s pleasantly bitter and not sweet. I’d equate it similar to Aperol but not as citrusy. I like to mix it with soda and a squeeze of orange, and is a nice way to wind down the day without alcohol!
Model Bakery Homemade English Muffin + Preserves Set:
Goldbelly again, I know–featured on here twice, but I just saw they have the famous English Muffins (one of Oprah’s favorite things!) from Model bakery in Napa and I can’t think of a better gift to give for those “I have no idea what to get this person” instances, but you want it to be thoughtful, impressive, and unique! (As long as you know they eat bread, of course!) Let’s be honest I’d die to open these! 😆
Tea Advent Calendar:
A bougie tea advent calendar from gourmet French tea brand Palais des Thés? Where do I sign up?
Custom photo puzzle:
A reader favorite gift! The cutest gift for any puzzle loving grandma, aunt, whoever! Use JESSHOLIDAY23 for 20% off most Minted gifts plus free shipping!
Ooni pizza oven:
A portable outdoor pizza oven! I had never heard of this but my group text started popping off about it! Great for anyone who loves to entertain. A splurge, but another nice option for a group gift from kids. (They make a gas and a wood-fired version!)
Very drawn to Terazzo lately and I love these coasters from Lost Girls, one of the cutest shops in Chicago! They specialize in vintage but also have tons of cute little gifts and housewares, too!
Two or Three Name Ring:
I thought this affordable little ring was really cute. You always see name rings but never ones with two or three names–which I think is great for any mom with more than one child (or pet!) I think it’s also common to get moms gifts with their first child’s name but not usually with the second child–so this is a sweet gift that I think any mom would enjoy!
Custom dog face hat:
For your mom who loves her dog more than her adult children. 😜 (KIDDING. Maybe.) Or for any dog mom in your life! This shop has multiple styles to choose from, and can do sweatshirts and beanies too!
Personalized Card Holder:
Personal, practical and versatile for many on your gift list! It’s also a great price point and would also make a great stocking stuffer!
Chic Holiday Ornaments:
When all else fails, a beautiful, unique ornament serves as a great gift — especially for hostess/office/Secret Santa gifts! P.O.S.H has the most beautiful chic, French-inspired selection.
Cute & cheeky ornaments:
All She Wrote is the cutest boutique in Chicago and they have SO MANY amazing ornaments. A stick of butter? RBG? A box of wine? Moira Rose? They have so many to choose from.
Custom Book Print of Favorite Books:
How adorable is this for a book lover? For $105 you can have artist Jane Mount create a print of their favorite titles on a shelf. (Also available for coffee mugs, phone cases, and more. Also lots of other options to choose from from so many categories–cookbooks, the Harry Potter series, Jane Austen, kids’ books, and more.
Starter Film Camera:
For the creatives in your life, this lightweight, easy-to-use film camera gets rave reviews and is under $50! No need to learn any crazy settings, this is basically like a reusable disposable camera, but you can use much better film with it! Perfect for someone looking to dip their toes in the world of film. I’d recommend getting some rolls of film to go with–my recco would be Kodak Gold–which happens to be one of my favorites to shoot with and also inexpensive as far as film goes! (I get mine developed at Bellows Film Lab, you can buy film there too!)
Build Your Own Charcuterie Board:
Waiting on Martha is my friend Mandy’s shop–she has absolutely EXQUISITE taste. A modern-day Martha! I love this charcuterie board because building one can be intimidating, but I love that this one has outlines of where to arrange everything! So fun and easy! I also love that they’re handmade in Texas. They have a bigger version too, linked here!)
Aura Smart Digital Picture Frame:
Lots of readers listed the aura frame as one of their favorite gifts they’ve given/received lately! It’s a digital frame that syncs super easily to your phone, so keeping your frame up-to-date with your latest favorite photos is easy. (Great grandparent gift too!)
Portable Electric Tea Kettle:
A couple readers mentioned their portable kettle was their favorite gift they’ve received lately! For the coffee or tea lover who is always on the go, or would make the perfect gift for a coworker to keep at their desk to make their own tea or pour over coffee!
The splurgiest splurge, but a wonderful luxury for any woman who wants the perfect blowout at her fingertips! I have the newest version and it’s awesome.
Cashmere-Lined Leather Touchscreen Gloves:
I bought these from my own gift guide a few years ago (LOL) and I adore them. They’re beautiful, high quality, warm, and work REALLY well in terms of the touchscreen sensitivity! I was really impressed! I love the rich brown color but they also come in black!
Lotto Love “Scratch-Offs” For Charity:
If you’re looking for a cute little something to slip in with your holiday cards, or a little something for the person who has everything, I ADORE this company called Lotto Love and everything they are about! The winning prize of each card goes to support one of the company’s four pillars: literacy tools, clean water, nutritious meals and solar energy. Each card has a 100% chance of winning for someone in need!
Mark & Graham Tech Folio:
My SIL got a similar (older version) for me for Christmas a couple years ago–the best travel essential! It’s an all-in-one beautiful leather folio that holds ALL your stuff in one place. Kindle, iPad, phone, earbuds, credit cards, USB cord!
Pretty Neck Scarf:
I’m always getting asked for cute, affordable neck scarves! This one is $11 and comes in so many beautiful colors/patterns and has rave reviews! Tie it around your neck, around your bag, in your hair–this kind of scarf is so versatile!
Five Minute Journal:
I cannot recommend this little journal enough! It provides a structured format to boost your happiness in 5 minutes a day including: gratitude, prioritizing your day, 3 amazing things, inspiring quotes, daily affirmation, and end of day reflection.
Hydro Flask Water Bottle:
I LOVE my Hydro Flask water bottle — it keeps water so cold, and is fun to drink out of. (Sounds weird, but true.) I use this EVERY day and love it because it holds so much, I only need to drink two to hit my water goal for the day. It makes an awesome (super practical) gift!
Major’s Project Pop Organic Kettle Corn:
Love skinny pop but want to support a small, woman-owned biz? Grab some Major’s Project Pop! Created by Chauniqua Major-Louis (who goes by Major), a PR exec from Orlando (according to her Forbes profile!) Her formula focuses on quality, simple ingredients–organic, Non-GMO kernels popped in small batches using virgin coconut oil, the perfect amount of organic cane sugar and Himalayan pink salt!
Minted Custom Recipe or Drawing Print:
Minted is such a great resource for really meaningful gifts–from photo books, to framed photos, artwork, and more–but this one really stood out to me. Recipes are so special and they are passed down from generation to generation––do you get emotional looking at your Grandmother’s handwritten recipes too? (I do!) I think this is a really unique gift idea that you can make for your whole family–you can customize the frame too to suit everyone’s individual style! Use code JESSHOLIDAY23 for 20% off almost everything + free shipping!
Custom Silhouette Portrait Art:
Another really special gift idea from Minted (especially for grandparents or moms!) You can have them a beautiful silhouette (and customize the color and frame as well!) If you want something sentimental and different, but are sick of photos, this is a great one! Use code JESSHOLIDAY23 for 20% off almost everything + free shipping!