The Ultimate Gift Guide

Unique and memorable gifts in every price range.


Getting the people in your life a great gift comes with a lot of anxiety. You want to get your mom the perfect present to say “thank you” for everything she’s done for you, but what sums up a lifetime of thankfulness? You certainly want to impress your host with the coolest hostess gift, and you’re probably looking for a little trinket to give your best girlfriend to make her think of you whenever she looks at or uses it. But what exactly should that present be?

Here’s a list of items that I can’t live without and that I’ve received –and loved– as gifts over the years. I’ve asked you all to contribute your gift ideas in the discussion below, too.

Note: Some of the links take you to Amazon.com and, if you buy, we make a small commission which is then put towards micro-loans for women in need.

Small Hostess Gifts

The Ultimate Gift Guide

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Candles. A gift that everyone loves. Perfect for a new friend, for a hostess, or for your parents. I love this Oojra Candle because it come in a pretty box, is huge (13oz!), with three natural wicks, smells great, and is made from essential oils (lavender is safe for pets) and pure soy wax. I also love this La Jolie Muse candle gift set. Of course (because you know I’d never recommend something that wasn’t) they’re all-natural and non-toxic, and you can re-use the glass container.

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Cards Against Humanity. It’s by far my favorite party game. With a perfect 5-star rating from 35k people on Amazon, you can be sure they’ll love this one. Not for the fainthearted.

For your close friend that’s trying to be healthy or lose weight

The Ultimate Gift Guide

A slow juicer. This Omega Masticating Dual-Stage Juicer is a super-efficient juicer, and one that’s easy to operate and clean. Unlike juicers that use blades to get the juice out (heating and killing nutrients in the process), slow juicers create “cold pressed” juice, which saves the maximum amount of vitamins.

The Ultimate Gift GuideChloe’s cookbooks. Chloe is a friend and a super-sweetheart. If you’re from NYC or Miami, you’ll know her by her uber-successful and trendy restaurants, ‘by Chloe’. Her Chloe Flavor cookbook is full of gorgeous photos and super-delicious recipes that also happen to be healthy.

The Ultimate Gift GuideVeritable’s indoor garden. It’s super-easy to use, even for those of us with a black thumb. Just slide the organic seed pods in the slots and put some water in the reservoir. That’s it. It doesn’t even need to be near a window because it comes with special patented grow lights (and the light is automatically adjusted, depending upon ambient light in home). It’s also the best way to get pure organic cilantro, which is great for detoxing (but only if it’s grown hydroponic and organic!) Oh, and it’s carefully made in France, so it’s not gonna break after 6 months.

Gifts even picky friends will love

A weighted blanket. It’s one of those things that you have to try to believe. I was at a friend’s house upstate and she was raving about hers, so I tried it and immediately ordered one for myself. The weight makes you feel oh-so-cozy and happy. Plus, it’s said to help with sleep disorders, anxiety, and loneliness.

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Ullo. It sits on top of a decanter or wine glass and, as you pour the wine through, it filters out sulfites (the main culprit in hangovers) from wine. ‘Nuff said.

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Amazon ‘Echo Show’. It’s pretty, useful, fun, and does pretty much, well, everything you could imagine.

The Ultimate Gift Guide23 and Me DNA test kit. Five years ago I got this as a gift from my brother, and I can’t thank him enough. This is a gift that could have a major impact in a person’s life. The results tell you not only your ancestry, but loads of useful information about wellness (drugs you may not process well, DNA mutations, genetic health risks, etc.) It’s because of this DNA test and the results I got from taking them to an integrative doctor who understands nutrigenomics, that I now know how to avoid the migraines and body aches I was getting as a result of a DNA mutation. It changed my life!The Ultimate Gift Guide

A popcorn maker. Who wouldn’t love this retro-style popcorn maker? Or, if you want to splurge and they have the space, check out this extra-fancy one. It makes movie nights so much more fun, and is a very memorable gift. Oh, and don’t forget to also give them these popcorn kernels and some cute retro popcorn containers.

Fire TV Stick or Cube. It’s all you need for streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, etc. on demand — and I really mean on demand. Just talk to it to tell it what you want to watch and it’ll do the rest for you. A perfect gift for anyone on your list.

A charity donation in their name. This one always goes over well. You can then send them a card with the print-out and explanation of what the funds will go towards. I recommend Mercy for Animals because they’re they world’s largest farm-animal advocacy charity and are a trustworthy and efficient organization. Please don’t donate farm animals. Here’s why.

For family

The Ultimate Gift Guide

A photo book. Everyone loves getting a sentimental DIY gift. Get them to send you old photos, scan them, then arrange them in a photo book that you can then have printed. Or use photos from your last trip together. The variations are endless. There are loads of companies who make different styles of these. Google “photo books” and you’ll see what I mean! The best part is that you can create a new one each Christmas.

The Ultimate Gift Guide

Pets (but definitely not from a breeder!) Another option, for responsible family members who can take their pet to work or are at home all day, you could apply to foster a pair of dogs or pair of cats (there are organizations and shelters that match volunteers with adoptable dogs and cats for various periods of time), then give them the pets as a gift with the promise that there’s no commitment — if they keep them for a while then decide that they don’t want pets, then they can give them back to you. This one is a bit more risky, but has by far the biggest payout if it works out. I have a friend who never thought he wanted a dog until a friend gave him one, and now they’re absolutely inseparable. His dog has changed his life completely, for the better.

The Ultimate Gift Guide

A realistic faux orchid. This is a gift that looks elegant in almost every setting and requires no maintenance. It’s also a memorable and glam thing to bring if attending a holiday dinner party at someone’s house, instead of bringing the usual a bottle of wine.

Tickets. Parents and grandparents always love tickets to a show (especially if you’re going with them). Broadway, classical music, a kid’s show, or even local theater are all great choices.

Spa day. Everyone loves a day at a luxurious spa. Find one with great free facilities that are included (like a nice pool, sauna, etc.), and book a treatment or two. You could even go with them — treat yourself!

Share your gift ideas in the discussion below!

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 355 Comments

  1. Brooke Parker

    I could really give some of this to my closest friends. I’m going to add a coffee maker to the list too!

  2. Kristina Drake

    Cards of humanity are like the worst gifts you can give. I mean, not everyone finds them funny.

  3. Carla Allison

    Christmas without a gift is like a unsharpen pencil, pointless. Thanks urbanette for the ideas!

  4. Debra Cooper

    My sister is going to love half of these items but yeah, not giving all of it to her. But these are really wonderful and very useful. Talk about gifts

  5. Maxine Welch

    Cards against humanity is the root of all deadly laughters. That’s a really fun game, there’s also tons of variations to choose from.

  6. Reece Vincent

    Yayyy Christmas!!! ?? My favourite time of the year. I love giving gifts more than receiving. I love spoiling my family with nice treats and gifts, especially my nieces and nephews. Guess who their favourite uncle is? ?

  7. Jonathan Warren

    Okay the cruise idea sounds decent, but it’s not like i’m gonna buy it for anyone, if i buy it, i’m buying it for myself lol

  8. Heidi Tran

    I have those Oojra candles and they smell absolutely nice. My mom loves them too so I was thinking of giving her one for the holidays. ❤️

  9. Maggie Horton

    A pet for Christmas sounds very good but they can be very time consuming.

  10. Josh Butler

    oooh yes loved this! I always blank when it comes to christmas gifts and this was super helpful thank you so much!! my mom will love these scented candles!

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