Hopefully you're nearing the end of your holiday shopping (though if you haven't started yet, we have one more guide coming for you!) and have found it to be a little less stressful this year...or at least have been able to feel better about your purchases by supporting socially motivated brands and businesses. We have learned that gifting is far more enjoyable when we focus on what we love and admire about the special people in our lives. However, this strategy has one pitfall: what do you give to those you don't know that well, but still care about and want to acknowledge?
As we head into the peak of the holiday season, you are probably finding yourself wanting to thank certain acquaintances for helping you in various ways, whether for hosting your family or for working with you in a professional capacity. The best and most valuable present might be a truly thoughtful thank you card — if you put the time into a well-written note, there's no need to add anything else. But, if you still want to include a little extra something, we've come up with some meaningful, substantial options that don't break the bank.
These tried and true favorites that are all under $50. They're sourced from independent shops, but you should be able to find similar items at any of your local businesses. If you are feeling really motivated, we recommend keeping a few of these on hand at all times, so that you always have a last-minute present available when the need arises.
A gift for the party hostess that will stand out from all of the bottles of wine:
- A candle or toiletry set from your favorite vacation spot. We visit Tulum every few years always stock up on these candles (which are less expensive at the hotel, too!) to give as gifts over the next year.
- Incense and a minimal but beautiful holder (and here's another option!) or the perfect match striker. These are the sorts of beautiful tokens that people might feel silly buying for themselves, but that they'll particularly appreciate as presents.
A gift for the hostess who is letting you stay in her home:
- Beautiful handmade soaps and a simple soap dish.
- An American-made mixing bowl and your favorite brownie, cookie or bread mix. (Technical bonus points if it's a handmade recipe or mix...but real-life bonus points if you just admit your best recipe comes from a box!)
- A coffee table book or magazine (consider a subscription!) that aligns with the giftee's interests.
A gift for your mentor, trainer, acupuncturist, favorite shop-keeper...or someone else with whom you have a one-sided relationship and want to show your appreciation in a tangible manner:
- A beautiful, American-made notebook or journal.
- A simple, elegant candle.
- A gift card to a great local restaurant or coffee shop near the person's home or place of business.
A gift for a friend, family member or colleague who just had a new baby:
- Something luxurious that she wouldn't normally buy herself, like an organic face spray or a lip balm she'll want to leave propped on the counter.
A gift for the new baby:
A gift for your coworker:
- A handmade coffee mug and a gift card to get her through the week.
- A pair of funny socks and a decadent chocolate bar.