Relief for your Holiday Gift Confusion

We’re lucky to have friends in Hong Kong before we moved. These friends have kindly welcomed us with open arms, introduced us to their inner circles, and since it’s that time of year, to their holiday parties.

I’ve always loved holiday parties. Loads of food, bottles of wine, festive holiday getups. Even people, in general, seem to be a little more laid back than usual (perhaps it’s because this is the only time of the year most companies allow it?).

Gift giving, however, is one thing about the holidays that gives me anxiety.

I can do White Elephants since those are more low-key, but my brain melts whenever I’m involved in a Secret Santa group. I always seem to end up with someone who I know the least 😳

But there’s one of piece of advice from a good friend that I plan to use going forward: gift items that you love.  

So, to help alleviate some of this gift getting confusion, I created a list of 10 things that I’m loving this holiday season. Hope you find some of these ideas useful too!  

1. Fitness Classes In the past, when shopping for someone who is either a fitness fanatic or trying to get themselves into the fitness saddle, my mind instantly defaulted to fitness clothing. But since I’d rather not worry about how it fits, a simple alternative could be to get one or two classes to a fitness program that you like or a popular one that you’ve heard of.  Perhaps with the promise that you’ll join them too? One or two sessions with a personal trainer is also a great option.

2. Loungewear/pajamas – Who doesn’t love loungewear? As mentioned in number 1, I get nervous about buying clothing unless they try it first, BUT, for family or friends who are basically family, I’d say lounge wear/pajamas/house slippers is an exception. Here are some of my favorite picks this year:

a. Women’s Loungewear/pajamas from Nordstrom
b. Men’s Loungewear/pajamas from Nordstrom
c. House slippers from Nordstrom
d. Women’s Loungewear/pajamas from Shopbop
e. Men’s Loungewear/pajamas from East Dane
f. Loungewear/pajamas from Amazon

3. Personal Shopper – Since I’m so apprehensive about buying clothes for people, I think a great gift option is a personal shopper. Some personal shoppers might be pricey since they also double as stylists, but there are a lot of stores that offer free personal shoppers. You’ll definitely need to inquire how this is handled by each store individually, but bundling a personal shopper along with a gift card (depending on spending limit) is a great gift for anyone looking to upgrade their wardrobe. Below are a few stores offering the service, but if you’re wondering about a store that’s not listed, definitely call and find out.

a. Anthropologie
b. Nordstrom
c. Topshop
d. Banana Republic
e. J.Crew
f. Club Monaco and Madewell – They don’t mention it on their sites, but when I was living in New York I recalled them offering personal shopping assistance for free while shopping in the store or via appt, so definitely worth asking about.

4. Delicate Jewelry – I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but love delicate pieces as they can be easily layered with other pieces or worn alone. Larger pieces are often a bit tricker if you’re not sure whether that’s exactly what they want so delicate, everyday pieces are my gifting go-tos. Some of my favorite brands are:

a. Madhuri Parson Jewelry
b. Catbird
c. Gorjana
d. Satya

5. Beauty Products – Remember when it seemed like literally everyone would give give products from Bath and Body Works, The Body Shop, and Victoria Secret? If that’s still your jam, by all means, go forth!  Otherwise, consider some of the items below. Afterall, everyone loves some sort of beauty product.

a. Belif Aqua Bomb – Amazing for hydrating your skin during the winter months, for travel, and generally if you have dry skin
b. Drunk Elephant Volume 2: Come C About Me – This is one of my new favorite brands; if you’re not a fan of this kit, there are several others available at Sephora to try
c. Kiehl’s Healthy Skin Kit – A great basic, no-frills skin care kit that is also great for travelers
d. Becca Highlighter – This is definitely not a new product, but one that I’ve talked about the most this year and have used the most. It instantly gives my face radiance and is the best fix for post performance, gym, or any sweaty situation.
e. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red – I love my matte nudes, but there’s nothing like a good pop of red to kick up the holiday glam and alleviate some of those winter blues.

6. Massages – There are some folks that are not into massages, but since they are few and far between, I think massages are a great option for anyone who is looking for a moment of relaxation or just needs to be kneaded like a piece of dough. 

7. Plants – Not the most common Christmas gift, but they’re great for anyone who has just moved, looking to redecorate, or just needs a non-pet companion (yes, I talk to my plants). When shopping for a plant, keep in mind that getting one that does well regardless of light or how much water it receives (as long as it gets some of both) is probably the best bet so that the new owner doesn’t need to worry about where it’s placed.

8. 23 and Me DNA Test – Even less common than plants! But potentially far more intriguing especially for that science-lover. 23 and Me is a DNA test that requires a saliva sample as input (the kit that is provided will be used to collect this). 6-8 weeks after sending it back to the company, the company provides the user with results on what their DNA says about them. Waiting close to two months sounds so long, but it definitely sparks my curiosity. I might have to get one for myself!

9. Home Tech – Everyone loves some good home tech. I never even open my weather app anymore unless I’m not home. Options include:

a. Amazon Echo Plus
b. Amazon Echo Spot
c. Google Home
d. Philips Hue White LED Smart Lighting Starter Kit
e. Nest Learning Thermostat
f. Hisense Portable Air Conditioner

10. Cooking Tech – Cooking is unfortunately not a skill that I possess, but since several folks in my family are masterful at it, it wouldn’t be a fair gift hunt if I didn’t include cooking tech in my research. Options include:

a. Philips Digital Airfryer
b. Ninja 4-in-1 Kitchen System
c. Instant Pot
d. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
e. iPad Kitchen Mount

Hope you find this list helpful! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite gifts this season! Happy gifting and happy holidays!

Blog edited by: Betty Ho
📸: Lan Cheong

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