After a less than joyous year, the season of actual joy is upon us. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and even if things feel less than normal this time, I still find immense happiness in giving to my loved ones. If you enjoy this part of the holiday season (or just gifting in general), then read on to see my personal top picks for gift-giving season this year!
Maybe it’s the Southerner in me that is drawn to personalized gifts and apparel (we are responsible for popularizing monograms, after all), but there’s just something so heartwarming about personalizing an ordinary coffee mug for a beloved friend, thus turning it into an extraordinary coffee mug that makes her smile every time she pours her morning coffee into it. I purchased the above gift from Etsy, which makes me even happier – any chance I get to support a small business or entrepreneur rather than a large corporation, I will gladly take!
I purchased two of the above personalized friendship candles from Etsy this year – one for a friend who was there for me during a very difficult life event (candle pictured above) and one for a friend’s birthday! These would make excellent holiday gifts as well – you can personalize the candle with any message you’d like, and choose any scent or finish you prefer. For each candle I gifted, I opted for the “wooden wick” finish, which my friends raved about because it releases a homey campfire crackling sound!
This gift falls into a niche that not every reader will belong to, but I simply couldn’t leave it out – it has to do with my alma mater, after all! As you may know, I am currently living in Connecticut, but am originally from the state of Alabama, where I was raised and earned my Bachelor degree. I still have not met another Alabamian during my time in Connecticut, so imagine my pleasant surprise when a coworker in my department at work revealed to me that she and her husband (both from the state of New York) are avid Auburn University fans – in fact, her husband used to make it an annual tradition to hop a plane to Alabama with his buddies for an Auburn football game every year! Consequently, when my coworker had her new baby girl this fall, I just had to send her six-year-old son an Aubie shirt, and her newborn baby a “War Eagle” onesie. My favorite place to purchase all things Auburn is Scarlet & Gold, and one major reason why is because it started as a small business by Auburn alumna Megan Smalley. The other critical reason why is because their merchandise is classy, subtle and, simply put, beautiful.
You may have noticed a pattern here with my top gifts, which is that each gift is personalized for the friend or loved one based on my relationship with them. Even if you’d rather stay safe with the ongoing pandemic and send something electronically, like a gift card, make sure you pick something that you just know the person will absolutely love and use. Like a Doordash gift card for the couple with the new baby who might appreciate not having to cook dinner one night during their hectic schedule, or a Starbucks gift card for the trendy coffee addict in your life!
Whatever you decide, I hope your holidays are filled with the warmth, love, and joy we all deserve most this year.