I hope everyone is gearing up for a great Thanksgiving and kickoff to the holiday season! I really, really, really need a break, so to that end, I took all next week off work and am so excited for a week of relaxing, eating, drinking, reading, and family time.
Because of all the forecasted shipping delays and supply chain backups this year, I’ve started my holiday shopping earlier than ever before. While I still haven’t decorated for Christmas, I’ve gotten into the holiday spirit in a few ways already over here—Christmas movies started playing the day after Halloween, and I may or may not have been listening to Christmas music since mid-October. (We all need some extra joy in our life this year!)
Back when my job wasn’t as demanding, I used to do multiple holiday gift guides every year—they are all still on the blog in the archives if you’re interested in browsing them for additional gift ideas! But the past couple of years, I’ve gone with what I like to call the ‘Oprah model’ and released one big holiday gift guide with all my favorite things. And today, I am really excited to press publish my 2021 Gift Guide—everything on this guide is something I personally own, love, and recommend.
I know a lot of people have found themselves in stressful economic situations this year, especially with the rising inflation, and my intention with these gift guides is never to make you feel like you have to buy something. None of the items on this list are life changing and I’ve learned over time that buying stuff rarely makes me happier or fills any sort of void in my life. I am just sharing my recommendations in case they’re helpful—no pressure to buy at all.
Lastly, if you’re looking for ideas for how to throw the perfect NYE party, check out pages 24-25 of this year’s Sonder/Sway gift edit for all of my recommendations. (As an aside, I can’t believe it’s going to be 2022!)
I got my first pair of Sarah Flint Natalie flats earlier this year—and they are truly the best. They are so comfortable, well-made, and I love the elevated take on the bow. While these are definitely a splurge, I promise they are worth every penny! I usually wear a size 7 (37), but sized up to a 7.5 (37.5) in these since they are genuine leather.
AND, this month, Sarah Flint is offering $50 off 1 pair of shoes, $100 off 2 pairs, $150 off 3 pairs, and $200 off 4+ pairs! The promotion begins November 18, 2021 and goes through November 29, 2021.
I love this gorjana Mosaic Coin Necklace so much—it’s very versatile and goes with everything, but also makes a statement. The quality of gorjana for the price point Is great.
My favorite mascara under the sun! While it is definitely on the pricier side for mascara, it truly is the best—it lengthens and volumizes your lashes. Since I started wearing this mascara, I rarely wear eyeliner anymore.
Until recently, I was a Wet Brush gal—but I tried the Tangle Teezer and am never going back! What I love about it is that it is so much easier to get the hair out of than the Wet Brush. This would make for a great stocking stuffer, too.
If you travel a lot like I do, this travel toiletry bag is a game changer! It fits so much and I keep mine packed and ready to go with travel toiletries so that it’s one less thing I have to pack before any trip. It also comes in several other colors, but I love the classic black.
This loungewear set is one of my best Amazon buys all year—it’s a beautiful waffle knit fabric that is thick and comfortable. It’s perfect to change into after a lot day at work! It comes in 13 colors, and there’s also a pant-length version that would be great for colder temperatures.
These stud earrings from the brand PAVOI—which is one of my favorite jewelry brands on Amazon—have quickly become a go-to pair of earrings for weekdays. They are subtle, but unique, and if you have second holes like I do, they pair well with other earrings.
These diamond studs are another great Amazon find—I have the 2 carats in the gold plated sterling silver. They look real and even though I wear mine all the time, haven’t tarnished.
These bead ball bracelets are such a fun layering piece—I stack them all together sometimes or sometimes I stack two or three with my Apple Watch. They are stretchy, but are good quality, I never worry about one breaking.
I never thought I was a face oil person until my best friend Emma introduced me to the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This stuff is amazing, especially in the winter when you need extra hydration. It’s worth every penny!
I bought ~the Amazon jacket~ when it was on sale for less than $100 during Prime Day this June, and it hands down is one of my best buys of the year. This coat is so warm and has a lot of convenient pockets. It also has zips on the side, so if you’re wearing something bulkier underneath, you can make it larger. I found it runs true to size—I bought a large.
These pillows are probably the most random thing on this gift guide, but y’all, they are THE BEST pillows. I purchased these last year when I needed new pillows, and I am so glad I did! They are soft and cooling, and truly feel like the best hotel pillows in the world. Don’t just take my word for it, they have over 152K reviews on Amazon!
I never really had much of an interest in an Apple Watch, but last year, my sisters both got them and they really sold me on how great it is—especially for the activity tracking since I love to go on walks. It’s been one of my best purchases of the year, and if you’re worried about the notifications like I was, it’s super easy to turn most of them off. I pretty much only get notified for texts and activity tracking.
I went with the 40mm SE model that has GPS only, and I am really happy with the model I chose—I don’t have any buyers remorse about not choosing the most premium Apple Watch.
While I often keep the band my Apple Watch came with on—especially when I am working out—this is the band I put on when I want something a little less athleisure for work or a night out with friends. What’s also nice about this watch band is that it comes with a tool to take out any links you don’t need.
Whenever I wear a full face of makeup, after I wash my face, I use this Pixi Glow Tonic—I swear it has made such a difference in how clear my skin is! It gets off all the makeup that’s left behind, even after washing your face, that you can’t see.
I bought this top at the beginning of September, and it’s one I’ve reached for almost every weekend since. It’s just perfect for going out or for dinners with friends, and it pairs well with jeans and faux leather leggings alike. I would recommend sizing down!
While I love the Sarah Flint Natalie flats I shared above, these flats from Birdies are another great option at a more affordable price point. These are so comfortable and take no time at all to break in. I own them in several pairs—I hope they do pointed toe flats at some point!
This Kiehl’s Line-Reducing Concentrate is a must-have for my morning routine. Ever since I started using this product, I’ve noticed my skin is more moisturized and brighter. Can’t recommend this one enough!
LL Bean Boat and Totes are classics for a reason—they are just so functional! I have all different sizes, but the one I reach for the most is the large with long handles and a zip top. It’s the perfect bag for a weekend trip. Whether you embroider one with a cute saying or a monogram, these would make a great gift.
The Laniege lip sleeping mask is one of my holy grail beauty products—I especially reach for it in the winter when the air dries out my lips super quickly I am partial to the original berry flavor.
I got my first pair of UGG boots back in high school and have been a fan ever since. I recently bought these ankle-height ones to wear around the house, and they’ve been especially great for work from home. I highly recommend sizing up in these—the hole you put your foot through is pretty small. I wear a 7 in everything and took an 8 in these.
Theses are my favorite affordable sunglasses—they’re just $15 and are super flattering! I reach for these more often than my more expensive sunglasses.
This blue and white nativity scene is beautiful and would make such a thoughtful gift for a close friend or family member. I love how classic it looks—it would go with almost any decor!
I am sure you have seen these shoes everywhere—and they are so worth the hype. While they aren’t the most practical shoe for an East Coast winter, they are the most comfortable heeled sandals I own. These are great for wedding season; I wore them to a wedding in October and could easily dance in them all night.
This Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder is my favorite product to set my foundation with—I love the glow finish, and it would be especially fun to wear this around the holidays!
Sara Fitz makes some of my favorite notepad designs, and this striped shirt one is my favorite. Even though they’re on the pricier side for a notepad, I love supporting a woman-owned small business and I’ve found they last a really long time. There are some other cute patterns on the website, too!
‘Emma’ is one of my favorite pieces of art in my home—and while I know she’s polarizing, any one of Josh Young’s portraits would make for a great gift of original art. I also love that he’s DC based, too!
This notebook from Appointed is the best one I’ve ever owned—it makes taking notes in meetings so much more enjoyable because it’s so beautiful. I love the forest green cover, and the paper is very weighty, too.
For all the foodies in your life, one of my favorite prints is this DC matchbook print from My Father’s Daughter Designs. She does incredible work and also has prints of NYC matchbooks, too.
The Nordstrom Lingerie pajamas are my favorite in the world—they are so soft and I find them to be way more comfortable than even some of the more expensive pajamas I’ve spent money on, including LAKE. They hold up so well in the wash, too.