Classic holiday gifts with a twist

I love giving gifts, but it can be hard, especially as people get more established.  Often questions like Does she really need another bag? run through my mind as I'm shopping and selecting.  Over the past few years, I've discovered that gifts that are consumable or gifts that wear out tend to work for almost everyone.  I like to think the gifts I've highlighted below are a little bit out of the box--in a refreshing way--but still speak to even the most traditional among us. 

Psst: I also have more ideas on my Pinterest gift ideas board!



When you're sick of giving your signature cookie tray:


  • Alton Brown's spiced nuts in a miniature burlap pouch
  • Homemade vanilla extract with Christmas kitchen towels
  • Flavored salts or sugars in a decorative jar

And a bonus: these keep for a while, so people can save them to enjoy after the holidays!


When you can't bear to give another framed picture but still want to share highlights from the year:


  • Photo calendar
  • Magnets of your (or someone else's) best Instagram photos


When you want to give back:

  • Donation to a micro-lending company or providing the capital for a microloan, through non-profits such as Kiva
  • TOMS Coffee (which also is available as a subscription box)
  • Sponsorship of a service or educational opportunity, such as Episcopal Relief and Development's Gifts for Life or Compassion International, which provide resources to those in need, ranging from clean water to community garden training


When you're ready to think outside the cork:

  •  Premium cocktail mixers, such as Jack Rudy bitters and tonic
  • Offbeat cocktail glasses, like options from this site


When you know a magazine subscription just won't cut it:

  • Snack box subscription, such as Nature Box (which I have tried and loved) or Graze
  • Spirits subscription boxes or wine or beer of the month clubs
  • Clothes subscriptions, such as Stitch Fix


When you're tired of Bath and Body Works:

  • Soy candles such as Lilypad candles or Rewined candles (made from repurposed wine bottles) 
  • Crazy Rumors lip balm (my favorite ever)


When you need to tell your hostess "thank you" but don't want to show up with the cliche bottle of wine:

  • Custom address stamps, such as these
  • Turkish bath towels with fancy soaps (Trader Joe's actually has some great ones right now)
  • Fancy olive oils or vinegars, such as these
  • Stormproof matches to help get the fire started and fancy teas or coffees for sipping by the fireplace