Gift Guides, Holiday

The Fewer & Better Gift Guide

I love to give gifts, but more than that, I love to give thoughtful gifts that actually get use. I’m not a fan (obviously) of extra, unnecessary things, and it’s really hard around the holidays to avoid that trap! While I like writing gift guides, I don’t want to share a list of random stuff, especially not a list of gifts you’ll see everywhere else. Like my other gift guides, I’ve worked hard to share unique, timeless, and above all good gifts. This is the only holiday gift guide I’m going to share this year and I hope that you’ll find something for everyone on your list! (And if you don’t, let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to add anyone I’ve missed!)


A few housekeeping notes: Every gift here has been tried and tested by me or my family and friends, or is being purchase this year; as always, I never recommend anything that I wouldn’t, or haven’t, bought myself. Affiliate links are marked by asterisks, but again, I only use affiliate links to items we own and love. So without further ado, here are some of my tried-and-true gifts for everyone on your list.


For Him

A made-to-measure shirt

This is absolutely my go-to gift for my husband–I give one at least once a year. It’s a wonderful way to get exactly what he wants and have the shirt fit him perfectly. Sid Mashburn’s clothes are of the best quality and their service is impeccable.

Sailcloth weekender bag

I anticipate a little bit of travel in our future, so this sailcloth weekender bag* is in my cart for my husband. I have an older version of this bag that has held up to incredibly heavy usage in my twenties and still looks great. It’s the perfect size for a not-too-long trip.

Black tie accessories

Every man (and woman!) should be prepared for a black tie event at the drop of a hat… at least that’s my opinion. Make sure the man in your life is prepared with a pocket square, cummerbund, and bow tie. We like Dege & Skinner.


For her

A beautiful pair of gloves

Maybe it’s just me, but I always start the season with one glove and not the other. Needless to say, I’ve gone through many gloves over the years. This pair* from J. Crew, this pair* from Mark & Graham, and this pair* from Brooks Brothers are my three favorites.

A pearl necklace

One of my most cherished possessions is my mother’s pearl necklace–because it was hers, but also because it’s such a versatile piece of jewelry. I love wearing it with everything from jeans to black tie gowns. This* is the one I have and it is perfect in every way.

Something to remember the year

One of the things I remember most about my grandmother’s house was her collection of enamel boxes, and one of the first gifts my husband gave me was one to start my own collection. Choosing one of these beautiful boxes is a wonderful way to start or add to a collection!


Stocking Stuffers

Diptyque scented oval

I absolutely adore Diptyque’s scented ovals*, and these make a nice change from the ubiquitous candles! Perfect for anywhere in your house (and great for your closet, too!)

Ornaments

I love to put a special ornament in each stocking every year! Some of my favorite places to find them are The Met (especially the snowflake ornament), The Pink House Design, Houses & Parties, and the Central Park Conservancy.

SPECIAL NOTE! Fewer & Better readers can receive 15% off with the code FEWERANDBETTER15 at The Pink House Design now through the end of Friday, November 18th!

Cashmere socks

The ultimate in luxury! I love and wear these* every day in cold weather.

Peppermint bark

A family tradition of ours–we’ve merged traditions from my childhood and my husband’s by using Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark, but when I was growing up we always had Williams-Sonoma’s* in our stockings.

Chocolate truffles

Louis Sherry truffles* are my favorite! It’s especially fun to choose a beautiful box. Saks has a great selection. It’s a great treat to find in your stocking or under the tree.

A really good candle

Okay, I had to throw this one in here. I’m still a die-hard Diptyque* fan (this is the one early 2010s trend that apparently stuck!) and I also adore Cire Trudon* candles. Getting the small sizes is a great stocking stuffer and a perfect way to test out new scents!


For the hard-to-buy-for person

Russ & Daughters caviar
A luxurious and delicious gift that’s perfect in so many ways, but most of all because it’s a luxury few buy for themselves. Pair with a bottle of champagne if you’re local and bringing it in person for a truly memorable gift!

Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers are a family tradition, and Caspari’s* are so good! This is a fun gift to give and then be able to use right away.

Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas hamper

I find food to be a great gift for hard-to-buy for people, and my motto here is finding a luxury that the recipient wouldn’t necessarily purchase themselves. I love Fortnum & Mason’s hampers, and it’s lovely they offer a selection of exportable hampers for the holiday season at a variety of price points.

A museum membership card

A museum membership is such a great gift to give, especially to one that’s more off the beaten path! It’s a go-to gift for me to give (and receive!)

Tickets to the opera or theatre

We received opera tickets for our wedding, which was such a fun and thoughtful gesture! The entire evening becomes the gift and it will be a memorable choice for your recipient. It’s also a great way to get back in the habit of getting dressed up and going places now that things seem to be settling down again.


For the homebody

A sheepskin rug
I’m sure any homebody in your life has more blankets/candles/shawls/etc. than they can handle—I know that I certainly do! Think a little bit outside the box. One of the most simple yet luxurious purchases I’ve ever made is a sheepskin rug for my bathroom. Mine lasted five years and sadly bit the dust a few years ago through no fault of its own, and a new one is on my list! Sheepskin is actually an excellent bathmat, as the natural lanolin in the wool prevents bacterial growth, and sheepskin can absorb enormous amounts of moisture before feeling wet. The Aran Sweater Market is where I’ve purchased all my sheepskin rugs.

A great pair of slippers

We live in our sheepskin slippers–both the LL Bean versions (men’s here*, women’s here*) and the Brooks Brothers version* for my husband’s primary pair. Sheepskin is just so cozy and both sets of slippers are hard-wearing and long-lasting!

A warm sweater

I feel as though everyone primarily cares about cashmere (I’m guilty of that; I have a large collection), but there’s not a more classic sweater than a Shetland sweater. I love J. Press’s Shaggy Dog for both men and women. I also adore everything from By Merryn–her new striped sweaters are perfect for year-round wear, but especially good in the winter! (And you can use my special code, SARAH20, for 20% off–an incredibly generous offer from Merryn!)

Valet trays

We love these square trays from the Mashburns–they are such a practical and beautiful way to keep your nightstand organized! You can find a selection of colors and sizes here.

Janie Kruse Garnett bedding*

I’m absolutely in love with Janie Kruse Garnett’s modern take on the chintz bedding that I’ve always loved. I’ve been on the hunt for a pattern that really speaks to me (and isn’t too feminine), and I’ve finally found it. This is all I’m asking for for Christmas this year!


For employers, employees, clients, or those who help you

Tea and cookies
I’m so grateful to the many people who make my life work—teachers, security guards, our wonderful postal workers, and so on. I love to give something small in addition to the traditional Christmas tip. This year, I’m giving tins of these cookies—a Christmas tradition of ours!—as a gift, along with a bag of really nice espresso or tea. Add a great mug for extra points!

A jigsaw puzzle

This may seem like an oddity on this list, but puzzles are so fun and a great way to bring people together over the holidays and get them off their phones! I’ve enjoyed gifting and receiving Cavallini puzzles over the years–the quality is excellent and they are enjoyable to put together with others!

A bottle of wine and wine glasses

There’s nothing like a good bottle of wine around the holidays! I’m partial to champagne, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, my favorite red is Gevrey-Chambertin. As you know, I love my champagne coupes, and the wine glasses are also beautiful! Find both here*.


For the entertainer

Vintage barware

I love tracking down beautiful vintage barware for myself, and there are always so many fun and beautiful pieces to find to add to a friend’s collection! I love Houses & Parties’ curation, but there are so many other great places to find vintage barware. You can read my guide to online antique and vintage shopping, including my favorite sources, here!

A marble cheese board

I still bitterly regret the loss of the marble cheese board we used at the house I lived in in D.C. after college! I recently stumbled across a great collection at our local farm and look forward to picking a few up to use myself and gift this holiday. I also really love this one* from Williams-Sonoma, which has been a go-to housewarming gift over the years. Add these cheese knives* for an extra touch! (We have and love them; this was the pair I was searching for when we purchased our Amazon set* this summer–also a great option.)

A set of napkins

I would love to receive napkins this year, honestly–whether fine linen, block print cotton, or something in between, I love setting the table with something special and I find them so fun to give as well! I love Porthault, Julia Amory, and Pink House Design.

SPECIAL NOTE! Fewer & Better readers can receive 15% off with the code FEWERANDBETTER15 at The Pink House Design now through the end of Friday, November 18th!

A set of snack bowls

This is such a beautiful and practical gift, and a great way to enliven even cocktail hour on your own. These are in my cart for us for this year!


For children

Busy Town “I Found It!” board game*
The absolute best game for kids and the adults that play with them! We have spent hours with this game and we are still finding new things. I love it so much!

The Santa Writes Back kit

I love everything Mr. Boddington’s produces, and the Santa Writes Back kit is no exception! This is such a fun way to learn about Santa and experience the joy of Christmas through a child’s eyes. We’re looking forward to our response this year!

Melissa & Doug Tabletop Easel*

This was one of our big (in size, not price) Christmas gifts last year and I can’t tell you how much use it’s gotten. It’s held up so well and it’s so nice to gift something that encourages creativity instead of screentime! We love this easel and it makes a great gift for a child.

Silver spoon or silver cup

I think this sort of heirloom gift is so sweet for a new baby in the family! I cherish my silver cup and my silver spoon, as well as the beautiful silver spoon we received when my preschooler was born.

Legos

This is a great gift for any age! We love Legos* in our house (even me!) and we just have the best time freebuilding or assembling Lego kits. I’m definitely planning on adding some Harry Potter sets* to our collection this year.


For the crafty friend

Custom needlepoint canvas from The Slippery Needle*

I own several canvases from Maddie, and I worked with her to create a beautiful custom canvas for my husband. I have loved stitching it–I’m finally almost done!–and it is so meaningful to work with her to create something beautiful and unique!


For the recent (or soon-to-be) graduate

Dempsey & Carroll stationery
I think I wrote more thank-you cards in my first year out of college than I have at any other point in my life! And, nowadays, most people don’t have the stationery to use to express themselves. Dempsey & Carroll has a beautiful collection of bespoke stationery at various price points–and you can use my code, SARAHC, for 10% off!

Le Creuset griddle*

One of the most versatile things I’ve ever gifted, the Le Creuset griddle has held up to years of use and can be used for truly anything, from breakfast to lunch to dinner. A great option for someone starting off on their own!

Etiquette class

Starting a new life as an adult can be daunting, and there are often many etiquette issues you’ll run into on the way. My friend Mariah has started her own etiquette firm, Old Soul Etiquette, and she offers private lessons to take deep dives into the topics that are most relevant to you! Find out more here.


For a far-away grandparent

Grandparent-grandchild pen pal kit

As you know, I strongly believe in the importance of the handwritten word, and it’s never too early to start! This grandparent-grandchild pen pal kit is such a nice way to connect with loved ones at a distance.


For a parent or grandparent

A custom silhouette of their child/grandchild*

One of my favorite gifts I gave my husband was a handpainted silhouette during our little one’s first year of life. It’s a beautiful reminder of a special time, and I definitely need to add another to our collection!


Books for everyone!

I love to give and receive books for Christmas–there is always one in our stockings, and I often give them to family and friends, too. I’ve compiled a list of all my favorites for every age on my Bookshop.org page*–my favorite place to buy books online, and a great way to support independent bookstores!


I hope you have found this gift guide useful (and comprehensive!) If there’s anyone or anything I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll edit the guide to include my selections. Happy holidays!

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