Gifting can go one of two ways: It can bring people closer to you or it can make them contemplate if you even know them at all. To avoid the awkwardness of the latter, the Cut editors have gathered 30 gifts that we’ve given personally or used ourselves.
When I say I am addicted to this brand’s varieties of vinegars … This Meyer lemon-honey vinegar is perfect for when you want to taste the tiniest hint of sweetness in your meal. I’ll splash some into my soup when it’s simmering; I use it in salad dressings; I’ve added it to pasta, shakshuka, anything savory that needs some acid to brighten it up and keep the dish from tasting too dull. I know it seems extra to use a fancy vinegar when good old apple-cider vinegar or even balsamic is right there, but the flavors Acid League vinegars give to a meal are really unparalleled (other inventive vinegar flavors include a tomato-saffron vinegar, a strawberry rosé, and a blueberry-pomegranate balsamic). It’s the perfect gift, too, because I once received it as a gift, and now that I can’t live without it, I want everyone else to know the exact same pain I feel whenever I run out of my Acid League vinegar. — Brooke Marine, deputy culture editor
When I was growing up, my mom used this cute little tomato timer in the kitchen. Now, I keep it at my desk and do the Pomodoro Technique (work for 20 minutes, break for 5, repeat) whenever I’m feeling stuck on a task. It’s a nice stocking stuffer for home chefs, students (I’m getting it for my two sisters in college), or anyone who could use a little boost during the workday. — J.L.
And if you get either of these candles, you need this trimmer because, yes, candle health is a thing. Make a mundane task easy and chic with this gift. I’m giving it to my mom who loves receiving candles as gifts but never actually lights them up, which defeats the whole purpose of gifting a candle. — B.N.
This Senteurs d’Orient body oil has been on my gift list for years because it soothes my skin and I smell like a bouquet of flowers every time I lather it on. It includes 14 plant-based oils like safflower seed, macadamia, jojoba, and olive oil and smells like bergamot, jasmine, and orange blossom. — Joanna Nikas, deputy style editor
My favorite gifts to give are gratitude journals. I like to add some useful extras too so that it has a bit more style. Enter: the ritual kit. Who doesn’t enjoy some crystals with a candle, body oil, and Palo Santo? You can use them while journaling or cozying up this winter. Plus it’s the kind of gift that feels intentional while being something you can give to as many friends as you’d like without feeling like you phoned it in. — Lindsay Peoples, editor-in-chief
Behold the gift I’m gifting to myself. I had received a sample size of Dypitique’s Do Son Eau perfume a while ago and every time I wore it I received compliments. Now the empty bottle just lies inside my makeup as a friendly reminder I need the scent in my life once again, and what better time to treat myself than the holidays? — Bianca Nieves, senior shopping editor
There’s a lot to love about Maison Louis Marie’s No. 4. It’s a full-size soy wax candle that won’t break the bank with a spicy, earthy scent that some compare to Le Labo’s Santal. The candle is usually featured in Sephora’s holiday sale, which is when I stock up on several to burn in my own apartment and to gift out. And once the candle burns down, it’s easy to clean out and repurpose the minimal, label-free jar for corralling makeup or other odds and ends. It’s almost like two gifts in one! — Catherine Thompson, senior editor
Candle culture can be very “hashtag self-care” or “welcome-to-my-pristine-minimalist-home,” so I love how grotesque this one is. But it’s also beautiful! The craftsmanship! I bought a similar one for myself last year and it makes me smile. Yes, you can burn it, and no, it doesn’t smell like meat. — Emilia Petrarca, senior fashion writer
The love that I have for all things Ami Colé knows no bounds. From the glow-enhancing tinted moisturizer to the deliciously hydrating lip oil, this collection has truly been the gift that keeps on giving in my getting-ready routine. All of the products make me feel so put together in literally five minutes. It’s because the blendable, no-fuss formulas are super-simple and seamless to apply. Plus who wouldn’t want the “You Can Have It All” set? That’s a makeup mantra we all should get behind. — Maya Allen, beauty director-at-large
My sister recently moved into her first apartment, so I’m getting her this nice (and inexpensive) breadbox. I was shocked by how much of a difference it made in my kitchen: The counters look way less cluttered now that I don’t have bags of bread just sitting out, the pop of color is nice to look at, and the lid doubles as a convenient cutting board. — Jordan Larson, features editor
I’m convinced that disposable cameras are the best gift for kids. There’s the novelty of playing with something “old-fashioned”; the lack of immediate gratification makes photos feel more special than those on an iPhone; and taking pictures gives kids something to do at an event that might otherwise bore them (weddings, family gatherings). Or at least, that’s been my experience with my 8-year-old sister, who will be getting more cameras this year. — J.L.
If you give one gift to a loved one (or yourself) make it this K18 repair mask. After just one try I was addicted to it. I noticed a significant improvement in my hair right away. I had real volume! It’s expensive but worth every penny, trust me. That’s what makes it a perfect gift: It’s a self-care splurge you might not buy for yourself, but would love to have. — J.N.
Give the gift of glossy skin this holiday season with the cult-favorite Good Genes Sunday Riley serum. I’m giving this to my sister who swears by Sunday Riley products and asks for refills every year. And she is not alone. Maya Allen, our beauty director-at-large, also loves this product. When she is dealing with dark spots or unwanted congestion, she applies it at night and wakes up with a glow. — J.N.
A thong is kind of a strange gift, but hear me out … Bare Necessities worked with stylist Kate Young to revamp their offerings, and while a lot of their new pieces are great (I got a sneak peek and tried on a bunch of their bras and underwear), this seamless thong is exceptional. It is stretchy yet supportive. And unlike gifting another sweater they will likely add to a growing, untouched pile, people always need more underwear. Plus: It goes up to a 3XL. — J.N.
If my boyfriend had to choose between me and homemade popcorn, I’m not sure who’d win. But even though we (mostly he) makes a big batch of popcorn nearly every night, we don’t really have the perfect pot for popcorn-ing. There’s lid condensation, burned kernel issues, “See, you’re doing it wrong. / Fine, you do it then. / But you said you’d do it. / Okay, now this is a fight.” So a perfect-pop-every-time popcorn popper? Lifesaver. Plus more time for arguing over toppings. — J.O.
This Nightly Retinol Serum and Rich Moisture Balm is a duo I recently discovered. After applying both the retinol and balm after, I’ve found that my notoriously dry skin feels thoroughly quenched with moisture and it guarantees a glow the morning after. I’ll be giving this set to my “less is more” friends, who want to see real results without doing the most. — M.A.
When the pandemic started, my boyfriend and I started collecting vintage glassware to elevate our home-cooked meals (or Uber Eats deliveries) and turn them into “restaurantlike” meals. This cup makes every glass of water a work of art. — Roberto Johnson, fashion market editor
Nothing says “I’m an adult” like having fancy hand soap in your home. This one smells great and looks chic on any counter. It has beads that lightly exfoliate, leaving your hands soft and smooth. — J.N.
My husband and I have made it into our 30s without owning beach chairs, so this is a gift for him that’s also a gift for me. Now that we have a toddler, we spend more time than ever at the beach and in the park, and I’m sick of sitting on a towel. These are compact enough to carry on the subway — and, crucially, won’t take up too much space in our apartment closet. — Erica Schwiegershausen, senior news editor
Anybody that really knows me is aware of how particular I am when it comes to my socks. So believe me when I tell you that these are the perfect socks. They’re super-cozy to wear at home on your lazy days and chic with any pair of sneakers or loafers. — R.J.
I love giving people cheeky ornaments. They’re such beautiful little things, but it’s hard to justify buying them for yourself since you only use them for like, one month max out of the year. Martinis are a crowd pleaser, and they had a big year. — E.P.
If your friend has graduated from the Five Minute Journal, consider gifting them this wellness journal from Papier. While it doesn’t have a motivational quote for each day, it’s divided in more sections so they can keep track of their goals, sleep, water intake, meals, and feelings. I also love how the pages aren’t dated so they can pick up wherever they left off in their wellness journey. Progress, not perfection, right? — B.N.
We all have that friend who religiously goes to their workout classes even though the weather screams to cuddle indoors. This sherpa coat from Athleta is the perfect gift for them to stay cozy (and stylish) before and after their classes. — B.N.
This gift is really for me. I mean, my boyfriend and I will get it for us, for our home that we share, which is nice. A gift for the apartment. But considering that he cooks dinner most weeknights, it’s really for me and my being able to ask for “healthy French fries tonight” several times a week. — Jen Ortiz, deputy editor
For the beauty lover in your life, nothing says “I love you” like upgrading their toolkit. I tried out this Rose Inc. brush and it helps makeup look blended and smooth. It also looks great on my shelf and gives me a little bit of joy every time I reach for it. — J.N.
In this household we love microcurrent devices, but we also love when they include red-light therapy. SolaWave’s Skincare Wand is extremely convenient in size and benefits. As big and thin as a very chic and sleek pen, it can fit in any carry-on and can be added seamlessly to any routine. Just make sure to give them a prepping serum, too. — B.N.
I like the idea of being like, “Oh, yeah, a celebrity made that,” about something in your home, like you’re just casually friends with Seth Rogen. — E.P.
I’m really not a pet person, but I want people to know that I can appreciate their animals from a distance, so I like to get them gifts, too. — E.P.
For my nearest and dearest, I like to give photography prints. The selection at Dust Off is truly expansive, and includes 150 prints. Plus if you want a gift to give back, the prints raise awareness and fundraise for global humanitarian causes. (The latest set is in support of War Child U.K.) — Noelle Lacombe, photo director
Real flowers die and that’s sad, so I like the idea of giving someone a fabric corsage instead. And because I missed out on this ritual at prom, I think we should bring it back. It’s romantic. — E.P.