From travel-inspired presents to culinary-themed gifts that take your taste buds far away—these items will inspire, excite, and delight any recipient.
‘Tis the season for giving (and maybe a little getting for ourselves). That’s why our editors have curated a list of fun and thoughtful gifts big and small, that transport senses, help you hack the airport, and give back to our planet in ever-so-stylish ways. Happy Holidays!
Top Picks for You
Fly By Jing Dumplings Variety Pack
BIPOC and immigrant-owned Fly By Jing first came on our radar when we first discovered their Sichuan Chili Crisp—a must-have pantry staple to enhance any dish. Since then, we’ve been gravitating towards their products that perfectly capture the flavors of China’s Sichuan province in a way that is at once delicious and accessible. Enter the Fly By Jing Dumplings Variety Pack, which is here to ensure we never need to order bad carry-out again. These frozen dumplings range from savory pork soup dumplings to regular dumplings that come in either pork, shrimp, and scallop or pork, shrimp, and mushroom. If you’re wondering exactly how to make dumplings at home, Fly By Jing makes it easy. You can purchase one of their steamer pots for the soup dumplings, or you can boil or pan-fry the other dumplings in minutes.
Kelly + Jones Wine Cabin Candle
Woman-founded Kelly & Jones offers candles and eau de parfums that capture the aromas of a fine wine or cocktail. Close your eyes and spritz on their Eau de Negroni (with notes of Italian grapefruit and Tuscan rosemary), and you’re suddenly somewhere in Italy, enjoying an aperitivo on a warm afternoon. Try a spray of their Mezcal Verde, and this Mexico-inspired perfume will conjure images of sunbaked agave fields and smoky sips of Mezcal.
Of all the unique perfumes and candles that Kelly + Jones offers, their Wine Cabin candle is our absolute favorite. Having burnt this candle in my apartment for over a week now, I can attest to its ability to transform your space into a cozy cabin in the woods with a roaring campfire nearby, a robust glass of red wine in hand, and hints of sage, cedar, and sweetgrass wafting through the air. In short, their Wine Cabin Candle captures the very essence of a weekend getaway in upstate New York, somewhere flanked by dense forests and hand-knit blankets.
The Travel Boxx
This wouldn’t be a travel-inspired gift guide without at least one practical travel gift. Enter: The Travel Boxx, a Black woman-owned company offering a unique quarterly subscription service filled with five TSA-approved items. From universal adapters to collapsible water bottles, The Travel Boxx provides subscribers with thoughtful items curated to meet their travel needs, regardless if they’re avid jet-setters or planning their first trip. Beyond its mission to offer travelers useful items, The Travel Boxx spotlights small businesses in an effort to help subscribers discover new and exciting travel brands.
The holiday season is all about indulging in warm hot cocoa and sweet treats. Woman-owned Wandel elevates the usual holiday cookie with a unique marriage between a biscotti and a cookie inspired by the Jewish Mandel bread. The result is a dessert to which you can ascribe nearly all adjectives: sweet, dense, soft, crumbly, nostalgic, and—above all—comforting. A playful take on Mandel bread, a traditional twice-baked cookie, Wandel comes in four different flavors: original (milk chocolate and cinnamon sugar), dark chocolate, lemon poppyseed, and gingerbread. Our favorite? Let’s just say you’ll find us cozy by the fireplace this holiday season, dipping the original Wandel in our morning coffee.
Pura Travel Scents
During the COVID quarantine, we became something of an expert at creating the illusion that we were anywhere but stuck at home in our pajamas. Through virtual travel experiences and global-inspired cooking classes—we could transport ourselves to, say, Paris for a brief moment. One of the best ways to pretend you’re somewhere far-flung? Scent. It’s said our sense of smell is the strongest tie to memory, and Pura’s destination-inspired scents do a stellar job at bringing us back to some of our favorite travel moments in Santorini or the Amalfi Coast. The Pura Diffuser is a smart home device that connects to your phone via WiFi and allows you to remotely start, stop, and control the intensity of your selected scents, as well as light up the diffuser and select a color setting.
FOOD LA LA Macaron Masterclass & Kit
French macarons are notoriously tricky to make. Beat your egg whites too much or too little, and you’ll end up with macarons that look like they’ve been run over by a car. Layer in too much powdered sugar into your mixture, and you’ll wind up with cracked macaron cookies. Unbelievably, FOOD LA LA’S Macaron Masterclass & Kit makes this finicky treat both easy and fun to make. Woman-owned FOOD LA LA is all about making complicated recipes (like macarons) accessible, and they have the track record to prove it. In the past, FOOD LA LA has taught major companies to make macarons, including the teams at Sephora, Louis Vuitton, and more. Their Macaron Masterclass & Kit includes everything you need to make macarons plus baking décor, including sprinkles and edible metallic paint so you can really make your treats shimmer. On top of the kit, you’ll get access to a virtual masterclass to walk you through making your own macarons.
Villa Jeranda Shakshuka Kit
Originating in North Africa, Shakshuka is a popular dish that consists of eggs poached in a savory tomato sauce accented by Harissa. Not only is Shakshuka easy to make and customizable (try it with chickpeas and spinach), but it’s the perfect comforting meal for a cold winter day. Family-owned Villa Jeranda offers a Shakshuka Kit that gives you everything you need to make the perfect Shakshuka, including an artisan Moroccan olive oil, the family’s award-winning Harissa, sweet canned Sardinian tomatoes, and a Kefta rub.
Frühling Superfood Snacks
To dismiss woman-owned Frühling as an ordinary trail mix would be a mistake. One week of munching on this blend of organic nuts, dried berries, and roasted cocoa has us hooked and absolutely obsessed with dried mulberries. Have you had dried mulberries before? They are awesome. Frühling is a superfood snack (read: a very healthy stocking stuffer) that combines organic almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, roasted cocoa, Livermore walnuts, organic golden berries, and (the pièce de resistance) dried white mulberries. The ingredients are thoughtfully sourced from Belize, California, and Sicily before being made with love in New York City. Whether you’re a parent intent on getting the kiddos to enjoy something other than holiday cookies or have a friend who practically lives for hiking—you can’t go wrong with this small and artisanal gift.
Diaspora Co. Masala Renaissance
Founded by Sana Javeri Kadri, Diaspora Co. sources over 30 single-origin spices from 150 Indian and Sri Lankan farms. With a mission to foster a fair-trade system that better pays farmers, their high-quality spices bring the unique flavors of Asia to your kitchen. Their Masala Renaissance gift set includes six spice blends, including Chai, Haldi Doodh, Tandoori, Chaat, Biryani, and Garam. Of the six, our favorite is the Chai masala, which boasts notes of sweet fennel, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, making the perfect blend of flavor to kick off your day. Not sure how to make your own chai? Diaspora Co. shows you how.
'The Little Book of Satanism'
Hell is one destination that doesn’t get enough positive coverage. With the open-minded curiosity of any good traveler, La Carmina explores the history, culture, and practices of greatly misunderstood modern-day Satanists in The Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture, and Wisdom. A slim, lightweight paperback perfect for tossing into your carry-on, the little volume packs a mighty punch, examining Satan’s mighty and often affirmative influence throughout the ages and across the world. As a bonus, if you break open the Little Book on your plane ride, you’ll have an instant conversation starter with your seatmate—or keep them wide-eyed and silent throughout. It’s a win either way!
Trtl Travel Pillow
As Wu-Tang once said, “Protect Ya Neck.” If you’re stumped on stocking stuffers, look no further than this ergonomic, uber-flexible travel neck pillow. Not only does it pack easily, making it a no-nonsense add to a carry on, but it bests the donut pillow by supporting your neck with built-in ribbing and super soft fleece. It’s the bougie upgrade your body needs, so your loved one will be able to actually catch some zzz’s on their next journey. Best of all—it’s machine washable.
Baggu Packing Cubes
We’ve finally come around to the idea of packing cubes. A wee bit of foresight means my underpants are mingling with my Nike’s in my luggage, and I can cram every last bit into my carry on. (Checking’s for the birds at this point unless you’re investing in Air Tags.) It’s a true shame though that most packing cubes look like the design equivalent of a fruit cake. Enter, Baggu’s very stylish, very adorable packing cubes. Its sunshine-y patterns and playfulness actually make packing fun, and their hallmark as THE bag designers make them functional and durable, too.
Beis Regulation Pet Carry On
Our furry friends deserve to fly in style, too! This TSA-approved pet carry-on not only looks good, but is plenty breathable and roomy for your furry friend. It even has an expander for extra onboard comfort. And if you’re gifting this carrier, know the receiver won’t have that panicked meltdown in Terminal 1. Beis had the brilliant idea to add a laptop sleeve, key leash, trolley pass, water bottle, and ample pocket storage for your keys and cell. The perfect gift for any frequent flyer plus Fido, we’re obsessed with this do-it-all carry-on.
Are you and your friends lusting after the locales featured in season two of The White Lotus? Pick up a bottle of this gorgeously packaged amaro straight from Italy. Based in Percoto, Italy, the family-run operation has produced Amaro for 125 years. If you’re unfamiliar, amaro is an Italian digestif, perfect for imbibing after hefty suppers, mixed with cocktails (ahem, THE negroni spagliato) or simply enjoyed solo. It’s more special than gifting your standard bottle of gin or whiskey, and if you toss in a cookbook or pretty stemware, you’ve got a thoughtful and delish gift. Saluti!
Parks Project Yellowstone Sherpa Fanny
We love a good fanny. They’re perfect for any adventure, be it luxury travel or traipsing through the great outdoors. This adorable sherpa version comes from Parks Project, an org committed to aiding the U.S.’s National Parks through clean-up projects and funding. How do they do it? Outside of fundraising, they make really fun merch, like the fanny above. It’s made from 100% recycled polyester, is machine washable, and goes towards an amazing cause.
Adopt an Animal from WWF
Speaking of do-gooding, make a difference with this unique, thoughtful, and out-of-the-box gift, an “adoption” of an animal. World Wildlife Fund offers the adoption of animals at-risk or in danger of extinction. The most adorable part? Each animal you adopt comes with an aggressively adorable plush version of itself, plus a certificate and frame. There are several price points, making this a great gift or add-on, and a great gift for kids, instilling them with the values of conservation and respect for animals at an early age. And yes, we can’t emphasize enough that the plushies are just, really, really, cute.
Bunkhouse Kimono Robes
Fleece robes are so sad-mom-afterthought-gift, as noted in this iconic Kristen Wiig SNL sketch. Upgrade with this very luxe kimono robe from Bunkhouse hotels. Each Bunkhouse location has its own highly detailed and curated aesthetic, down to its robes. Gift this sunny and vibrant option from Austin’s Hotel Magdalena and inspire warm and cozy mornings for your loved one. You can feel good about this one too. It’s manufactured in a government-sponsored co-op in India using Indigenous dying and weaving techniques, making it anything but an afterthought.
Nomokenolife Gift Box
Most mail consists of junk and bills (boo), so giving a reoccurring gift shipped by mail makes the holidays come once a month. Inside this gift box from nomokenolife, you’ll find whimsical and innovative Kbeauty and Jbeauty delights that will surprise your receiver every month. Even if they’re a skincare newbie, they’ll get excited about a new box every month filled with kitty-adorned lip gloss, panda sheet masks, and skin-saving derm-approved facial treatments. Beauty not their thing? Nomokenolife’s other brands make monthly gift boxes for the Japan lover in your life. Tokyo Treat ships limited-edition snack boxes akin to the treats that line the aisles of Japanese grocers (e.g. wild flavors of Fanta and Kit Kats) and Sakura Co transports with its gift boxes themed around Japanese tea culture.
Ryan Air Gift Card
Did you know many airlines, including the notoriously budget-friendly Ryan Air, have gift cards? If you’ve got a loved one traveling to Europe, or one who needs a nudge to cross the pond, this gift is a great bed alongside some of the other options on this list. Best of all, Ryan Air’s flights are so inexpensive, so you can load this card up a little (or a lot!)
Fab 4 Pack from World Spice Merchants
Sure, we love the idea of bringing back spices from our travels (and that’s if you manage to get them out of the country on the way home). But spices we’re unfamiliar with in our day-to-day we might have trouble incorporating into our favorite or new recipes. World Spice Merchants inspires with their curated gift sets. Their Fab 4 packs make things dead simple with versions like the Bread Box (za’atar, garlic salt, everything bagel spice, and cinnamon toast spice) or their Flavors of the Black Sea (Khmeli Suneli, Kofte Spice, Marash Chili Flake, and Svaneti Salt). They even offer recipes on their site to encourage and aid in cooking. Tailor your picks for your loved ones based on their favorite culinary destinations or interests. (And without having to smuggle curry in your carry-on.)
Seriously, the little book of satan for christmas......no thank you fodor's......think again and maybe you will get it right.
yep i like those very much