I’ll be the first to admit that when shopping for others, gift cards are just so easy and time-efficient. Plus, we all have that one person with expensive taste who can never make up their mind. They almost–almost–make us forget the holidays are supposed to be about gratitude and stress-free quality time. For a lot of us, shopping makes harnessing those warm, fuzzy vibes challenging. A lot of us are also just too lazy or exhausted to go the extra mile (*raises hand*). Should we do better? Absolutely. Thankfully, it’s not hard to do if you’re going for the best gift pairs that are equal parts clever and useful.
I’ve also realized that while conjuring a winning duo takes time, it can also be as budget-friendly or luxe as you like. There are a lot of ways to pull off a gift that will suit anyone from a writer to a bookworm to an amateur baker; especially if you want to include something for their hair, skin or makeup routine. If it’s been a while since you put this type of effort into your holiday checklist, get the wheels turning with any of these unique pairings.
HIPDOT Napa Palette & Rad Wine Project Rosé All Day
Whenever I watch Sex and the City reruns and Carrie Bradshaw tells Mr. Big, “You take a napa! You don’t go to Napa!,” I cringe because she was absolutely wrong. We should all go to Napa because wine is a beautiful invention made all the better while wearing “mauve-tastic” eyeshadow inspired by its magical taste.
Ellis Brooklyn Limited-Edition Library Fragrance Discovery Set & The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
I’m still mourning the death of my literary hero, but whenever I’m curled up with one of her books, including The Bluest Eye, the day automatically improves. And if I happen to be wearing a perfume inspired by stories, well, just call off the rest of the day because I’m just too happy to move. (Fun fact: “Myth” is a top-seller, so don’t be surprised if it becomes your new obsession.)
Calpak Kaya Laptop Backpack & IGK Upgraded First Class Duo
This year, whether I’m at work or traveling, nothing has gotten me more compliments than this backpack. The faux leather design is so sleek and though it’s relatively compact, you can fit so much inside, including a laptop. And when you’re landing in a new city and have to refresh your hair sans mirror, dry shampoo is the real MVP you can keep inside your stylish carry-on.
Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones & Kat Von D Kitten Eyes Set
I know the kids are loving Airpods, but I’m an old school cat mom who still loves the big ones that coincidentally have kitten ears. Come on, just imagine how cute a selfie will be after drawing on a cat-eye and amping your lashes with mascara!
SLPBABY Silk Pillowcase & Charlotte Tilbury The Gift of Pillow Talk Lips
Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipsticks are as iconic as the makeup artist herself and Pillow Talk is that pink nude that somehow works on every skin tone. With one of these and a frizz-fighting pillowcase on hand, whoever gets them will sleep a whole lot easier.
Ciate London Mini Mani Month Advent Calendar & BP Stackable Rings
While perusing the backstage scene at NYFW, I noticed that almost every nail artist accented her manicure with a set of stylish rings. Needless to say, this is the best place to start with a new jewelry collection. And with 22 nail polishes included as well, you’re set with color combos that will take you through at least half of 2020.
It Cosmetics Your Selfie-Ready Skincare Set & Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera
Okay, so perhaps this isn’t the oddest coupling. However, It Cosmetics’ most popular skincare products paired with this upgraded version of the Instax Mini (complete with Bluetooth capabilities and sound recording) will definitely take your selfies to the next level.
Miu Miu Crystal Strap Block Heel Platforms & Soap and Glory Hand Over Heels Duo Gift Set
Cold weather won’t stop all of us from throwing on the open-toes for a holiday party or two, especially when they’re embellished with crystal appliques that deserve the spotlight. Just be sure that your heels and hands are protected from the elements and ash-free with these beautifully-scented skin savers.
Urban Decay Honey Scented All Nighter Setting Spray Ornament & Kate Spade Mod Scallop Pavé Linear Earrings
Dangly, sparkly things are a must during the holidays and when they actually serve a purpose that goes beyond the season, it’s a win-win. Urban Decay’s iconic All Nighter Spray is a makeup setting spray you can count on year-round and this travel-friendly version should be on you just like a pair of party-ready earrings.
Beauty Bakerie Tri-Berry Crumble Set & Dash Everyday 3QT Stand Mixer
The recipe for a truly sweet gift includes this set of Cake Pop Lippies and Lollipop Liner, along with a mixer that even beginner cooks should have in their kitchen. (Also, pink makes everything better. Don’t @ me.)
The Crayon Case IShadow Pencil Brush Set & CrayonlaMode Frida Journal
If you’re actually going to invest in makeup brushes, they might as well be cleverly-designed so you remember to use them. This academia-inspired set is just what you need to impress a writer who will already fall in love with the Frida Kahlo illustration on this journal.
Urban Decay Scented Sparkling Body Powder & Love, Vera Mina Longline Bra & Garter Set
If you’re like me and love walking around the house in lingerie just because or have a special someone you want to dress up for, I highly recommend getting familiar with Love, Vera. The Black-owned lingerie brand makes high-quality garments at a fraction of the prices found at other intimate labels. I already own this bodysuit and matching set, but a hot pink number paired with sexy body shimmer will have you feeling yourself (literally and/or figuratively, depending on your mood.)
Sephora Holy Sheet Mask and Self-Care Set & Opalhouse Chunky Knit Throw Blanket
Few things feel more cathartic than sitting at home on a cold day wrapped in a blanket and wearing a face mask. Nothing more (except maybe Netflix). Nothing less. I’m currently in redecorating mode and Target’s Opalhouse label is one of the best things to happen to my apartment this year.
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