What You’re Shopping For: Holiday Gift Special Edition.

By: Jen Shoop

Q: A gift for an outdoorsy mother-in-law.

A: How about a fleece from Alex Mill or Faherty? Have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love a new layer of hygge. I also have and love these merino base layers and my beloved Darn Tough socks, if she’s into outdoor adventures in the winter. If she’s a birder, these fancy bird-watching binoculars from Nikon (rated best by Audubon in the under $150 category) with this birding book. If she’s a gardener, these beautiful garden stakes. Under-$50: this Patagonia belt bag (great color combos).

Q: A gift for my doorman.

A: We always did cash tips, but lovely add-ons would be a gift card to his favorite coffee/lunch spot, a cashmere beanie and hand warmer (it gets cold out there!), a ballcap for his favorite sports team, a mini portable radio (I always feel like ours liked to listen to the radio at the door), holiday chocolates.

Q: A gift for my fiance — getting married in January.

A: A personalized Away suitcase for all of your adventures together (honeymoon + beyond); a subscription to WSJ or America’s Test Kitchen (depending); Rhone lounge pants; a pair of Onitsuka Tigers; a Maison Kitsune sweatshirt; a Mr. Marin sweater; a Boos block; martini glasses; the only mixology book he’ll ever need .

Q: A white elephant gift that everyone will want.

A: Women: these hair ties. All genders: an AirTag.

Q: A gift for a husband who doesn’t want “stuff.”

A: Home and kitchen gear are good for the utility-oriented. My husband is obsessed with this vacuum sealer. It really does prolong the life of items left in the fridge/freezer (air is what causes the dreaded freezer burn) and you can store so much more when everything is vac sealed. He also uses it for sous-vide-ing items. We also love our smart plugs on things like lamps, Christmas tree, etc. Cutting boards are great, too, if you’re heavy home cooks. We have a few boos blocks and an assortment of epicurean boards. I’ve mentioned this before, but we use our Epicurean mini boards CONSTANTLY. Slicing fruit, making sandwiches, dicing something, etc. So much easier to wash than the bulkier sizes, too…Another thought: a set of Atmos airtight canisters to prolong the life of your pantry staples.

Q: Gifts for preschool teachers!

A: Most of the Magpie teachers have chimed in to recommend gift cards — you can ask your children to report back on where they get their coffee/lunches/etc, or you can give something like an Amazon or AMEX gift card. If you want to give something, for a fashion-conscious teacher, one of these Lululemon belt bags. The “it” gift this season. Other ideas: these personalized pouches, pretty stationery, one of those curiously and wildly popular Stanley water mugs.

Q: Gift for an MIL who has everything…and we have a tense relationship.

A: Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that. I would give an Alice Walk cashmere wrap, a Cire Trudon candle, or a Smythson valet tray. Luxurious, tasteful — but politely impersonal. For something under $100, a monogrammed wreath sash or Mrs. Alice napkins.

Q: A gift for me. I have everyone else covered and my birthday is within a week of Christmas.

A: Happy birthday! A few thoughts:

+A splurgey knit you might not otherwise treat yourself too — the ones from Jenni Kayne get rave reviews (and are 30% off); these Mirth ones look spectacular; this Doen is divine for holidays.

+A Jane Win necklace with personal significance — whether a coin with a motif that matters to you or a heart with a monogram.

+A splurgey pair of statement sneakers.

+A pair of new earrings from Rebecca de Ravenel.

+A new perfume — this is my absolute favorite scent at the moment. I’m still not over it. I smell my wrists all the time! Currently $50 with code G.

+I am going to share what’s on my Christmas list later this week, but one thing on my list: I’m in need of a new set of toiletry cases (our under-sink pipe leaked and ruined mine).

+A fabulous dress for the occasion.

+A designer card case.

+Celine sunnies.

+A Smythson for 2023.

Q: I oversee employees for the first time — looking for thoughtful gifts from “boss”!

A: Depending on how much you want to spend — Jeni’s ice cream or treats from MilkBar; personalized luggage tags for those who travel frequently; Leuchtterm notebooks and my favorite pens; bold chopsticks (I gave a set to Mr. Magpie and they really made such a fun and useful gift for us); a 2023 task planner (depending on relationship — my team and I were all very into optimizing our focus, designing our days, etc, so this would have made sense); personalized LL Bean totes.

Q: Gifts for in-laws.

A: This is a challenging category — I feel like you really need to dig deep and think about their interests, daily lives, etc. A few pieces that have stood out to me lately, though…







Q: A gift for my husband — looking for a duffel bag.

A: Patagonia’s Black Hole bags are well-reviewed for their durability and I think any dude likes Patagonia. Also — well-priced. For something a bit less sporty but in the same price range: check out LL Bean. My husband uses a Ralph Lauren one and it’s a timeless look. Upgrade pick: Filson. My husband has one of their briefcases and it’s held up wonderfully and looks handsome, too. Even higher end: these leather J. W. Hulmes. Wow — so sharp. Supplement the gift with State Bag’s award-winning dopp kit!

Q: A gift for a couple. An experience, or an item for their home? $200-$300.

A: If they are into food, stock their pantry with Gustiamo — good olive oil and vinegar, the best dried pasta, etc. More generic: every adult loves receiving a stack of fresh, fluffy, high-end towels. (Who wants to spend money on towels?!). I’ve given this Matouk set to countless couples as housewarming gifts, wedding gifts, etc. These weighted blankets are also really popular — my brother-in-law raves about his.

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4 thoughts on “What You’re Shopping For: Holiday Gift Special Edition.

  1. HI_ unrelated to this post – sorry, but could you send me the prayer your family uses on Thanksgiving? I had it and printed it several year ago and placed on my table and everyone loved it, The words are beautiful….. Marianne

    1. Hi Marianne! Of course — means so much to me, too. I wrote a post about this that will go live on Thursday, in fact! Here is the poem:

      For food in a world where many walk in hunger;
      For faith in a world where many walk in fear;
      For friends in a world where many walk alone;
      We give you thanks, O Lord.


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