Let’s face it. Gifting is hard. And, gifting in a professional setting is even harder. The last few years, I’ve been curating my own list of gifts to give to clients, colleagues, vendors, and partners. Here’s my holiday gift guide from last year. I’ve continued this tradition since so many of you have shown great appreciation for the ideas found in these guides years past.
This initially started as a tech gift guide but over the years has evolved to cover categories across the board. While curating this list, I ask two main questions. Would this work as a gift in a professional context? (Staying away from anything which could be misconstrued as too intimate.) And, would this be appreciated in general within a given category (from foodie to frequent flyer) without being too nuanced?
Here’s my 2019 list of best holiday gifts.
For the Techie:
Pixel Eyewear: Get this for the person who constantly stares at their screen – especially in the evenings! These glasses filter 50 percent of blue light and up to 95 percent at the strongest wavelengths, without the yellow tint. Which means, better sleep for those techies staring away at their screens.
GE Smart Light Bulbs: Turns their house into a smart home with this C by GE Smart Room starter pack. The bundle contains four C by GE Tunable White smart bulbs to illuminate any space and a C by GE Smart Plug that can make nearly any electrical item at home smart.
The Sidekick by Bee & Kin: This is for the fashionista slash techie. A light on the inside of the bag makes it so you never have to fumble for your phone, and a smart button allows you to call an Uber (or whatever else you program it to do) without ever looking at your phone!
Embr Wave: A personal thermostat which changes your comfort by generating warm or cool waves on your skin. You already know who this is perfect for…your colleague who brings their own personal heater and always complaints about the office thermostat never being quite right.
Ibi: A smart device by SanDisk which lets you store photos (up to 250k) and videos (up to 100 hours) without needing to upload to the cloud. Perfect for that friend in IT who is always chatting about privacy concerns.
For the Frequent Flyer:
Solgaard: A bag that turns into a closet? Yes, please! Perfect for the traveler who loves being organized but is always on a time crunch. Speaking of time, they have some very modern watches which go nicely with that bag.
M.M. LaFleur: For anyone who has to go straight from the plane to the boardroom, this new collection is wrinkle-free. Perfect for your friend in sales who always has to look put together.
Palette by Pak: An innovative travel and beauty tool that lets you customize and bring all your favorite products on-the-go, with no need for tiny, wasteful, single-use travel bottles. This is perfect for your friend who travels a ton and complains about the wastefulness of plastic shampoo bottles in hotels.
Thin Wild Mercury: A scent sampler that smells great and is super easy to tote on a trip. Perfect for the perfume aficionado who doesn’t like how the plane smells.
Mom Kindness: A Carry-All tote trio meant for moms who work and travel but can also be great for really anyone who has a ton to carry around and doesn’t have time to switch bags between work and home.
Paravel: The Negative Nylon is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles, and it folds flat into pouches that can easily be thrown into other bags. Perfect for your client who always hits the gym even though she’s a roadwarrior.
The Cartwright Bags: It’s the first-ever, lockable, carryall – and it looks sleek. You can get the brick, the clam, or the mini – and they all have a numerical lock built in. This is perfect for your partner who values privacy and likes feeling secure no matter where they go.
Moral Code Excursion Weekender: This is the perfect bag for your client who loves their weekend getaways. Very country rugged meets city chic. Definitely a statement piece which makes an impression.
Knack Shops Travel Essentials: A great little kit with face masks and a cosmetic pouch. Perfect for Robin from HR who is constantly going to conferences and staying at hotels where the air is much to dry.
For the Office Warrior:
1800-Flowers Money Tree Floor Plant: A little greenery in the office goes a long ways! This plant is a symbol of abundance and good fortune, making it the perfect present for someone who is looking to really grow in 2020!
Martha Stewart’s Office Collection: The perfect gift for your colleague who loves keeping her desk organized. You can make a gift basket out of the notebooks, goal trackers, and pencil holders in this collection.
Gestalten Books: These books are visual delights. Perfect for your boss’ coffee table or for your creative director.
Cire Trudon: These are more than candles. They look like miniature works of art. So, even if the office has a no flame policy, these candles will still delight as a gift.
Art by Kristi Kohut: No matter what artistic taste your clients possess, this is a sure winner. There’s a wide range of mixed media pieces, and the recipient is sure to think of you every time they look at it.
The Cozee: A patented battery-powered blanket that your assistant will love. For anyone who gets cold in the office, this is a present that keeps on giving.
Otherland Candle: This is for your artistic vendor who regularly reads their horoscope and loves the smell of fall.
For The Experience Executive:
Zeel: This is perfect for the executive who needs a massage but never has time to get to the spa. You can send the massage to them! In fact, consider setting up chair massages for all your employees at the Christmas party. This is definitely the gift of relaxation and a unique experience.
Task Rabbit: Give the gift of time! Think of it like a rent-an-assistant. You can find a local task rabbit for almost any task from picking up the groceries to assembling furniture.
History-Talks: A traveling speaker series which includes President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. Get the history buff in your office tickets to this traveling series.
Healthy Meals Supreme: Yes, there are plenty of meal delivery services but this one stands out because the healthy meals are made from scratch, and there isn’t a subscription involved! Stock up the office fridge for your favorite secret santa.
Rocco and Roxie: Technically, this isn’t an experience but it leads to some pretty happy memories. Ideal for the dog lover in your life. This box has the best doggie toys and treats. So, next time Fido comes to the office, he AND his owner will be thrilled with your gift.
For Office Secret Santa/Stocking Stuffers
For a tighter-budget or more stocking stuffer level gifts, consider these: Whiten Fresh whitening spray (fresh breath, whiter teeth!), 2XU flight compression socks (because flying is already tough enough!), Shoe Rescue Kit (we all have someone who loves their shoes!), and JBuds Wireless earbuds (perfect for the guy in sales who is always trying to meet his quota!)
Here’s to you giving the best gifts this season to everyone who makes your work-life a little easier!