Your Definitive Guide To The Best Holiday Gift Ideas For 2021

Take a deep breath. Crack those knuckles. Grab that pen and gift list. Because 'tis the season for holiday shopping and, if all this talk about supply chain shortages is concerning, you best start busting out those online purchasing moves now. But you may not be feeling the holiday shopping spirit quite yet — we hear you, and we're here to help. After all, Halloween only ended like five minutes ago. So ahead, we put together an all-encompassing lineup featuring all of our most popular holiday gift guides and the best-selling item from each — all culled from our anonymously sourced shopping data. Since holiday shopping madness will only be escalating from here, keep checking back with us throughout November and December as we refresh this gift roster with the freshest favorites worth tying up with a bow. We now present you, dear reader, with our list of the best gift ideas for the 2021 holiday season. Scroll on to shop.
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Cool Gifts For Difficult People

Levys Friends Wine Cat Poster, $26.45+
It appears that our original pick, this adorable 2022 Cat Calendar from Etsy seller Levys Friends, is currently sold out — which is why we think this Wine Cat Poster makes for a fabulous substitute for the cat person in your life. (Wine and kitties, what a winning combo.) While we're hoping that the best-selling Cat Calendar is eventually restocked, Levys Friends also makes plenty of other feline-minded stationery including planners, greeting cards, postcards, and more. Consider any of these purr-fect gifts that no "difficult person" can deny.
Omsom The Try 'Em All Set, $76 $70
Omsom is a Southeast/East Asian food brand, specializing in ready-to-squeeze packets that burst with fiery, sweet, and tangy spices — the kind you'd find, say, at a foodie-approved Vietnamese eatery. You just squeeze one of these packs into your rice dish or noodle bowl, give it a stir, and it's ready to tantalize your tastebuds. Last year, these Asian meal starter kits were a huge hit with people who are typically hard to shop for — because, who doesn't like delish, easy-to-cook dinners? This year, we recommend gifting The Try 'Em All Set, which is the newest addition to the Omsom lineup. With reviews stating "This is my second Try 'Em All Set [...] I am THAT addicted [to] these magic packets of sauce!" and "[We] love the flexibility of being able to use vegetarian meat options," this gift is sure to kick things up a notch.

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The Crowd-Pleasing Gifts Already On Sale

Quince Mongolian Shrunken Cashmere Sweatshirt, $100 $59.90
Our readers sure love Quince, the responsibly-sourced cashmere brand — this same sweatshirt was a favorite on our best fall clothes roundup. That's no shocker since this bestselling top meets all the criteria of a solid gift — it comes in nine colors, boasts a 4.7 out of 5 stars and 560 rave reviews on onequince.com, and is gently priced at under $60 for a high-quality cashmere sweater. "This is such a great deal for the price. I went with a large because I wanted an oversized fit, and it looks adorable," writes one reviewer.

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Best Travel Gifts

Airbnb Customizable Gift Card, $25-$500
Some of the most difficult-to-gift people are the ones who much prefer experiences over things — and that's where travel gifts come into play. Whether you're looking to buy an adventure-seeking bud some new outdoorsy gear for upcoming camping trips or some sleek tech organizers for your frequent flier folk, we've got the gift-worthy goods on tap for that. If you're looking for an all-encompassing travel favorite, we suggest going the Airbnb gift card route. This last-minute-friendly present idea can be customized for budgets from $25 and beyond, while also allowing your giftee to choose their ideal travel destination and dates.

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Best Affordable Christmas Gift Ideas

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Uncommon Goods Music Playing Cards, $10
If you're looking for a $10-range gift idea, this deck of playing cards featuring history-making music greats is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It's currently ranked 4.8 out of 5 stars with 43 reviews on uncommongoods.com, with one reviewer writing, "Perfect unique gift! These cards came in super handy at a party we were recently at — my uncle was able to show us a bunch of magic tricks. It was extra cool with the music cards!" Whether it's used for eye tricks or poker, this illustrated pack is bound to delight your favorite entertainer.

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Best Hanukkah Gifts

The Challah Box Baking Box Kit, $45
Perhaps it’s a holdover from the bread-baking frenzy of last year’s quarantine, but our shoppers seeking gifts for their Jewish loved ones cannot get enough of this challah-baking kit. Perfectly portioned kosher-certified ingredients come beautifully arranged in a giftable box, along with easy-to-follow directions on how to make the traditional braided loaf. At-home bakers just need to provide their own eggs and water.
DynamiteShirts Seinfeld Prayer Candles, $12
It's a yada-yada world out there — and these Seinfeld prayer candles provide the perfect light for your best Jewish pal (or any Larry David fan, really). At only $12 a candle, these gifts are affordable as they are funny. Etsy seller Dynamite Shirts offers a go-to selection of Jerry, Kramer, George, or Elaine — as well as the lesser-known but just as iconic characters like Estelle, Frank, and Puddy (for the real Seinfeld heads).

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Most Useful Gifts

Tushy Classic 3.0 Bidet, $129
Despite the over-$100 price tag, our shoppers know a good, clean gift when they see one. Enter: The Tushy Classic 3.0 bidet attachment, which is an easy-to-install contraption that squirts sink water (not toilet bowl water) to clean your "soiled" areas after you're done with any bathroom business. Our beauty and wellness writer found it to be stylish and user-friendly — but if you don’t want to take our word for it, check out the bidet’s currently-perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars across 7,539 reviewers. Writes one customer with a squeaky bum, "It's so easy to set up, there's just no reason to not have a pooper as clean as mine. This was the quarantine gift to myself that's definitely kept giving."
Our Place Perfect Pot, $165
Last year, the Always Pan from Our Place was the standout hit when it came to kitchen gifts. This year, we suggest gifting the Perfect Pot, Our Place's newest gadget that our Refinery29 Shopping editors are already downright obsessed with. It currently has a perfect 5 out of 5 stars and 525 reviews on ourplace.com, with one reviewer who made it a set with both the Always Pan and Perfect Pot, writing, "[W]hen I received the Always Pot and the Always Pan, I was NOT DISAPPOINTED AT ALL. I threw out all my other pots and pans."

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Best Gifts Under $50

Glob Primary Morph Ripstop Bag, $26
This handy reusable tote bag is perfect for those who are always schlepping around a lot of stuff — whether it's groceries, work-related items, or laundry (the exterior also has six designated pockets for bottles). And, at only $26, it's an affordable gift that your loved ones will keep using on the regular.

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Gifts For The Mom Who Has Everything

Dr. Scholl's Running Free Bootie, $100 $59.90
In a fun holiday twist, this puffer bootie-sneaker is an unexpected best-selling hit with those who are shopping for their moms. You can be assured it'll take her by surprise, as well — with such a unique silhouette, we can bet this is shoe isn't already on mama's footwear rack. As with all Dr. Scholl's shoes, this style has a well-cushioned footbed and the outer is also water- and stain-repellant, making it a cold-weather bootie your mom will reach for all season long.
Homesick Thank You, Mom Candle, $34
Moms are tough to shop for, aren't they? While the idea of gifting her a candle is both cliched and safe, it still totally works because people generally love receiving "nice" candles they normally wouldn't buy for themselves. (This one has a burn time of 60-80 hours and is supposed to burn smell like a mix of fresh flowers and Sunday breakfast, which are truly mom scents.) Plus, the label proudly says "Thank You, Mom," which is something only a child can gift. And, if you want to make this even more personal, Homesick also offers customizable messaging on this 4.94-out-of-5 star-rated slow burner.

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Cool Gifts For Guys

Plntrs Nike Swoosh Mini Basketball Planter With Stand, $45+
Apparently, our readers have guys on their holiday list who appreciate both plant maintenance and basketball. This top-selling style from Etsy maker Plntrs is not only functional but it also serves as fun decor for any dorm room or apartment. We're sure the dudes on your list will find joy in taking care of a succulent in this sporty planter.
Snuk Chile Crisp Gift Box, $50
This is the second "spicy" item to appear in this story, which we'll take to mean that gift-givers seriously want their giftees to feel a jolt of something. And this chile crisp box set just so happens to be a top seller from our gift guide for guys, which is likely a sign that dudes are feeling the heat when it comes to their cooking skills. This gift box includes each of Snuk's four top-selling chile crisps from around the world, which the food retailer assures tastes great on anything and everything — from scrambled eggs to frozen pizzas to salmon filet.

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Best Gifts For Parents

Animalist Customized Pet Art Portrait, $53
How cute is this gift idea for the parent(s) who has everything? Your favorite dog or cat person will guffaw over this beautifully illustrated and framed poster of their furry best pal. Writes one customer, "I love this art! It is so unique and looks great in my home — what a great way to honor my pup!"

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Best Affordable White Elephant Gifts

World Market Hello Kitty Organic Pasta, $5.99
Honestly, how charming is this bag of Hello Kitty pasta? Best of all, quality is not at all sacrificed for cuteness — which is probably why this gift was the top seller when it came to the best white elephant gifts last year. This pasta is priced at just $5.99 (which you can gift as a set with the Hello Kitty Tomato Basil Italian Pasta Sauce for another $5) and it has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on worldmarket.com. "This pasta is so good. Great chew, nice texture. I hope they make this forever," writes one reviewer.

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Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

Gorjana Bespoke Signet Ring, $55
While we hope that you're not gonna wait until the last second to do your holiday shopping, it happens. Last year, the item that procrastinators scrambled for was this under-$100 engravable signet ring from Gorjana, which comes in sizes 3 to 7, perfect for a pinky or as a midi/first-knuckle ring. "The gold finish is beautiful, engraving is nice. It is very high quality. I wear it every day, all day and it just shines," writes a reviewer.

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Gifts For The Mom Who Wants Nothing

Parade Re:Play Jewel Tones Pack, $62 $56
Moms! Once again, so hard to shop for. But, this box set of undies from Parade just so happens to be the mama-whispering item that our shoppers are clamoring for. It features six vibrant pairs of intimates (shopper's choice of briefs, thongs, cheekies, bikinis, and others) made from recycled fabrics, bundled up and gift-ready in a cute box.

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Best Luxury Gifts

Collina Strada Check Crystal Embellished Water Bottle, $100
If you've got fancy people on your list who also need a reminder to stay hydrated, opt for this outrageously sparkly water bottle encrusted with crystal rhinestones all over. Available in three colors, consider this Collina Strada hydration system the most luxurious way to imbibe liquids.

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Best Wellness Gift Ideas

lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 25", $98+
It's no secret that Refinery29 readers are obsessed with lululemon — so much that they'll even gift these premium workout leggings for their loved ones at full prices. While this brand doesn't come cheap, lululemon does offer best-in-class support for all your sweaty activities — which probably clues us into why this high-rise style is the best-selling item from our wellness gift guide.

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Best Nordstrom Holiday Beauty Gifts

Slip Pure Silk Caramel Queen Pillowcase Duo, $125
It appears that our shoppers are very serious about their beauty sleep (and that pun is very much intended). So far this year, the most-bought beauty item from Nordstrom — a treasure trove when it comes to gift hunting — is this silk pillowcase set from the brand Slip. For pure 100% silk, $125 for a double is quite the steal, which is likely why our readers have been snatching these luxe 'cases like nobody's business.
Fresh Sugar Hydrating Lip Minis Set, $45
Everyone experiences chapped lips this time of year, which is why this moisture-locking minis set from Fresh is always such a hot item for the winter months. You can find this limited-edition gift set exclusively at Nordstrom, which is a retailer we love for all its gifting options.

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Best Anthropologie Gifts

Anthropologie Grecian Bust Pot, $24
The R29 Shopping team is very into Anthropologie — especially where gifts are concerned. Since we spend most of our days picking out stuff for others, we decided to put together a holiday special highlighting our wish-listed favorites from its crowd-pleasing selection. From the pool of Anthro presents that our product-obsessed writers and editors would like to give and get, this very unique Grecian Bust Pot was the top-bought gifting pick.

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Best Fashion Gifts

StatementScarf Quilted Puffer Headscarf, $46+
In our shopping roundup about what fashion lovers really want this holiday, our chic shoppers made it clear they really want this quilted puffer headscarf. Etsy seller StatementScarf makes these supremely stylish, winterized versions of the summer silk headscarf in an array of colors in both quilted and smooth finishes — with little risk of the dreaded hat head.

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At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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