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.

Fast-Shipping Gifts From Nordstrom

Free People Sweater Weather V-Neck Sweater$128 $76.80
Thank goodness for Nordstrom's expedited two-day shipping to store option, which means you can still carry on with your holiday-shopping plans (though this is your final call). And if you need a rec from our last-minute gift picks from Nordstrom, this slouchy Free People sweater came out as the top seller. It's cozy, it's warm, it's flattering, and it's just the kind of Christmas gift anyone would love to receive.

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Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

MasterClass Annual Subscription (2 for 1 Offer), $180
If you've got a giftee who loves to experience and learn new things, you'll score big time with an annual subscription to MasterClass. The video series platform invites top experts in their fields to teach viewers the best tricks of their trade. Plus, with an unbeatable BOGO deal going on right now, you can also gift yourself a year of brain-expanding courses ranging from home cooking to crisis handling. Oh, and did we mention that it delivers straight-to-inbox?

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Best E-Gift Cards

The Sill Digital Gift Card, starting at $25
Plants make wonderful gifts, don't they? But not all plants are meant for all plant lovers. Your recipient's windows, pets, and even regular travel plans can affect what kinds of greenery will thrive in their home. Instead of guessing what they might want, you can leave it up to them. That's where an e-gift card from The Sill comes in. When you instantly send one over to your pal's inbox, it allows them to select the flora that makes the most sense for them. Cards start at $25, enough for a cutie succulent, and they go up to $500, which could totally transform an apartment into a personal jungle.

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Best Next-Day Delivery Gifts

Abercrombie & Fitch Cinched Cocoon Sherpa Half-Zip, $85 $59.50
Leaving this tidbit here if you need it: A&F is offering same-day delivery (as long as orders are submitted four hours before the fulfilling store’s closing time), next-day delivery (as long as orders are submitted before 12 pm EST Monday-Friday), and two-day delivery. This means that if you act right now, this top-selling A&F sherpa from our next-day delivery gift guide can be in your hands, wrapped and ready to go by Christmas day.

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Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Tushy Classic 3.0 Bidet, $129 $99
Despite the over-$100 price tag, our shoppers know a unique 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."

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Gifts On Sale At Nordstrom

Ugg Fluff Yeah Genuine Shearling Slingback Sandal, $110 $82.50
It's no secret that Nordstrom is a treasure trove of quality gifts, ranging from the ultra affordable to the super deluxe. One on-sale item that rests squarely in the middle of that spectrum is this best-selling Ugg slingback, which aesthetically claims that sweet spot between lusciously fancy and deliciously gaudy. Writes one gold winner of a gift-giver, "I gave this as a birthday gift to my daughter-in-law. I'm a guy and it is anyone's guess whether my gifts are going to be a hit with my two daughter-in-laws. This one definitely was!!! Yay! I was a dad-in-law hero!"
Patchology FlashPatch Rejuvenating 5-Minute Eye Gels, $15 $12.75
If you're looking for a significantly cheaper on-sale gift, these stocking stuffer-sized eye gel patches tied (along with the Ugg slides above) as the two best sellers from our Nordstrom gift guide. "Goodbye, puffy eyes!" writes one reviewer. "I purchased these ahead of a long-haul flight, and I'm so happy I did. I used them during the last hour before landing, and they really helped to soothe and plump the skin under my eyes, while simultaneously relieving any puffiness. These were gentle on my sensitive skin, and very importantly, didn't irritate my eyes. As a first-time eye patch user, I loved feeling like I was indulging in a bit of self-care to combat the stress of travel."

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Best Expensive Gifts

HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket V3, $499
Congratulations to this sauna blanket for being the priciest gift here (by far) and also for claiming top dog status from our "best expensive gifts" guide. Obviously, this splurgy gift is only recommended for shoppers who can afford such an extravagant treat, but those who have taken the plunge attest to its sweat-inducing, glow-up powers. In fact, Vice/R29's own Commerce VP Samantha Baker swears by this relaxation gadget, stating in our guide to the best infrared sauna blankets, "I go into my home sauna five times a week! The best part is I can watch my favorite shows at the same time."

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Cool Gifts For Difficult People

Levys Friends Wine Cat Poster, $26.45+
It appears that our original pick, this Levys Friends 2022 Cat Calendar from Etsy seller Levys Friends, is currently sold out — which is why we think this still in-stock 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.
Bormioli Rocco Stackable Wine Glasses Set, $34+
It appears that some of our most difficult friends to shop for still love to toast a great dinner party! These stackable wine glasses from Food52, which come in sets of six and 18 in varying sizes and prices, have become an unexpected bestseller as of late. They have a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars and 40 reviews on, with one reviewer raving, "Durable, practical, attractive, reasonably priced. Intend to buy more, perhaps in another size! If you like to entertain, and aren't crazy about plastic, these glasses are a good investment." We'll cheers to that.

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Best Gen Z Gift Ideas

World Incense Store Crystal Healing & Cleansing Kit, $27.75 24.97
This is a gift recommendation straight from our resident Gen Z shopping editor, Alexandra Polk — meaning this is as authentic as it gets, folks. And, the majority of our Gen Z-focused shoppers agree as this 15-piece crystal healing kit has been selling like stone-cold hotcakes. This kit is also an Etsy best seller with shoppers looking to help friends cleanse their auras saying things like, "Beautifully packaged! I had ordered this as a gift for someone and when it arrived, everything was just as pictured. The crystals are clean, the sage bundle is gorgeous. 100% worth it. Great beginners set!"

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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, 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

Wood Flowers Co. Dusty Rose & Succulent Wood Flower Bouquet, $24.99+
While this is a hot item amongst future brides looking for their bouquets, the wooden flowers arrangement has also surfaced as a perfect holiday gift. And, why not? They're festive, romantic, rustic, and are guaranteed to never die on you.

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Most Useful Gifts

lululemon Instill High-Rise Tight 25", $118
We have a new bestseller from our "most useful gifts" guide and it is *drumroll, please* these luxurious lululemon leggings. When you've got stretchy bottoms you can wear for sweating and for comfort, that's beyond simply "useful," it's actually a way of life. Writes one avid wearer, "I love the material! Somehow it feels even softer than [the brand's] Align leggings, and holds up better too. It’s meant for yoga but it’s so comfy that I’ve worn it for HIIT as well. This is my new favourite leggings!"
Purple Cloud Pillow, $49 $44
Coming in second place right after the lululemon leggings (seriously, by one purchase!) is this heavenly head-rester, a.k.a. the Purple Cloud Pillow, which is made "with hypoallergenic, ultra-fine gel fibers that won’t clump, trap heat, or flatten over time," as the product description boasts. Our very own lifestyle writer Alexandra Polk even gave this pillow a test run and sang its praises: "Even if you like your pillows firm, the Purple Cloud is the perfect complement to a solid block of memory foam. It's a less serious commitment of a $100+ pillow product too — a casual pillow if you will. Place it on the couch for naps, on your bed for when you need to sit up and write a review for work, make it your main nighttime squeeze, or all of the above. The only thing you have to worry about are the cherubs who might descend from the skies and snatch it while you're not looking."

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Best Gifts Under $50

Grapgic Dynamics Custom Pet Pillow, $15.92+
One of Etsy's best-selling items is designed to help you immortalize or commemorate your (or a loved one's) favorite animal child — for under $20. With over 7,400 sales, Grapgic Dynamics' cheeky cute pillow includes plenty of reviews praising the cuteness (and softness) factor: "This item exceeded expectations. It looks fantastic and is super soft. I ordered this as a present for my dad as we lost his cat in June to cancer," wrote one satisfied gift-giver.

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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.

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Cool Gifts For Guys

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. With reviews like "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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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

Bright Life Toys Plush Pickle, $19
Sometimes, we're pleasantly shocked (and delighted) by what turns out to be the best sellers from our shopping stories. Case in point: this plushy pickle toy. What you see is what you get — it doesn't make noise and it's not an ornament. It basically serves no other purpose than making your giftee smile. Is that enough? Our shoppers think so! Writes one reviewer: "The little boy I nanny for loved it! He calls it his hard-working pickle (he got it as a reward for working so hard on his e-learning). Thank you! Will be ordering a tomato next."

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Gifts For The Mom Who Wants Nothing

Longchamp Le Pliage Filet Knit Shoulder Bag, $110
Longchamp has always made mom-friendly bags — you know the ones with the trademark nylon outers — but its knitted version of those popular reusable farmer's market bags is truly something to behold. This handbag is chic, au courant, and very likely just your mama's style.

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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

Casper Glow Night Light (Double Pack), $35 $31.50
These aren't any ordinary night lights — they operate on motion and light sensors, dimming and illuminating based on how much backlight is needed. Plus, they look like mini lunar eclipses! Even though these produce a soft glow, these night lights are one of the brightest ideas when it comes to shopping for your sleepytime friends.

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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.

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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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