Yes, the holidays are about connecting with family and friends — about showing your loved ones how much they mean to you. But in the midst of all that celebration of other people, it’s often easy to de-prioritize yourself.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to pouring myself into things I care about deeply — hobbies, friendships, family drama — and while rewarding, it can also be depleting. Which is to say, I love holiday cheer, and I love showing up for my family — but not if it comes with “burn out” as the cost. That’s why this holiday season, in addition to celebrating the people around me, I’m also making a point to prioritize self-care.
What does that look like? Well, it’s different for everyone. For some, it may be a Zoom yoga class or a long run. For others, it may involve copious wine and a big old slice of cake. For me, it’s about retreating to my own space when I need to, and setting aside an afternoon to light some candles for a full-stop, at-home spa day.
And this season, in the hopes of helping you find your own holiday refuge, we’ve partnered with Target to present you a different kind of gift guide. Ahead, shop my absolute favorite under-$25 Target goods — several of which are from Black-owned brands — to gift yourself this holiday season. From a citrus body scrub to a spa sampler box, each product is sure to infuse a little joy into your life. So, go on, treat yourself. You’ve earned it.
Everyone knows that the holidays are a time for honoring traditions with loved ones. But this year, in addition to participating in family time, my partner and I are building our own traditions — and for me, that means trying my hand at bartending. While someone else in my family has always been the resident mixologist, I’ve been saving holiday cocktail recipes to my Pinterest for years, and this year, I’m making a point of experimenting. Nothing says self-care like a perfect, homemade cocktail.
This may sound silly, but I’ve always taken comfort in the process of refilling the hand soap and lotion bottles in my bathroom. Sometimes, little tiny tasks like that can bring so much joy. And come holiday season, I’m always thrilled to lean into a holiday-esque soap scent — like this Everspring Winter Citrus & Pine gift set. It keeps my hand soft and clean (even through radiator season), while bringing me a little bit of cheer every time I turn on the faucet.
You can never have too many candles: they help set a mood, they make for great decor, and they breathe life and warmth into any room. While my partner and I have yet to finish decorating our new place, we’ve dressed up bookshelves and coffee tables with a bunch of these Mercury Jar Fireside Glow candles — and they work wonders to make the space feel more like a sanctuary.
As the weather gets chillier, it's important to me that my 4C curls stay moisturized and hydrated. And this Mielle gift set is perfect for my wash-day routine. The rice water moisturizer milk and aloe vera deep conditioner help shape my curls, and the wide-tooth comb helps me style them, so I can truly feel like my best self when I step out of the house.
Everyone needs one go-to wine — a surefire favorite that tastes good with everything (especially during the holiday season). And right now, mine happens to be this Sauv Blanc from the McBride Sisters. Not only is the wine itself delicious, but the brand is Black women-owned — and this holiday season, I’m working hard to shop as many Black-owned businesses as I can. So now, when I kick back and enjoy a glass of wine, I can also feel good about where my money is going.
I try to be really intentional about not hoarding products — which can definitely be difficult when the skin-care market is so saturated. So I love being able to purchase kits like this at-home spa sampler, which comes with 10 different sample-size products, all of which I can test out before I make any big purchasing decisions. Plus, the full kit is great motivation to stay engaged in some self-care.
Of course, wellness isn't just about skin care. It has to do with how you’re feeling internally, too. That's why I’ve always been in favor of any beverage designed to support gut health or sleep. And I love that this Golde sampler comes with three different beverage formulas to help with bloat, hydration, or stress — and I can confirm: They taste as good as they make you feel.
Balancing my work, my health, and my social life can often feel deeply overwhelming. So when I need to destress, reading has become an excellent way for me to escape (briefly) from all my responsibilities. I’ve been looking forward to reading Seven Days in June by Tia Williams since it came out. I love anything that promises humor and romance at the same time.
A great way to disconnect from your phone or work emails is to be present with family and friends. And one of my favorite ways to feel relaxed and in the moment with loved ones is with a family game night. Of late, CultureTags has become a personal favorite. It’s easy to play, anyone can join in, and there are plenty of ultra-funny pop culture references.
There is nothing on earth that says “me time” quite like a bubble bath — and this Cranberry & Orange Flower Body Scrub has become my absolute go-to bath product. The cranberry twist gives the stuff a great, holiday-forward smell, and it creates perfectly dense, buoyant bubbles. I really can’t recommend it enough.