2018 Holiday
Gift Guide

Well-made, as ethical as possible, and truly beautiful… here’s our collection of gift ideas that receive our hearty praise this year! Support shops and artists that support The Art of Simple (and thanks so much in advance)!

(Psst… Looking for the Advent Guide?)

At Home in the World

Tsh’s memoir chronicling the school year her family spent traveling the world and living out of backpacks — and what she learned about home in the process. Pairs well with a tee in a language you love!

Story Worth

StoryWorth makes it easy and fun for family members to share stories with loved ones, with weekly emailed story prompts — questions you’ve never thought to ask. I can’t wait to read my dad’s answers!

Cozy Minimalist Home

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith isn’t about going without or preferring a modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style YOU LOVE with the fewest possible items. Right now, buy the book and get her free winter class + Lindsay Letters printable!  Pair this with a simple blanket.

The Year of Living Happy

“How would your life be different if you were just a bit happier every day for a year? What would you do to enjoy life just a little more day by day?” That’s the premise behind this latest (beautiful!) book by Alli Worthington, where she encourages us that we are allowed to be happy — with devotions, lovely art, and journaling pages throughout.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

If someone on your list loves the Netflix show, the book by Samin is perfectSalt Fat Acid Heat helps you master the use of four elements which ultimately determines the texture of food. Pair this with some fancy salt or balsamic vinegar.

The Wondering Years

Knox McCoy, co-host of The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, tells hilarious stories about how pop culture helped him answer life’s biggest questions in his debut book, The Wondering Years. Such a fun read! Pair it with a record player or movie theater gift card.

Stretched Too Thin

If you’ve got a working mom on your list, this book is just the thing to encourage her — Jessica Turner encourages her fellow working mamas how to establish boundaries, let go of the guilt, discover more flexibility, and more. Depending on the woman, this could pair well with either a Skillshare membership (get 3 months for $.99 with the code SIMPLE) or a bath + body kit.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places

With heart-tugging transparency, humor, storytelling, and personal confession, Shannan Martin’s The Ministry of Ordinary Places reminds us that no matter where we live or how much we have, as we learn to be with people, we’ll find our lives. Pair this with a thrift store vintage mug.

The Grace of Enough

In The Grace of Enough, Haley (from the pod!) shares how a year-long internship on a sustainable farm changed her family’s life for the better. She identifies values that create ripple effects of grace that help overcome the effects of our “throwaway” culture. Pair with seed bombs or small batch coffee!

G'Morning, G'Night!

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day, and as his audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Jonny Sun has an equally inspiring feed, filled with his whimsical artistry — now they’ve partnered with G’Morning, G’Night!

We Rate Dogs

For the dog fan in your life, We Rate Dogs is the sweet book by Matt Nelson, creator of the same epic Twitter account. Pair this with the 2019 daily calendar, or h*ck ….maybe a new puppo from the local shelter?

The Complete Calvin & Hobbes

Great for kids and adults alike (one of my kids taught himself to read with these), this Complete Calvin and Hobbes Collection includes on all their adventures in a four-volume set — every comic strip from the comic strip’s eleven-year history (1985 to 1996). 

The Read-Aloud Family

In The Read-Aloud Family, Sarah shares inspiration and age-appropriate book lists for starting a read-aloud movement in your home, tackling challenges from a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance. Pair this fantastic resource with a few favorite readalouds.

Kindle Paperwhite

Yes, paper books are fantastic. But those of us who travel frequently, nothing beats the Kindle Paperwhite for coming closest to a real-book feel. Newly updated (with Audible!), this really is a gift that keeps giving. Add an e-book or audiobook as a fun surprise.

Book of the Month Club

The gift they get to pick! Let them choose their favorite books, every month. I’ve found a few hidden gems this way!

Clothing & Shoes

At Home in the World Tee

Tell the world how much you feel at home within its cities and villages, in one of many languages! Pairs perfectly with Tsh’s travel memoir of the same name. (Here, Tsh is wearing the French tri-blend extra soft in vintage black, male, size medium.)

Fair Isle Sweater

This toasty layer, from British brand Boden, features an updated Fair Isle pattern, and its cozy wool is ideal for both winter walks and lounging by the fireplace. Pairs well with a dainty bracelet.

Animal Tee

If you’ve got a kid who’s into a very specific animal (um, my middle guy is super into llamas right now), these vintage print tees are super fun. They’ve also got octopi, dodo birds, badgers, and tons more. Pairs well with a funny book collection.

Denim Jacket

A denim jacket is the perfect combination of tomboy and feminine, a wardrobe essential to layer in with any look. This one from ABLE comes in a dark vintage wash, wearable in any season. Pairs well with a necklace or wallet.

Funny Tee

If you’ve got an I-have-no-idea-what-to-get-you someone on your list, a funny tee is always a good move. Pair it with a good drink or movie tickets, and done.

Matching Jammies

Who doesn’t love a set of matching jammies? Loved by kids and adults all over the world, Hanna Andersson’s legendary organic cotton knit, smooth seaming, and hand-me-down quality means that 50 washes from now these jammies come from the dryer happy as ever.

Allbirds

I can’t stop talking about how much I adore my Allbirds — I wore them all over London and New York with nary an ache. Made of either wool or bamboo, with different styles for men, women, and kids, yep — I’ve got another pair on my Christmas list.

Sorrel Slippers

Classic slippers never go out of style and they last forever; Sorel crafts ethically-made quality shoes (Kyle especially likes their hiking boots). Their Manawan slippers are lined with wool, have a supple sweded upper, and their natural rubber outsole makes them outdoor enough to get the mail or chase the dog. Pair this with some grooming supplies they’d never buy themselves.

Rothy's Flats

Here’s another shoe I fell in love with this year — I can walk miles in Rothy’s flats; they’re the perfect shoe for all day wear, especially for work or date nights. Made from recycled water bottles, knit by machine, crafted by hand.

Jewelry & Accessories

Mini Beach Scene Brass & Resin Necklace

This necklace from Muro Jewelry is handmade from all-natural resin, jeweler’s brass and sand. Because of the hand made process each pendant is unique. Pairs well with a denim jacket.

Copper & Leather Earrings Set

This is your everyday go-to set because they go with just about everything: the raw, hammered copper hoops and distressed leather loops from Happy Little Lovelies.  Nickel-free and stress-free. (I have several of their pieces & I love them!) Use the code SIMPLEGIFT for 15% off thru 1/6/19.

Mini Emily Cowhide Clutch

These wrist bags combine the classic look of a clutch with the convenience of a strap to carry it. From Created Beautifully, it fits easily in a tote bag for day, then seamlessly to night on its own. Use the code simplybeautiful20 for 20% off from 11/26-12/31 (good only on this specific wrist bag).

Karma Necklace

The circle in this Kind Karma Necklace represents the cycle of giving and receiving, which Kind Karma believes can change society; when we help others, we create a better world — which benefits not only us, but also our descendants and their peers. (This sweet necklace is on my wish list.) Use the code SIMPLE15 to get 15% off through 12/31/18.

Morse Code Bracelet

Each of these morse code bracelets spells out a different word by using small gold-filled beads to recreate the combination of dots and dashes — choose between love, hope, courage, strength, and kindness, or create a personalized bracelet with a custom word! Fun way to personalize jewelry without being too literal. Use the code SIMPLE15 to get 15% off through 12/31/18.

Equation Geek Watch

For the genius / nerd in your life, give them an equation watch that features the equivalent notation of each number (for nascent mathematicians and victims of the occasional memory lapse, a cheat sheet is included with each watch). Pair this with a funny + heartwarming book.

Leather Apple Watch Band

Customize an Apple Watch with a Scandinavian leather band for both men and women, from ByNordvik. Contrast your techie gift with something a bit old-school.

Hailu Leather Wallet

ABLE‘s bestseller, the Hailu Leather Wallet is a classic well-made wallet. With 8 card slots and slip pockets for cash, receipts, or a checkbook, plus an exterior pocket with a removable zippered coin pouch that’s also the perfect place for a phone.

Bar Tag Bracelet

This perfectly dainty bar bracelet from GLDN is ideal for customizing with a meaningful inscription (a name? coordinates? a date? a word?). Comes in 14K gold-filled, sterling silver, or 14K rose gold-filled. It’s a great everyday accessory and a very sweet gift.

Food & Drink

Iva Jean's Fudge

Iva Jean’s Fudge is made with only the best ingredients, using organic and locally-sourced products whenever possible. Made by the nicest lady, we’ve had the cappuccino and salted pecan pumpkin fudge, but our absolute favorite is the brown sugar bourbon.

Balsamic Vinegar Set

This makes a great hostess gift for those holiday gatherings — a one-of-a-kind handmade gift set includes one glass bottle of Balsamic Vinegar Reduction or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (8.5 fl oz) and one handmade ceramic dipping tray, from AltaCucina.

Urban Map Glass

For the traveler on your list (or the person homesick for a favorite place)… take a mental stroll through familiar streets with this rocks glass, etched with a city’s distinct grid, from Uncommon Goods. Pair this with a DIY small-batch cocktail kit.

Dutch Oven

A classic dutch oven is one of my kitchen staples, and Lodge is a great company that makes a fantastic one for such a great price. Pair it with (my favorite) oven mitts and apron.

Coffee Collection

If you’ve got a true coffee connoisseur on your list, Blue Bottle is a supreme small-batch brand. Their Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground assortment is a variety of their best-selling coffees — from their beloved blends to their single origins. Pair this with their signature dripper.

Salt + Cellar

For the burgeoning cook on your list, this pound of salt is harvested fresh from the ocean and sun-dried on Bailey Island, Maine; its crisp and unique flavor comes from the mineral-rich saline waters of the Gulf of Maine (from Food52). Add a set of tabletop salt cellars and pair it with a new classic book on cooking.

Personalized Mug

Celebrate your family’s collection of individuals with these unique mugs — choose the skin tone, hair, clothing color, and the mug owner’s first name. Lovely whether you’re all around the same table or enjoying a hot drink in different time zones. Pair this with hot chocolate on a stick!

Popcorn + Ceramic Bowl

Made by artisans in Tunisia, this hand-painted ceramic bowl from GlobeIn is great for the movie aficionado on your list when you fill it with gourmet popcorn and pair it with a classic Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper.

Glass Zipper Bag

For the hard-to-buy-for kid or kid-at-heart on your list, this glass homage to the plastic bag is a great gift when you also fill it with hard candy or flavored nuts. Pairs well with a funny book.

Grooming

Phlur's Hanami Fragrance

If you listen to the podcast, you know how much I love Phlur and all they put out in the world. Hanami is their most minimalist scent, perfect for gift-giving. Inspired by cherry blossom viewing festivals in Japan, this new-to-me edition of Phlur is next on my to-try list — their 50 ml fragrance bottles are all I wear (no exaggeration).

Phlur's Body Wash & Lotion

Phlur’s botanically-derived body care products nourishes skin with a scent that’s minimalist and calming, and ingredients that won’t harm your skin or the planet. Their 8-ounce daily body washes and lotions are the perfect companions to either the fragrance or candle (or both).

Akamai Essentials Kit

Multipurpose, non-toxic essentials for clean and healthy teeth, skin, and hair, from Akamai, one of my favorite brands. Use the code simple10 to get 10% off any item — one per customer, one-time purchase or subscription order, no expiration.

Self Love Bath & Body Ritual Kit

Comprised of ingredients rich in rose and coconut, this body kit is lovely for an at-home spa. Herbivore Botanicals is an ethically sourced, natural skin care line, and all their products get rave reviews. A good gift for that hard-to-buy-for woman on your list.

Harry's Shave Set

You’ve heard me talk about Harry’s on the podcast; they’re a fantastic company that makes fantastic shaving products. They’ve got a wide variety of gift sets, like the Winston, where you can add engraving. Good for women, too (my daughter and I both use Harry’s products!). Use the code SIMPLE for $5 off any shave set.

Beardology Man Set

This beard-grooming set from popular Beardology includes an 8-ounce bottle of beard wash, along with a one-ounce glass bottle of beard oil and one-ounce tin of beard balm in a scent of your choice — 17 to choose from. Ingredients include argan, joboba, and avocado oils.

Catch-All Basket

These one-of-a-kind banana fiber baskets are handmade in Uganda and support their makers with fair employment, medical care, and education, allowing their families to thrive from The Mighty River Project. Pair this with a fun set of plants.

Monk Manual

Monks are the most productive people in the world, and they know that productivity isn’t about doing more things, it’s doing the most important things well. The Monk Manual provides a practice of daily habits designed to help people mirror core qualities of the monk in their everyday lives (like gratitude, awareness, and intentional action), along with getting their stuff done. I’ve been using mine for about a month, and I love it. Pairs well with a hammock.

Annica Candle

If you listen to the podcast, you know how much I love Phlur and all they put out in the world. And they have candles! With its subtle, warm embrace, the Annica candle is designed for tranquility when calm is required. An interpretation of their Hanami fragrance, Annica echoes Hanami’s minimalist sensibility, sharing notes of fig, white florals, hazelnut and sandalwood. I’m so eager to try this.

Turkish Blanket

Blankets and linens from Turkey are known for their durabilty and comfort without bulk. This large, diamond patterned throw from Int’l Threads Co. styles easily on the couch, bed, or basket and is perfect for winter nights. Pair this gift with a good candle.

Fandom Bookends

These personalized handmade bookends are made from eco-friendly, natural plywood and celebrate whatever fandom your person loves. Pairs well with a book, a bookish candle, or movie tickets, the choices range from The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, simple dinosaurs, and more.

Wood Laptop Lap Desk

A handmade, portable desk that makes working from home even better. Includes an extended display dock for phones and tablets, complete with a cable slot for just about any phone or tablet. Ventilation holes cools down laptops; any remaining heat is absorbed within the natural bamboo. Pairs well with a soulful journal and good pen.

Geometric Air Plants

These geometric planters are the perfect home for easy-to-care-for ionantha air plants, from Airplant Design Studio. Made from sustainable and biodegradable plastic material, these small planters are a lovely accent for a desk at the office or a shelf at home. Planters measure about 2.5 inches high, about 2.5 inches wide, and come as a set of three, including the plants.

Floral Art Print

Katie Daisy is one of my favorite artists (she was local to me when we lived in Oregon!), and I have several of her pieces on our walls. This floral print would go well in a girly bedroom, a happy kitchen, or a welcoming entryway.

At Home in the World Pillow

Celebrate your love for the world within your own home with an At Home in the World pillow in a variety of languages! Pairs perfectly with Tsh’s travel memoir of the same name (select the tee in your language choice, then click on the pillow option).

Toys, Games, & Fun

Artist Pad Collection

The Legion Artist Pad Collection, a set of eleven 9×12 drawing and watercolor pads from Legion Paper, is the quintessential gift for any artist. Pair these with a sketchbox easel and quality brushes for a fantastic starter kit for the artist on your list.

Around the World Stories

We love these around our house! Original audio stories for kids about other countries and cultures. Use the code SIMPLE20 to take 20% off all story sets and subscriptions, including gift certificates, through December 31, 2018. Pair it with a world map tablecloth!

Hammock

We got Yak Hammocks for our kids last Christmas, and they’re used constantly! Made of high quality 210T parachute nylon, these hammocks are extra soft yet super-strong, and fold up easily in their attached bag. Pair one with a good journal or blanket.

.

Bark Box

It’s a gift subscription for your dog and/or dog fan! Every BarkBox has at least two innovative toys, two all-natural bags of treats, and a chew, curated from each month’s unique themed collection. Ginny, our family dog, loved hers.

Mini Wooden Bowling Set

A good gift for that hard-to-buy person on your list, this tabletop set, hand-carved from Indian rosewood, packs all the fun and challenge of bowling into a portable box, from Uncommon Goods. Pairs well with fudge or popcorn.

Paint-By-Number Kit

I know, this is a bit of a throwback, but I got this for myself recently, and it’s legit fun! And I’m excited to have a painting done by myself to hang on my wall. For the budding artist in all of us, this paint by number kit includes brushes, acrylic paints, a 20×16 pre-printed canvas, instructions, and a magnifying glass.

World Map Coloring Tablecloth

Learn geography and world facts over dinner by coloring the globe with this illustrated tablecloth. It comes with ten washable markers, which means you can toss it in the wash, then do it again! Pair this with a Little Passports subscription or a subscription to Around the World Stories.

Ticket Stub Diary

For that person on your list who loves going to ball games, concerts, Broadway shows, museums, or even movies, preserves their tickets in a convenient display book. Pair this with a new set of tickets to something fun or The Wondering Years.

Little Loving Hands Subscription Box

Love the idea of subscription boxes but wish you could share your child’s creation for a greater good (besides clutter)? Each Little Loving Hands box focuses on a different charitable cause your child can support by making fun crafts, then donating them as gifts. They enjoy the activity while learning about giving!

Board Game

Board games make a great family-wide game. In 7 Wonders, you’re the leader of one of the seven great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes and affirm your military supremacy; build your city and erect an architectural wonder that’ll transcend the future. Pair with popcorn & bowl.

Rocket Costume Kit

From Seedlings, this Rocket Adventure Cape Costume Kit features elastic straps made for little arms. Easy-to-attach planet patches, orbiter shuttle, and felt rocket flames make customizing the cape a new play experience every time. Pair the kit with astronaut jammies.

Bluetooth-Enabled Record Player

This three-speed turntable plays vinyl records on surprisingly good speakers; the built-in Bluetooth wirelessly plays music from any enabled device (no cords needed) — it’s the best of both worlds. The vintage portable suitcase design looks cool on a countertop, yet closes up to a portable music device that’s under 3 pounds.

Stocking Stuffers

Floral Enamel Keychain

Give with Joy’s signature Floral Watercolor design is now a keychain! Would be lovely paired with their same watercolor print, and including some sort of special key (for a new driver? apartment? hope chest? diary?).

Decoder Ring

Modeled in the spirit of those used to crack codes during radio shows of the golden era, this modern, secret decoder ring lets amateur ciphers test their knack for code-breaking. Friends and siblings will have a blast taking turns leaving coded notes for each other to figure out.

Stickers

Stickers are always fun on cars, water bottles, laptops, and more; this one illustrates the Oregon bird and motto. There’s other fun ones: for the mountain lover, bookworm, and wildflower fan

Nerdy Bookish Candle

Inspired by stories and their characters, Frostbeard’s Book Lovers’ Soy Candles are handcrafted in small batches, perfect pairings to go with your nerd’s book presents. I don’t know which one I want more: Christmas at the Burrow, Sherlock’s Study, or just good-old Bookstore.

Headlamp Flashlight

A simple but durable headlamp makes a great stocking stuffer for everyone — they’re useful for camping, yes, but also exercise, exploring, and my favorite — reading in bed. Foxelli makes an affordable classic headlamp in a variety of colors — and it takes normal batteries!

Single Station Radio

Sure, this is a bit luddite, but there’s something sweet about the simplicity here. This Mason jar radio is pre-tuned to one station of choice (think of it as a public radio machine). The uncomplicated, cordless unit fits anywhere; just add two AA batteries and attach the antenna for over 30 hours of listening.

Seedbombs

Spread the beauty of wildflowers with these regionally-based seed bombs. With 16 native wildflowers, seed bombs make adding color and life to a yard or neighborhood easy and low maintenance. From Department of Everyday, they’ve got seedbombs for all sorts of places: the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, East Coast, and more.

Travel Blanket

This is the travel blanket for the frequent traveler on your list: use it as a scarf, lower it to a wrap, drop it all the way down to a blanket, does your taxes, cleans your kitchen. It’s almost that versatile.

Leather Key Holder

Keep pockets a minimalist space with a leather key holder — comes with free personalization, if you want. This is a great hard-guy-to-buy-for gift!

A few affiliate links are used here, which means at no extra cost to you, making a purchase by clicking these links helps support this site. Thanks!

(Psst… Want more ideas? You might also want to try our Ethical Shopping Guide.)