Select Page

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

We love our gifts well-made, as ethical as possible, and truly beautiful. Here’s our collection of gift ideas that receive our hearty praise this year! We’ve organized them into five categories, but there’s definite crossover (heck, I want some of the kid gift recs!). Support shops and brands that support The Art of Simple—and thank you so much in advance.

Happiest of holidays!

(Psst… You might also want to try our Ethical Shopping Guide.)


Hooded Fleece Robe

One of my kids got a robe for Christmas last year, and he still wears it all the time. Pairs well with slippers or jammies. From L.L. Bean.

Wooden Toy Bowling Game

Create many different variations of the classic bowling game for many hours of fun and imaginative play. Non-toxic paint and beeswax, personalize it with wood-burned letters. From Hill Country Woodcraft.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, this book is illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. Each story is written in the style of a fairy tale.

Around the World Stories

Kids benefit in big ways when they learn about the world, and these audiostories are great for that (my own kids love these!). Use code SIMPLE25 for 25% off any story set or gift certificate; code SIMPLE for one free month free for a monthly subscription. Both codes expire 12/31/17.


You can’t go wrong with a classic box of bricks to add to a growing collection. Pair it with a people pack, book for inspiration, or go with one of the popular themes (my kid likes Ninjago).

When God Made You

Inspire young readers to learn about their special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and create. Written by Matthew Paul Turner—after your purchase, get a personalized autographed book plate here.

Little Passports

Explore the world, one country at a time, with a fun and educational subscription. Get a suitcase, passport, and map, and every month learn about a new country with stickers, activity sheets, photos, and more!

Harry Potter, Illustrated Edition

For the Potterhead in your life, start their collection of the glorious full-color editions illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay. The first three books are out.

Wooden Toy Bench

A 38-piece set of play tools with a workbench to hold it all will inspire hours of creative play. Complete with wooden nuts and bolts to connect blocks, it’ll feel like they’re really building! From Hearth & Hand with Magnolia.

A Wrinkle in Time

Beginning with the iconic words “It was a dark and stormy night,” a tesseract is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of this fantastic book, one of my childhood faves.

Hammock Chair

Hang from the ceiling and create a reading nook, calming swing, or therapeutic hideout. Used for kids with sensory needs, these are great for kids of all types. From InYard.

Bread Baking Kit

For your chef in the making, get online instruction paired with recipes, tools, and supplies. From Craftsy—my daughter’s done a knitting class from them and loved it!

Tweens & Teens

Exploding Kittens

A card game for “people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats,” our entire family loves this weird game. Pairs well with Imploding Kittens. From The Oatmeal.

Wool Beanie

This “adventure beanie” is super soft to the touch and drapes nicely for the perfect slouchy look. Hand-knit with wool/alpaca blend, it’s stretchy and right on trend. From WormeWoole.

Culinary Herb Garden Maker

For your budding chef or gardener, this kit has everything you need to grow your own essential 8 herbs. It’s a well-tested favorite. From Food52.

Novelty Tee

My almost-teen helped me with this guide, and when she saw this tee, she shrieked, “Yes please!” Lots of great options, including Stranger Things inspo. From Teepublic.

DIY Lip Balm Kit

This organic, vegan lit contains everything you need to make five natural, nourishing lip balms with unique flavor and natural colorants, with designer stickers ready to use and gift. From Arterno, it ships from Australia so order in plenty of time.

Kindle Paperwhite

You can’t go wrong with my favorite e-reader—my tween uses hers almost daily. It syncs seamlessly with our public library, making constant reading a cinch. The closest e-reader to real paper.

Diary of a Tokyo Teen

For comic lovers and Japanophiles, this graphic novel is a unique look at modern-day Japan through a young woman’s eyes. Pairs well with a Japanese cookbook and chopsticks.

Colorway Monogram Mug

Pair this colorful initial mug with fair-trade coffee, quality peppermint cocoa and vanilla marshmallows, or a candle subscription. From Anthropologie.

Hogwarts Pennant

If you’ve got a Potterhead in your life, they would love Hogwarts-inspired room decor (find out first which house they’re in). Love these throws, too. From Pottery Barn Teen.

Vincent and Theo

The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, this book weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers.

Wood Earbuds

Handcrafted with genuine wood, these noise-isolating earbuds produce a crisp powerful acoustic sound with strong deep bass. Pairs well with a Spotify gift card or Rolling Stone subscription.

Q&A 5-Year Journal

Record what was going through your head each day for five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, answer the question at the top of the page, and when you finish the journal, start over. Pairs well with good pens.


At Home in the World

This is the story of my family of five’s adventure around the world, each of us carrying our belongings on our backs. What does it mean to be at home? Written by Tsh Oxenreider (aka, Yours Truly).

Gold Feather Earrings

These hand-cast, highly detailed feather earrings look like gold-dipped versions of the real thing. From Yobel Market, use code ARTOFSIMPLE to get 10% off.

Essential Companion Tote

Handwoven in Bangladesh out of palm leaf fibers, this well-crafted shopping bag has strong sewn leather straps to make a sturdy basket that will last. From Ten Thousand Villages.

Custom Artist’s Drawing

My oldest friend is a phenomenal artist (we met in kinder), and she can create affordable, custom paintings and drawings for you to enjoy for generations. From Ashes to Beauty.

Book of the Month

Let the bookworm in your life choose a new book each month, with fantastically-curated choices from guest bibliophiles. With access to early releases and debut authors, I love my monthly treat. Use code GIFTBOTM for $10 off on 6- or 12-month gifts.


A monthly curated candle subscription box delivering natural, hand-poured candles sourced from fine American makers. Use code SIMPLE17 for $5 off your purchase through 12/31/17.

Madeline Bag

This is my go-to work bag that’s technically a diaper bag (it has a removable 12-pocket organizer), it easily converts to backpack or messenger bag. Super high-quality with tanned leather and jade liner. From Lily Jade.

Vista Earrings

A subtle finish to any look and a premium go-to for years to come and finished in 14k gold or luminous rhodium (I have and love these!). From Purpose Jewelry, use code ARTOFSIMPLE to get 15% off any order through 12/15/17.

Solo Bracelet

A sterling silver infinity symbol on a snake chain, this bracelet has empowered an artisan named Karyawati to adopt a daughter with her income as an artisan. From Threads Worldwide, use code ARTOFSIMPLE for 15% off this their entire site.

Leather Clutch

This bag features a durable flap for securing in the front, an interior zipper, and a slot for cards and money. Ethically-sourced East African leather made by a Kenyan cooperative. From Yobel Market, use code ARTOFSIMPLE to get 10% off.

6-in-1 Revolve Dress

A capsule wardrobe essential, the Revolve Dress II is reversible and can be styled as a dress, tunic and top. Made from buttery-soft Modal blend fabric, it’s an easy, effortless, versatile garment that’s the ultimate carry-on companion. From Encircled.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven

London, 1939. The day war is declared, Mary North goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until his roommate Alistair Heath unexpectedly enlists. I loved this novel.


Harry’s Shave Set

German-engineered, five-blade cartridges and shave gel that smells amazing, sets come in unique holiday gift boxes in a variety of sizes. Use code SIMPLE to get $5 off your order.

What If?

In pursuit of answers, the creator of the xkcd webcomic runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators.

Passport Wallet

Handcrafted in Ethiopia, this wallet is 100% leather and comes in three colors. Perfect for both travel and home, both men and women. From FashionABLE.

Marvel Encyclopedia

A full-color, all-inclusive encyclopedia detailing little-known facts and information about more than 1,200 iconic Marvel characters. There’s also a DC Comics Encyclopedia, covering over 1,100 characters.

Movie Tickets

An easy stocking stuffer for any movie buff, comes in a variety of theater brands. Pairs well with popping ears—use code SIMPLE for 20% off before 12/15/17.

We Wood Watch

With richly-colored woodgrain faces, detailed indices, a date aperture, and eye-catching hands, the silver crowns and a comfortable fit complete this elevated look. 100% natural wood with hardened, scratch-proof mineral glass.

Laptop Backpack

Recycled polyester fabric body with a durable water repellent finish gives a nice balance of weight and durability for everyday use. The generous main compartment, zippered stash pocket beneath flap, and padded laptop sleeve protects most 15″ laptops. From Patagonia.

DoubleNest Hammock

A versatile, durable, and compact hammock that’s perfect for camping, hiking, or lounging around (we use this everywhere). Weighing 19 ounces, it stuffs easily into its attached storage bag. From Eagles Nest Outfitters.

Wise Trees

A stunning photography book containing more than 50 historical trees with remarkable stories from around the world. A great coffee table book for the nature lover in your life.

Novelty Tee

Featuring work from indie artists, there’s an endless amount of super-soft tees with all sorts of fandom, like Star Wars, or genres, like the 80s. From Teepublic, I love all my tees from here.

The Road Back to You

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively. Witty and story-filled, this book gives peek inside each of the nine types—my favorite Enneagram 101 book.

Leather Ratchet Dress Belt

No more holes, this belt has 38 unique adjustments for a comfortable fit. Easy removable buckle allows you to cut the belt to an ideal size for a custom tailored appearance. From Dante.

Stocking Stuffers

Earth News Journal

A companion to hold all your newsy notes and reminders, this 50-page unlined journal has a cover of woven recycled cloth and recycled newsprint, closing snugly with a thick string and button closure. From Ten Thousand Villages.

Fair + Simple Gift Card

Let them choose a gift like Turkish towels, leather belt, or soccer ball, and it’ll benefit causes like clean water initiatives, job creation, support for refugees, and more. From Fair + Simple.

Peppermint Dark Bark

A seriously satisfying snack of 80% dark chocolate, crispy, protein-packed puffed quinoa, and topped with peppermint crunch, it’s stone-ground which means more bold chocolate flavor. Perfect for chocoholics. From Taza Chocolate.

Dark Mint Truffles

Ecuadorian cacao reveals a silky-smooth, minty center stirred with creamy milk, wholesome coconut oil, and a touch of Madagascar vanilla. Made by a farmer-owned co-op that practices sustainable farming methods. From Alter Eco.

Story Worth

An easy way to share stories with loved ones, they’ll get weekly emailed story prompts (questions you’ve never thought to ask). At the end of the year, the stories will be bound in a beautiful hardcover book.

Cold-Brew Coffee Set

This set called The Backpacker includes Beach Bum Blondie, Mayan Cocoa, and Darjeeling Chai (three delicious cold brew coffee infusions), plus a a choice of tee or tank. Use code ARTOFSIMPLE for 15% off their entire shop.

Movie Tickets

An easy stocking stuffer for any movie buff, comes in a variety of theater brands. Pairs well with popping ears—use code SIMPLE for 20% off before 12/15/17.


A super-trendy addition for a mobile device, it’s a grip that allows for a secure hold and an expanding stand for portrait or landscape viewing. Repositionable, washable adhesive.

Book of the Month

Let the bookworm in your life choose a new book each month, with fantastically-curated choices from guest bibliophiles. With access to early releases and debut authors, I love my monthly treat. Use code GIFTBOTM for $10 off on 6- or 12-month gifts.

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!