your ultimate holiday gift guide (2017)

Thanksgiving is over, which means Christmas shopping is in full swing. That can be stressful (ahem, is stressful, if you're someone like me), but that's why I've compiled a list of gifts for everyone on your list. P.S. I've included some personal discount codes and other discount codes that I stumbled across on their websites, because holiday shopping can get $$$.

Holiday Gift Guide

Top 8 Gifts

  1. Nike Flyknits ($140): Yes, there are tons of cool shoes on the market. But the Flyknits have remained staples for a reason — they're comfy, there are a variety of different styles, and they're functional. Try Zappos (I buy a ton of shoes from here), Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Ross, or Amazon if you're looking to save some $.

  2. Passion Planner + Pilot Rainbow Pen Set ($15-$30 + $20.95): My Passion Planner has completely changed my life. It helped improve my mental health, taught me the importance of setting goals, and helps me plan my workouts (and in general, my life). Get a compact one for those who are always on-the-go, an academic one for students, or an undated one for the ultimate blank canvas. I always like to color-code my planner, so a nice set of pens (Pilot pens are amazing) is a great addition to make this a bundle.

  3. French Press + Good Quality Coffee ($19.99 + $18.95): Don't let your friends drink bad coffee. This is a relatively inexpensive gift that coffee-lovers will appreciate (and will save them $). There are a variety of French presses out there — my recommendation is to get something sleek and functional but not overly expensive. Try your local coffee shop for beans (ask for them to be ground for French presses) — that'll make it the freshest. My coffee of choice is Barrington (a local Boston brand).

  4. Healthy Human Cruiser or Stein with Sport Lid ($19.99-$24.99 or $14.99-$34.99 depending on size + $12.99 for the sport lid — use APALEO10 for 10% off your order!): This is my personal favorite because it's the most universal. Forget Swell bottles — these Healthy Human bottles are much more functional. Get your smoothie or coffee loving friend a cruiser, which comes with a metal straw and keeps your drinks cold/hot 2x longer than your average mug. Or get the a stein (water bottle) keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It comes with a stainless steel-lined lid and a carabiner for easy carrying, or you can buy a sport lid for people like me, who are spill prone and workout a lot.

  5. Organic Bath Co. Gift Set ($30-$105): This is a Boston-based brand that makes luxurious body butters, candles, and body scrubs. Their PeaceFull products are perfect for when you want to give the gift of sleep! Everything is organic and Fair-Trade Certified.

  6. ButcherBox Box ($129-$299 — use HOLIDAY17 for $17 off your holiday box order): I'm a little biased because I work for ButcherBox, but I genuinely love getting my ButcherBox every month and am getting these for relatives as well (shhhh!). The beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, the chicken is organic and free-range, and the pork is heritage breed. The holiday boxes end shipping 12/10, but you can still get a normal box (starting at $159) for your friends, family, or yourself.

  7. Manduka EKO Lite Yoga Mat + Tess & Tricia Beaded Wrap with Meaning $43.68 + $50: I'm obsessed with my Manduka mat. It's my baby. Let me tell you — a good yoga mat makes a huge difference! Get your yogi friend this mat, especially if he or she does CorePower or any other yoga class where you sweat a lot — this mat prevents slipping and sliding. If you want to make this gift extra special, get a beaded wrap with meaning — I have the "courage" one as a reminder to live courageously. They're gorgeous pieces of jewelry!

  8. Fun Wine Glass + Good Quality Wine ($16.95 + $159 or $299 for a gift box of 6 or 12; $159/month for a monthly membership of 3, 6, or 12 months): The perfect gift for your girlfriends. Everyone loves wine and could use a personal wine glass! You can find a variety of fun wine glasses on Amazon or Etsy; as for wine, I recommend organic, all-natural wine from Dry Farm Wines (priced above) or Natura Wines. They won't give you headaches or hangovers!

For the Fitness Junkie

  1. Resistance Bands ($10.95): There are endless exercises you can do with these — plus, they're great for traveling.

  2. Deep Tissue Foam Roller ($17.99): Perfect for those constantly-sore muscles.

  3. RXBar Variety Pack ($18.99-$46.95): Clean, great-tasting protein bars in fun flavors!

  4. Fre Skincare Set ($115 — use NANCYCHEN for 15% off !): A skincare set made for those who sweat.

  5. Lululemon Fast & Free Crop II with Nulux ($118): One of my favorite Lululemon leggings — perfect for high-intensity exercise and also for yoga.

For the Kitchen Master

Gift Guide - Kitchen Master
  1. Ellie's Best Nut Milk Bag ($9.99 — use nancy10 for 10% off!): Making your own nut milk has never been easier.

  2. Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife ($99.94): Every good chef deserves an equally good knife.

  3. Simply Organics Spice Set ($135.99 for 24, $66.95 for 12): The quality of spices do matter.

  4. Ninja Kitchen System with Auto-iQ Boost (BL494) ($159.99): Soups, dough, smoothies... the possibilities are endless.

  5. Joule by Chef Steps Sous Vide ($168.96): The key to the perfect steak. You can also make eggs, soups, and much more!

For the Foodie

Gift Guide — For the Foodie
  1. Customized Spoons ($16-$18): Nothing like getting the person who likes to eat their own personal spoon.

  2. Gourmet Hot Sauce (starting at $29.95): Step aside, Tabasco.

  3. Gustus Vitae Gourmet Salts ($29.99): An easy way to upgrade any meal.

  4. Hydroponic Jar Basil Mint Set ($38): Nothing better than fresh herbs.

  5. Carnivore Club Snack Box ($39): High-quality meats for the meat-eater in your life.

For the Health-Focused

Gift Guide — For the Health-Focused
  1. Spiralizer ($26.99): Zoodles, sweet potato noodles, beet noodles... all the veggie noodles your friend can dream of is now in their power.

  2. Maju Superfoods Mental Mushrooms ($29.99 — use APALEO10 for 10% off!): Adaptogens are all the rage. This blend combines some of the most potent mushrooms for optimum health.

  3. Care.Of Vitamins ($30-$120): These personalized vitamin packets make taking vitamins fun and are catered to your specific needs.

  4. SilverFern Probiotics ($49.99): Is it faux pas to give people probiotics? Maybe in the past, but definitely not now.

  5. Daily Harvest Subscription ($75 for a gift box): Smoothies have never been easier with these fun blends that you see all over Instagram.

For the Paleo Enthusiast

Gift Guide — For the Paleo Enthusiast
  1. Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf ($15.95): Robb Wolf is one of the most recognized Paleo people, and while his new book isn't massively revolutionary, it is an entertaining, insightful, and good read for anyone in the Paleo community.

  2. SuperBody Breakthrough Brain Brew Brain Octane Packets ($23.95 — use NC10 for 10% off!): A bulletproof coffee must-have. These packets make it easy to bring with you anywhere.

  3. Further Food Collagen To-Go Packs ($30.95 — use APPROACHINGPALEO10 for 10% off!): Also perfect for bulletproof coffee/matcha/tea. This helps support a healthy gut and can be a replacement for protein powder!

  4. Eating Evolved Keto Gift Box ($36): The chocolate darling of the Paleo world, this gift box is Paleo and Keto-friendly.

  5. Instant Pot ($79-$159): Every Paleo blogger's newest obsession. I don't own one, but I do know that everyone who does is in love with the way it makes cooking so quick and easy. The latest model even has Bluetooth.

For the Homebody

Gift Guide — For the Homebody
  1. Soft Throw Blanket ($13.99): There's nothing cozier than snuggling up in a soft, fleecy blanket.

  2. Golden Milk Powder ($12.99): Having a warming blend of turmeric, cardamom, and vanilla at night is wonderful. This blend from Gaia makes for an easy turmeric latte.

  3. Fuzzy Socks + Foot Balm ($6 + $24): There's many jokes about people getting socks for Christmas, but I don't think you can have too many fuzzy socks. Especially when paired with a quality foot balm, because your feet deserve some TLC in the winter.

  4. Candle ($23-$25): You can buy candles anywhere, but I love Thistle Farms because they seek to heal, empower, and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

  5. Lavender Essential Oil + Diffuser ($5.99 + $24.99): For those who don't like candles, an essential oil diffuser is a wonderful way to create a relaxing scent. This diffuser has a humidifying aspect built in, but you can also buy cheaper ones that don't need water.

For the Guy in Your Life

Gift Guide — For the Guy
  1. External Battery Charger ($25.99): TBH everyone could probably use this, but if your guy is especially prone to not having their phone charged, this is a lifesaver. This particular external battery also works as a wall charger.

  2. Calvin Klein Trunks ($42.50): Comfy and stylish. Also as much a gift for you as they are for him, if you know what I mean...

  3. Dollar Shave Club Subscription ($45-$140): Dollar Shave Club lets you gift a certain amount of months so that your guy doesn't have to worry about buying razors for awhile.

  4. Echo Dot ($49.99 — Cyber Monday week is only $29.99!): For the tech-loving guy. You can also get a smart plug ($29.99) and a smart light ($24.99) to make for the ultimate gift. No more getting up to turn off the lights!

  5. LL Bean Men's Wicked Good Moccasins ($79): Who said guys don't like to be cozy? I have the women's versions of these and they're amazing.

For the Beauty Queen

Gift Guide — For the Beauty Queen
  1. Ursa Major Face Wipes ($24): She's gotta have something to take off her makeup! These have clean ingredients and are individually packaged for convenience.

  2. Birchbox ($30-$110 — use code GIFT20 for 20% off): If she loves trying new things, a beauty subscription box is the way to go.

  3. NEST Eau de Parfum Collection Coffret ($38): These are some of my favorite perfumes — unique, intriguing, and don't induce a headache.

  4. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($58): This mask is perfect for day or night and helps your friend glow more than she already does.

  5. May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon ($180): It smells wonderful, feels luxurious, and is wonderfully hydrating. The ultimate treat for your friend's face.

For the Yogi

Gift Guide — For the Yogi
  1. Healing Crystals ($2+): Crystals are all the rage. Each one serves a different purpose, so read up and choose some that will help guide your friend.

  2. Yoga Block ($11.99): Because your yogi friend deserves their own personal block that other people haven't already sweat on.

  3. Gaim Weekender Yoga Carrying Bag ($29.99): Perfect for carrying not only their mat, but also all the other essentials. Sleek and stylish, this bag can also be used for work.

  4. Lululemon Wunder Under Hi-Rise Leggings ($98): Hands down one of the most-loved yoga leggings.

  5. Mala Beads ($108-$148): These prayer beads are intended to match and guide your practice (and look gorgeous!).

For the Crazy-Busy Person

Gift Guide — For the Crazy-Busy Person
  1. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris ($17.85): Tim Ferris has done it again. First the 4 Hour Workweek, then Tools of Titans, and now this. A must-read for anyone looking to get ahead in life.

  2. Bodum Travel French Press ($26.95): So your friend can make their coffee at the office or anywhere that has hot water.

  3. Medium Subscription ($50): Move over, New York Times. Medium isn't new, but now some parts are locked unless you have a subscription.

  4. Uber Gift Cards (varies): Sometimes you don't have time to walk or take public transportation, and Ubers can add up. Give the gift of saved time.

  5. Apple Watch ($249-$429): You can answer calls on this, track your workout and heartbeat, set notifications to breathe and stand, see all your notifications...a must-have for anyone who's constantly doing a million things.

Gifts Under $25

Gifts Under $25
  1. Mug ($14.99): Choose whichever mug suits your friend the best, but this cat one from Nordstrom is heat-change, which is cute.

  2. Electric Wine Bottle Opener ($19.99): No more getting the cork stuck in the bottle.

  3. Taza Chocolate Mexicano Sampler ($21): Taza's chocolates are stone-ground, giving them an unique texture. This sampler comes with 8 flavors ranging from spicy to savory.

  4. Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($22): Winter is rough on all of our hands. This super rich cream works wonders.

  5. Stainless Steel Wine Glasses ($23.95): Perfect for picnics or camping or anyone who's prone to breaking things.

Bonus: Boston-Based Gifts

  1. Squeeze Juice Co. or The Juicery Gift Card (varies — I'd suggest $25. You also get a free smoothie at The Juicery with a $25 gift card purchase!): Juices and smoothies in Boston can add up — a single one is sometimes $10! Make someone's day by letting them splurge on that green juice or smoothie bowl. The Juicery is in the North End, Squeeze is all over Boston, and there are other juice shops you can hit up depending on where your friend lives/frequents.

  2. The Paint Bar Date ($39/person): Paint, booze, and unleashing your inner creativity. Make it a date for you and your boo or you and a group of friends!

  3. Back Bay Skin Spa Membership ($60/month): This covers a treatment of their choice each month. I use mine for a deep tissue massage, but you can also get facials, waxes, and more. Treat your friend to self-care!

  4. Balans Organic Spa Gift Card (varies — I'd suggest $50-$100): I get all my facials, waxes, and the bulk of my face products from Balans. They have great service and organic, all-natural products. 

  5. Wine Tour ($140/2 people): Another great date idea. Choose from North End, South End, Seaport, and more — they bring you to different restaurants, explain about different types of wine, and give you wine and food pairings.


Nancy Chen

passion : helping people lead a happier lifestyle through transforming their health, fitness, and mindset in a realistic manner.

digital marketing specialist | boxing + yoga enthusiast | ED + mental health awareness advocate

you can usually find me with a smoothie bowl in one hand and some form of avocado in the other.