your ultimate holiday gift guide (2018)
Holiday season is upon us! While some of us have been planning holiday gifts since August (kudos to you), some of us need some last-minute help. Black Friday/Cyber Monday is the perfect time to work your way through your gift list, since there are always some awesome deals.
I’ve taken my gift guide from last year and upgraded it with the latest and greatest, plus some BF/CM deals just for you (please be aware that if you’re shopping after BFCM, these discounts may no longer be valid!). You can shop directly from the links below — I do get commission from some of them and they link directly to the best deals I’ve found. Enjoy!
*This will be updated throughout the weekend with deals as they come in
$ — Under $25
$$ — $25-$50
$$$ — $51-$75
$$$$ — $76+
The Beauty Queen
For the person who gets more excited about makeup sets dropping than Apple products dropping. (Not going to lie — holiday makeup sets are my kryptonite. I had way too much fun putting this together.)
Beautycounter Transforming Lip Duo ($30): This is super fun — it’s a lip tint/lip gloss duo that transforms color to match your lips. $$
Fenty by Rihanna Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter ($34): RiRi’s expanded a lot this year — moving into makeup AND lingerie. Her makeup products now have a cult following, so if your friend doesn’t already have this, gift them some of the collection’s favorites. $$
Face Mask ($15-$60): All that makeup needs some extra deep clean for your skin! Try the Aztec Clay Clearing Mask ($14.99), Beautycounter No. 3 Balancing Face Mask with Charcoal ($49), or Indie Lee Clearing Mask ($60). $-$$$
Beautycounter Necessary Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette ($89): Safer beauty has never been more gorgeous. Now that the Urban Decay Naked Palette (RIP) is gone, gift this Beautycounter one or this Classic Velvet one (similar colors, just smaller and lower priced at $50!). It’s free from harmful chemicals and the colors are so versatile. $$-$$$$
The Most-Loved Mom
For Mom! Moms do so much — they’ve spent their entire lives taking care of us, so it’s time we said thank you in any way we can.
Handwritten Card ($1.99-$5): My mom still has cards and poems I wrote her from 5th grade. Take the time to write one for Mom! $
Lively Lounge Pants ($49): Let mom lounge in style at home with the comfiest pants ever (no, these aren’t leggings). Use AMB-nancylinchen for a discount. $$
Beautycounter Instant Awakening Trio ($89): My mom LOVES the Overnight Resurfacing Peel and swears it makes her skin look more youthful. This set includes the peel, plus the Illuminating Cream and Eye Revive Cooling Masks to beat those winter blues ($45 savings!). Starting 11/20, they’re giving you 15% off the entire site + FREE shipping on orders over $50. $$$$
ButcherBox Gift Box ($139-$199): Maybe it’s a stereotype, but I feel like most moms are great cooks. Give them the gift of good food with a ButcherBox holiday gift box — it’s especially helpful if your parents are hosting for the holidays. $$$$
The Eco-Friendly Friend
For the green god/goddess.
Healthy Human Stainless Steel Straws ($10-$15): This set of stainless steel straws comes with a little pouch so your friend can take it with them everywhere. Use APALEO10 for 10% off your order. Get 30% off + FREE shipping sitewide from 11/21-11/24 for Black Friday. $
Healthy Human Travel Mug and/or Water Bottle ($22-$30): Healthy Human mugs/water bottles keep your cold drinks colder for longer and your hot drinks warmer for longer. They come in a ton of fun colors and sizes! Use APALEO10 for 10% off your order. Get 30% off + FREE shipping sitewide from 11/21-11/24 for Black Friday. $-$$
Stasher Bag ($10 -$20): Say goodbye to Ziploc bags with a set of these Stasher bags — you can use them to store anything you would in a plastic Ziploc! $
Everlane Backpack ($68): Everlane’s products are made from ethical factories and sources. This backpack is unisex yet chic. $$$
The Home Cook
For that friend who hosts dinner parties with ease and whose favorite room is the kitchen.
French Press + Nice Coffee Beans ($20 - $30): A must-have for any at home coffee experience. French presses make delicious coffee quickly — much better than any machine. Get them a bag of coffee beans from their favorite coffee shop while you’re at it! P.S. Amazon usually has great deals on Bodum presses. $
Cooking Class ($26 - $100): They say experiences make the best gifts, so give your culinary friend the opportunity to hone their skills. Look into local cooking classes — I love the ones at the Kitchen at the Boston Public Market if you’re in the Boston area! $$-$$$$
Instant Pot ($79 - $149): The Instant Pot first burst into the culinary scene last holiday season and has quickly replaced the slow cooker as the go-to kitchen appliance. You can make anything from yogurt to whole chicken in it. Right now you can save 10% off for BFCM on Amazon. $$$$
Air Fryer ($29 - $119): A cult-favorite of wellness Instagrammers and parents alike, air fryers come in different sizes, which make it perfect for anyone from college students (XS) to families (XL). It makes homemade fries healthier AND delicious, and you can roast veggies and cook salmon far faster than on the stove/oven. Right now you can get $10 off with a coupon on Amazon. $$-$$$$
ButcherBox Subscription ($129-$159): Hello meat-lovers! ButcherBox delivers your choice of 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, antibiotic- and hormone-free pork, and organic chicken right to your door on your schedule. You can choose a curated box or custom-build your own. Right now you get Bacon for Life when you order a box. $$$$
Nest Braising Pan ($200): The perfect combination of stylish, functional, AND high quality, this braising pan from Nest Homeware is a beautiful gift for anyone who likes to braise meat. $$$$
The Classic Millennial
For the friend who Instagrams themselves at hip coffee shops or Dig Inn way too often and lives off avocado toast and açaí bowls (guilty).
Fun Socks ($14.99): Now that showing your socks are back in style, give your friend some socks people will be talking about. I recently bought this avocado toast pair off Nordstrom Rack for sale. $
Glossier Boy Brow ($16): Let’s be honest — all of Glossier’s products are millennial-friendly. Especially since many of them are millennial pink. The Boy Brow is a eyebrow product that grooms your brows and gives them a subtle tint, without looking too overdone. $
Hershel Fanny Pack ($29.99): Fanny packs are also in style… anyone feel like the 90’s are coming back? Aside from a vintage leather one my sister and I fought over from our mom’s closet, this Hershel one is the next best thing. $$$
Allbirds Sneakers ($95): No socks needed for these comfy shoes! These New Zealand-brand sneakers have been popular for a couple of years now, but they’ve continued to release new styles and colors. $$$$
The Trendy Teen
For the cousin, little brother/sister, family friend — because it seems SO long since we were teenagers!
"To All the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han (collection) ($20.96): Netflix just turned the first book in this series into a huge hit, but the books are just as good. Get the whole collection. $
Cards Against Humanity ($25): A classic from the time I was in high school (not that long ago, I swear!), Cards Against Humanity still remains a fun party game for all ages… well, those above 12. $
Hershel Fanny Pack ($25): Fanny packs are back in style! Don’t @ me. $
Hershel Heritage Backpack ($40-$60): Teens do have to go to school (sigh). So you might as well carry all your books in something fashionable — this one works for girls and guys. On sale now on Amazon for 20% off. $$
Beautycounter Clean Beauty Go-To’s ($45): Say goodbye to drugstore makeup and skincare with Beautycounter’s curated-for-teens set. Starting 11/20, they’re giving you 15% off the entire site + FREE shipping on orders over $50. $$
Gift Cards (varies): Any of them. To anywhere. Money is the ultimate thing when you’re a teen, because you really don’t have any (or at least, not a lot) of your own. Don’t worry about being insensitive — it’s not.
Beautycounter Mini Lip Gloss Vault ($89): Legit all the colors you’d ever want or need. Starting 11/20, they’re giving you 15% off the entire site + FREE shipping on orders over $50. $$$$
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones ($299): Want to splurge on your favorite teen? Get them a pair of beats so they can turn the music up and the world down. $$$$
For anyone who travels constantly, either for work or for fun.
Uber Gift Card (varies): As far as gift cards go, Uber ones are great. Time is money, and Ubers allow you to get from the airport to home in no time. $
Memory Foam Neck Pillow ($26.99): Airplanes are uncomfortable. No other explanation needed. $$
Best of Beautycounter Set ($89): Buying minis of everything is SUPER annoying, but with this curated travel kit, you get amazing products that are perfect for traveling. Starting 11/20, they’re giving you 15% off the entire site + FREE shipping on orders over $50. $$$$
Away Carry-On Suitcase ($225): I’m keeping my eyes peeled for BFCM deals on this, because I’m going to gift it to myself :) Popularized by millennials and business travelers, Away suitcases are stylish and functional – they include a built-in charger and makes staying organized easy. $$$$
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones ($349): A must-have for flights. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones cut down on that ugly plane noise and allows you to relax in peace and quiet (or to blast your own music). TODAY 11/27 $299 (you save $50) on Amazon! $$$$
The BF/Guy Friend/Dad/Uncle
For the male presence(s) in your life — because they need some TLC too!
Beard Oil ($20): Facial hair required ;) This beard oil has really great ingredients (it’s from Primally Pure) and smells fab! $
Good-for-You Bars ($16.50-$29.99): Great for anyone who has a desk job or is busy, but especially good if you’re trying to get these guys to give up Quest Bars. IQ bars are Keto-friendly, grain-free, and vegan, but you wouldn’t know it since they taste so good. Use NANCY15 for 15% off! $-$$
LL Bean Sweater Slippers ($30): Comfy is key. $$
Dollar Shave Club Subscription ($50-$100): Razors are always necessary if your guy has facial hair. Dollar Shave Club makes it easy with affordable subscriptions. Plus, you can steal the razors for your legs. Double win! $$-$$$$
Counterman Travel Set ($75): Here’s the thing: a lot of guys don’t know or care about buying their own personal care products, or are simply overwhelmed. Help them out with this Beautycounter collection — it’s safer skincare, but they won’t even know because the packaging looks so damn manly. Heck yeah. Starting 11/20, they’re giving you 15% off the entire site + FREE shipping on orders over $50. $$$
Lululemon Joggers ($118): Raise your hand if a guy you know is still wearing gross T-shirts, cut out tanks, and old soccer shorts to the gym. While that’s not a bad thing, help them level up their gym style with some athleisure — and where better to start than Lululemon? $$$$
Apple Watch Series 4 ($399-$499): Fitness. Tech. ‘Nuff said. $$$$
The Gym Hero
For the super-fit friend who’s always at one fitness class or another (or lifting by themselves #getafterit!)
The Original Worm ($24): It’s not what it sounds like, I swear. The Magic Worm is essentially the design of 4 lacrosse balls in a tube sock, but better. It’s great for traveling, especially driving long distances, and for the office. I usually lie with it under my back at the end of a long day and it helps my back pain a lot. You can buy it from Amazon! $
Reebok Pure Move Bra ($60): Reebok’s new bra is making waves in the fitness community, and for good reason. This bra is insanely supportive yet doesn’t feel restrictive. Actually, you kind of forget you’re wearing a bra at all, which is awesome. $$$
A Healthy Subscription (varies): From a ClassPass subscription (free trial increased to 45 credits for Black Friday), to a stretch studio subscription, to a massage gift card, to a SmoothieBox subscription ($119 but you can get $25 off the 1st box with my link here — that’s $4.70 / smoothie! — OR you can get $22 off 2 boxes for Cyber Monday using code 20CYBER2018), you can go wild choosing one that’s perfect for your friend. $-$$$$
The Badass Boxer
A subset of the gym hero, the Badass Boxer spends their days hitting the heavy bag and their nights watching boxing matches, but likes to look stylish AND fierce at the same time.
Glove Dogs ($12): Simple — gloves get sweaty and stinky. This pair has a fresh scent that leaves the gloves smelling nice — these are a great add on to a new pair of gloves! $
Personal Training Sessions (varies): Chances are that the gym your boxing friend goes to offers one-on-one mitt work sessions with a personal trainer. It’s a great chance to up level your friend’s skills, so they look even more badass! Ask about special holiday deals. (If you’re in the Boston area and want to do personal training with me, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org) $$$
York Athletics Shoes ($110- $125): I discovered these shoes last year, and they’re honestly life changing. For boxing, you need lightweight shoes you can move around in, and all of these work wonders. I personally love the Featherweights, but they have mid-length shoes for extra ankle support as well as water-resistant shoes (still waiting for these to get back in stock so I can buy them myself…). Right now, they have up to 50% off for Black Friday. $$$$
Nice Boxing Gloves ($59-$130): It’s super important to have good gloves — they protect your wrists and knuckles. My personal favorite are the Fighting Sports S3 Gels, but if you want to support women-owned brands, you can get a Society Nine pair. $$$-$$$$
The Free-Spirited Yogi
For the guy or girl who’s all about that namaste.
Yoga Mat Bag ($25): Simple — you gotta have a great bag for carrying all your yoga mat back and forth! I love this breathable, covered one because it protects my mat and has enough room for my water bottle and keys. $
Corepower Yoga Gift Card ($25-$100): Right now they’re doing pay $80, get a $100 gift card. $$
Mala Beads ($39.95): These beads are traditionally used for mediation, and each stone has a different meaning. You’ll see many yogis and yoga teachers wearing them. I have these ones and there’s a 5% off coupon on Amazon now. $$
Manduka Yoga Mat ($88): A good yoga mat makes all the difference. My favorite (I’ve been using it for 4 years now) is the Manduka Eko mat. $$$
Lululemon Align Leggings ($98): Oh man. I could buy these in every single color. They’re not just great for yoga — they work for any workout AND for everyday wear, but they’re fab for yoga. $$$
Beyond Yoga Leggings ($110): These leggings are SUPER comfy, made of thick yet breathable material, and are really high-waisted, so they stay up while you flow. $$$$
Essential Oils Set ($140): Scent is a powerful tool, and essential oils are said to help lift mood and improve energy, among other things. Doterra makes some really high quality ones. $$
The Hygge Homebody
For the friend whose ideal Friday night involves some Netflix and snacks. Maybe some wine and chocolate (also me).
Invite them to subscribe to Girls’ Night In — legit my favorite newsletter (free).
Fuzzy Socks ($5-$12): No explanation needed. Go wild. $
Fuzzy Blanket ($32): There’s honestly nothing as cozy as a big, fluffy blanket. I have one from Costco that I love, but this is the closest I can find! $$
Lively Bralette ($35-$55 ): I ordered my first Lively bralette this year and can’t turn back. They make the comfiest bras and bralettes ever, and have barrettes for D+ sizes too. They also expanded to loungewear, swimwear, and activewear in case you feel weird about getting someone underthings. Use this link for a discount. $$$
Art of Tea Gift Set ($54-$198): Nothing says cozy like a bug cup of tea on a cold, rainy day. Art of Tea makes high-quality teas — I’ve been obsessed with their matcha, but they also have great gift sets that you can customize depending on what your friend likes. For Black Friday (11/23-11/25), you can get 25% off anything on the site + a free gift for the 1st 100 people who order and for Cyber Monday you’ll get 20% off sitewide + free shipping for orders $20+. $$$-$$$$
LL Bean Moccasins ($79): Keep those toes warm with these Mocs — they can be worn in or out of the house. They’re great quality and super comfy. $$$$
The Special Diets Friend
For anyone you define as “the Paleo friend” or “the Vegan friend.”
PALEO - Vital Proteins Collagen Products ($16-$49): I take collagen almost daily to support a healthy gut and maintain healthy bones, skin, hair, and nails. Vital Proteins is my favorite collagen, and they have a TON of products to choose from, including their new Mocha Collagen Creamer (yum!). You can check out their gift guide for more ideas — I recommend the limited edition Holiday Sampler Pack (just $16)! $-$$
KETO - Perfect Keto Gift Set (varies): Keto has replaced Paleo in popularity in the past couple of months. People everywhere are finding that their lives are changing when they move away from the SAD (Standard American Diet). Perfect Keto makes Keto easy with supplements, nut butters, and their brand new Keto Bars. Mix and match from their extensive online store and put all the products in a cute bag. $$-$$$
VEGAN - Georgia Grinders Nut Butter Gift Set ($30-$45): This is MY dream gift. Georgia Grinders makes my favorite nut butters (their cashew butter is SO good), but it’s a little pricey if you’re buying for yourself. Send this gift set to your favorite friend — use AP20 for 20% off your order! $$$