I hate clutter, so when I'm doing my holiday shopping, I'm particularly sensitive to the risk of ultimately just junking up a friend's apartment with a gimmicky gift. But it's hard to find the right balance between something that is festive, functional and extra special. I think these 10 holiday gift picks fit the bill!
Gift your most frazzled friend with this luxury at-home spa in a box to help melt her holiday stress away. The body wash, bath elixir and body cream are nourishing, moisturizing and calming, but the real stand out feature: the warm, calming scent of vetivert, patchouli, and cedarwood. It turns bath time into "me" time, and the candle can make that soulful feeling last all night long. ($45, timetospa.com/elemis)
There's nothing like the smell of fresh pine needles to put you in the holiday spirit, especially if you live in a cement city like New York. This Diptyque Epinette Candle can make one's living room smell like a Christmas tree farm on a cold wintery night. The mix of Siberian pine essence and resinous notes of the balsam fir creates the perfect fresh, woodsy, sophisticated and appropriately seasonal scent. ($32 for 2.4 oz, diptyqueparis.com)
Not only does this body shimmer smell divine and subtly light up your skin (no tacky glitter found here), but the sleek, dark green bottle is like a designer piece for the bathroom. I love the retro look, and the fancy atomizer makes each puff feel like an Old Hollywood moment. The green and woody scent is extremely easy to fall in love with too. ($87, sephora.com)
An informal survey amongst my non-beauty-industry friends has revealed that not many women splurge on a nice hairbrush, yet it's probably the most important tool to ensure healthy hair. This flat brush has both boar bristles that help distribute natural oils to make hair shiny and nylon bristles to detangle your hair. The flat shape is perfect for everyday styling: blow outs, updos, etc. She'll never go back to a plastic brush again! ($85, bumbleandbumble.com)
Sonia Kashuk knows how to make quality makeup at affordable prices, and now she's done the same with accessories. She described her new Luxe Collection as "functionally gorgeous travel and beauty accessories," which is spot on. I love this studded black nylon case because it has adjustable compartments to make it work for literally anything. Plus, it zips up to a thin tray that's easy to stash in your bathroom, drawer, or suitcase. How could you not like getting this as a gift? ($34.99, target.com)
I first discovered this blow dryer at NYC's De Berardinis Salon. All the hairstylists were using it and the place was packed, but the overall noise level of the salon was and surprisingly calm. My first thought was, do these dryers even work? But when it came time for my blow out, it was fast, powerful, and virtually silent. It's the perfect gift for the mom who only gets to shower when her kid is napping, but she doesn't want to wake him up when it's time to dry her hair! ($179.95, follica.com)
A picture doesn't do this mosaic disc of makeup justice. It's actually about 7 inches wide and feels like an artist's palette when you hold it in the palm of your hand. This artfully patterned set includes 29 eyeshadow shades, 7 cheek colors and a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner. It's nice and flat so it doesn't take up a lot of space, but offers up a myriad of colors to get creative with. It's perfect for the makeup junkie. ($39, stilacosmetics.com).
If you have a wine lover on your list, wrap up this set of five adorable organic mini lipsticks with a swanky bottle of Bordeaux and you'll get tons of kudos. Not only are these little lipsticks moisturizing, but each one contains the same amount of the antioxidant Resveratrol that you'd get out of five glasses of vino. That's a pretty powerful punch! ($25, sephora.com)
What's better than the gift of glowing skin? Not only that, who doesn't get excited about stocking up her medicine cabinet with a new matching range of award-winning skincare. This amazing gift set of Philosophy's six bestselling skincare products will help her get the real gift: radiantly clear, beautifully bright, and impeccably smooth skin. ($85, Sephora.com)
If you have a funny tween on your gift list, look no further than this adorable set of mini nail polishes made in honor of this season's must-see kiddo hit The Muppets. The shades are flashy, splashy and fun--and so are the names: Wocka Wocka!, Designer de Better!, Warm & Fozzie, and Excuse Moi! Add a movie theater gift card to the kit, and you'll earn B.F.F. status. ($12.50, opi.com)