These Are the Best Gifts We Gave This Holiday Season

Because giving is better than receiving

In this season of giving, it seemed only appropriate that we tweak our “Best Things We Bought This Month” post, instead focusing on what we gave. But fret not—we haven’t totally relinquished our materialistic ways. The regular column will return next month. 

A Growing Candle Hyggelight in Christmas Thyme

“I got this Christmas thyme-scented candle for my roomie, whose birthday also happens to be around Christmas. It smells like cinnamon, winter herbs, and pine–very refreshing and cozy! But the really cool thing about the Hyggelight candles is that they also double as flower pots. Each candle provides a packet of wildflower seeds to plant in the jar when you’ve burned through the candle. I loved that she’d be able to repurpose the jar so it doesn’t have to be trashed.” -Ryan Weisser ($28 from the Growing Candle)

Fly Anywhere Flywheel Bike

“My husband and I bought the Fly Anywhere bike on their Black Friday sale as a shared gift this year. We didn’t wait until Christmas to use it, but it’s the BEST gift. We both really love the in-studio classes, but with two kids ages 2-and-under, it’s impossible to get to class as often as we’d like. We use the bike all the time.” –Amy Moeller ($1,699 from Flywheel)

ThermoPro TP17 Dual Probe Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer

“My girlfriend and I are paranoid cooks—meaning, we aren’t experienced enough to make real food without the help of instructions, timers, and technology (we’re slowly getting there). So whenever we cook meat, there’s an assumption that it’s undercooked; that it will be the meal that kills us. We end up putting food back in the oven and overcooking it. This gift will hopefully end all of that. It’s a dual-probe thermometer with an LCD screen and settings for medium, rare, well-done, etc., and a magnetic back so we can stick it on the oven/grill. Despite the SUPER creepy tutorial video on the listing page, I’m excited to see if this thing is worth the four-and-a-half star rating.” -Elliot Williams ($20 from Amazon)

Shutterfly Photo Book

“The gift I’m most excited to give this year is a Shutterfly photo book I custom-made for my father, with images from our fabulous week-long bicycle trip in Italy. We had such an amazing time, and my hope is that the book captures the great memories—which I’ll always cherish.” -Sherri Dalphonse (From $16 on Shutterfly)

Apple AirPods

“My dad has recently emerged into the 21st century and discovered Spotify and podcasts. He now constantly walks around the house with his earbuds in: washing the dishes, puttering around in the backyard, paying the bills—you name it, he’s plugged in. My brother and I thought he’d be delighted by the AirPods, as he’ll no longer have to deal with detangling cords and tucking his phone into his pocket. Plus, for an almost-60-year-old dad that’s still amazed by the existence of Google Maps, wireless headphones will be the most mind-blowing thing ever.” –Mimi Montgomery ($159 from Apple)

Teenage Engineering PO-12 Rhythm Drum Machine and Sequencer

“One very hard aspect of being a parent is restraining yourself when your kid shows any interest at all in things you like. You do not want to come on too strong! I love gadgets that make music, and my 14-year-old son has shown interest in similar stuff. So I bought him this Teenage Engineering PO-12, a palmtop rhythm machine that will let him make his own sick beats. If he doesn’t use it, I’m stealing it.” -Andrew Beaujon ($59 from Amazon)

GlamGlow Supermud Superstar Set


“My mom and I are both skincare nuts. She told me she wanted GlamGlow’s Supermud clearing treatment, their signature clay mask that I love and try to use on a weekly basis. I was at Sephora and noticed that they had this gift set. For less than the price of a standard-sized version of the Supermud mask, you get the mask, two versions of their GravityMud firming treatment mask, and a mask applicator. It’s like $130 worth of product!” -Adia Robinson ($39 from Sephora)

Dan Henry 1947 Dress Watch

“As a young adult with little prior knowledge about the watch universe and even less disposable income, the best watch I’ve ever found is the rose gold Dan Henry 1947. This rather simplistic two-tone dress watch is based off of a classic historical design, so it looks dressy, not flashy, and feels much more expensive than its $190 price tag.” –Regina Park ($190 from Dan Henry)

Homesick Madison Candle

“This year, I sent my sister (a recent expat) a reminder of our overlapping time as students in Madison, Wisconsin. When we couldn’t return home for many of the holidays, we were lucky to have each other. I’m hoping when she lights this cinnamon kringle college town candle, she’ll remember how we made new traditions in our home away from home—and how she can do the same with the friends who will turn into family.” -Daniella Byck ($30 from Homesick Candles)

LashFood Eyelash Extensions in a Bottle

“My sister is really into makeup, so I bought her LashFood’s Eyelash Extensions in a Bottle. It’s exactly what it sounds like: The formula in both the primer and mascara nourishes your lashes to help them grow. It took years for me to find a reasonably-priced mascara that looks completely natural, but this fits the bill.” -Kaila Philo ($28 from LashFood)


Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.