17 Thoughtful and Useful Christmas Gifts


Looking for the best products to give — and receive — this holiday season? To verify Underscored’s vacation guide here.

We love a practical gift in these parts – after all, we spend a lot of time thinking about what makes the perfect example of a given product category. So when we find the best cast iron skillet or the absolutely perfect bath towel, we want everyone we know to have one.

But when it comes to these types of gifts, there’s a catch: when you give a practical gift, you risk disappointing the recipient, or worse, outright offending them. Our general advice when it comes to giving a practical gift is to find the right place for items that are useful, but also feel like a real gift for your friends and family. Ahead, 16 freebies that do just that.

Morgan Stripe Organic Cotton Sheet Set (from $169; potterybarn.com)

Really good sheets are such a great gift, and while you absolutely can’t go wrong with a plain white sheet set, we love Pottery Barn’s Morgan line because it offers classic striped sheets in red and blue, this which makes them great for Christmas or Hanukkah. For more recommendations and gift ideas, check out our guides to the best luxury sheets and the best cooling sheets.

Buffy Wiggle Pillow and Cover ($110.40, originally $138; buffy.co)

Buffy Wiggle pillow and cover

Buffy, the creator of these cloud-like duvets, took the pregnancy pillow and redesigned it for the masses. The Wiggle Pillow is a soft yet strong pillow that provides full body support for sleeping or lounging. A removable, machine-washable cover is available in three colors: cream, puff and toast.

ThreeBlueBirds3 Winter Cardinals Swedish Tea Towel ($6.95; etsy.com)

ThreeBlueBirds3 Winter Cardinals Swedish Tea Towel

Swedish Dishcloths are incredibly versatile reusable cleaning cloths that can replace sponges, cotton dishcloths and paper towels. They also come in many colors and patterns, like this Winter Cardinals pattern, which makes them feel festive and more present than a pile of flour sack dish towels.

Gardener's tool seat

The outdoor gardener in your life will love this super practical work stool that combines the features of a folding chair and a tool bag. The stool has 21 pockets to hold tools of all sizes, keeping them close at hand when they need them for potting, weeding, and pruning.

Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr Growlight Frame Shelf (from $139; uncommongoods.com)

Growlight frame shelf

For the indoor gardener, this frame-style shelf complete with grow light is a functional must-have. The frame is also equipped with a timer and is the perfect way to keep indoor plants and herbs happy and thriving in low light environments.

Asakuki Essential Oil Diffuser with Oils ($35.99; amazon.com)

Asakuki essential oil diffuser with oils

An essential oil diffuser performs two functions: it will fill your home with the aroma of essential oils – which are considered major mood boosters. This diffuser has multiple misting modes, seven different LED colors, and an auto-shutoff safety feature. It comes with six bottles of Lavender, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, and Peppermint essential oils.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier ($39.99, originally $49.99; amazon.com)

Pure Enrichment MistAire Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

The Pure Enrichment MistAire was our pick for the best humidifier for the bedroom because it’s quiet. A good humidifier can improve your skin, sinuses, and sleep, making it a great practical gift for almost anyone on your holiday shopping list.

Tushy Classic 3.0

A gift for someone you know really, really well… to say the least. Our pick for the best bidet attachment of 2021, the Tushy 3.0 is incredibly easy to install on a wide variety of toilets, and even easier to enjoy. It’s a complete game changer for the bathroom that we can’t recommend highly enough.

Little Cook Gold Heavy Duty Kitchen Scissors ($4.99; amazon.com)

Little Cook Gold Heavy Duty Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen shears are such a useful thing to own, but they’re a little practical to give as a gift – unless you’re upping the ante by choosing a luxurious style. These gold-handled kitchen scissors fit the bill perfectly.

Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towel (From $21.60, originally from $24; frontgate.com)

Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towel

In our bath towel test, Frontgate’s Resort Cotton Bath Towel was among the most luxurious, making it our pick for the best towel. “Thick, soft and cozy,” says our reviewer, “this product truly feels like a lovely hotel bath experience,” elevating basic towels at home into a luxurious gift.

Magic Linen Robe ($96, originally $120; magiclinen.com)

Magic Linen Linen Bathrobe

Asked about our own favorite dresses, editor Rachel Lubitz said of this linen number: “The sleeves are the perfect length and they drape so elegantly from my shoulders. If you are looking for a linen bathrobe, this is the one for you. The dress is available in three colors: light grey, gray blue or woodrose, a powder pink shade.

Theragun Mini ($174, originally $199; therabody.com)

Theragun Mini

Massage guns are popular tools for post-workout recovery, making them a great gift for the runner, powerlifter, or pilates enthusiast in your life. While many massage guns can be bulky, noisy, and quite expensive, the Theragun Mini gets high marks for being quiet, small, and comfortable to use, and its sub-$200 price tag makes it a reasonable option for gift giving.

Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray & Dry Skin Relief ($11.99; target.com)

Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray & Dry Skin Relief

This is my personal recommendation: I’ve never come across an ointment I didn’t like, and when I learned that Aquaphor was offering its beloved ointment in spray form, I flipped my lid. This stuff is surprisingand honestly i think you should buy a case and put a box in the bottom of everyone you know.

Lululemon Reversible Rug ($88; lululemon.com)

Lululemon Reversible Rug

Exercise mats have a lifespan; when they lose their loft or start to show signs of wear like nicks, rips or curls, it’s time for a change. The Lululemon Mat is our pick for the best overall yoga mat and makes a great gift for home workout enthusiasts or yogis who are very excited to return to studio classes.

Noted by Post-it Printed Notes Gift Box ($19.99; amazon.com)

Gift Box of Printed Notes Noted by Post-it Notes

We live in an increasingly paperless world, which is great, but sometimes you just have to jot something down by hand. This gift set from Post-it notes includes a round notepad, a to-do notepad, a pre-numbered notepad and five markers, all in a festive red and pink colourway.

Emart 10-inch floor standing ring light ($29.99; amazon.com)

Emart 10 inch Floor Standing Ring Light

The Emart Ring Light is our pick for the best ring light of 2021. It comes with a fully adjustable tripod, giving users great flexibility, and it has three light modes as well as 11 brightness levels. Think how great you will look in your daily zooms.


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