Our Top 10 Not-So-Serious Gifts (That Are Still Really Useful)


Thank you to Macy’s and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post.

The best gifts, I think, are always the ones that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves. They’re something unexpected, something fun…yet also have an element of practicality. The best gifts are often something we can actually use — something we never knew we needed.

So when Macy’s reached out, asking us for some holiday gift ideas, we really wanted to find ones that embody this practical-yet-unexpected spirit. Gifts that would truly be delightful to both give and receive.

Thankfully, Macy’s has a ton of really fun gift-giving possibilities, so the tricky part was narrowing it down. Needless to say, we’re pretty thrilled with the results.

Our Not-So-Serious Gift Guide of Useful Gifts covers hostess gifts, kid gifts (open-ended and STEAM-approved, of course), gifts for guys, girlfriends and yourself. There’s literally something for everyone. Consider this your holiday gift-giving shortlist.

Featured Gifts

Our Not-So-Serious Gift Guide of Useful Gifts covers hostess gifts, kid gifts gifts for him, her & you. There’s something for everyone. This is your holiday gift-giving shortlist.

1.  Guidecraft Wooden Mirror Blocks, $35

We’re obsessed with this block set. These are well-sized unit blocks with mirrored sides. Not only are these gorgeous — you really won’t mind have them laying around your house — but for extra fun, add a flashlight and turn off the lights. Kids can do all kinds of crazy light-bouncing games. (I also recommend Guidecraft’s peekaboo blocks. They’re similar, but with transparent sides that open — which are perfect for displaying kid-treasures. Highly recommend either set.)

2. Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial, $54

I never seem to find the time to actually apply a facial mask, then wait for it to work, then rinse it off. Instead, I adore Korres’ sleeping facial. I first discovered these in Greece and have used them on overnight flights (as well as at home). I love the Wild Rose one — it’s brightening. Perfect for busy moms.

3. Cute Tea Towels, $10 (Wrapped Around a Bottle of Wine)

One of my favorite (and most affordable) hostess gift ideas is to simply wrap a cute tea towel around a bottle of wine. It’s sustainable wrapping, and who doesn’t need more tea towels?? I especially love these little black-and-white towels. One says, “I’d rather be a mermaid” and the other has an Octopus crying “Seize the day!”. Adorbs.

4. HOT Trivet, $15

For the hottest hostess (wink, wink)….a trivet that spells out H-O-T. It’s added a playful little vibe to my kitchen counter — I smile every time I see it. (NOTE: there’s also a rose gold one that spells L-O-V-E, or a copper version that says E-A-T.)

5. The North Face E-Tip Gloves, $45

These may seem like a boring gift…but my husband gets so freaking excited every year when we gift him with these. (And yes — he loses them every year, too.) They have e-tips, which means that he can wear them and still use his phone or his Apple watch.

6. UGG Lane Slippers, $90

If you ever need a sure-fire gift that literally EVERYONE will be into…it’s UGG slippers. I love mine, my husband loves his, and our kids are constantly stealing mine (OK, yes I do have more than one pair). They’re just…phenomenal. Truly a delight to put on your feet. I linked my favorite style for women right now (the Lane — so chic), but if you want all-encompassing cozy, try the Coquette, my husband loves his UGG Scuff slippers, and these UGG Dakota slippers are perfect for little boys or girls.

7. Melted Elements Soy-Based Candle, in Swiss Alps scent, $40

We sometimes stash a few great candles away for emergency gifting purposes. I stick to ones that are soy-based (no toxins, thankyouverymuch) and more masculine in design. This one, by Melted Elements, is perfect. And the fact that the scents are all named after places to travel makes them that much cooler. I love the Swiss Alps scent (citrus and a bit woodsy), but there’s also Tokyo, Maldives, Rio and Dubai (just to name a few). They’re all designed in that stark black-and-white that can be gifted to anyone. See the whole line here.

8. Martha Stewart Honeypot & Wand, $30 

This is my favorite hostess gift idea. A cute little honeypot is exactly the kind of gift I didn’t know I needed. Pax positively swooned the first time I brought it out, and he’s obsessed with drizzling honey on his toast. It’s thoughtful, useful, and surprisingly exciting…without breaking the bank.

9. Two-Faced Let It Snow! Makeup Palette, $49

The packaging on this cute little set means that any tween or teen into makeup will be alllllll over this set. However!!! This is a seriously legit set!! It has gorgeous blushes, everything you need for a fun holiday eye (anyone else coveting that green Smokey eye that Scotti did recently??) and a palette perfect for easy contouring. In short…I WANT THIS SET. Would be a really fun girlfriend gift (or a super cute gift from the kids).

10. Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft Water Color Pencils, Set of 18, $49

We’ve used this brand of art supplies for years. This is not a kid set, necessarily, it’s more of a high-quality artist set (which is reflected in the price). But I’m a firm believer in using real art supplies, even with kids. (You’ve just gotta do a little training.) I’ve been using this set with Raines since he was a toddler. He learned that these were “Mommy’s special pencils” and we’d take them out together. They’ll function like normal (albeit very vibrant) colored pencils until you add water…and then they turn into watercolor paints. It’s really fun. (Pax, my crazier kid, didn’t get to use these until he was preschool age. But he did eventually learn to use them “respectfully”.) Since these are so high quality, they also make an amazing gift for older kids, too (or even art-minded adults).

Lastly, if anyone was wondering what I was wearing in the video, it’s a pretty easy (and cute) go-to outfit for being mildly dressed up. (I love the tee so much I have it in two colors.)

Our Not-So-Serious Gift Guide of Useful Gifts covers hostess gifts, kid gifts gifts for him, her & you. There’s something for everyone. This is your holiday gift-giving shortlist.
Our Not-So-Serious Gift Guide of Useful Gifts covers hostess gifts, kid gifts gifts for him, her & you. There’s something for everyone. This is your holiday gift-giving shortlist.

Outfit Details

Tee: Free People Sienna Tee (xs) – I love that the neckline is big, but without being overly revealing. The tee is thin enough to tuck in, but also has enough material to knot at the waist. LOVE the snap detail at the wrist. I have the gray and the red.

Jeans: Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinnies in Manic Monday (size 26) **SUSTAINABLE PICK** – I’m obsessed with these. Soft, stretchy, with a high-rise that’s totally flattering. They also come in plus sizes, as well!

Shoes: Naturalizer Anna Pumps in snake – OBSESSED. These are the most comfortable pumps I’ve EVER worn. Happily, they also come in a ton of colors (the leopard or the cocoa pearl are my other top choices). Fits TTS.

I hope this helps!! Cheers to keeping holiday stress at bay and having a little space to focus on the things that really matter — each other.



A huge thank you to Macy’s and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post! I was seriously thrilled with Macy’s selection of gifts…and I may now be a convert to holiday shopping in October. (I KNOW.) As always, all thoughts, opinions, and product choices are my own. And readers, thank you for your continued support. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and is so very much appreciated.

Photo credits: Redfield Photography

Video credits: Sydney, Jeni, Abby and Danielle — you guys pulled this off beautifully. Well done.


  1. Awesome gift ideas. But it’s the jeans I love! Did you cut the bottoms? The originals look like they have a finished hem but yours are raw.

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