Holiday time! While in the past I only dreamt of suitcases and hotel gift cards, my desires have shifted this year just a touch. I now own a house and rather fill my home with beautiful things that remind me of everywhere I’ve roamed. I also am choosy about how to fill our small space. Here’s the hand-picked, personally reviewed list this year that celebrates the home with a little travel sprinkled in.
KarmaLit Wanderlust Candle
Wafting scents of sage, amber and lavender comprise the fragrance of the “Wanderlust”. Not only do I obviously love the name and celebration of adventure, KarmaLit Candles is an ideal company to support when searching for eco-friendly holiday gifts. Made from soybean wax sourced from farms in the US, this Denver-based business hand pours each candle and has lots of cozy, feel-good scents. One more small perk? Each candle comes with a tin lid that has a match and small scratch board, so you can enjoy your candle instantly. It’s portable and reminds be of all my best trips! -Eileen
Retail: $12-34 depending on size and style
Casper Dog Bed
Even the new puppy is getting in on Christmas this year! While we’re in the middle of crate training for sleep at night, I think the day he uses a big boy dog bed is just around the corner. I love Casper mattresses for people, made from amazing quality materials for perfect sleep. So when I heard they also made stylish and practical dog beds, I knew we had to get one for Ziggy, our new hound puppy.
It comes in three sizes, three colors and is easily assembled. I wish it was big enough for us! The medium works well for our 24-pound dog, and he hangs out on it all day with the fun free toy that came in the box too. And perks for us – the cover is machine washable and memory foam inserts retain their shape wonderfully. We’re all obsessed – it goes great in the home! -Eileen
Minted Gold Foil Map Boston
One of the best keepsakes from a memorable city break are the maps that guide you through the best historical landmarks, museums, and eateries. Often times I end up leaving these behind when I board the plane home, but they can make for a fantastic way to remember your trip and decorate your home.
Minted is an online retailer who and customize maps and deliver them straight to your door. There are hundreds of cities to choose from, and different color and metallic options as well. Whether you design a map as a keepsake from a memorable trip or select something for the travel enthusiast in your life, minted maps will surely become the best gift of the holiday season. – Jeanne
Retail: Around $145, including a frame
Handle-It Glass Bottom Springform by Zenker
With a new healthy lifestyle embraced in my home, I’ve had to get create in ways to satisfy my sweet tooth. One go-to recipe is a low fat, sugar-free cheesecake I make with fresh berries as a treat. I used to wrestle getting it out of the pan, but now I use a glass bottom springform baking pan instead. Not only is it easy to pop cakes, cheesecake, pies and other baked goods out with ease, I can check the bottom of my creation to make sure it’s not burning. -Eileen
Whiskey Tasting Gift Set from Peugeot
Although wine is my go-to libations, sometimes I definitely opt for something stronger. After a trip to Scotland, I acquired a taste for a full-bodied whiskey, especially as a nightcap in the wintertime. And to sip on something strong in a smooth way, it’s worth having the perfect accouterments for the experience. I like Peugeot’s Whiskey Tasting Gift Set for both me and my mother, who also loves a great whiskey or scotch to liven up an evening. This duo of glasses have a cooling base and unique shape for optimal flavor. -Eileen
LL Bean’s Wicked Cozy Blanket
A few years ago my husband bought me the best Christmas present ever. It’s a massive, fluffy, heavy, soft blanket I could wrap myself in all winter long to survive the dreary cold season. LL Bean has been my go-to for rugged outdoor clothes and even school backpacks, but their bedroom linens and blankets are my new favorite items. I decided to get a second king-size Wicked Cozy Blanket (which you can get monogrammed!) for the couch, so we can leave one there and the other on the bed and not compromise comfort. Even after years it looks just as good as day one, due to fleece material that doesn’t pull or pill. You should definitely gift this to that family member who is always cold; they’ll thank you! -Eileen
Coravin Model Two
Wine is my thing. Once I could tell the wonderful differences between a Cabernet and a Merlot, I realized no two bottles are the same. So when I invest in a special variety from a trip abroad, it’s something I’d like to savor. This means finishing the whole bottle in one night is not an option, nor is pouring precious good wine down the drain. Luckily, the Coravin wine preservation system offers a solution to the problem. The needle goes through the cork, enabling you to to pour a sample or glass one at a time. Special aeration canisters seal the bottle back up, protecting the flavour and taste of the wine as if it was never opened. There are several systems on the market that vary in cost, but the basic one works just perfectly for the everyday wine connoisseur. -Eileen
Retail: $399 for the Coravin Model Two System
Under Lucky Stars Map
Decorate your walls with a one-of-a-kind moment depicted by a beautiful sight: the night sky. With Under Lucky Stars, you can isolate one specific moment in time—the date you met that someone special, a significant birthday or even the date of that life-changing vacation you went on in college—then watch as its transformed into a poster of the stars overhead at that instant. Below the map, detail the date, location and time of the event; you can also personalize the colors as well as the shape of the map and opt for a frame. Few gifts are more thoughtful than those that reveal the most heartfelt moments, but another special layer of this company is their work with Cool Earth, an environmental organization that they partner with to continue to product carbon neutral products. —Ashley
Retail: $45 and up
Capresso’s Iced Tea Maker
Lots of people from New England know how to handle the cold. We dig ourselves out form mountains of snow every holiday season and book great ski getaways to embrace the chill. And many, like me, don’t let the snow stop them from enjoying cold drinks with plenty of ice! I drink iced coffee and tea all winter long – it’s just my drinks of choice. But this kind of habit gets a little costly on a daily basis. So investing in some home-brew machines was a good choice.
The iced tea maker from Capresso streamlines brewing at your house in an elegant way. Choose your favorite tea, brew with a touch of a button, and then even serve in the beautiful glass pitcher included. I think I’ll grab another for my father, who loves infused unsweetened iced tea any time of year too. – Eileen
Knock Knock Money, Money, Money Receipt Catcher
From saving any and all spare change for your next vacation or organizing receipts from your last one to simply creating a budget to ensure the household runs smoothly, the modern Money, Money, Money Receipt Catcher by Knock Knock will keep things tidy. The built-in notepad offers a way to track the dates and amounts of your purchases while an accordion pocket provides labeled folders in which to keep physical copies of transactions. With a pen inside, the self-contained record book—which is green as a nod to the cash in your pocket—is the perfect size to use at home, on the road or anywhere in between. —Ashley
Rifle Paper Co. Cities Everyday Coaster Set
It’s not hard to find travel-themed home décor, but Rifle Paper Co. offers some of the best—and the company’s Everyday Coaster Set is no different. With a Cities theme, the set of eight features stunning designs representative of four major international cities scrawled across thick pulp board coasters. Known for their chic, original illustrations, the company has expertly designed these pieces to include New York taxis, iconic buildings in Paris and London, and the convergence of city and nature in Tokyo—including the famous pink cherry blossoms. They also come in a decorative gift box, making the perfect gift for decorating jetsetters. —Ashley
Black Cube Wok from Frieling
Long gone are the days of hand-me-down kitchenware and less-than-stellar pans for making dinner. When I invested in a quality set of pans, it changed the game for me. Especially now, as we are working on eating healthier and avoiding the countless takeout spots near our home. I now love making healthier stir-frys at home with the Black Cube Wok. While cooking is made easy, the best perks of this particular wok is that I can sneak it in the dishwasher as it’s safe to clean that way, or use a metal spatula due to it’s surface being scratch-free. Perfect for someone like me who needs low maintenance tools to make great meals in the kitchen! -Eileen