For me, I can get really in my head about not getting the perfect or most thoughtful gift. I’ve talked about this before in my and my dad’s Father’s Day guide. But one type of gift that always looks and feels extra special is a gift kit. Why? Well, even if it’s just a candle and matchstick striker, the fact that you took the time to put together a gift with more than one component shows effort (even if it was super easy because you may have read a blog post with the perfect suggestions:)) That isn’t to say that if you were to just buy a candle that wouldn’t be enough! It totally is. But if you are someone that likes the concept of a kit and needs ideas for the adults (or young adults) in your life (including the coworker you only kind of know), this is the gift guide for you!
Now there is a range of items and prices within each idea. And you definitely don’t need to buy one of everything from each category. These are just some cool and easy ideas that we think a ton of people (including us) would love to receive. Ok, let’s go…
Candles With Matchstick Strikers/Books
I know to some a candle and matches don’t seem “that” creative as a gift. Please ignore that SNL skit from a few years ago because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE this gift. The key is to get a great candle and a special-looking matchstick striker. Plus a consumable gift is the best because it won’t clutter someone’s home forever. Instead, this will make it peaceful for a little while:)
1. Candle “529”: Yes, I am recommending this candle once again because it’s still in my top 3. Here is an excerpt from the first time I recommended it back in 2020: “I put my nose to the candle and was immediately at ease, but not in an “ooo this smells good” kind of way (which it did) but in the “why do I know this smell?” way. Then I looked at the card that accompanied the candled and the scent was described as “The nostalgia of summer in New York.” In an instant, I realized that’s what my ease was. A scent of happy memories of warm summer evenings in New York. I almost got misty before I was like, “Jess, it’s a candle. Get ahold of yourself.” Basically, I am now a forever customer. Actually, I’ve already ordered two more. I’ve truly found my summer candle and cannot recommend it enough. I know this sounds like a totally biased review but with the combo of Bergamot, Geranium, Ginger, and Sandalwood, it’s a no-brainer amazing candle and I hope that it too can remind you of simpler, beautiful summer evenings. (Also the soap smells AMAZING but in a normal, not tear-inducing kind of way:))” FYI it’s not a just “summer candle” because I would and have burned it in every season.
2. Garden Mint Candle: I may never forgive Sara for exposing me to this candle brand because the scents are intoxicating and this one is a favorite. This is what she had to say about it in her candle review back in the day: “The spot for absolute favorite candle goes to Tatine’s “Garden Mint.” It’s herby, dark, mysterious, and extremely sensual. Once upon a time, I was shooting a home where the owner was burning this beautiful candle and I found a store that carried it THAT DAY and picked one up before heading home. I haven’t smelled anything like it since. I literally have my nose in this candle right now, as I try and decide how to best describe its complex notes. It’s certainly herby, but not floral. It’s minty, but not like a pack of gum. It’s like mint mixed with soil wet from a summer rain, an old bookstore on a crisp overcast fall day, AND I JUST WANT TO BURN THIS CANDLE ALL THE TIME. Plus it has the one characteristic that I think truly defines a good candle – you don’t have to be burning it for the scent to reach your nose. In fact, often just by setting out this candle, it does a great job of scenting the room without a match in sight (saving you some serious cash).”
3. Ginger Black Tea Candle: This one I found at Target last year and have bought many times over. Here was my initial review: “This is by far my favorite candle of the moment. Are you ready?? Ginger Black Tea. It’s the perfect season transition candle because it’s light for the summer but still warming and cozy to get you gently prepared for fall. A total random find that now is in heavy rotation. Oh and it’s only $10. Dreams really do come true.”
1. Vintage Matchbooks: I used to collect vintage matchbooks because they are so fun! These are easily found at a flea market but you can also buy them for a decent price on Etsy. This is an easy way to “bulk gift” by choosing a matchbook that best suits the person you are gifting to and then getting them a great candle to go with it. Easy peasy.
2. Small Glass Cloche with Black Matches: This one is definitely more expensive at $32 but so pretty and doubles as a decor piece!
3. Devo Match Striker: This is the most expensive at $50 but for a good friend that loves candles, it would be really special if your budget allows it. It also can work with almost any style!
Tea With A Cup And Honey
This is another great one for a coworker or acquaintance, but is an awesome gift for a close friend or family member that truly loves tea!
1. Solid Matte Stoneware Mug: Emily owns (as shown above) and loves these mugs. They have a handmade look, are 16oz (yes, please), and are only $4 for one. Oh, and they also come in a cream color. You just can’t beat it.
2. Utility Objects Nagai Mug: For a design lover this is a cool mug. It’s got that fun drama with the handle but still feels pretty and classic with its natural color and material. I would love to get this mug:)
3. Swoon Blue Coffee Mug: When I first saw this mug I couldn’t believe it was only $8. I think it looks so much more expensive and that blue color is stunning. 10/10
1. No. 01 Bellocq Breakfast Black Tea Blend: One of the last restaurants I worked at in New York was a casual fine dining British restaurant and they were extremely particular about everything that was served, especially the tea. Bellocq was their tea brand of choice and let me tell you it’s impossible to not feel elegant while drinking it. This is a more expensive tea but for the tea lover in your life, I think it’s a wonderful choice.
2. Sips Tea Box: This is a tea company that offers one-off boxes as well as subscriptions. My future sister-in-law got it for me last Christmas and I thought it was really thoughtful.
3. Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical: I believe this is sold in certain grocery stores so you can get it for much cheaper than the link I found (sorry!). But this was been a long-time favorite of mine…like since college. If you decided to get the bigger box this could be another easy way to make a bulk gift by dividing the tea bags into cute mugs.
This next item is only needed if you buy a loose-leaf tea FYI:)
1. Copper Ball Tea Infuser with Handle: Simple, pretty, and only $7!
2. Rose Gold Tea Ball Infuser: I love the look of this one and it’s even cheaper at $5.
3. Heart of Gold Tea Strainer: If the kit is for a tea lover you actually well, love, then I think this heart-shaped infuser would be really special and a great reminder of you whenever they use it.
Your local farmer’s market or shops are great for finding local honey which I really love the idea of. But if you don’t have one near you or don’t have the time, here are three great alternatives.
1. Biointensive Native Wildflower Honey: Flamingo Estate is an incredible company that supports sustainability and only uses the highest quality local ingredients for all of its products. I’ve never had their honey but have used their other products and think they are all fantastic. This would be a really special option.
2. Honey Spoons: Aren’t these cute!! And would also be perfect if you are planning this as a bulk gift. Think how cute a mug with a couple of tea bags and a honey spoon would be.
3. Kauai Wildflower Honey: While Brightland is known for its olive oils, they have just come out with a honey and it sounds goooood. The notes are hibiscus, eucalyptus, coffee trees, passion flower, and guava flowers. Sign me up!
This was a kit that I actually received from one of my best friends (who is an artist) and I thought it was so beautiful and thoughtful. She gave it to me when I was starting to design more so she thought having some real sketching tools would be a nice gift…she was right!
1. Strathmore 100 Sheet Sketch Pad: This was the sketch pad I received so I can say it’s great and has a lot of pages to play with.
2. Artist Pad: This is a very pretty option! It also comes in other colors.
3. Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper Pad: This is like the first option but a much smaller version with 24 sheets instead of 100. It might be a great choice for someone who is just starting out or wants to travel with it. Not as heavy:)
1. Classic No. 2 Pencil: Everything from this company is beautiful, including their pencils.
2. Sakura Pigma Micron Fineliner Pens: I received one of these pens in my kit and I loved using it.
3. Sketching & Drawing Set: What a set! You could just get this and be good.
1. Engraved Brass Ruler: Anything gold is always a great option.
2. Westcott Clear Flexible Acrylic Ruler: This is great, flexible, and under $2.
3. 12″ Metal Ruler: Since this is a metal ruler, it’s sturdy, simple, and under $3!
Last year, my cousin’s now husband was getting thrown a surprise 30th birthday party. Of course, I wanted to get him a gift he would really love but I had NO IDEA what that could be. I didn’t want to simply do a bottle of booze (which is always a nice gift) so I thought it would be funny to get him “grown-up salt and olive oil” (aka the good stuff that we rarely buy for ourselves). I headed to the store and bought him a pretty box of Maldon salt and a really nice bottle of olive oil. I joked that it was a right of passage now that he was in his 30s. To be fair he loves to cook and is a Libra like myself, so we are no strangers to the finer things:) Anyway, he loved it and my cousin told me he’s now obsessed with Maldon salt. So I am now of the opinion that this is a great gift for anyone on your list that doesn’t need to avoid salt. I use this salt on most of my meals and I LOVE a delicious olive oil. In addition, I think adding a loaf of freshly baked bread to the mix would be the real icing on the cake:)
1. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes: This is the box I have! I like leaving it out because that bold pattern adds some “fun” to my kitchen:)
2. Maldon Sea Salt: I really love the look of this box. Very simple and chic.
3. Maldon Sea Salt – Resealable Tub: I think getting a 20oz would be hilarious if the gift receiver already loves Maldon Salt.
1. Heritage Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I’ve had this olive oil and it’s very good with incredible ingredients.
2. “Drizzle” & “Sizzle” Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I have also used this olive oil set at my friend’s house and it was great! Also, that packaging is so fun.
3. Espuny Olive Oil: I really love this packaging and the description made it sound very good:)
1. Tartine Bread by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson (Local and Kindle): If you are gifting this kit to a baker or an aspiring one, this would be a great book to give them! I’ve been to the Tartine bakery and I can tell you for a fact that they know what they are doing.
2. Garlic Herb Focaccia Making Kit: Who doesn’t love focaccia?! This would also be a great addition.
3. Handcrafted Bread Mix: This mix has 5 stars from 782 reviews. I think it’s safe to say this is a good one!
Soup Starter Kit
This idea came from Emily because it’s what she gave to their nanny/tutor at the mountain house who loved it. I mean Emily’s love for souping is definitely contagious if you are around her so I can only imagine how excited she was to receive this truly awesome gift.
1. Staub Enameled Cast Iron Deep Oven: This one is a top-tier pot but it’s hard to not love a true classic that will also last a lifetime.
2. Perfect Pot: I am a little biased because my friend was on the design team for this pot BUT she is a serious cook that is extremely thoughtful in everything she does. I have no doubt this is an incredible option that’s also so cute! Win-win! They also offer a 100-day free trial with free returns:)
3. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven: This one is a great affordable option that looks super classic.
1. Pallares Solsona Chef’s Knife: Ooo baby I am a sucker for a wooden handle. So so pretty.
2. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S, Chef Knife: This is the knife that Emily Bowser gifted Emily (Henderson) and she loves it. 10/10
3. Five Two Essential Kitchen Chef’s Knife: My cousin and her husband (the Maldon Salt one:)) has these knives and really loves them! Plus the handles come in a few really pretty colors.
1. The Angled Board: I haven’t tried this board but I have other things from Material and I love them all. I have no doubt this is a great board. Plus I love that beautiful dark walnut wood. It also comes in black.
2. Epicurean Black Non-Slip Paper Composite Cutting Board: These are the ones that Emily has and she raves about them. They stay in place with their rubber corners and are super lightweight.
3. Nonslip Wood Cutting Board Set: These are the best of both worlds because they are nonslip and they are wood. Plus the set is only $20!
New Homeowners – The Kitchen Non-Essentials
When we were talking about this post Em really loved the idea of putting together a gift kit of those non-essential but really nice-to-have (and pretty) kitchen accessories for someone that has just moved or is moving into their first place. FYI this is the biggest list so by no means is it required to get one of each. If you can, great! If you can’t or don’t want to, also great!
1. Marble Paper Towel Holder: Emily bought this one for the farmhouse and thinks it’s so pretty. This mix of light wood and marble is usually a slam dunk.
2. White Marble Paper Towel Holder: This is a more modern and slightly dramatic version that I really love.
3. Rubberwood Paper Towel Holder: I love that little leather loop at the top. It looks really expensive but it’s actually only $20 (I know that may still seem like a lot for a paper towel holder but I’ve seen pretty ones like that easily start at $70).
1. Kaloh Stoneware Spoon Rest: I personally love this one because it’s a part of the same collection as my plates and bowls! Also, that little pop of blue is so pretty.
2. Marble Spoon Rest: This is the one that Emily bought for the farmhouse and it’s perfectly simple yet kind of luxe:)
3. Quinn Handcrafted Stoneware Spoon Rest: What a cutie!! I love the two colors, I love the shape, and I think everyone would love this one.
1. Mill Stoneware Utensil Holder: Classic, feels traditional yet organic. Perfectly textured and would look great in any kitchen.
2. Hold Everything Utensil Holder: This one isn’t cheap but if you have someone that loves a minimal white wood, they are going to love this SO much.
3. Marble Utensil Holder: For only $25 this is a steal!! It looks way more expensive and I just love it.
1. Acacia Round Salt and Pepper Grinder Set: Chic, a little dramatic, and affordable.
2. CrushGrind Modern Ash Wood Spice Mills (Set of 2): This is my favorite set! They look so special and I love that you can easily tell which is salt and which is pepper.
3. Oak Salt & Pepper Grinder: Another set with a really pretty shape. Who wouldn’t love these!?
1. Lotus Cruet: That pop of color is so so cute and the entire bottle is just special. This is a great and unique option.
2. Nuevo Oil Cruet: A little sparkle in a kitchen never hurt anyone:) Plus this curet is COOL and elegant.
3. Simple Oil Cruet: This one is simple with just a hint of something special. If your friend has more of a traditional style this is the one for them.
1. Open Plaid Flour Sack Kitchen Towel: You can’t go wrong with a simple dish towel with a classic and pretty pattern. So versatile!
2. Linen Dishcloths (Set of 2): I think these colors are so beautiful! They also come in a green and a black combo.
3. Checkered Tea Towel (Set of 3): Don’t these just make you happy looking at them? I also think they would hide stains pretty well:)
Romance Novel Kit (+ Wine)
This wasn’t Emily’s idea but it was obviously inspired by her:) I think this is such a fun gift for a friend or sister because I know I would love to receive it. You are basically telling the receiver, “Hey friend, take some time for yourself because you deserve some fun quiet time!” I didn’t include a wine roundup since it’s so much easier, better, and likely cheaper to buy locally. I will forever shout out my favorite natural wine shop here in Pasadena called Good Luck Wine Shop. They even are making their own wine that’s really good. I have also been told on excellent authority and have experienced myself that any wine by winemaker Judith Beck is going to be incredible.
1. Beach Read by Emily Henry (Local and Kindle): I will let Emily’s blurb about this book speak for itself: “When I picked up Beach Read at 9 pm on Monday, after putting the kids down (and seconds after finishing The Duke Heist) I was immediately into it. I stayed up till midnight (not advisable) and then read it every second I could in between meetings on Tuesday, concluding on Tuesday night at 7 pm (yes, it was poor parenting). It’s funny, witty, smart, relatable, and yes STEAMY with so much almost kissing (and a lot of actual kissing). Emily Henry is doing the modern romance genre RIGHT and I actually just preordered her next book – first time in Emily Henderson history.”
2. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune (Local and Kindle): Again, I will let Emily tell you about it herself: “It’s a joke amongst my friends that I like movies with a lot of “almost kissing” (chemistry-induced tension with so many butterflies – i.e Felicity and Ben). So I found this end-of-summer coming-of-age beach read so sweet, nostalgic, and romantic. I read a LOT of these summer beach reads to varying degrees of approval, but really really enjoyed this one (I find that in this genre many times their first book is my favorite because they’ve spent years on it, then once its a hit they have to force out one a year if not more). Anyway, Every Summer After by former editor, Carley Fortune, is hard to put down and a lovely little escape. Is it predictable? Sure. It’s why I love the “happy ever after” genre – I have zero anxiety reading them and it’s 100% “feel good”. Anyway, congrats Carley on the shift from editor to author (another rom-com trope I love).”
3. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (Local and Kindle): This was another Emily favorite that I actually read! Well…listened to:) It was everything she said it was going to be. I was enthralled the whole time and was sad when it ended. This book is actually the first of a series if you want to get more than one!
1. Textured Faux Fur Reversible Throw Blanket: Welcome to the Henderson’s official favorite family blanket that’s only $25! They each have one and LOVE them. Emily’s only warning is to be careful washing them because after a couple of washes they are as soft.
2. Brushed Herringbone Throw: This one comes in a bunch of colors and is not only soft but would look really pretty draped on a chair or sofa.
3. Plush Fleece Throw: Tell me this doesn’t look super fluffy and cozy!
I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone loves to be cozy. That makes this kit an almost no-fail gift! Aside from the socks, you’ll see some repeat individual categories but with just more products I or the team loves. So let’s jump right in.
1. Butter Crew Socks: I think Butter Socks are the go-to cozy socks. I’m pretty sure everyone on the team has them and of course, loves them because they truly feel like butter.
2. Cozy Marled Crew Socks (Set of 2): These come in a set and are rated 5 stars! Are you also thinking “bulk gifting”??
3. Yellowstone Geysers Cozy Socks: These are fun and buying them helps to support the Parks Project which is an organization that’s projecting our national parks. Now that’s a win-win!
1. Faux Mohair Throw: “Insanely soft” and “luxurious” are two words on the site that help to describe this extremely beautiful throw blanket. I’m partial to this cardamom color but they have a few others including a bright blue.
2. Solid Texture with Fringe Bed Throw Blanket: This is the kind of blanket that even when you aren’t snuggled up in it, it looks good anywhere. Simple, pretty, and only $30.
3. Taupe Chunky Cable Knit Throw Blanket: You simply can’t go wrong with a cable knit blanket. It’s classic and will keep you cozy all winter long.
1. Reflection Fashion Glass Candle: This is one of Emily’s favorites! Here’s what she recently said about it: “I even bought the same candle that I had at the mountain house because the smell is so incredible and it makes me feel so nostalgic for that year living there. They were out of the larger version, but I’m going to buy it the next time I see it as it lasted two years of using it 3-4 times a week and smells so great.”
2. Maison Louis Marie Candle No.6 Neige De Printemps: Here’s another Sara Ligorria-Tramp rec that is also in my top favs. She has ruined me. “The candle for the minimalist in your life. Everything from the beautifully designed type on the box to the clean and complex scent of citrus it has wafting through the air. It almost smells like the green part of a citrus tree. I also want to throw out an honorable mention for their spicy scent Aboukir, which almost took the spot on this list.”
3. Paddywax Black Fig + Rose Candle: I wrote about this candle last year in my gift guide to give you further proof I am being very sincere. Here’s what I said: “Ok, this is going to sound weird but this candle smells like Brady circa 2016 which means it smells like the EHD office when I first started. My dad gave it to me for my birthday this year and after a couple of hours of trying to place the scent, I was like, “It’s the old office!” First off, Brady is one of those people that always smells awesome (something I’ve never been able to achieve. Does anyone else feel like perfume only lasts like an hour on them?). Because of this the office always smelled really nice. So it’s a very nostalgic scent for me personally but is also just a great smelling candle.”
I would bet that there are still a lot of people that are working from home that still don’t love how their workspace looks. Or even if they went back into the office and just never felt like making it a little better. That’s where you come in:) Now, we aren’t suggesting that you give them everything from a stapler to a plant to a new chair. But we came up with three simple things that might make a small but impactful difference. First, let’s start with a letter blotter because Em thought it was important and I agree!
1. Blue Italian Leather Desk Mat: Oh that blue is so pretty! Think how nice it would be for the receiver to not only protect their desk but maybe make a not-so-pretty desk better to look down at.
2. Gathre Desk Blotter: This one would be great for your trend lover. The shape is fun, the white is chic, and it’s just cool.
3. Rein Saddle Leather Desk Blotter: A classic beauty. The tone of this leather is one of my favorites and I think anyone would love it. I mean look at it! How could they not?!
1. Metal Rollerball Pen: It sounds silly but I love having a pretty pen on my desk. It just makes me happy. This fits the pretty pen bill! Love the brass and love the shape. Plus this is from one of Em’s go-to desk product companies.
2. Uni-ball Signo RT1 Retractable Gel Ink Pen: I decided to Google “best pens” and this article from Wirecutter came up. These were on the list and I liked that you got a lot of color options. Especially for people who love to color-coordinate their notes, these would be awesome.
3. Hexagonal Retractable Brass Pen: I honestly just thought this one looked really cool:) I mean, it has circle cutouts…of course I love it!
1. SOH Melbourne Candle Mr. Moss: When I lived in Melbourne I worked at a shop that sold these candles and I can’t tell you how much I loved them. My first love was their Fig Tree candle but I also adored Mr. Moss. It has a wonderful more “masculine” scent of moss, wood, vetiver, and smoke. 10/10
2. Holiday Forest Fir Glass Jar Candle: I think we all love a good holiday “fir” scent and from personal experience, this one is great and also starts at just $5!
3. P.F. Candle Co. Teakwood & Tobacco Jar Soy Candle: For an affordable alternative to Mr. Moss, try this one! I love this company and actually just bought this car air freshener. Normally, I feel sick with any air freshener but the Amber & Moss scent was so good that my friend asked if I could get her one.
I felt like I couldn’t leave you hanging by not providing at least a few basket options for all these great kits you might want to put together. Here we go!
1. Rectangular Twisted Open Checkered Weave Basket: Starting at $16 this is such a cute basket. I love the weave pattern and the bigger one (pictured) has those great handles. I think anyone who gets this basket will be pumped.
2. Recycled Cotton “Thank You” Tote Bag: I know we all have a lot of totes, BUT a tote is a great (and reusable) way to package a gift. I particularly love this one and would gladly carry it around!
3. Small Seagrass Storage Basket: This is another super cute and super solid basket that would also be a useful one to use in a home. Might as well make the entire thing a gift right? 🙂
Are you all “kit-ed out” or are you feeling excited and relieved to have some ideas to help you cross some people off of your list? I hope it’s the latter! If you have any other tried and true gift kit ideas throw them in the comments:)
Love you, mean it.
Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Jess’ Bold Berry-Infused, Cozy Modern Holiday Apartment