Let's cut to the chase here: Shopping for the perfect holiday gift is hard. You have to consider a person's likes or dislikes, what they might already have, and what they've been quietly lusting after from afar. Added to that, this year, there are supply-chain issues, which are impacting everything from product availability to shipments and deliveries around the world. It's enough to make even the savviest gift giver think twice about what to wrap up and put under the tree.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great products out now that make thoughtful presents, and some of the most talked-about items of the year—think, the Always Pan, the Solo Stove Bonfire, and Revlon's ultra-popular One-Step hairdryer and volumizer—are still available and ready to ship in time for the holidays. Below are 15 of the best gifts of 2021 for everyone on your list, from espresso lovers to folks who could just use a better set of true wireless earbuds.
1. For the One Who Keeps Meaning To Try Cast Iron: Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet; $38
Cast-iron cooking can seem daunting at first, but experts say it’s the easiest way for someone to improve their kitchen skills, in large part because of how versatile these pans can be. Your giftee can cook virtually anything in a reliable cast-iron pot: meat, vegetables, even desserts if they’re intrepid enough to try it. This Lodge 12-inch pre-seasoned skillet makes a great present for anyone who’s new to cast-iron cooking, as it offers stellar heat retention but also comes with a silicone handle, which protects hands from hot temperatures up to 500°F.
Buy It: Amazon
2. For the One Who Appreciates A Good Binge-Watch: Roku Streambar; $99
The best streaming devices make watching movies and TV shows even easier, but if your giftee is a chronic binge-watcher, they likely already know that. This holiday season, you can help them level-up their home entertainment setup in a big way without breaking the bank, courtesy of Roku’s new Streambar. Essentially, this gadget is like having a streaming unit and soundbar in one, but at a fraction of the cost. It also boasts high-definition, 4k streaming quality, and all the other perks associated with Roku’s celebrated line.
Buy It: Amazon
3. For the One Who Doesn’t Have A Pair Yet: Apple AirPods Pro; $197
We know, we know—Apple AirPods make it onto a lot of holiday gift guides. But there’s a good reason for that, because these wireless earbuds really are as good as people say. Unlike previous generations, the AirPods Pro offer silicone-tipped buds, which make them more comfortable to wear for those with sensitive ears. In addition, they’re sweat-resistant and offer active-noise cancelation as well as a special transparency mode, meaning the wearer can adjust how much sound from the outside world is allowed to trickle in. If there’s someone on your gift list who hasn’t already invested yet in a pair, consider these ‘buds a hole in one.
Buy It: Amazon
4. For the One Who’s Tired of Vacuuming: eufy 11S Robot Vacuum; $200
From dust bunnies piled up in hard-to-hit corners to all the dirt under the sofa, keeping your floors spotless can be incredibly frustrating over time. That’s why robot vacuums like the eufy 11s are so helpful. This lightweight option is one of the most popular because it’s affordable compared to so many other makes and models on the market, especially relative to its suction power. This device can go for up to 100 minutes on hardwood floors, and features infrared sensors, so it will sense obstacles and avoid them. If you want to give the gift of fewer chores this year, the eufy 11s is a must.
Buy It: Amazon
5. For the One Who Wants To Stay Warm Outdoors: Solo Stove Bonfire; $250
If there’s someone on your gift list who loves to be huddled up by a campfire, but hates the way smoke lingers on their clothing afterward, the Solo Stove Bonfire could be an incredible surprise for them this holiday season. This sleek fire pit offers a completely smokeless experience and delivers a great blend of functionality and portability. Smaller than the brand’s equally popular Yukon model, the Bonfire can be moved around from site to site, which makes it ideal for everything from camping to just hanging out in the backyard. It can also burn standard 16-inch wood logs (so your giftee won’t have to buy special wood to use it) and gets a fire roaring pretty quickly—reviewers say it’s ready to go in 10 minutes and is extremely easy to use. If you want to be extra-nice to your giftee, you might want to consider grabbing them a matching stand, too, as Solo Stove recommends the Bonfire be elevated if someone plans to use it over concrete, grass, or on a wood deck.
Buy It: Solo Stove
6. For the One Who Just Wants to Relax: Nidra Eye Mask; $14
You can’t put a price tag on rest and relaxation, but if there’s someone special in your life who could use a little help unwinding after a long day, this affordable eye mask could be a perfect stocking stuffer. It features specially molded cups that curve gently away from the eyes while still providing plenty of protection from light. For your giftee, it’ll be like wearing a pair of blackout curtains over their eyes, except this pick is still lightweight enough that it won’t interfere with sleep.
Buy It: Amazon
7. For the One Who Wants Better Sleep: Parachute Sheet Set; From $149
Made in Portugal, these linen sheets from Parachute are the crème de la crème when it comes to good bedding because they’re made from ultra-breathable European flax that gets softer over time. Your giftee might not want to splurge on sheets this swanky, but you can—and they can make for a very thoughtful gift, especially if you know that they could use a nicer set than the one that’s currently on their mattress.
Buy It: Parachute
8. For the One Who Likes To Stay Prepared: Leatherman T4 Multi-Tool; $60
Some folks like to stay ready for anything; if your intended gift recipient is one of them, this Leatherman multi-tool could be the gift they’ve always wanted. It’s like having a whole toolkit in their back pocket (or purse), as it offers 12 tools in one: a bottle opener, pry tool, knife, a Phillips screwdriver (plus three other types of screwdrivers), and more. This gadget also comes with a 25-year warranty backed by Leatherman, so in case anything goes wrong, your giftee can get a replacement easily.
Buy It: Amazon
9. For the One Who Wants To Downsize Their Kitchen: Always Pan; $145
The Always Pan is incredibly popular, especially among influencers. But this internet-famous cookware has more than just buzz going for it. Lightweight and made from aluminum, this nonstick pan was built to function as a frying pan, sauté pan, skillet, steamer, saucier, saucepan, and spoon rest—all in one. Not only that, but it’s beautiful to look at, even just sitting on a countertop. If there’s an avid cook in your life who is overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have in their cabinets, the Always Pan could be a rad gift that helps replace some of those items.
Buy It: Our Place
10. For the One Who Never Has Time To Read (But Wants To): Audible Gift Subscription; From $15
Everyone has a to-be-read pile (even those of us here at Mental Floss), but the taller those big stacks of unread books get, the more intimidating it can be to tackle them. Audible is an audiobook subscription service that’ll give your giftee access to thousands of titles, including new releases. With Audible, they can easily listen along to that bestseller they’ve been meaning to get to while still doing errands, going on runs, or just taking a relaxing walk. You can also choose to gift them up to a year of the service, which gives them plenty of time to make a big dent in that TBR tower.
Buy It: Amazon
11. For the One Who’s Focused on Fitness: Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Tracker; $179
Shopping for someone who’s passionate about health and fitness? If they haven’t upgraded to the Fitbit Charge 5 yet, this top-rated fitness tracker is a wonderful option. The Charge 5 is an upgrade to the brand’s already celebrated Charge 4, and offers some useful improvements, like a brighter screen and slimmer build, so it’s comfortable for long-term wear. Additionally, it offers a built-in GPS, sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and electrodermal activity (EDA) sensors that monitor a user's stress levels. With all this data at their fingertips, your giftee will be one step closer to the healthy lifestyle they enjoy.
Buy It: Amazon
12. For the One Who Appreciates A Good Hair Day: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer; From $35
The glory of a good hair day can make anyone—from your mom to your best friend—feel like a million bucks, no matter what else is happening in their day-to-day life. With the cult-favorite Revlon One-Step hairdryer and volumizer, you’re basically gifting that special someone the magic to create salon-quality blowouts at home whenever the mood strikes. It features a non-detachable oval brush with tufted bristles, which works for all hair types, and three heat/speed settings, so your giftee can choose the right temperature for their coif.
Buy It: Amazon
13. For the One Who Doesn’t Drink Enough Water: Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Water Bottle With Straw Lid; $50
Ideally, we’re all supposed to drink a lot of water each day; experts recommend 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 liters daily for men. In reality, it can be difficult for most folks to consume that much in a given 24-hour time span. If you know your giftee struggles to stay hydrated, too, a Hydro Flask could be just the thing to help them remember to keep sipping throughout the day. Made from professional-grade stainless steel, this water bottle is built to keep cold drinks chilled for up to 24 hours, and can even keep hot beverages warm for up to 12. The water bottles also come with a reusable straw cap, which makes it fun to drink (especially for those who love straws). While you’re at it, you could even pursue the brand’s new Outdoor Kitchen line that offers camping accessories like flatware, serving bowls, and more.
Buy It: Hydro Flask
14. For the One With Aches and Pains: Theragun or Purewave Massage Guns; various
To many, Theragun is synonymous with massage guns (the same way Kleenex might be to tissues), and even experts agree, that when it comes to these devices, the brand’s Elite model is a fantastic investment. If you’ve been gift-hunting for an athlete or someone who deals with chronic discomfort, this massage gun is worth grabbing, as it features a triangular, ergonomically designed handle; five speed levels and attachments; and Bluetooth compatibility, meaning it can connect readily to Theragun’s app, where your giftee can follow along with preset programs and get helpful tips for how to better use this device. The one catch? The Theragun Elite is expensive. If you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly selection that still comes expert-recommended, the PUREWAVE Gen II dual-motor massage is about $250 cheaper, yet still delivers an excellent massage.
15. For the Serious Espresso Lover: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine; $600
Brewing coffee at home can help save money, but for barista-level java, having access to a high-quality espresso machine can help your giftee really curb their Starbucks addiction and still get every morning off to a caffeinated (read: necessary) start. In the espresso machine game, Breville is legendary—what KitchenAid is to stand mixers, Breville is to these countertop appliances. The Barista Express espresso machine is on the pricey side, but it’s worthwhile if the smell of a robust bean-to-cup espresso made in under a minute would be ecstasy to your intended gift recipient.
Buy It: Sur La Table