Christmas is on the way, and if you’re anything like me… finding what to give the people you love can be a challenge. What do they like? What will they enjoy? What won’t end up in the pile of things they’ll give to Goodwill when they do a big clean to start the new year.
Well, I’ve come up with a solution to that issue — or at least, a strategy. Rather than trying to figure out exactly what someone else might like or enjoy, I’m giving things this year that I have field-tested, approved, and can’t live without.
That candle that I buy in bulk? That lotion that never leaves my side? That blanket I curl up under every night? These are the things that I know someone else can love because I love them so very much. The following isn’t my wish list—I literally have (at least one) of everything on this list. It’s my must-haves. My favorite things. And if you’re in my family, you might see one of these items under the Christmas tree. Check ’em out, and see below for why this item has become a part of my survival guide.
1. John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Perhaps the very best novel in American history, East of Eden is the antidote to all political angst. It’s a reminder that the very worst evil in the world isn’t found in Trump or Clinton, but in Cathy Trask—and that no matter what your lineage or heritage, you always have the power of choosing your own future. Timshel. (Click the link to see a first-edition signed copy. Want.)
2. Paddywax Tobacco + Patchouli Candle
. This is my favorite candle that I’ve ever found. It’s equally feminine and masculine, and is perfect to get you through these winter months without feeling like you’re on pumpkin spice overload. I like the amber glass container best, because it looks so pretty when it’s lit. The room spray
isn’t bad either.
3. Blanton’s bourbon.
Who doesn’t like a nice little pick-me up during the holidays? This is a Patrick-approved favorite single-barrel bourbon. While it’s no Pappy van Winkle, you can find it and
afford it. That’s a win win in my book.
4. Rails Hunter button-up
. Soft, versatile and durable, this blouse goes with everything in a woman’s wardrobe. Pair it with jeans, leggings (if you’re one of those people), or even a skirt. It goes perfectly under sweaters and vests, and is lighter (and less suffocating) than flannel. Keep it simple with the black and white option. If you’re in Nashville, you can find Rails shirts at Nordstrom, H. Audrey, or Whites Mercantile.
5. Leather Tote from Nisolo.
I own the white and tan version of this tote, and it is the best
for travel, work, and heading out on a quick errand. I like the dual-tone, because it helps it pair with more things in your closet. Plus, black-and-brown forever. Bonus — since it’s made by Nisolo, it’s a decent price and does good for the artisans who made it in Peru.
6. A. Ham cap.
This ‘A.Ham’ hat is a great accessory for any Hamilton
lover in your life. If you’re being really
generous, you could of course buy them tickets to the show in Chicago or New York — but this hat will run you just $35, while tickets to the show are … well… more.
7. Fulton + Roark Solid Cologne.
I bought this highly concentrated wax cologne for Patrick a year or so ago, and more than once I’ve wanted to steal it for myself. My favorite fragrance for him is Shackleford
, and if I remember correctly, Tybee is a bit on the sweeter side. For those of you in Nashville, Whites Mercantile usually has them in stock
8. Amazing Grace Roll-on perfume.
A favorite for many years now, I really loved philosophy’s Amazing Grace scent, and have enjoyed keeping this little roller in my purse, to re-apply in a pinch. Simple, floral and understated, it’s a scent I think anyone would love. You can find it at Sephora!
9. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand-Salve.
This is a must for stocking stuffers. Thick, rich and with a mild-but clean scent, this Kiehl’s lotion is perfect, especially if you’re traveling by airplane. It’s the only hand lotion I’ve found that makes me feel like it’s not too strongly scented nor too oily. Perfection! Perfect for that tote from #5.
10. Frye Dylan Sneakers in Cognac.
These are my absolutely favorite shoes of all time. (Is that too strong?) I’ve owned them for a year, and find myself reaching for them nearly every day. I like them so much that I’ve been tempted to buy them in black. But at the moment, I own them in cognac, and get compliments all the time. They go great with casual dresses, jeans, skirts… and can be worn with no-show socks.
11. Woolrich Wool Sherpa Blanket.
Though I couldn’t find a photo of it on Polyvore (where I make these “round-ups”), it’s Woolrich’s sherpa blanket that I really love. Wool on one side and soft sherpa on the other, this is my constant companion during the winter months. Unfortunately, a quarter of my family lives in Hawaii, where they don’t need this kind of thing. For everyone else… sherpa!
12. Club Monaco Roenne T-Shirt.
For the ladies out there, this is THE
best t-shirt ever. A Rayon-Silk blend, it’s soft. It drapes well. It’s not too thin or too thick. And it comes in three colors: grey, black and white. I own two and basically wear this almost every single day. It’s on sale right now and it lasts, keeps its shape, and will be a favorite by this time next Christmas. I can guarantee it. For the dudes, here’s a crew-neck long-sleeved option
So there you have it. My favorite things. Do you have any must-haves in your life? What are they? I’d love to know!