Steph Yiu

For Emily: Where To Find Gift Ideas

At home tonight, Em said, “Steph, can you just write a blog post with all the websites you go to for gifts?!” So, here goes the brain dump:

For nerdy friends:

  • UncommonGoods.com – This site is cross between hipster and nerdy. It’s probably my favorite of all “online gift stores.” For your friend who has a degree in computer science from MIT but also watches Selfie.
  • ThinkGeek.com – A site for your gamer, internet friends who read comic books and have a sense of humor.

For guy friends who like fancy things:

  • Uncrate.com – Definitely a designer site for guys, with tons of gift ideas. I subscribe to it because they often post stuff you’d never see elsewhere.
  • Wired’s annual gift lists – Crazy stuff that’s rarely affordable, but it’s a good starting point.
  • Anything Tim Ferriss recommends. Lately it’s been Mizzen+Main shirts.
  • Makr.com – simply gorgeous leather goods.

For your crafty, home-designery friends:

  • Fab.com – A well-curated site for designer furniture and decor. I never actually buy anything from here, but it’s a good spot to look for inspiration.
  • Etsy.com – For a unique spin on something your friend is obsessed with, whether it’s handmade Game of Thrones jewelry or a knitted mason jar cozoe.
  • Real Simple gift lists – Their printed version is much better than online.
  • Mail-order subscriptions, like Birchbox or Stitchfix. There’s a great one called Quarterly that ships giftboxes curated by your favorite blog or celeb.
  • Apartment Therapy – I read this site almost every day, and it always gives me a ton of ideas for gifts.
  • Seabags.com – I’m not one to get attached to clothes or bags, but my whale bag is my favorite “fashion” item that I own. I’m completely obsessed with it because not only is it pretty, I’ve used it for everything, from groceries, to beach trips, to weekend trips.

For your practical friends:

For friends that like to eat or cook:

  • A gift card to their favorite restaurant. This works especially well if your friend lives in a city far away, and you want them to have an awesome night out.
  • EatBoutique.com – Gorgeously packaged treats, from artisanal makers. Your foodie friend will love you.
  • Fresh Force Citrus Juicer. Call me crazy, but every single person I know who has used this juicer loves it. It’s absolutely perfect, for everything from salads to cocktails. The Test Kitchen also says that every kitchen should have a Thermpen – never overcook your fish or chicken again!

For friends you hate:

For your change-the-world friends:

  • A donation to an environmental charity – it’s a great way to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and usually sidesteps any political affiliations.
  • A donation to Kiva, which offers microloans around the world – I did this once for a wedding and I’ve been re-lending the credits ever since. It’s a really awesome gift that just keeps giving.
  • BrainPickings.com for incredible children’s books. You’d be surprised at what thoughtful and inspiring gifts these can be for adults.

For photos and prints:

  • I take a ton of photos and really like sharing them with the people I love. For this I have used Social Print Studio (solid and pretty affordable) and Artifact Uprising (more high end).

And, my favorite spots in Boston and Cambridge to wander for gifts:

  • Black Ink in Harvard Square for well-designed gifts.
  • Kitchenwares on Newbury Street for your foodie friend. Their staff is incredible and can help you with almost any question you have.
  • WardMaps on Mass Ave for Boston or Cambridge-centric gifts. They have some beautiful antique maps (and some really touristy stuff you can avoid). They will also do custom coasters for you if you send them images.
  • Abodeon for one-of-a-kind, beautifully designed plates, kitchenware, and decor. This store is just well curated.
  • Commonwealth Books in downtown Boston and Harvard Book Store. Commonwealth Books is totally a hidden gem, where you can find old, antique books and beautiful prints. Harvard Book Store wins my heart because of the front displays, where staff members write little blurbs about their favorite books.
  • And, funnily enough, Urban Outfitters and Blick Art are great places to wander for ideas, for stuff you can make or find versions of elsewhere.

Hope that helps! <3

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