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Nice List: The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

As a kid, I thought the best part of the holidays — and perhaps the whole year — was rapidly ripping through colorful, crinkly paper to see what presents were waiting for me on the inside. I remember Christmas mornings at my parents’ house in Seabeck, Washington ­— sitting on the floor beside my big brother, both wearing brand new L.L. Bean pajamas that had been opened the night before, per Cady tradition. Warm 106.9 would be playing wall-to-wall Christmas classics while we impatiently watched our parents pour coffee and Baileys into mugs and slowly make their way to the sofa. A final moment of pause, then a “go ahead, sweetie” from my mom, and my brother and I would disappear into a cloud of green and red ribbon while we tore through a pile of presents. Our parents would watch us with sleepy smiles and unopened gifts in their laps. I would wonder what they were doing — were they okay? They had packages to open! Why would they want to simply sit there, staring at us while we had all the fun?

It turns out my parents appreciated something I hadn’t yet discovered (and I’m not just talking about the delightful decadence of having Baileys with breakfast). They knew the profound pleasure of giving, and it made them happy just to watch us open the gifts they had put so much thought and love into choosing for us.    

As we grow older and (hopefully) wiser, our perspectives and priorities tend to shift. Last winter, researchers surveyed 2,000 Americans to find out what they expected to bring them joy in the upcoming holiday season. After two years of limited in-person interactions due to the pandemic, the goal was to learn what people were missing most. The results of the survey, which was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Minted, showed it wasn’t receiving gifts. Sixty-eight percent of participants said they were more excited to give presents than they were to receive them, and 57 percent said they were planning to give a higher number of gifts than they had in previous years. Many of the respondents also noted that they would be shopping for a higher number of people as well.  

With all this enthusiasm for gifting, the big question remains — what to buy? It's often not an easy answer, regardless of how well we know the recipient or how much we love them. Ironically, the closer we are, the more we can overthink it.

One guiding principle that I find myself turning to for gift-giving is aiming for something that either sparks joy or plants a seed for it later. For example, a gift that sparks joy might be matching holiday sweaters for you and your dog because it’s too ridiculous not to laugh immediately when you see them, or a cozy new flannel that you can snuggle into right away. An example of a gift that plants a seed for joy later on could be a credit for a relaxing massage. As you open the card, you might not feel a big reaction, but when you go in for your spa day, you’ll think of the person who gave it to you and appreciate it on a much deeper level. Other examples include cooking classes and workshops for crafting ceramics.

We have included all of these and more in our Nice List: The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide on the following pages — and you’ve already got one recommendation in the bag: a bottle of Baileys.

Shop Local:  It’s always important to shop local, and it’s easy to do when you live in such a vibrant community of artists and tastemakers. All the below items pair well with a fresh bouquet of seasonal stems from your neighborhood farmers market, and if you want to dial it up from there, you can add a few more markers goodies and present them in a locally sewn basket with a bow. 

Health & Wellness: What could be better than the gift of feeling good in your body? The holidays are a season of indulgence, and many of us want to start the new year with a heightened focus on health and happiness. These gifts are perfect if you know someone who wants to hit reset on their self-care regimen or who is always taking care of others and might not splurge on themselves.

Pets & Pet Lovers: Know someone with a dog who likes to break loose and explore the neighborhood? A GPS tracker could help bring them home. Or, someone with an unusually clever pup might enjoy some “talk” buttons to help them communicate when they want to go outside or eat. Presents that entertain, celebrate, or protect pets are wonderful for the owners who love them and can be beneficial for the animals as well.

  • The Metabolism Reset from Sakara (one week of food + supplements),, $460
  • Aesop Mouthwash,, $25
  • Cheers Restore Hangover Pills,,  $35
  • Shower Foot Massager,,  $12.95
  • The All-In-One Facial Set from Hanacure,, $110
  • Wellbel Hair Supplements (for men and women),, $70/mo
  • Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask with 10.5% Squalan,,  $40
  • Light Shield from DMH Aesthetics (LED light therapy mask),,  $190
  • Ted Kennedy Watson’s Guide To Stylish Entertaining,, $37.50
  • Women's Down Cruiser Vest,, $325
  • Cooking classes at Chef Tom Douglas' Hot Stove Society, prices vary
  • Ceramics classes at Kirkland Arts Center,, prices vary
  • Evergreen + Cedar candle,, $30
  • Haxan Hot Sauce Gift Set,, $28
  • Doves by Doron Paloma Sky Blue Topaz Ring with Diamonds in 18K White Gold,, $1,760
  • Matcha Almond Chocolate,, $19.99
  • Premier Catch Alaskan King Crab,,
  • Fluent Pet Starter Kit,, $79.95
  • Mini Dog Treat Maker,, $19.99
  • Whistle GPS + Health + Fitness Dog Tracker,, $149.95
  • Custom One Pet Portrait,, $77
  • The Great Yukon Sweater,, $42
  • Zesty Paws Calming Bites for Dogs,, $29.97
  • Christian Cowan X Maxbone Jumper,, $95
  • Wisdom Panel Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs,, $79.99
  • Spa at Suncadia Custom Massage ,, $200+