For many of us, the holidays will look a little different this year. There may be no big family gatherings to plan, or office parties to go to. We probably won’t be holidaying anywhere exotic. We may also be spending less.
In what has been a long, difficult and divisive year, luxury has taken on new meaning. Disposable income is more precious; elegance must now contend with comfort. And with Millennial and Gen Z consumers accounting for a growing proportion of spending, the luxury market is increasingly sensitive to the social and environmental causes they identify with.
With all this in mind, here are CNN Style’s best small luxuries for the conscientious gift giver:
1) ‘Weekday Ritual’ set by Redoux NYC
Black-owned Redoux NYC is a vegan skincare line of nourishing serums, balms and soap bars (and candles, too), with scents that change seasonally.
Inspired by art, cultural history, nature and founder Asia Grant’s own memories, each fragrance transports you to another place entirely, offering some much-needed escapism. The skincare items are all gender-inclusive, handmade in small batches in New York City and wrapped in slick, minimalist packaging.
2) Relief Edition apron by Bragard and Polonsky & Friends
Bragard/Polonsky & Friends
A collaboration between creative consultancy Polonsky & Friends and the US branch of French culinary clothing brand Bragard, the design features a dove inspired by one of Picasso’s Dove drawings.
3) Waffle maker by Ghetto Gastro x Crux
The product range is not only sleek in design but also socially engaged: When it launched in fall, proceeds were donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, which works to empower the next generation of Black and Brown leaders. That partnership is now over, but Ghetto Gastro continues to fight racism, engage communities and advance social justice through good food and creative cooking.
4) A crochet market bag from Gem
The site works like Lyst, but for retro clothes and accessories. It is a treasure trove of pre-loved goods at pleasingly affordable prices.
5) Rose gold sensitive skin razor by Oui the People
Oui the People
6) Hand-sewn cushions by Paboy Bojang
Made from 100% Italian cotton, which Bojang sources locally in Naples, his eye-catching designs are lined with brightly colored fringes, piping, ruffles or even tiny pom poms.
7) Pink ruffle face mask by Tia Adeola
A true statement piece, the haute number perfectly encapsulates what Nigerian-born, London-raised and New York-based designer Teniola “Tia” Adeola has garnered attention for: a Renaissance era-inspired aesthetic of tulle and ruffles, made contemporary with bold, eye-catching colors.
This face covering is possibly one of the loudest out there, not to mention the most accessible way to gift your loved ones a designer piece without breaking the bank.
8) Reclamation blanket coat by Horse of a Different Colour
Horse of a Different Colour
Produced under Starlight’s label, Horse of a Different Colour, and priced at £160 ($214), each oversized piece is a one-of-a-kind, as Starlight only works with reclaimed vintage blankets (you can also send your own to transform).
9) Circe lion print pajama sets by Desmond & Dempsey
Desmond & Dempsey
But what really sets these apart from your regular PJs is its lion print. Loud and almost Versace-esque, they are the embodiment of Desmond & Dempsey’s tagline, “A Celebration of Life at Home.”
10) ‘Confinement Diaries’ prints by Paula Gerbase
A week into lockdown in the UK, designer Paula Gerbase began working on a photography project that captured women wearing her garments in the own homes. The three chapters in the series, titled “Confinement Diaries,” comprises shots by photographers Maté Moro, Ronan Mckenzie and Laura Jane Coulson.
11) Mygdal plant light by Nui Studio
Its bulb-like design can support a self-supporting ecosystem where flora can grow undisturbed, without the need for water or direct daylight. An app called LightControl lets you regulate the intensity and duration of the LED light, which the enclosed plants can photosynthesize naturally. It also doubles up as a chic house lamp.
12) Organic towels by Tekla
Spanning washcloths, guest towels, bath towels, hand towels and bath sheets — with prices ranging from $12 to $90, and available in a plethora of colors — these are perfect for any homebody (all of us?) serious about their comfort level in every room of the house.
13) Edgar lounge chair by Inside Weather (pictured top)
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s new collection of home and lifestyle products has been developed to help preserve Taliesin and Taliesin West — the site of Wright’s studios and school in Wisconsin and Arizona, respectively — and to raise awareness of the celebrated architect’s work.
The Edgar lounge chair (customizable, from $798) nods to the Edgar Kaufmann House, commonly known as Fallingwater, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southwest Pennsylvania.
With a cantilever construction, organic wood slats and juxtaposition of varying geometries, it was made in partnership with US furniture maker, Inside Weather.
14) Dani Oatmeal Christmas gift box by Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl
15) Tracksuits by Pangaia
Worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Justin Bieber, Pharrell Williams and Jaden Smith, luxury loungewear label Pangaia is part fashion brand and part eco-collective.
Items have been made from seaweed and treated with peppermint oil, or crafted with organic cotton and filled with wildflowers. Others are dyed with lab-made pigments and manufactured using processes the brand calls “high-tech naturalism.”
Pangaia’s heavyweight recycled cotton tracksuits (from $240), which come in an array of punchy colors, are no exception. The plush material is made from a responsibly sourced, recycled and organic cotton mix, while the various hues are created using environmentally friendly dyes and a recycled water system.
16) Pebble Cutlery Set by Otherware x Snarkitecture
The kit got a jazzy update in time for the holidays, thanks to a new collaboration between Otherware and experimental design firm Snarkitecture.
17) Re:Style jewelry by Alighieri x Hyundai
A collaboration between the Japanese car giant and six international designers — including Richard Quinn and Rosie Assoulin — Hyundai Re:Style is a sustainable fashion collection featuring items made from car manufacturing waste.
Besides looking great, the whole Re:Style collection also supports a good cause: For each Hyundai Re:Style product sold, British luxury retailer Selfridges will donates 100% of the proceeds to support the British Fashion Council Foundation’s efforts to make the fashion industry more resilient, circular, equal and fair.
18) Impower face masks by Prabal Gurung
Each covering is made with machine-washable pre-shrunk cotton, and they offer a customized fit thanks to the adjustable elastic ear loops and nose bridge. What’s more, proceeds from every mask sold are donated to the CDC Foundation.
19) ‘Black Futures,’ edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham
It’s not meant to be read linearly, but rather is designed as a series of brief chapters to delve into. Its loose structure is intentional: Editors Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham want readers to embark on their own, personal investigation of what it means to “be Black and alive right now,” they write.
With contributors like Solange Knowles, Samantha Irby and Hanif Abdurraqib, this is one of the most powerfully urgent and relevant books published this year.
20) A to Z Manifesto charity tees by Stella McCartney
Seven of the artists who participated in the project have made their work available by way of limited-edition tees. The first drop featured designs by Cindy Sherman, George Condo and Ed Ruscha, with only 30 of each design being produced — and the profits from each going towards a cause of its creator’s choosing.
Each tee has a unisex regular fit and is made from organic cotton to reduce water waste and soil erosion while eliminating the use of harmful chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides.
21) Powell’s fragrance by Powell’s
Better yet, the fragrance comes inside a faux book that you can nestle between real tomes.