The 2019 Hunker Guide to Holiday Gifting

To be frank, 2019 was a bit of a doozy. Notre Dame burned down. People couldn't stop talking about millennial burnout. The Cats trailer.

So it's no wonder that wellness continued its rise in the home space. As we move into 2020, it's all about giving the holiday season that same (attempted) positive energy — with gifts that aim to make your loved ones' homes and lives healthier, calmer, and, of course, plant-ier. Here's our 2019 Hunker Guide to Holiday Gifting, with presents engineered for everyone on your list who could use a little cooldown.

kitchen gifts

KITCHEN: These picks are all about cutting down on waste, healthier cooking, and enjoying food and drink with more intentionality.

Skagerak Edge Teapot, $132 & Skagerak Edge Cup, $35 each

Inspired by ancient Greek and Egyptian ceramics, this earthy teapot and stackable cups from Danish design company Skagerak are a safe bet for your minimalist pal who appreciates objects that feel connected to nature.

Cocoon Tea Artisans Organic Green Quince Tea, $32

For the tea drinker or trying-to-quit-coffee addict in your life, try this gentle organic green tea that's got a kick of zest from quince and soothing ginger notes.

Caraway Cookware Set, $395

A newcomer to the DTC cookware game, Caraway offers four-piece sets in (admittedly) millennial-friendly colors. Each set includes a fry pan, sauce pan, sauté pan, and Dutch oven (plus magnetic pan racks and lid holders for storage). So for someone setting up in a new home or a recent grad, it's quite the deal. The selling point, though, is that the goods are ceramic-coated and non-toxic (unlike bad-for-you PTFE-coated pans) ... which kind of makes you want to chuck everything in your pantry, right? (FYI, each set comes in one solid color — Caraway was just nice enough to send us a variety.).

Haus Essentials Duo, $70

Here's a great solution for your friend who is metaphysical-hangover-years-old. Haus is a low-ABV beverage with only a third of the alcohol of most spirits. (Meaning: You can be social but avoid making a visit to Hangoverville.) The herbaceous and warming Bitter Clove flower will appeal to whiskey drinkers, while Citrus Flower feels a bit more crisp, bright, and wine-y.

Il Buco Vita Glass Tumblers, $32-$36

2019 was a big year for the color green. It was huge in kitchen design as well as in new paint colors — the hue is all about reminding people to reconnect with nature and their roots. You can feel that sentiment in these hand-blown Tuscan glasses, which are just so beautifully crafted.

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bag Set, $49.99

Hunker's social media manager turned the entire team onto these reusable stand-ins for single-use plastic baggies — and now we want every household to use them! The complete set comes with four bags.

Colony Co. Reusable Produce Bags, $27

Help your buds cut down on plastic waste by gifting this set of reusable produce bags. The set comes with nine bags in three different sizes, and they're machine washable.

Porter Bowl, $25

Microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and available in a multitude of colors for the office worker trying to stop with all the paper and plastic waste that comes with buying lunch.

garden gifts

GARDEN: Plants and wellness go hand-in-hand these days — they help to purify the air in your home, but they also invite nature in and promote a sense of well-being. Also: Instagrammable.

The Sill Beginner's Plants Collection, $110.50

You can't go wrong with plants to add some vibrancy to someone's home. The Sill's starter kit is perfect for even the worst of plant parents, with species that are stupid-easy to take care of. The set of three live plants comes in earthenware in your choice of color: a mint green, an orangey-pink, or black.

HAY Watering Can, $25

Functional design meets sleek lines in this affordable watering can that isn't offensive to look at. Perhaps an add-on if you're gifting The Sill's plant set?

Barebones Living Garden Shears, $26

Whether they're a lefty or a righty, these garden scissors are a fit for both.

OYOY Inka Kana Pot, $65

The matte exterior of this pretty pot brings some natural texture for the friend lacking in quality planters. Perfect for succulents and desert plants.

decor gifts

DECOR: Everything here offers some type of cool sensory experience — from natural materials you can't not touch to clinking chimes to pieces that play with light.

Fundamental Berlin Large Crystal Vase, $70

Delight in the prismatic light play that this asymmetrical (and quite hefty) crystal vase brings. Our suggestion: Place it in a sunny window to make a room dance with rainbow light.

LGS Studio Tephra Incense Cellar, $185

L.A.-based LGS Studio is one of our favorite local ceramics outfits — mostly because they're constantly coming up with artful and edgy ways to reinvent decorative objects. Case in point: This incense cellar, which features a hand-carved stoneware surface to create a lava-like effect. A complete sensory experience!

LGS Incense Holder, $120

This ceramic incense holder comes with a clever hidden feature — the hole allows you to store extra incense sticks.

Astier de Villatte Grand Chalet Incense Box, $50

We're ordinarily not the hugest fans of incense, but this Parisian brand is unlike anything else. The scents feel clean and perfume-y — without being overbearing.

Tara Ashe Reversible Glass Vase, $65

Floral display done two ways: This glass vase can be positioned to accommodate larger blooms, or with red on top, it becomes an artful bud vase.

SIN Mima Table Lamp, $175

If you've got a chum who is up on all the cool indie ceramicists, they'll be psyched to get this table lamp by Virginia Sin. We love how the earthy base combines with a soft, exposed bulb to create that perfect type of cozy illumination.

Pigeon Toe Disc Chimes, $48 each

We can't get enough of Portland-based ceramics brand Pigeon Toe, which produces beautiful pieces in such fun colors. When the breeze blows, these wind chimes create a soothing clinking noise, which might just be the relaxing background music your friend's life is missing.

Ferm Living Marble Cup, $65

It's up to your bud how to use this (admittedly kind of random) vessel. Toothbrush holder? Vase? Pencil cup? Either way, the gorgeous brown marble is the type of grounding piece that ties together a room.

The Citizenry Alpaca Throw, $155

Handloomed by artisans in Peru, this extra soft throw is just right for the buddy who is always just a bit too cold — but wants to look extra cute cozying up.

tech gifts

TECH: True, tech can often has a negative effect. But it's all about figuring out which devices can actually make someone's life better.

sonos speaker

With Sonos's latest release, you can encourage friends to always bring music with them thanks to battery power that allows for unplugged listening. You can even connect without a WiFi connection, so it looks like they can finally have that cool soundtrack for outdoor yoga sessions or picnics.

DCMEKA Ecological Humidifier, $19.99

Help your desk-stuck mate maintain a bit of office zen with this mini humidifier. (Seriously, why are offices always SO dry?) They can even fill the top with tiny succulents to make their workspace a bit more serene.

Google Home Mini, $25

What does a Google Home Mini have to do with wellness? Turns out, the Google team has put a lot of thought into the fabrics that come on the Mini — they're meant to blend in with your decor to make having a voice-controlled assistant seem a little more natural.

Wynd Personal Air Purifier, $199.95

We're truly living in the future if you can have a personal, portable device that eliminates pollution around you. App-controlled, Wynd filters out smog, dust, mold, and more to make your personal space healthier. This could be great for someone who is constantly complaining about allergies.

Snooz White Noise Sound Machine, $79.99

Have a friend who is always traveling and constantly tired? Try offering them this noise machine, which generates real (not digital) white noise from an internal, whirling fan. The device is travel-friendly, perfect for making weird Airbnbs or paper-thin-walled hotel rooms feel a little bit more like home.

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, $119

2019 saw the rise of the designer diffuser as an artful way to increase wellbeing at home. A few drops of essential oil will give a room a relaxing fragrance (plus, adding a bit of humidity in winter never hurt anyone).

bedding gifts

BED: No duh: Sleep is a critical factor in our health and happiness. This stuff makes sleep look good, smell good, and feel good.

Casper Glow Light, $220 for two

These cool new lamps from Casper encourage deeper sleep and easier drifting off. At bedtime, turn the cylinder upside down to begin a light timer — it will emit an incredibly bright yet cozy glow that dims to darkness over the course of 45 minutes. Best for: Insomniac friends or new parents (great for nurseries).

Bodha Aroma Therapy Eye Pillow, $38

When you just need to seriously shut the world out: an eye pillow filled with a calming blend of organic buckwheat, lavender, and chamomile flowers.

OSEA for Parachute Pillow Spray, $19

You could look at this pillow spray two ways: Either the blend of natural lavender, geranium, peppermint, and sage will help put you to sleep ... or it could just distract from the fact that your sheets are a tad overdue for a wash.

Buffy Breeze Comforter, $180-$260

Buffy's Breeze comforter is a game-changer for folks who sleep hot, but still need the feeling of weight to get to Sleepytown. Its eucalyptus shell doesn't trap heat (and yet using it doesn't make you feel cold).

This past year, we became even more obsessed with linen sheets (if that's even possible) because they just feel soooo good. Cultiver's linen set stands out to us because they're pre-washed for an already soft feel. They also offer a wide range of colors you can't find elsewhere.


Images: Rickett & Sones

Stylist: Noel Hennessy

Words: Leonora Epstein

Thank you Lucia, for speaking with us and sharing your record collection and your musical influences.