While it may seem like the holidays are a long ways away, as always, they'll be sneaking up on us before we know it. And since it's key to get ahead of the shopping craze, we're here to break down what we believe will be the seven most popular categories of the season. With help from industry experts and data from our commerce department here at Hunker, we are excited to present you with our prediction for the season's hottest gifts.
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1. Hosting and Entertaining Gifts
It's been two and a half years since the pandemic completely changed our lives and we're only just returning to holiday hosting as we once knew it. But, before people open up their homes for dinner parties, gift swaps, and neighborhood celebrations, they'll want to get their homes and kitchens in tip-top shape.
According to shopping app Affirm, the amount people have spent on at-home entertaining, home audio, and cooking and kitchen supply purchases "nearly tripled year-over-year." We predict this shopping trend will continue to grow as we enter the holiday season, and will make perfect gifts for all of your friends and family. Traditional hosting items such as table linens, glassware, platters, and candles will always impress, but don't be afraid to go the creative route to enhance the experience. Try high-quality audio systems and speakers, smart lighting, record players, wine subscriptions, and fancy cheeseboard deliveries — you can't go wrong with something that will elevate their next gathering.
2. High-Design Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets
It's no secret that high-tech, smart kitchen gadgets — from Instant Pots to air fryers — have taken over the cooking world during the past few years. But, recently, that has been taken up a notch. Consumers are shopping for refrigerators, stoves, and ovens that not only complement their kitchens and design aesthetics, but also cohesively match and blend in.
Brands like Miele, Samsung, and Smeg are offering appliances that are fully customizable to color match your home. It's no longer enough for a smart gadget to just work well; it also needs to enhance your space. Take the Revolution Touchscreen Toaster, which went viral on TikTok earlier this year. At its core, it has the same function as your run-of-the-mill toaster, but its sleek touchscreen design also offers a variety of customizations and options for cooking and looks a bit like a futuristic toaster.
"Consumers want more than just style and function: They yearn to be liberated from the status quo and appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into every detail of the product. They appreciate personalization," Tom Klaff, CEO of Revolution Cooking, tells Hunker.
Our Pick: Revolution Touchscreen Toaster, $349
3. Minimalist Color Palettes
After a summer of bright hues from barbiecore pink to Bottega green, we're seeing a move to more serene and calming color palettes. In fact, a few paint brands have even dubbed very neutral shades as their 2023 colors of the year — from Behr's Blank Canvas to Sherwin William's Nexus. We also called nutmeg (a grey-beige color) the color of the season this fall, when it started popping up everywhere, from Le Creuset's latest cookware launch to Heather Taylor Home's collab with West Elm. After a hectic few years and a trend cycle that moves faster than anyone can keep up with, a return to an always-in-style neutral palette has never been more welcome.
Our pick: Le Creuset Cookware in Nutmeg, $22-$625
4. Wanderlust Travel Accessories and Jet-Setter Essentials
Travel has officially picked up and there's no sign of it slowing down anytime soon, making travel accessories the perfect holiday gift. According to Victor Tam, CEO and co-founder of Monos, shoppers are more willing to invest in new and long-lasting travel essentials. Tam says that carry-ons, in particular, have been especially popular as more people opt out of checking their luggage, along with packing cubes, toiletry bags, and travel backpacks.
"While it depends on the type of traveler they are, you can never go wrong with a carry-on/personal item," Tam says. "A backpack or a duffel is [also] a staple item that the giftee can use no matter how big or small the adventure is."
Our pick: Monos Carry-On, $275
5. Comforting Coastal Grandmother and Seashore-Themed Gifts
Coastal grandmother decor has made major waves over the past year and we're betting that it will be a hit during the holidays, too, thanks to its comforting and classic vibe. There's also a nostalgia aspect that makes it so appealing, according to HomeGoods Style Expert Jenny Reimold. "It evokes memories of days spent in the summer along coastlines and a laid-back approach to life that many can appreciate," Reimold tells Hunker. "It is no surprise that the natural textures and nature-inspired colors of the trend are carrying over into this holiday season."
If you're looking for the perfect coastal grandmother gift, Reimold recommends coastal coffee books, rattan and seagrass trinket boxes, handmade pottery, and candles with notes of sea salt, sandalwood, and coconut for a beachy feel all season long.
Our pick: ABRAMS Coastal Blues Coffee Table Book, $19.99
6. Memory Keeping and Sentimental Gifts
After years of Covid and separation, people are cherishing moments with loved ones so gifts that help keepsake memories and evoke sentiment will be big. This includes the classics like photo and travel albums, in addition to more unique finds, like personalized coasters, ornaments, and customizable children's books. As Aslee Livingston, senior manager of innovation at Artifact Uprising, says, "Personal gifts cut through the muddle and jumble of modern life, giving everyone a chance — at first opening or at 50th touch — to feel calm and gratitude."
And in addition to an uptick in pre-made custom keepsakes, we are seeing personalized gifts that the recipient can get involved in, too. For example, the brand Storyworth will provide your giftee with weekly prompts that will then be bound into a stunning hardcover book that they can keep forever. And if you're into the handmade vibe, Artifact Uprising sells the most special scrapbook kits that you can start and your loved one can finish.
Livingston so perfectly sums it up: "We're all so inundated with opportunities to pause with meditation apps, smartwatch 'breathe' reminders and night rain soundtracks — but it's really the people we love the most, their faces and gifts they've given us that bring the most joy year over year." We couldn't agree more.
7. High-Design and High-Tech Pet Furniture and Gadgets
The joke that pets are the new kids for millennials has never been more true. Affiliate Marketing company Skimlinks reports pet accessories and supplies have been selling at an all-time high and our own insights have confirmed that our readers are interested. Specifically, our Litter Robot review and modern cat furniture pieces have been two of Hunker's top-performing and highest-selling articles over the last three months.
To keep up with the demand, there are a ton of fancy new pet brands and items popping up left and right, making accessories that will actually look good next to your decor. A couple of our and our furry friend's favorites include Tuft + Paw's structured Kip Cat Cushion, UnHide's Floof pet bed, and Fable's minimalist dog crate. And get this — interior designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent partnered with PetSmart on an exclusive small pets collection just in time for the holidays. We're talking faux leather and sherpa couches small enough for your hamster. As far as we're concerned, fish, reptiles, and guinea pigs deserve cute decor, too.
Our pick: Whisker Litter-Robot 4, $649