Skip to Content

Best Christmas Gifts 2021 – Holiday Gift Guide

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

Welcome and Bienvenue to the 2021 Misadventures with Andi holiday gift guide! Christmas is just around the corner but I have been curating gifts all year (trust me, it’s hard work!) and hope that this year’s selections will help you shop for every kind of personality on your shopping list.

You know that person in your life (friends, family members, co-workers) who has everything? Well, it’s time to get creative this year with something unique for your loved one. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite gift ideas for the holidays! Whether it be a traveler, a Francophile, a work-from-homer, campers, blogger, pet, or child, I’ve put together a list of thoughtful presents for you!

Misadventures with Andi 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Illustration commissioned from Linden Eller.

This shopping season is proving to be tricky. The global supply train has been severely impacted by the world events that have occurred the last 18 months so I highly recommend that you shop early to ensure your gift recipient gets their goodies on time!

[My posts always have an affiliate disclosure in them but I feel it is extra important to emphasize that I have used links from various affiliate marketing programs in this guide. HOWEVER, with the exception of a few items (which I note), I validate ALL products to ensure their quality. Whether that is from a gifted item (labeled [Gifted]) or from purchasing and using the product myself.]

Lastly, I will be continually adding to this guide up to the very last minute, so make sure to check back often!

Jump to:

Best Gifts for Travelers

This wouldn’t be a travel blog if I didn’t start here! Personally, I think travel is the perfect gift in and of itself, but a traveler needs “stuff!” Whether it is for an international traveler, leisurely vacationer, road-tripper, or weekender away-er, I have put together a list of top-notch presents that will make your loved one feel extra special this Christmas season.

Getting to the Gate T-shirt

Getting to the Gate T-shirt

I need a new t-shirt like I need a hole in my head, but I can’t help myself! I love this one as it sums me up precisely! I don’t love to exercise and I have definitely had to make a run for it to get to a gate on time! But after the last 2 years, I am sure if you have a traveler in your life they won’t complain!

Where to Buy: On the Airport Tag Website, $29.90

Field Guides from Wildsam

Field Guides from Wildsam

Despite having a shelf full of notebooks, I can’t myself from buying new ones. I bet you are friends with someone who feels the same. If I could, I would buy the entire Field Guide line from Wildsam. They have the perfect combination of local stories, illustrations, maps, and blank pages to keep any traveler entertained. They are US-only, so no international destination but still plenty to inspire wanderlust!

Where to Buy: On the Wildsam Website, $20, although there are a few more guides on Amazon and some are $16.

‘Eat Like A Local’ Travel Guide

'Eat Like A Local' Travel Guides

As my Paris Arrondissement series illustrates, there is no one better than a local to give you the down-low on what to eat, drink, and more. Plus recipes! Get the details on the best spots in Paris, Tokyo, London, and New York, four of the top places in the world to eat! If you have a friend or family member with a trip coming up to one of these spots, get them these books!

Where to Buy: On the World Market Website, $27.92 for the set of 4, or you can buy Paris individually on Amazon, $8.96.

Pan Am Lisbon Mug

Pan Am Lisbon Mug

Who doesn’t need more coffee mugs? Especially when they inspire your next trip, or serve as a reminder to keep an eye on the prize from a budget perspective – save up that money! Mr. Misadventures and I are spending the month of January in Lisbon and this Pan Am Lisbon mug is motivating me to complete all my end-of-the-year projects so I can enjoy myself! Just wish I could really fly on Pan Am. But if you have a traveler to buy for, Pan Am anything will probably hit the mark! [There are plenty of other destinations besides Lisbon to choose from as well!]

Where to Buy: On the Airport Tag Website, $19.90.

Zion Bar Soap

Zion Bar Soap

The tag line on the product page for the Zion Bar Soap is “Let’s go to Zion.” Um, okay! In fact, I have (multiple times) and I love it! And an all-natural bar soap that allows me to bring a little Utah into my shower is my kind of bar soap. The bar has a great reminder to “leave it better” which is kind of the National Park motto. During our 18-month RV trip, I feel blessed to have been able to visit so many of our national parks, a true treasure and 5% of every purchase from their national park collection supports the great work being done by the National Parks Conservation Association

Where to Buy: On the Ursa Major Website

Happy Ears Plugs

Happy Ears Plug

I sleep with a pair of earplugs every night. I have long used a French brand but also try others from time to time. They are also an absolute must for the plane – constant crying babies and conversation – can be annoying and fatiguing! The Swedish have long been known for their excellent industrial design and they have done it again with Happy Ears!

Where to Buy:On the Happy Ears Website, €25.00

Luxury Pure Sleep Masks

Luxury Pure Sleep Masks

[Gifted} I also sleep with an eye mask every night. I have tried several brands and found that I like certain ones for certain use cases. The one I generally sleep with is not great for travel, so I tried the sleep mask from Silken Pure and it is exactly what I needed for the plane. Still, silk, still washable, but smaller, lighter, and more compact for my carry-on while still keeping out the light of the plane and TV screens. I now also wear it at home, mixing it with my regular sleep mask. Mine is light grey, which is no longer available on the site, but they have several other colors, such as a beautiful navy. Silken Pure also carries a whole line of (men’s and) women’s silk sleepwear.

Where to Buy: On the Silken Pure Website.

Travalo Fillable Perfume Spray

Travalo Fillable Perfume Spray

[Gifted] I have been using a Travalo refillable fragrance dispenser since 2018 and still take it everywhere! I’ve got this beautiful red one. I’ve only ever run into one problem and it was on my most recent trip to France. One is not enough! I stayed 5 weeks and ran out. But now, I finally got the fancy Milano one that I was eyeing. When I hit the road for a month in Lisbon, I will be being both my travel atomizers and will be a happy camper! It is a beautiful gift for anyone who enjoys wearing perfume but not lugging the bottle around.

Where to Buy: On the Travalo Website or on Amazon, $8.99 for Excel, $33.45 for Milano.

Bombas Compression Socks

Bombas Compression Socks

I do not fly these days without a pair of Bombas compression socks. I also now wear them for long days of driving. They are magical.

Where to Buy: The Bombas website.

Jambu & Co. Shoes

Jambu Creek in action!

[Gifted] Give the gift of happy feet! I never travel without a pair of Jambu shoes, and most of the time with several pairs! They are light, which is great for the suitcase. Versatile for unknown travel situations (cobblestoned streets, hiking trails, rain…) and stylish, I can dress them up and down to fit the situation or time of day or activity. Consider giving Jambu for your favorite traveler on your holiday list.

Christmas Gifts for Co-Workers

While some companies have returned to offices, a lot of people are still working remotely. Shopping for a gift can be especially challenging when we’re not in the same room with our coworkers. Whether you’re shopping for your cubicle buddy, a teammate or colleague, the boss, or the department Secret Santa I’ve got a great gift idea that won’t break the bank.

‘Responding to Crisis’ Poster + Sticker by Lindsay Braman

'Responding to Crisis' Poster + Sticker by Lindsay Braman

Let’s face it. Most jobs have some level of fixing crisis – big or small. The important thing is not to panic and Lindsay Braman’s “responding to crisis’ graphic is a great reminder. It comes in a cool laptop sticker or great poster for the home office, or even real office for those of us going back to the real thing!

Where to Buy: on the Society 6 Website, sticker and poster, $3.99 and $12.99.

‘I Adulted At Work’ Sticker Book

'I Adulted At Work' Sticker Book

I have worked in Corporate America for over 30 years but the last 2 years have certainly changed the landscape and teams (and individuals) need to find new ways to have fun, team build, make it through the day. I love some of the conference call bingo cards that people have come up with and when I look at the stickers in this adulting at worker book I roll with laughter! Your co-workers could have a lot of fun with this one!

Where to Buy: On the Always Fits Website and on Amazon.

Magnolia Acrylic Wall Calendar

Magnolia Acrylic Wall Calendar

Back when I worked in an office in San Francisco, I was known for my very large wall calendars that my team and I would use to plan, you can see it here. But after many years of using this one, I’ve got a large pile of paper and I started to feel guilty about that. With this acrylic wall calendar that I can erase when I finish the month. It would be cool for everyone on my team to have one for group planning as well.

Where to Buy: On the Magnolia Website.

‘Get Shit Done’ Metal Wall Art

'Get Shit Done' Metal Wall Art

Time and time again in my career I have been hired because I “get shit done,” okay, it is definitely put a little more diplomatically than that, another reason why I get hired (even if some of my earliest boss’s might choke reading that because I was a bit of a fireball when I was younger, ah age, it is good for a lot of things…) so I cannot help but love this metal wall art from Northshire! But anyone who works with me would also know that “See the Good” is near and dear to my heart and I am a big believer in getting started, making some mistakes, learning, and moving on. These are really fun to have on the wall (if you have one) behind you while you are on conference calls!

Where to Buy: On the Northshire Etsy store or on the Northshire Website, around $50.

‘Letter of Resignation Drafts and Templates’ Notebook

'Letter of Resignation Drafts and Templates' Notebook

I LOVE notebooks and I am sure you have at least 1 person in your life who does as well. They are easy to spot, they usually have at least one bookshelf dedicated to beautiful, funny, memorable journals and notebooks, even if half of them are empty (like mine!). I am very digital, the company I work for is in tech, I swear by my Milanote, BUT I also use an “analog” notebook every day for both work and the blog. Like my love for graphic t-shirts, I love a good laugh, so I got a huge kick out of the ‘Letter of Resignation Drafts and Templates’ Notebook! The WTF website is total entertainment in and of itself, I recommend a visit!

Where to Buy: On the WTF Notebooks Website, $17.99

Coworker Candle Jars

Coworker Candle Jars

Another site that you can visit for a good laugh is Coffee and Motivation. I think the Coworker Candles are hilarious and there are so many good ones I can’t decide a favorite. If you have colleagues that are leaving on good terms (it happens!) and you want to give a fun going away gift too, there are some truly excellent choices here!

Where to Buy: On the Coffee and Motivation Website.

Question of the Day/Icebreaker Cards

Question of the Day/Icebreaker Cards

I am not sure about you and your company or any groups that you are involved in, but I always have a need for #QOTD and/or Icebreaker cards with thought-provoking questions. I found 3 really good sets that I suggest you stock up on if this is something that you are responsible for or find a need for. There is actually a finite number of good questions you can find by Googling and eventually you will need to invest in these!

Perfect Holiday Gift Ideas for the Home

2020 forced us to put real-life experiences on hold, and for a lot of us, we are still in a “stuck-at-home” mode (by choice and an abundance of caution), even if 2021 will be a much better holiday experience than last year. I have some special gifts for those who want to celebrate life at home. Items that will create a beautiful home. Some of these make great hostess gifts as well.

Custom Illustrated Portraits

Custom Illustrated Portraits

Oh, how I love illustrations! (As is witnessed by own collaborations with awesome illustrators!) And I am just trying to figure out what photo I want to use for my own illustration to be made by Get Smirky, I think their pricing is such a good deal! If you have a favorite photo of friends, family, or pet (I didn’t see any animals, but wouldn’t that be cute?) then send it to the Smirky team and watch the huge smile on your loved ones’ faces when you give them one of these babies!

Where to Buy: On the Get Smirky Website, $39/$49.

Unique Gifts Ideas for Foodies

Foodies like food right? And while food gifts certainly fit any occasion, Christmas is definitely a time to indulge! So I have compiled a list of gifts to delight the food-loving person in your life. For these top gifts I rolled up my sleeves, err, or maybe it was I “unbuttoned that top button” and tried every single one of these! Let the devouring begin!

The Functional Chocolate Company

The Functional Chocolate Company

[Gifted] Who doesn’t love chocolate (actually I have met a handful of people in my life who don’t, but that is definitely not the norm!)? And as a diehard Francophile, I agree with the French doctors who say a little bit of chocolate (and red wine) every day is good for your mood. And what if your chocolate could do more? The folks at The Functional Chocolate Company have done just that! They have created chocolate with clinically researched ingredients and proven botanicals for anxiety, PMS, sleep, brainpower, etc. and they are delicious!

Where to Buy: On the Functional Chocolate Company website, $7.49 a bar.

RED Chocolate Bars

RED Chocolate Bars

[Gifted] I worked in Switzerland for 3 years (and Mr. Misadventures worked there for 15!) and can say with all sincerity that nobody does milk chocolate as the Swiss do! So when RED Chocolate popped up on my radar I was surprised I hadn’t heard of them. They made their move to the European market in 2006 (which was when I was moving back to the US) and didn’t hit the US market until 2019, so the good news is that we haven’t missed out for too long. The really great news is that RED is the of the only true no sugar added chocolates in the world, and they have half the calories. There are other lower-carb chocolates (although this one IS low carb) that use alcohol sugar instead and from my experience, they have more calories. They come in a perfect grab-and-go size. I am NOT going to embarrass myself by saying that we demolished 4 boxes of Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with hazelnuts and macadamia, Dark Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate with orange and almond. I’m just sad that I haven’t gotten to try the Milk Chocolate with Apple and Hazelnut one yet!

Where to Buy: On the RED Chocolate website and on Amazon.

‘Get in My Belly’ Handy Tote

'Get in My Belly' Handy Tote

Tote bags are one of life’s essentials. And don’t get me started on what they mean to a Parisian! I have a ton of them and use them for shopping and toting at home and abroad. And like my t-shirts, coffee mugs and notebooks, I like tote bags with character! The Get in MY Belly bag is perfect for packing a lunch, a msll picnic or for transporting delicate items in a market.

Where to Buy: On the Rinse Soap Website, $11.

Pastry Arts Wall Art

Pastry Arts Wall Art

I wish I had more kitchen wall space! I would absolutely 100% put up some the Pastry Arts Magazine wall art. I will have to be satisfied with their apparel and journals instead. But if you have a foodie that is looking to update their kitchen, I am sure they would love something from the wall art collection!

Where to Buy: On the Pastry Arts Mag Website, $24.99-64.99.

Field Notes: Harvest Edition

Field Notes: Harvest Edition

More notebooks to love! Food-themed Field Notes are a great place to jot down a recipe inspiration or to record your impressions of a meal. Your garden notes, hopes and dreams too.

Where to Buy: On the Field Notes Website and on Amazon, $12.95-14.95.

‘The Foodie Edition’ Notebook

'The Foodie Edition' Notebook

I love Paper and Cities for their French-themed notebooks and drawings, but while scoping them out for my Francophile gift guide I ran across their foodie ntoebook and think it is every bit as beautiful as the city collection.

Where to Buy: On the Paper and Cities Website, €10.

Food Boxes

subscription food box

Food boxes never go out of style. And with the price of gas these days, the fewer trips to the grocery store, the better!. Plus there is always so much new food to explore, and so little time to do it!  The food industry is constantly innovating and reinventing itself! Life gets busier and busier. Food boxes are a great way to try new foods, stay on a particular type of diet, or conveniently have food in your fridge during the crazy work weeks, etc.  As a traveler who can’t travel all the time, I can travel through food, which is my favorite way to travel anyway. Any food box – whether it is a subscription or a one-time thing, makes a great gift!

There are cheese-of-the-month boxes, salami-of-the-month boxes, jerky-of-the-month boxes, you name it! Find out what your friend or family member loves and there is a box for that!

Food Box + Subscription Recommendations:

Gift Shopping for the Health + Self Care

Who doesn’t love fresh health or beauty products to make themselves feel a little better? Self-care is the best care (and a very thoughtful gift)! Those demands of everyday life aren’t fixing themselves! There are endless options when it comes to beauty gifts, especially for those loved ones that won’t buy for themselves. It is a great way to shower some attention onto new parents, stressed teachers (or any other person with a thankless job), or your best friend. A beauty or skin-care treat is just what they need!

Paint by Numbers Kit

Craft Ease therapeutic Art kit

[Gifted] It has been a difficult year in the Misadventures family this year. My father passed away in May and my mother and my family are facing our first holidays without him. My sister and mother are fans of puzzles which are a good way to keep the mind busy. When I found out about Craft Ease I learned about their therapeutic art kits, I knew it was a great activity to do with my mother this holiday season while we are all together. I picked the very French Floral Fantasy because of the coquelicot (or poppies) and my mother picked the Southern Passage because one of my nieces loves turtles. Neither one of us can paint free-hand, by I can follow numbers! Stay tuned for a future post on the results!

Where to Buy: On the Craft Ease Website.

Cariloha’s Bamboo Weighted Bamboo Blanket

Cariloha's Bamboo Weighted Bamboo Blanket

[Gifted, 2020] I still swear by my Cariloha Weighted Bamboo Blanket that I got last year. I hadn’t placed much weight (ha-ha) on the whole weighted blanket trend, but now I can’t imagine sleeping without it! It combines all the benefits of a weighted blanket with the added benefits of moisture-wicking and temperature control of the bamboo. This is a luxurious gift that is well worth its price tag if there is someone special in your life who needs a good night sleep.

Where to Buy: On the Cariloha website and Amazon.

Stylish Gifts for Fashion Lovers

It can be hard to find a Christmas gift for your fashionable friend or family member, especially if they are always ahead of all trends. If you are stumped on what to buy the person with a fully stocked closet, don’t worry! Here are a few options out there that will match any style.

Apolis Market Bags

Apolis Market Bags

Okay this actually a bag that I have not bought but has been on my radar for at least 2 years! I want one but can’t decide which size (I am leaning towards the petite), color (love the navy blue, but the red is calling to me), or what to put on it! There are some special edition Clare V. ones, if you are a Francophile, you lust after her stuff, probably along with Sézane which their merchandise was little cheaper… But you do not have to be a Francophile to enjoy these bags, they are really cool for shopping, errands, the beach, you name it!

Where to Buy: On the Apolis Global Website, $48 and up.

Unique Gifts for Kids

Kids these days are pretty tough to shop for. They already have everything, and there’s nothing you can do about it! But if your favorite kid has no favorite items on their wish list this year then don’t stress out-I’ve got some cool ideas that will make any child happy once they open up their presents under the tree (or by whatever other means) in December.

Brave Pin

Brave Pin from Linden Eller

There is a lot of stuff going around in the world, especially in the last 2 years and being a kid right now cannot be easy! That’s why I love this little reminder from [my] very talented illustrator, Linden Eller. It is perfect for a little jacket or hat and is a great way to remind kids that they can make it in this crazy world, they just need to stay brave!

Where to Buy: On the

Trailblazer Kids Clothing + Dolls

Trailblazer Kids Clothing + Dolls

When I was growing up (gee that makes me sound all) my female trailblazers were Charlie’s Angels and the Bionic Woman. There wasn’t a lot of promoting strong women like Gloria Steinem or Jane Goodall. Boy did I miss out! I kind of wish they made big girl sizes for the Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Katherine Johnson shirts and don’t get me started on the dolls! If you have a little girl or boy in your life, get them one of these!

Where to Buy: On the Piccolina Kids Website.

Strange Planet Book Series

Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature

I was the Auntie who gave books instead of toys. I grew up in a book-loving-reading family and think that they are magical places to learn about the world. Or in the case of the Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature, the world of cats! Through the eyes of the Beings, children learn about the wonderful world of cats. This is a wonderful (first) book by Nathan Pyle who has a TV series of the same name.

Where to Buy: On Amazon.

Frenchie Finds for your Francophile Friends + Family

I have created a standalone Francophile Gift Guide. Can’t help myself this section of the gift guide kept growing and growing and it only made sense to move it to its own guide! If you have someone in your life who enjoys all things French, then go check it out!

A Few Other Gift Guides

little christmas tree on a step ladder with december calendar

So what are you waiting for? Start shopping!

The holidays are a time for generosity, and it’s always worth the effort to find Christmas presents that will make your loved ones feel extra special. Shopping can be overwhelming with so many options, but I hope my list of gift ideas will help you find something for just about everyone on your shopping list.

How about you? What is your holiday gift guide experience like this year? What are you on the hunt for? Do share!

Like it? PIN it!

Holiday gift guide illustration with presentsstep stool with christmas tree and calendarpink and red holiday present

Best Christmas Gifts 2021 - Holiday Gift Guide for Francophiles
← Previous
Christmas in France + French Christmas Traditions
Next →