holiday gifts 2022

Every Holiday Gift Guide From the Strategist (So Far)

We’ve got something for every brother, birder, dog lover, and more.

Animation: The Strategist; Photos: Aeropress, Backbone, Baggu, Bloomsbury Publishing, Butouch, Ember, Infinity Pillow, Intelligent Change, KONG, Kryolan, Nike, Pelican, PlaSmart, Starface, Tenzi, Twelve South
Animation: The Strategist; Photos: Aeropress, Backbone, Baggu, Bloomsbury Publishing, Butouch, Ember, Infinity Pillow, Intelligent Change, KONG, Kryolan, Nike, Pelican, PlaSmart, Starface, Tenzi, Twelve South

Gift-giving season has officially arrived, and here at the Strategist, we pride ourselves on having a spot-on holiday gift idea for every person on your list. That’s because our team of obsessive shoppers has been doing the legwork, a.k.a. writing and thinking about presents, all year long. We’ve combed through our archives to come up with beloved products we’ve written about before, as well as going directly to the source and asking grandparents, teenage girls, and many more types of recipients for their recommendations. The result is this guide of 86 expert-backed options — many of which we’ve tested ourselves — and even some new items that are just too special to miss. So whether you’re looking for something for your never-satisfied nephew, your world-traveling best friend (who’s also a hiker), your new co-worker, or your child’s kindergarten teacher, we’ve got you covered.

Many items in these guides will arrive well before December 25. However, as we approach the holidays, stock and shipping times can change rapidly, so while we’re continuing to update these lists with in-stock and on-time products, we suggest you plan accordingly by bookmarking this post so you can return to it later — or better yet, don’t dillydally. And as always, if you want to stay on top of our gift coverage, sign up for our newsletter.

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Gifts that might sell out

The Top Toys for 2022

Every year, we reach out to toy-trend experts to hear their predictions on the hottest, most coveted toys that are likely to sell out fast. To get you from the research to buying stage ASAP, we’ve collected light-up dollhouses, magic crystal balls, and this inflatable T. rex from Jurassic World that kids will be begging for this holiday season — all in one place. Find more toy gifts here.

The Top Tech Gifts for 2022

It’s challenging enough to get ahold of the hottest tech gadgets the rest of the year, and as we get closer to the holidays, stock inevitably becomes even more limited. Luckily, we found a small-but-mighty gadget that’s a little more under the radar: This robot vacuum that will transform any house into a smart home. It adapts to carpets and hard surfaces automatically; just plug it in, set a schedule, and let it devour dust bunnies. Find more tech gifts here.

Best Advent Calendars

Opening a little treat each day makes the countdown to December 25 far more fun, so we found plenty of self-care-, toy-, food-, and drink-related Advent calendars — like this Bean Box calendar, which contains 12 limited-edition holiday-inspired blends from roasters all over the U.S. Each sachet is labeled with a gradient scale indicating the intensity level (with a mix of lighter and darker blends in the box), and recipients can choose between ground coffee or whole beans. Find more Advent calendars here.

Best Beauty Advent Calendars

We rounded up the best beauty Advent calendars for trying new products or restocking on old favorites, like this one from Neiman Marcus, which is chock-full of products from top brands like Sunday Riley, YSL, Tom Ford, Hermès, and Dior. Find more beauty Advent calendars here.

Gifts for him

The Best Gifts for Dads

Some dads are movie critics who’d appreciate a new way to spice up their popcorn at home. Others are podcasters (in their own minds) looking to kit out their sound booths with professional microphones. And some are golfers ready to turn the living room into a practice course. For the last dad, try this setup with three different holes (or pins) that “make it kind of like three practice greens in one, since each requires a slightly different approach,” says John Rotunno (who happens to be the dad of a former Strategist senior editor). Find more gifts for every type of dad here.

The Best Gifts for Husbands

We’ve curated a list of 70 gifts guaranteed to appeal to every type of husband — like this shower-proof speaker for listening to classic rock or Sunday Night Football. “You can hear music or podcasts clearly, and it actually gets pretty loud,” says Strategist contributor Rio Viera-Newton. Find more gifts for every type of husband here.

The Best Gift for Boyfriends

If he has been denying your requests for a wish list, this guide is for you. We found lots of gifts for all kinds of boyfriends — including a foldable smartphone keyboard, a pasta machine, Hua Hsu’s favorite spicy peanuts, and this fancy multi-tool that Cole Sprouse can’t live without. “It’s in the same vein as the Swiss Army knife but a little bit sturdier,” he says. Find more gifts for every type of boyfriend here.

The Best Gifts for Brothers

For the brother who travels for work or is planning a trip abroad, this handy Bluetooth adapter will allow him to connect AirPods or other wireless headphones to an aux-cable source, like an airplane’s onboard system, for “a better all-around user experience,” as food stylist Judy Kim told us. Find more gifts for every type of brother here.

The Best Grooming Gifts

He likely has a favorite brand of lip balm, shaving cream, and moisturizer, but you can always elevate his routine with an editor-approved grooming gift. Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa praises this spray for its fresh, subtle scent and for how it can act “as both an aluminum-free deodorant (aluminum can irritate sensitive skin) and a light cologne,” he says. Find more grooming gifts here.

Gifts for her

The Best Gifts for Moms

Sourcing the right gift for your mom might feel like an impossible holiday mission, which is why we’ve created a list of all the best options for mothers everywhere. Cup of Jo’s Joanna Goddard can’t live without these buttery-soft Eberjey pajamas, because unlike cotton PJs, these “never wrinkle,” she says. Find more gifts for every type of mom here.

The Best Gifts for Wives

The perfect present for your wife does exist, and it might just be in this roundup. Many of our picks for her are available on Amazon — like this bathtub caddy for holding soaps, scrubs, a book, and a wineglass. Find more gifts for every type of wife here.

The Best Gifts for Girlfriends

Whether it has been three months or three years, shopping for a thoughtful gift for your special someone requires some digging. If she’s a bookworm and a known fan of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends, we highly recommend this debut novel from Coco Mellors. Find more gifts for every type of girlfriend here.

The Best Gifts for Sisters

You may have very similar tastes to your sister(s) — or perhaps you’re drastically different. In either case, figuring out what they like can still be fun. For journaling newbies (or veterans), you can’t go wrong with this uplifting journal, which Debby Ryan says has led to “productivity and positivity along with pride and confidence” and is backed by therapists. Find more gifts for every type of sister here.

The Best Gifts for Mothers-in-Law

Your mother-in-law can be just as tricky to shop for as your mom can. To warm her heart (and feet), these socks are so perfect that “they could be Prada,” says fashion historian Ruby Redstone, who found them after a decade-long search for the perfect white pair. Find more gifts for mothers-in-law here.

The Best Gifts for Pregnant Women

If she’s pregnant (or recently pregnant), we’ve rounded up lots of comfortable and relaxing gifts for the mom-to-be in your life — from an electric massager that’s better than a masseuse to this plant-based belly oil from a Black-owned brand that “is really good for your skin and is superluxurious,” says Hill House Home founder and CEO Nell Diamond. Find more gifts for pregnant women here.

The Best Gifts for New Moms

These soothing pillows are ideal for those just entering motherhood and a favorite of Doree Shafrir, author of Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (and Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer, who says you can put them in “the microwave and heat them up or throw them in the freezer for a cold compress.” Find more gifts for new moms here.

Gifts for kids and teens

The Best Gifts for 6-Month-Olds

Teethers make great gifts for 6-month-olds, because at this age, kids are often experiencing the pain of incoming teeth. This bright, textured-silicone raspberry one is designed to let them chew safely. Find more 6-month-old baby gifts here.

The Best Gifts for 1-Year-Olds

Essential activities like bath time can still be significant learning moments for your 1-year-old — and this set of colorful pipes is designed for that reason, says Dr. Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, an assistant research professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research. Kids will begin to understand cause and effect, an important cognitive skill, as they build fascinating waterfall chains. Find more gifts for 1-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds

Toys that inspire imagination while developing motor skills are a good bet for 2-year-olds who can’t sit still. One Strategist editor’s son was so motivated by this Melissa & Doug cleaning set that he took his first official steps while holding the broom. “Kids always want to be like big people. So if they see you using something, they’re going to want to do it, too,” says Dr. Roberta Golinkoff, a professor of child psychology at the University of Delaware and co-author of Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children. Find more gifts for 2-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds

Whether it’s used during indoor or outdoor play, this PlasmaCar will get your toddler moving without any batteries or even pedals. Find more gifts for 3-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 4-Year-Olds

As critical thinking and motor skills begin to sharpen around 4 years old, this clay-dinosaur craft kit, which is a STEAM-learning toy (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), will allow your kid to learn about prehistoric times through play. Find more gifts for 4-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 5-Year-Olds

For nature-curious 5-year-olds, toys that blend an educational component and an element of surprise make memorable gifts — like this 10x-magnification telescope, which kids can use to see close-ups of the moon for the first time or a backyard bird building a nest. Find more gifts for 5-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 6-Year-Olds

Though we found plenty of other gifts for 6-year-olds, this all-in-one digital camera and instant picture printer promotes creativity as kids explore more than 100 templates and create comic strips, design greeting cards, and even make custom play money with their faces on it. Find more gifts for 6-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 7-Year-Olds

It might be a bit early to introduce your 7-year-old to chess, but this game that features colorful Tetris-esque pieces will teach them the same skills — like anticipating “your moves ahead of time,” says Ruka Curate, founder of the Tiny Treasures Nanny Agency. Find more gifts for 7-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 8-Year-Olds

For ages 8 and up, this combination science kit and art project — which comes recommended by Chris Byrne, a.k.a. the Toy Guy — contains enough parts to build a dozen butterflies plus all the color dyes, markers, and other supplies they’ll need. Find more gifts for 8-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 9-Year-Olds

Keep your 9-year-old from turning to electronics when they’re bored with this fast-paced dice game that combines rapid number recognition with “silly competitiveness,” says Maya Smart, a mom, literacy expert, and author of Reading for Our Lives: A Literacy Action Plan from Birth to Six. Find more gifts for 9-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 10-Year-Olds

Engage your 10-year-old on a deeper level with this kit that will “appeal to STEM true believers,” says Rumaan Alam, a novelist and father of two. This toy combines components to form working circuit boards like the ones inside a television or radio, or one of more than 100 different projects. Find more gifts for 10-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 11-Year-Olds

From books to toys to games, we aimed to cover both the latest trends and classic crowd-pleasers when we narrowed down the best gifts for 11-year-olds. Photographer June Kim says this camera is unbelievably easy to use, making it perfect for a budding documentarian. “You can just pop in the film and there’s no way to mess it up — unless you can somehow open the camera while it’s taking a photo,” she says. Find more gifts for 11-year-olds here.

The Best Gifts for 12-Year-Olds

When choosing a gift for an almost-teenager, the 18 experts (including actual 12-year-olds) we spoke to recommended items that give a recipient freedom to experiment with new interests. Lori Jepsen, who reviews and blogs about toys for Toysenberry, recommends this light box because “it has so many options for kids to express their creativity,” including “colored letters, emojis, and a background light that changes color with a remote.” Find more gifts for 12-year-olds here.

The Best STEM Toys for Kids

Magna-Tiles are mentioned all across our site — and while they’re not new to the STEM-toy scene, they’re a great gift option because they’re designed to encourage kids to go big with their creations. Play expert Yesim Kunter says the different colors, transparencies, and shapes allow kids to learn “how things come together to make something.” Find more STEM toys for kids here.

The Best Gifts for Tween Girls

Tween girls (ages 9 through 12) can be tough to please, because they’re still learning about their own preferences. But Nike Air Force 1’s, as seen in our recent back-to-school survey, are a surefire hit. Actress Caitlin Shorey calls them “a must-have” for their stylish and comfortable silhouette. Find more gifts for tween girls here.

The Best Gifts for Tween Boys

We spoke to tween boys to get a sense of the gifts they’d like to receive this year. We consulted a few toy and game experts, like Jennifer Lynch, a content developer and toy-trends specialist at the Toy Association, who recommended this kid-safe 3-D pen kit that will allow them to make all kinds of smaller-scale creations — like a figurine for their nightstand. Find more gifts for tween boys here.

The Best Gifts for Teen Girls

It can feel like doing high-level math shopping for teenage girls — so we went straight to the source and asked members of this age group which gifts they’d want to receive this holiday season. This candle from Boy Smells, a brand backed by jewelry and bag designer Susan Alexandra (a favorite among cool teens), made the list. Find more gifts for teen girls here.

The Best Gifts for Teen Boys

Video games like the latest Madden game or Call of Duty might (predictably) be on your teen boy’s holiday list. But if he’s satisfied with his current game collection, this TikTok-approved lightstrip will enhance his bedroom gaming setup and is “a fun alternative to conventional lighting,” says Claudio, a high schooler from our teen poll. Find more gifts for teen boys here.

The Best (Strategist-Approved) Children’s Books

To help you determine the best books for kids, we sifted through everything we’ve written about to create this list of the board books, picture books, chapter books, and even cookbooks that would make great gifts for any child (and their parents). Kazz Alexander Pinkard, an executive director of Hit the Books, an after-school nonprofit in Harlem, says he loves The Day the Crayons Quit for “the idea of the crayons and the rainbow reflecting the differences between people and attitudes and roles in society.” Find more children’s books here.

Gifts for friends, family, and more

The Best Gifts for New Grandparents

Of the grandparents we spoke to for this gift guide, several said they look forward to cooking with their grandkids. This cookbook, containing kid-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, is designed for just that purpose. Find more gifts for grandparents here.

The Best Gifts for Best Friends

Make new memories with your best friend when you give them this digital paint brush that Strategist contributor Grace Banks uses to turn a phone or tablet into a canvas — perfect for your next craft night together. Find more gifts for every type of best friend here.

The Best Gifts for Co-workers

Whether you’re back in the office or working from the comfort of your couch, you might want to get a nice gift for a co-worker. For the one who’s tired of schlepping their laptop in a tote bag, get them this Baggu cotton-canvas carrier that Elizabeth Tamkin, content and partnerships manager at Kule, uses. It’s extremely durable and sturdy, comes in fun patterns, and is machine-washable. Find more gifts for every type of co-worker here.

The Best Gifts for Bosses

Getting a gift for your boss is a fantastic idea, but deciding what to give them can feel daunting, especially if you don’t know much about their personal life. This infinity travel pillow can accompany them on business trips or long commutes — and it might encourage them to dream up all the ways they can promote you. Find more gifts for every type of boss here.

The Best Gifts for Doctors

We surveyed medical professionals for their gift recommendations and took note of the best presents they’ve ever received — including self-care items and experiential gifts like this Spafinder voucher, which is redeemable at hundreds of locations around the country. Find more gifts for doctors here.

Photo: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

The Best Gifts for Teachers

For those interested in expressing appreciation for our teachers after a difficult couple of years, check out our roundup, in which we talked to more than 25 educators to find the best gift ideas — like this desk calendar that features a word of the day and can be displayed for the whole classroom to enjoy. Find more gifts for teachers here.

Gifts at every price point

113 Carefully Selected, Unusually Special Gifts Under $50

A team of devoted Strategist editors worked for months to bring you a selection of more than 100 gifts that you won’t find anywhere else — most of which are also brand-new. These delightfully off-kilter offerings include dressy dishwashing gloves from Laila and Nadia Gohar that also come in red. Find more unusually special gifts under $50 here.

The Best Secret Santa Gifts Under $25 (That You Can Buy on Amazon)

Secret Santa exchanges should be a mix of surprise and fun, which is why our list includes a stainless-steel press for perfect homemade ravioli, a manatee-shaped infuser, and this aromatherapy stick that helps Strategist contributor Sara Gaynes Levy fall asleep in just five minutes. Find more Secret Santa gifts under $25 here.

The Best Gifts Under $25

Cleaning gadgets aren’t the most glamorous, but they could be just the thing for the neat freak on your list. Strategist editor Maxine Builder calls the Drillbrush, a brush attachment for your power drill, the best thing that ever happened to her shower. Plus the “nylon bristles were gentle enough that I couldn’t find a single scratch afterward,” she says. Find more gifts under $25 here.

The Best Gifts Under $10

Recipients with a sweet tooth will get a kick out of these retro violet candies that were popular in 1940s New York City, according to Debi Mazar, who likes to give them to friends. Find more gifts under $10 here.

The Best Gifts Under $5

Cheap gifts don’t have to feel cheap, so we’ve rounded up thoughtful, quality gifts under $5 that you can buy on Amazon. If you know someone who needs a little Zen, wrap up these incense sticks that Piper Perabo says can make any room “feel familiar and homey.” Find more gifts for under $5 here.

Gifts for every hobby

The Best Gifts for Gamers

If the gamer in your life is serious about becoming a content creator, this USB microphone is a great starter mic and comes recommended by Twitch streamers BrickinNick and Dominike “Domo” Stanton. Find more gifts for gamers here.

The Best Gifts for Dog Lovers

No matter what breed they have, the dog owner you’re shopping for is most likely dealing with fur. Strategist contributor Zoe Denenberg learned about this “affordable, effective, and easy-to-use” brush from her mom, who recently opened a dog-care and grooming franchise. Find more gifts for dog owners here.

The Best Gifts for Cat Lovers

It can be baffling to buy an actual gift for a cat parent if you aren’t one yourself (or if you’re strictly a dog person). But when we consulted a panel of cat experts for their recommendations, Strategist contributor Julia Gomez Kramer pointed to this highly practical odor eliminator, which is “surprisingly powerful” and “has done wonders at neutralizing the smell of stinky litter in our apartment.” Find more gifts for cat lovers here.

The Best Gifts for Skin-Care Obsessives

To extend the shelf life of their favorite beauty products, dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman recommends this skin-care fridge because it’s temperature controlled and the miniature size “tucks neatly into their bedroom.” Find more gifts for skin-care obsessives here.

The Best Gifts for Bookworms (That Aren’t Books)

We’ve rounded up some ideas for the voracious readers in your life — like this temperature-controlled mug, which will keep their coffee or tea warm for hours as they stay busy flipping pages. Find more gifts for book lovers here.

The Best Giftable Coffee-Table Books

With thousands of options to choose from, the realm of coffee-table books can feel tricky to navigate. This comprehensive look at a history of jewelry in hip-hop — starting in the 1980s with Run DMC’s Adidas pendants and working its way to recent years with ice sported by Cardi B and Gucci Mane — is a solid choice, whether your recipient prefers their coffee-table titles to function primarily as décor or to spark conversation among guests. Find more giftable coffee-table books here.

The Best Gifts for Gardeners

In our 48-item roundup of gifts for every gardener, we selected goods like status planters and this smart, self-watering garden that takes the guesswork out of growing herbs. Find more gifts for gardeners here.