gifts they might actually want

27 Strategist-Approved Gifts for Your Whole List (That You Can Buy at Target)

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Anyone who’s ever gone on a Target run for body wash and paper towels knows it’s all too easy to accidentally lose hours browsing the store’s vast array of offerings. From books to beauty products, kid’s toys to kitchenware, the red-hued retailer embodies the phrase “something for everyone” — which is what makes it a convenient place to check off your entire holiday gift list. To help streamline your shopping experience, we’ve dug through the Strategist’s archives to unearth all the staff-tested, expert-recommended, and celebrity-approved gifts that are available to buy at Target — including a handsome Dopp kit, nontoxic nail-polish remover, and a cast-iron skillet guaranteed to stand the test of time.

For the mother-in-law who starts her day with a cup of Earl Grey

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo spent a long time searching for a good-looking electric kettle before finally settling on Chantal’s handsome Scandinavian-style kettle. It has “simple clean lines and a faux-wood-patterned handle,” Corsillo writes. “I got mine in cornflower blue, which is surprisingly more neutral than I expected, and each morning when I step into the kitchen to prepare a new batch of tea, the sight of the kettle and its glowing blue button makes me happy all over again.”

For the teen who’s always glued to TikTok

This Revlon hair dryer has gone widely viral on TikTok after tons of users gushed over how sleek and polished it made their locks look. TikToker Kate says she learned how to use the tool to style her hair after coming across videos on her “For You” page, and it “changed her entire life.”

For the friend with a new nail design every week

Tenoverten’s rose-scented, essential-oil-based nail-polish remover is one of the best non-acetone removers on the market. Former Strategist writer Lori Keong tried it out and was “blown away by how well it worked — it removes polish in a matter of seconds, and feels very gentle on nails and cuticles.”

For the animal-loving preschooler

Catbird co-creative director Leigh Plessner bought a set of Calico Critters for her 3-year-old daughter, but also for herself. “We play with them together. They are the sort of thing my mother would not have bought me, so they feel like a great extravagance,” Plessner says.

For the devout environmentalist

When Michael Zelenko, a longtime member of the Park Slope Co-Op, read an article about plastic bags, he began to rethink his plastic consumption and decided to buy a few reusable produce bags. He likes these polyester mesh ones from Natural Home for their “slicker material.”

For the young environmentalist-in-training

In her roundup of the best books for teaching kids about the environment, author Jen Doll says this Oliver Jeffers picture book can help parents explain the “incredible, multifaceted world” we live in — from Earth to space to humanity — and how we should treat it. Doll adds that Jeffers created the book for his own son, so it’s “fully user-tested.”

For the friend who works from bed

We named this PJ set from Target-exclusive label Stars Above the best less-expensive women’s pajamas, thanks to the supersoft modal material and inclusive size range. The design is a close dupe of our top pick, with a similar silhouette and piping along the hem, sleeves, and collar, but with a price tag that’s nearly four times less.

For the office white-elephant party

Strategist writer (and candle connoisseur) Dominique Pariso dubbed this Mrs. Meyer’s candle the best drugstore candle. “I was expecting something decidedly floral, but the candle had a bright, herbal note,” Pariso writes. “Even though it didn’t smell strongly of lavender, it was the one I most wanted to burn again.”

For the brother who hates going to the dentist

Cookbook author Corky Pollan has been using this Waterpik flosser “for a number of years, and I think it makes a difference … Not only is it good for getting between the teeth, it’s also very, very good for gums.” Pollan’s dentist always comments on the healthiness of his gums, and he suspects “it has a lot to do with the Waterpik.”

For the crafty niece who loves to DIY

Zooey Deschanel can’t live without this Cricut Joy machine that’s perfect for a variety of arts and crafts. “It’s amazing how many things you can make with this tiny little tool,” she told us. “You can make cards, home décor — so many different things. The possibilities are basically endless.” Her favorite activity is making T-shirts with her kids because “you can wear it right away.”

For the tween experimenting with makeup

Strategist contributor Deanna Pai has owned this set of EcoTools makeup brushes for years and “won’t ever toss them. They’re cruelty free and vegan, they feel supersoft, and I love the little storage case that keeps them from getting lost in my drawers.” Even after a decade of using them, she’s found the bristle fallout to be “minimal” — highly impressive considering their price point.

For the tween experimenting with skin care

These fun star-shaped pimple patches are high on teen girls’ wishlists. According to Strategist beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton, they’ll suck out “oil and puss from your zits (if you wear them to bed, your zits will be flattened considerably by morning) all while being totally adorable.”

For the co-worker who’s stressed about a big deadline

Help them relax and unwind with these Dr. Teal’s eucalyptus-and-mint epsom salts. They’re favored by designer Zac Posen, who finds the eucalyptus scent “incredibly soothing, especially when the seasons are changing. It clears your sinuses, and I think the epsom salts are supposed to pull out toxins.”

For the boyfriend lugging his toiletries in a Ziploc

Show him there’s a better way. Goodfellow’s stylish-but-inexpensive toiletry bag is designed to have a “wide, flat bottom once fully unzipped, meaning it’ll be compact in your suitcase but nice and roomy once set on a counter,” writes Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell. It’s made from thick, durable canvas, and the gold zipper provides a perfect contrast to the olive green color.

For the sister who’s already tried CBD

This YnM weighted blanket is a favorite of Milliner-Waddell: “Using the blanket, I couldn’t tell you how long it takes me to fall asleep, because I’m actually sleeping instead of having nightly staring contests with my ceiling,” she says.

For the pet parent going on big adventures with their pup

This status-y backpack was championed by four different cool dog owners we spoke to. “A lot of people I know use the K9 Sport Sack. My American Eskimo likes the backpack style by K9 Sport Sack best,” says influencer Emily Wang about her dog, Kokoro. “Her proportions fit comfortably so that she can sit upright and put her paws on our back as we carry her.” Logan Mikhly, owner of dog café Boris and Horton, calls the look of the backpack “striking” — like the dog is “giving its owner a hug from behind, with its head on the owner’s shoulders.”

For the pet parent whose “big adventure” is deep-cleaning the house

We designated this Neato cleaner as the best overall robot vacuum for pets, so they can rest assured that it’ll tidy up every last stray hair. Dr. Jamie Richardson, veterinarian and chief of staff at veterinary start-up Small Door, got this model when she was living in Bermuda with her dogs. “There was a lot of sand all over my house, so I found myself vacuuming nonstop,” she said, and she reports that the “D” shape of the vacuum managed to get into all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

For the cousin who’s obsessed with Pokémon

In our summer survey of what kids were wearing back to school, we heard lots about Pikachu and other Pokémon-related stuff. Eleven-year-old Delilah was thrilled about her Pikachu hoodie, which features the character’s face and pointy ears on the hood.

For the soon-to-be new mom

When searching for a gift for friends who just had a baby girl, former Strategist writer Chloe Anello decided to add a personal touch to these adorable flannel blankets. “To spice them up, I embroidered the baby’s name on them in different shades of pink and purple. Her parents loved them, so I’d say it was a successful craft project,” Anello writes.

For the kid who doodles on their homework

Corsillo, who also works as a part-time illustrator, says Prismacolor colored pencils are “soft and waxy and make drawing feel like it did when I was a kid, but with a little more control.” This set of 24 is the perfect starter set for budding artists.

For the roommate just getting into cooking

Corsillo acquired her first Lodge cast-iron skillet back in 2012, and since then she’s used it to “make stir fry or pasta sauce, or to heat up beans and scramble eggs for breakfast tacos … Eventually I graduated to more interesting recipes, cooking everything from pork chops and shakshuka to pumpkin pie and homemade pizza.” Her kitchen now houses four Lodge skillets in varying sizes, and she considers them to be the best thing she bought in the last decade.

For the grandma with decades of cooking experience

“I know I’m not alone in missing Tony Bourdain’s sharp, smart voice,” says writer and editor Laurie Woolever, who worked as lieutenant to Bourdain for nearly a decade. “In the sad absence of Actual Tony, I have been cooking the comforting basics from his first cookbook, Les Halles Cookbook, most notably the roast chicken, the onion and mushroom soups, the mashed potatoes, and the blueberries with lime sugar.”

For the coffee-addicted husband

If he’s not particularly snobby and just wants some caffeine in the morning, this Mr. Coffee is the best inexpensive option coffee maker on the market. Jamie McCormick, co-owner of the East Village coffee shop Abraço, recommends it for anyone who wants to keep things as simple as possible. “People make a big to-do over a lot of nothing” when it comes to brewing equipment, he says. This machine is a first-rate choice for any “amateur coffee roaster who wants to flatter their grounds.”

For the friend who always reaches for the aux


Milliner-Waddell’s JBL Clip speaker has “moved with me from my first college ‘apartment’ to the Brooklyn studio I live in now, and even though it’s small, it’s always been loud enough to fill whatever space I’ve lived in.” Its namesake clip means it can attach “to just about anything” and its slim dimensions make it easy to tote around.

For the aspiring beauty influencer

This light-up Lumee iPhone case will help them take the most flattering selfies possible. Strategist columnist Chris Black tried one a few years ago and concluded that “this shit works. It has front- and back-facing lights, and you can adjust the levels — pro-gear, pro-attitude.”

For the toddler with an appetite for chaos

They love squishing the peas and smashing their fists into the mashed potatoes. A set of Play-Doh will allow them to act on these urges without destroying anyone’s dinner — and it’s good for their development, too. “Clay strengthens the hands, which is a precursor to writing,” says Nichole Holtvluwer, a Montessori toddler specialist.

For the grandpa who owns every classic board game

He’s got chess, checkers, and Candyland, but does he have Exploding Kittens? This fast-paced card game is a favorite of Strategist writer Latifah Miles and her son. The objective is simple — avoid getting blown up by the titular exploding felines — and the gameplay goes quickly enough that you can play a few rounds at a time.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

27 Gifts for Your Whole List That You Can Buy at Target