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Small Gifts That You'll Actually Be Excited to Give Your Friends

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Don’t Sweat the Small (Gift) Stuff

Sometimes it’s the smallest presents — you know, the kind of things you stuff in a stocking or give at your office’s White Elephant exchange — that are the hardest. We put together our own list of ideas, but wanted to hear yours, too. Below, readers fill us in on the gifts they like to give when they’re looking to spend a little, but impress a lot.

What are your favorite small gifts to give? Reply to this email or tweet at us

Scratch-offs, Mast minis, literally anything from the bins while you wait in line at Sephora, travel-size bottles of booze, Weleda lip balm, a coffee shop gift card, and for a gag, but actually quite useful, the Wine Yoke. —Heather C., New York

I buy those prayer candles from a bodega and personalize them with a large sticker of my choosing.  —Abby C., Georgia

Momofuku birthday cake truffles! Shipping ’em isn't as expensive as you'd think, and it's a cute/yummy NYC gift. —Carly L., New York

Silly Putty. Because it's legit still really fun. Megan G., Ontario

Swell bottles FTW! I’m giving them to everyone this year. Also earbuds, because who doesn't need those babies? I love Happyplugs, which are designed in Sweden and come in all different colors, including gold, starting at $19.99. —Catherine K., New York

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Lump o’ Coal soap from Little Seed Farm, gift cards, or something like a travel coffee mug. —Catherine D., Tennessee

A unicorn finger puppet set. Stephanie H., New York

Chic bottle openers! I usually get them from Fort Standard, Sarah Cecelia, Anthropologie, or I’ll scour eBay and Etsy. —Emily A., New York

Whenever I'm in need of small gift, I head over to Set Editions.  One year I got my husband these tie-breaking coins, which have little sayings on them that are supposed to break up an argument, and once I got my best friend these little cards that read "Stop Talking," for when you just need that chatty guy next to you on the bus to put a lid on it. (I sincerely hope she actually used them.) —Kelsey O., England

Truffle oil. Or better yet, Soom. —Daniel A., New York

Baggu reusable bags. They come in fun colors and patterns and are always useful. Also, you can wrap a gift with one! —Chandra S., New York

A store.

Sophisticated” holiday candles (a.k.a. $20-$30 ones, like these from Thymes) are a great life hack for making people think you are way fancier than you are. I always try to go for a scent that basically smells like a Christmas tree, but has something extra (holiday spices! teak wood! amber!). —Zachary S., California

Sugarfina candy boxes! —Hannah F., Texas

My favorite things to give are Freakers beverage insulators. Why? They are relatively cheap, so they are great for stockings or any sort of gift exchange. Why else? They literally have a design for everything, like a T-Rex riding a bike or a “ramen poodle.” —Kyle J., New York

Bone Suckin' Mustard Sweet & Hot or Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce. —Kate G., New York

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Just One Thing
Okay, Fine, I Really Like the Goop Candle, Are You Happy?
Gwyneth Paltrow

Goop Fragrance Scented Candle Edition 01 – Winter 2016$72

A few weeks ago, Gwyneth Paltrow came to New York to launch Goop’s first-ever fragrance, called Edition 01 Winter. It is, of course, a so-called natural product, as all of Paltrow’s forays into beauty have been so far. And as the fragrance name suggests, it’s the first of likely many more.

I have a conflicted personal relationship with Goop. Like many millions of people across the land, I hate-read the Goop newsletter, the Goop gift guide, and Goop-laden interviews with Gwyneth Paltrow. I genuinely don’t like the fear-mongering tone she takes about mainstream beauty products. But in the deepest recesses of my soul, I admire her personal style and wish I had the balls to name my children after delicious fruits.

I wanted to hate her new fragrance. I mean, just read this description:

A scent of cypress smoke, snow, sensual quiet. This is a scent composed entirely of rare, all-natural elements imbued with the power to entrance, heal, and transform. The olfactory fingerprint of each individual plant, where it was grown and how it grew gives this perfume its character, its mystery, and its beauty. It is pure, alive — the real thing.

What does snow even smell like?? I would describe this scent as fancy pine needles meets church incense. As a fragrance that you wear, it’s not my thing. But as a candle? It’s goddamn magical.

Imagine Gwyneth lounging on a couch in one of her perfect cookbook sweaters after having snuck one of her beloved cigs, and you have this scent. It’s smoky and musky and spicy. She managed to capture the essence of a cozy winter afternoon in front of a fireplace without it reading the least bit Christmas-y, meaning I will still be burning it in the depths of the January doldrums. (If you’re in the market for a true festive holiday candle, please get Nest’s version.)

Anyway, consider me entranced.

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