We're gearing up for the holidays here at Verily HQ with ice skating breaks, mugs of hot cocoa, and Spotify Christmas playlists on full rotation. And last week we hosted an editors' Secret Santa gift exchange to really get in the spirit.
To help you make the season bright, we put together this handy gift guide. But rather than just another mix of stuff to buy, we wondered: what would we get each other? So we selected the best gift ideas for each other, Secret Santa style, in the categories of beauty, fashion, home decor, and personal enrichment—and yes, a wine subscription totally counts as enriching.
//TO KARA, FROM JANET
"I've known Kara for almost four years—we've lived together, started a company together, and made more memories in this span of time than I can count. When it comes to presents, I'd say I've got her covered. Kara has an interesting, quirky, yet refined taste. That's why I love this swallow-print silk blouse from Oasis and long tassel necklace from BaubleBar. And, the white, mounted stag head? Let's just say she's been wanting that for years.
Among friends, Kara is also the queen of skincare products, so Kiehl's ridiculously effective serum is a luxurious choice for her. She also loves dark, green, and silver gray hues for her nails (specially her toes), which is I why I chose this gift pack from Sephora.
1. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate Elixir, Nordstrom, $46 / 2. Formula X- The Six, Sephora, $30 / 3. White Faux Taxidermy, Etsy, $45 / 4. West Elm Agate Bookends, West Elm, $36 / 5. Stinky Brklyn Course, $40 / 6. Eat, Drink, Sleep, by SoHo House, Anthropologie, $50. / 7. Necklace, Bauble Bar, $36 / 8. Top, Oasis, $55
//TO JANET, FROM MONICA
"What a lucky draw! Janet was so fun to shop for, and the fact that we were former roommates gave me some helpful insights! Picture Janet sitting at the kitchen table, beginning to sketch while her freshly painted nails dry (this was a common sighting). So I picked this sketch pad and oxblood nail polish for her, a bold color she would definitely rock.
I have to admit, style was a bit more intimidating (she's the style editor after all!), but Janet's favorite clutch is a funky furry number. I thought something a bit more elegant would be just the thing for her formal affairs. Oh, and ear warmers are a great way to protect her ears and her stylish 'do." — Monica
//TO MAGGIE, FROM KATHERINE
"I knew I was going to have too many gift ideas when I chose Maggie! She has such a beautiful, classic style. I would gift her the Madeline Fedora from Anthropologie, which I think would look fabulous on her—and goes with her classic taste—and faux fur gloves. You've got to have the right accessories to brave the elements and look great!
For some beauty, I chose Mary Kay Satin Hands because the winters in NYC are harsh and it's worth taking a minute to pamper them. Maggie is youthful enough to not need a heavy foundation, but everyone should have light coverage—Bare Essentials Bare Skin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation fits the bill perfectly.
Maggie recently moved apartments, and there's never a bad reason to entertain! The Elements of Cooking will help her prep for her next dinner party. It breaks down cooking into instructions you can understand. She can serve trendy Moscow Mule cocktails in these fun copper glasses. I also know Maggie loves Kate Spade, and Kate Spade Occasions is a great party book you can always turn to.
For something a little outside the box, I'd go with a ticket to see the Fantasticks—I think giving an experience is one of the best gifts." — Katherine
1. Mary Kay Satin Hands, $35 / 2. bareMinerals, Bare Skin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, $29 / 3. The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman, Simon & Schuster, $16 / 4. Copper Moscow Mule Mugs, One Kings Lane, 2 for $35 / 5. Ticket to the Fantasticks, Groupon, $37,/ 6. Occasions by Kate Spade, Amazon, $16 / 7. Faux-Fur Cuff Gloves, Anthropologie, $50 / 8. Madeline Fedora, Anthropologie, $50
//TO MARY ROSE, FROM MAGGIE
"I know Mary Rose loves (and I mean, loves) dangling earrings. This Adia Kibur pair is elegant but still makes a statement, and they're less likely to be pulled on by her new baby than a pair of chandelier earrings! She's a busy mom-on-the-go, so texting gloves are a must. With this wool pair from Madewell, she can just poke her thumb and index finger through to type away! This gift box of Benefit Cosmetics lets MR try out the brand's awesome bestsellers—their mascara is so good, she won't need liner! And this gold makeup brush set from Sonia Kashuk is both glam and practical.
Every cozy bedroom needs a good, soft throw blanket; this $30 Toms for Target one is my fave. Mary Rose can dress up her Texas house with a typographic map of her home state of Ohio (super affordable on Etsy!).
The latest edition of The Best American Magazine Writing seems like a perfect choice for our culture editor, while the one-line-a-day journal is a quick and easy way for her to jot down memories are her little ones grow up." — Maggie
1. Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition 10-Piece Set, Target, $35/ 2. Benefit's Fun Sized Flirts, Macy's, $38 / 3. Tom's For Target Throw, Target, $30 / 4. Typography Map, Etsy, $20 / 5. The Best American Magazine Writing 2014, Amazon, $14 / 6. One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book, Urban Outfitters, $17 / 7. Earrings, Shopbop, $35 / 8. Gloves, Madewell, $35
//TO MONICA, FROM KARA
"Monica is notorious around the office for only buying black clothes, but she does wear color—when she raids my closet! So I thought having some color in her own wardrobe would be just the thing. I liked this feminine silk blouse as something more bold or a statement necklace as low-key way to break out of the black.
I have a bit of an obsession with lotions-and-potions, and Monica recently asked me for a recommendation on nice, basic skincare. The Origins Perfect World gift set is my favorite—it's gentle but effective, plus it has antioxidants to protect skin from premature aging. I'm also a huge fan of Urban Decay's eye makeup, and this little gift set has everything you need to get all dolled up.
Monica swears that she has a black thumb, but that certainly doesn't keep her from always having cute little herb gardens and succulents around. I love these faceted terrariums for little greeneries—or even without. My other option is to go with this gorgeous mercury glass candle—not only is the jar lovely, but the candle smells amazing. Win-win.
I can't even count the number of parties Monica and I have gone to together, nor the number of times we have lamented about awkward party conversations. While more comical than practical, I think Monica would appreciate some fresh ideas (and a few chuckles) from What to Talk About by Chris Collin. Or I could go with the classiest box-of-wine option I've ever seen, Glassful. You even take a little "what's your wine style" quiz to determine the right bottles to send you. On second thought, maybe I'll just sign myself up!" — Kara
1. Your Perfect World, Origins, $52 / 2. Naked On The Run, Urban Decay, $54 /3. Mercury Glass Jar Candle, Anthropologie, $28 /4. Faceted Terrariums, West Elm, $22+ / 5. Gift box, Glassful, $45 / 6. What To Talk About by Chris Colin, Amazon, $12 /7. Topaz Starlight Bib, baublebar, $44 / 8. Blouse, Zara, $50
//TO KRIZIA, FROM HARUKA
"Krizia and I both spent part of our childhoods in Southern California and share a deep affection for beautifully packaged goods—needless to say, I had so much fun gift shopping for her! I started off with a bottle of Backpacker’s Cologne from Juniper Ridge, a ragtag team of wilderness enthusiasts that distills perfumes from real plants found hiking in the backcountry. This particular scent was foraged in Big Sur, close to where we both grew up. I also threw in a copy of Boat Magazine, a beautiful travel and culture publication that focuses on a different city for each issue—this issue is dedicated to L.A.).
I can think of very few things more comforting than a piping hot cup of Bellocq tea. I recently visited the Bellocq flagship in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and immediately thought of Krizia. However tempting it was to go with one of their fancier and aptly named tea blends (hello, Corazon de Cien Fuegos), I thought she would appreciate their classic Breakfast tea, a ridiculously fragrant blend that would pair well with a clay Mazama mug.
I recently came across Commodity Goods, a French perfumery that features refreshing scents with names like Moss, Rain, Paper, and—you guessed it—Tea. Krizia can rock one of these light scents during the day without it being too overpowering around her little ones. Throw on a cozy Madewell scarf and some Scotch nail polish and she’s ready to hit the town.
Krizia and I were probably sending each other Sanrio email emojis about two days into knowing each other. Needless to say, I was very excited when I found this adorable Badtzu Maru makeup pouch, complete with lined inner pockets! This little guy is perfect for jet-setting Krizia!" — Haruka
1. Badtz Maru Pouch, Amazon, $40 / 2. Nail Polish, Scotch Naturals, $15 / 3. Tea, No. 01 Bellocq Breakfast, $15 / 4. Mazama Mug, Old Faithful Shop, $42 / 5. Big Sur Backpacker Cologne, Juniper Ridge, $60 / 6. Boat Magazine, $11 / 7. Scarf, Madewell, $60 (similar) / 8. Tea Scent Perfume, Commodity Goods, $24
//TO HARUKA, FROM MARY ROSE
"Ever since Haruka moved to New York, I've been meaning to share with her my favorite essay on the city,
. With her as my Secret Santa, now was my chance to get her the lovely hardbound version doubles nicely as a coffee-table book. To accompany her on her adventures photographing the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, I chose this off-white
In terms of beauty products, I would choose
for Haruka's luscious long hair, and this
to match her fun spirit. I could see Haruka donning these
, while running to the "
" gallery talk at the Museum for Modern Art on
or 23. I would also gift her the $25 admission to MOMA to see the
before it closes
If I were living in New York today, I would take Haruka out on a day trip to see a photography exhibit, such as this one by Michael Kenna. But since I sadly can't in person, I would at least give her this 2015 calendar of his photography and a note to encourage her to attend its opening reception on December 11. Last but not least, this "Literary" Soy Candle would be the ideal gift to warm her new cozy Brooklyn home." — Mary Rose1. Redken Straight Lissage Align 12 Lotion, Amazon, $12/ 2. Lipstick, Chanel, $22 / 3. Paddywax Candles Library Collection, Amazon, $18 / 4. 2015 Michael Kenna Wall Calendar, Amazon, $23 / 5. Here is New York by E.B. White, Amazon, $13 / 6. Ticket to the Toulouse-Latrec Poster exhibit at MOMA, $25 / 7. Vintage Canvas Medic Bag, Amazon, $18 / 8. Steampunk Earrings, Etsy, $21
//TO KATHERINE, FROM KRIZIA
"Katherine is quite the hostess, so what better addition to her bar collection than gorgeous gilded napkins from Anthro? She’s a devoted Anthropologie and gardening fan, so I couldn’t resist getting her these Gregg Moore ceramic bowls modeled after garden crops. Sunday Suppers’ new cookbook—something we’ve been looking forward to for years—has plenty of incredible recipes and gathering inspiration, sure to satisfy all her dinner guests (and kids!). We're both working moms, so I’m taking her on a tour around the world through one of her fav things—a cup of tea! Chambre de Sucre’s World Wayfarer Tea Flight provides a luscious taste of Japan, Hawaii, Paris, and back again in every sip.
On the style front, this chic and packable sun hat will coolly accompany her as she tends her flowers, fruits, and veggies. As you can see in the photo above, she knows how to rock a scarf. This classic red and blue scarf from Boden complements her blonde hair and blue eyes—and those fun red pants!
Katherine’s a makeup minimalist—mascara, tinted moisturizer, and hair volumizer comprise her routine. Caudalie’s natural paraben-free skincare products are the best so I’d get her my personal favorite Teint Divin—a delicate tinted moisturizer made with nourishing grape-seed extract that evens skin tone and leaves a healthy, illuminating glow. Every woman needs a good hairspray. Multi-award-winning Kenra Volume Spray 25 imparts maximum volume and holds all day long, perfect for a working mom-on-the-go like Katherine!” – Krizia
1. Teint Divin, Caudalie, $32 / 2. Volume Spray 25, Kenra, $7 / 3. Field Harvest Nut Bowl, Anthropologie, $2.95 / 4. Arbor Floret cocktail napkin, Anthropologie, $28 / 5. World Wayfarer Tea Flight Gift Set, Chambre de Sucre, $45 / 6. Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings, $32.50 / 7. Braided Packable Visor, Nordstrom, $24 / 8. Printed Scarf, Boden, $38