Elevated Essentials – 25 Holiday Gift Ideas for 2020

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Melissa Maker Gift Guide

Doing the 2020 gift guide has been such a welcome project this year for me. Without getting into the gory details, let’s just say that 2020 has not been my year, and I know for so many other people the same holds true. Previously, our gift guide focused on cleaning and organizing themed gifts. Well, since this year has been *ahem* different, we’ve likewise taken a different direction—Making The Most of 2020: Elevated Essentials. Our three key categories are creature comforts, work from home essentials, and pandemic paraphernalia. While we still focus on productivity here, we’re weaving in more self-care, work from home upgrades, and health-focused gifts. We’re also introducing a high/low option for several of our picks to allow for gifting at a range of price points since we know this may not be the year to splurge. Further, you’ll see we make a few suggestions on ways you can support local businesses when choosing a gift, because everyone needs our holiday cheer this year.

Creature Comforts

This has definitely been an uptick in the search for all things cozy. In fact, a quick Google Trends search shows that, while every year around the holiday season the use of the word spikes, it’s been on a steady increase this entire year. Surely there’s someone on your gifting list who wants to feel a little comfier, and we’ll help you find the gift that’ll make being home feel 👏really👏dang👏good. So, let’s start out with some

Weighted Blanket

For people who have been struggling with sleep during this pandemic (I see you), a weighted blanket can make a big difference for a good night’s sleep. Feeling weight on you creates a safe, relaxing cocoon-like feeling, which instills calm and triggers relaxation. If your recipient gets hot when sleeping, consider one designed specifically with cooling features.

My Pick: Hush Iced 2.0 Blanket and use code MAKER35 for $35 off your purchase. I’ve used this for months now and it does make a difference in helping me relax and fall asleep. The bamboo cover feels soft and cool, and the nontoxic glass sand feels even and not lumpy like others I’ve tried.

Budget-Friendly Option: Sealy Weighted Blanket comes in varying sizes and weights.

Silk Eye Mask

An eye mask helps promote better sleep by blocking out light. A silk eye mask is perfect for any sleep-loving beauty on your list because it feels incredible on skin. It breathes without tugging on delicate eye skin and it’s comfortable all night long (it’s also perfect for flights—whenever that’ll be).

My Pick: These luxurious 100% Mulberry silk masks from Cilque do not disappoint. Full disclosure, Cilque is my sister’s company so I know how incredible these are and how much love goes into these first hand. Use coupon code CMS for 15% off storewide.

Wine, Spirits & Beer (and Other Stuff)

Consider a thoughtful gift infused with good karma for the alcohol enthusiast on your list. Order a case of wine, some limited edition spirits, or unique beer and cider from a small winery, distillery, or brewery in your area. If alcohol isn’t their thing, maybe a coffee, chocolate, cheese, meat, cookie or pizza subscription could also work. Plenty of local artisanal businesses are coming up with unique holiday gifts and subscription offerings that would be a welcome knock at any door.

My Pick: Wine: Canada USA | Chocolate | Cheese: Canada USA | Pizza

Slippers

Normally these make your eyes roll, but this year slippers are the footwear to be coveted. And hey, someone can have ‘work’ slippers (for long walks to the home office), and ‘home’ slippers (to slip into at the end of the workday). What about matching slippers for the family? The gifting possibilities are endless (and cozy)!

My Pick: Rather than the classic UGG slipper (my Scuffettes are 3 years old and I still love them), I like these ones for this particular year because they offer up fun patterns and glitter that make them feel more like a work shoe while offering the comfort of being a classic slipper.

Budget-Friendly Option: These rubber-soled slippers are cozy and made with memory foam for added comfort. You can choose from many different styles and colors.

Unlimited Budget: These pearl-encrusted lambswool slippers would be a dream!

Air Purifier

Being home this much means that now more than ever, indoor air quality counts. Dust and other indoor air pollutants can affect our well being at home. Therefore, an air purifier is a perfect gift for someone you know who has a pet, allergies, asthma or is just looking to improve their indoor air quality.

My Pick: I have had a Dyson Pure Cool for a few years now. It’s silent, sleek and blows consistent and pleasant cool air that has been purified. Ours moves around the house depending on where we need it, currently, it is sitting in my office.

Budget-Friendly Option: The Germ Guardian comes in different styles and sizes.

Classier Sweats

This year has been the year sweatsuits replaced formal suits. We’ve attended virtual holidays in them, work meetings in them and frankly, I know people who’ve attended Zoom weddings in sweats. Why not have a top-quality set that looks and feels great for work…or anything else? Man, woman, non-binary or gender fluid, these sweats suit anyone.

My Pick: Entireworld—This is an American owned, small business, featuring sustainably sourced materials. The founder left ‘big fashion’ to create a line he truly cared about. And these perfectly crafted essentials KEEP SELLING OUT. They are next-level comfortable and are sold in many, many colours and a few classic cuts. The internet will not stop talking about them, so please, get your order in quickly to make sure you’ll have what you want for holiday time. Use code CMS15 for 15% off from 11/20-12/20. I can vouch for them, I adore my set and they are worth the hype.

For Him: Ace sweatpants are perfect for that special someone who is used to wearing khakis or slacks but wants to be comfy and still look pro. All for about half the price of a good pair of Lulu Lemon pants.

For Her: I have one of these rompers because friends told me it was imperative I get one. They are cozy, easy to wear and can be dressed up or down. Two years later I can attest, it’s a wardrobe staple that I look forward to wearing.

Budget-Friendly Option: These Uniqlo sweats are casual, cool and easy on the wallet, too! 

Candles

Sure, you can get yourself a quick and dirty candle when you need some mood, but candles can also make a lovely gift that someone can enjoy for many hours. Look for a soy or beeswax candle, and find a scent combination that speaks to your person. There are many small and local artisans who make candles, those are the places I like to get mine from.

My Picks: Murphy & Jo | Harlem Candle Co. | Marie Burgos | Schitt’s Creek Candles

Work From Home Essentials

Since many folks are now working from home and it looks like this could be ‘the new way’ for months or maybe years to come, why not choose a gift for someone on your list that will help them make the most out of their workspace at home? There are many exciting WFH products that have come about or reached fever pitch since Covid hit either by trending or by pure necessity. Here are some of our favorites.

Ethernet Adapter

It took me one bad live TV segment due to poor wifi to swear off wifi for work video calls. How embarrassing! If someone on your list laments about bad video call connections because of crappy wifi, help them make a change and get them an ethernet adapter for their laptop. While this gadget isn’t sexy, it is a total game changer and would be deeply appreciated by the recipient (and their colleagues). Just make sure you know what kind of device the person has so you can get the correct adapter for them (for example, I use a MacBook Pro, so a USB-C works for me).

My Pick: I picked this one up on the recommendation of a friend, and so far, so good!

Laptop Stand

This makes a lot of sense for the dining room table warrior. Working on a laptop all day can cause neck and eye strain. Adding a laptop stand allows for the screen to be elevated and more comfortable to look at day in and day out.

My Pick: These Soundance laptop stands come in some playful colors to jazz up your WFH space.

Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Luminizing Drops

Why is this a WFH essential? Because it makes you look glowy (not greasy) on video calls without needing makeup. If someone on your list has mentioned feeling less than their best on video calls, this radiance-inducing serum is perfect for them. I’m not usually one to rave about makeup products, but I’ve got to say, this product delights me. I mix in the tiniest drop with moisturizer (about the size of half an apple seed) and it totally brightens my face without anything else and no, I don’t look like a sparkly rave unicorn. It’s such a delightful gift; something luxe and can make someone feel special and beautiful even on the dullest work day.

My Pick: I use the pearl colour.

Desk Pad

Those old desk blotters with monthly calendars had the right idea—a durable work surface that can handle a hot cup of tea (or coffee), and a slew of pens and devices. These mats have become a hot home office accessory and come in varying prints, colours, materials, and sizes. It’s a thoughtful gift that can be tailored to someone’s personal taste or decor, but most importantly, it protects any table used for work and provides a more elevated desk feel.

My Pick: These come in a bunch of fun colors to match any decor.

Wireless Mouse & Keyboard

On the topic of ergonomics at the dining room table, once a laptop is on a stand, your gift recipient will need a wireless mouse and keyboard. Obviously, you can choose a brand that suits your budget. We’ve had great luck with Logitech over the years. Make sure you choose one that works with the operating system of the person getting the gift (e.g. Mac or PC).

My Pick: Apple Keyboard & Mouse. And, for those PC users, you can’t go wrong with Logitech.

Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

For someone working on their laptop, listening to anything aside from a call on those little speakers can become a chore. There is a diverse range of bluetooth speakers which can fit your budget and the recipient’s aesthetic. No matter which one you purchase, it’s a great gift for someone working from home who might want to enjoy a bit of music or video during a lunch break, especially if they don’t have to worry about coworkers.

My Pick: Beats Pill by Dr. Dre.

Budget-Friendly Option: These Anker speakers are VERY reasonable prices and have almost 50,000 positive reviews.

Wireless Earbuds

This has become the new way we talk to one another whether it’s a phone call or video chat. Anyone who works on the go needs a pair of these, no questions asked. So much so, I’m getting my mom a set for the holidays this year. I wear mine every single day. Every day. #saynotospeakerphone

My Pick: I have the basic Apple AirPods set, they work wonderfully and pair with my MacBook Pro, iPad, and can seamlessly switch between devices.

Budget-Friendly Option: TOZO TWS Bluetooth Waterproof Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Apple Pencil

For those with an iPad, this goes a long way. Having a stylus (Apple Pencil or otherwise) allows someone to go paperless and make notes on a tablet, sketch up, fill and sign forms, mark up documents, etc . I have one and didn’t think I’d use it…but I have used it way, way more than I thought I would. It has been the tool that has allowed me to stop using my printer. For someone that wants to go paperless, this is a fantastic gift idea.

My Pick: Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Budget-Friendly Option: Stylus Pens for Touch Screens

AI Toronto Seoul Hairbands

A beautiful, colorful, hairband is the perfect way to make someone look lovely for a day of Zoom meetings without the blowout (or even a hair wash, let’s be real). A long time favourite of mine, these accessories are gorgeous, great quality and you can put them on over (greasy) hair to make it look like you actually spent time on yourself ahead of a video call. This company is also run by a Korean mom and her three daughters and are based in Toronto. They have a wonderful story and I love supporting them. Their products are handcrafted, vegan and top quality.

My Pick: AI Headbands Use code MELISSA20 for 20% (masks not included) off until dec 1.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

And, for the person who stares at their computer or phone all day and doesn’t have, ahem, protection, consider this inexpensive yet stylish way to combat blue light. Available in many styles, shapes and colours, this also provides a fun way for people to change up their look when they’re on video calls.

My Pick: A variety of styles and colors are available.

Muji Pens

For the stationary fanatic, a colourful selection of Muji pens is a fun way to perk up a work from home space. These pens have a cult following (myself included) and offer up a rainbow of colours. All I can tell you is, these pens write beautifully and induce happiness.

My Pick: The Gel-Ink ballpoint pen.

Insulated Cup

This isn’t just for people on the go – many people use their insulated cups at home to keep their hot beverages hot for longer (and cold too). It’s a great gift idea for anyone who hasn’t gotten one of these yet – yes, it’s 2020 but there are still people out there who use – gasp! – ceramic mugs and have cold coffee.

My Pick: I came across the YETI brand a few years back while at a surplus store in cottage country, just love them.

Pandemic Paraphernalia

With all that has gone on in 2020, many of us have experienced a shift in attitude. Many are now more germ-conscious, many are wearing masks, many are staying in rather than going out. And in all likelihood, some of these habits will stick post-pandemic. With that in mind, consider some of these Covid essentials for someone on your shopping list.

UV Light Sanitizer

Perfect for someone on the go, this pouch can hold a phone, keys, glasses or other small items and with the touch of a button and 90 seconds on the clock, bathe said items in a sanitizing UV light. If you have someone who is constantly wiping their items down after each use, this will be a much appreciated gift. Mine stays in my car and gets used every single time I go out.

My Pick: This is the one I’ve been using all summer.

Budget-Friendly Option: They also have a smaller one from the same company.

Subscriptions

Netflix and chill? More like Netflix and survive. Many people feel like they’ve reached ‘the end of Netflix’, so if you have someone on your list who complains about just that, consider gifting them a subscription to another streaming service. Whether it is for a meal prep kit, a streaming service or a digital publication, subscriptions are easy to gift and offer utility and longevity. Small, mighty, and most certainly appreciated.

My Picks: Apple One | Netflix | Audible | Spotify | Melissa’s Produce | Every Plate

Silk Face Mask

It wouldn’t be a 2020 gift guide without a tip of the hat to this year’s must have accessory – the face mask. This silk one helps to prevent maskne (the dreaded acne that comes from wearing a mask all day) and is offered in 4 colours. They wash well, come with a pocket to add your own filter, and look luxurious.

My Pick: Cilque also offers face masks, use coupon code CMS for 15% off storewide.

Exercise Anything

In varying parts of the world, public gyms are not open or are greatly restricted meaning many people have taken to working out from home. If someone on your list is a fitness buff, consider a fitness-themed gift – which might be especially handy after a week of holiday overindulging. Subscriptions, pieces of equipment or workout gear are always a great idea for the active person on your list.

My Pick: Pilates By Lisa | Resistance Bands | Bala Bangles | GapFit Leopard Leggings

Distillery/Winery Produced Sanitizer

If you recall early in the pandemic, people were struggling to find hand sanitizer. Many local distilleries, wineries and breweries retooled to meet demand and keep their staff employed. Purchasing alcohol-based hand sanitizer or cleaner from your local brewery, distillery or winery is a great way to help someone on your list stay safer this winter and support a local business as well. And sometimes, they come beautifully bottled, too!

My Pick: Tawse Winery (Canadian) Bluegrass Distillers (American)

Maker’s Clean

Shameless. Self. Promotion. But seriously, anyone who likes cleaning would be delighted to receive a Maker’s Clean Small or Large Space Kit or one of our new Maker’s Mops. These last for years and years and have been designed to provide anyone with the cleaning tools they need to get the job done right. 

My Pick: Large Space Kit | The Maker’s Mop | Small Space Kit

Plants

Plants are a budget-friendly yet meaningful way to welcome new life into a space. They feel rejuvenating and vibrant (and are great for mental health). Give the gift of a plant, whether it’s a cutting from one of your own re-potted in a beautiful pot or basket, or pick one up at a local garden centre. If your recipient has killed plants previously start with a cactus (a fishbone cactus is a beautiful one), they’re so easy to care of and they definitely turn heads on Zoom calls.

Happy shopping, and happy holidays!

Just a quick note that this article may contain affiliate links (Amazon and others) and any sales made through these links may result in Clean My Space receiving a small commission on qualifying purchases. Learn more here.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.