As a merchandiser at Grand St., I spend most of my day finding what’s cool and thinking about what people want, so come the holidays my friends are fond of asking me what to buy their loved ones. Fortunately (unfortunately?) these days there are nearly as many gift guides as there are gifts to give, so I decided to share with you the best ones I know – a guide of guides, if you will. From gifts that help others, to DIY computers, to puppies (seriously). If you don’t find what you need in these guides, I will give you your money back.
Essential to a good gift guide is a great design that makes it easy and pleasurable to shop. While most media websites take the slideshow approach (to feed you an ad with every product you view) the Grey Lady made an entirely custom design to show you their picks in an organized, easy-to-browse way. Their effort paid off big time.
We unabashedly love Sugru, and their “alternative gift list” has some really great ideas that fall under three categories: things you’ll buy one and use for a lifetime, things that help you make and create, and things that help reduce your dependency on companies. It’s pretty rad.
Selling food online is hard – look no further than the late Gilt Taste and Fab Foodie shops. Fortunately a new startup – Mouth.com – seems to be up to the challenge, focusing on independent and artisan foods, and they’re doing a damn good job. Their gift guide is pretty sweet (see what I did there?), and who doesn’t like getting food as a gift?
When they’re not talking about drones on 60 Minutes, Amazon occasionally sells stuff. Fortunately the utilitarian (read: ugly) design of Amazon proper didn’t affect Fictive Kin’s ability to make a beautiful, well-selelcted gift guide in the form of Christmas.am. More like this, please!
It’s hard not to like Tom’s shoes, one of the first companies at the forefront of the “buy-one give-one” charity business model, and they’ve outdone themselves with the unveiling of their marketplace of other socially-concious goods. If you like to feel good about your purchases (or just gloat about how selfless you are when you buy things), you should check it out.
Cool Hunting always has a great gift guide, and this year they teamed up with Bonobos to create this beautifully presented, color-coordinated guide that includes plenty of non-Bonobos products from the likes of Jawbone, Best Made Co., Tom Dixon, and Jack Spade.
The 8-year-old in me wishes I had a store like Maker Shed when I was actually 8 years old. Full of amazing DIY products for kids and families, Maker Shed’s guide is a one-stop-shop for the little maker in your family.
While normally they’re the go-to place to know what’s best in electronics, Wirecutter’s gift guide this year is full of great ideas both electron-powered and not. Just plain great.
Basically eBay for hipsters, Bureau of Trade is a great place to find one-of-a-kind products (and puppies!). While they don’t have a gift-guide per-se, they’re chock-full of unique stuff ripe for the giving – I recommend the art section (and the puppies).
You clearly have never met me if you didn’t think I’d end with the shameless plug. Seriously though, we at Grand St. spend a lot of time sifting through a lot of crap to bring you the best in independent electronics, and I hope you enjoy what we found for you this year. We even built some cool filters to help you narrow your search!