Looking back on a year like no other, as the holidays arrive, we’re all hunting for joy. This year, it’s been health, wellness, learning and fitness that have become priorities. We’ve learned to explore from home, and in fact, we’ve learned to do a ton of new things at home.
With this said, our 2020 holiday gift idea guide is here, to get you inspired for all the great gifts for your favorite adventurer (those who adventure at home count, too), travel buddy, confidante or coworker. Even if you don’t know anyone super-into running or coffee-brewing, think about what your friends do, or what they like. Present them with an opportunity to share time together, and give them wonderful gifts that lead to better experiences.
In the list that follows, we’ve put together our recommendations for the holiday gifts that are going to influence feeling great and learning more. We’ve selected four categories in our 2020 gift guide that we hope you enjoy, in addition to our annual bucket of fun stocking stuffers that are great for added surprises:
- Gift Ideas for Adventure at Home
- Gift Ideas for Self-Education
- Gift Ideas for Cooking & Food Lovers
- Stocking Stuffers and Surprises
Gift Ideas for Adventure at Home
If you know me, you won’t be surprised that COVID is not going to keep me from having fun (albeit, safely).
To me, the best kind of holiday gift is one that inspires someone to take on something new. You never know what someone might latch onto (like becoming a serious runner, or unicycle pro). The only one way to find out is to give a gift that unlocks his or her horizon.
Walk into my kitchen, and what will you see? A taped-out paddle court right on the floor. A Kadima set is a great gift for encouraging fun, both inside and out. If you have someone who is down to set up a paddleboard game in the basement, backyard or driveway, the results will be memorable.
We’ve partnered with KeySmart in the past, and I appreciate how incredibly functional all of their products are. Getting a CleanKey for someone is sure to give them a way to avoid questionable surfaces we’d rather not touch, and this cool carabiner is sure to please.
For a serious biker, a case that doubles as a phone mount is a super idea. The Quadlock case provides a reliable and fast connection so you can interact with your phone while on the road.
I’ve been hitting the trails a ton during COVID and I’m terrible at changing out my shoes. They look fine and feel fine, but on the inside, they’re shot. This gift subscription gifts your loved one the ongoing health of proper shoes, by being sustainable in limiting the amount of waste.
This is the year for snowshoes. I don’t know why it’s so fun to walk over snow, but it is truly blissful. This pair takes it to the next level by enabling someone to run. They are made of the same material used in sneakers, to give the gift of training on snow.
If I’m BBQing or relaxing outside with the family, we need a speaker for the songs everyone wants to hear, even if it’s just in the background. The best kinds of speakers are the ones that you can use for hours without having to worry about when they need to be charged.
I’m not kidding. This is my goal for this year. It’s fantastic for training my core, sense of balance (duh), and stimulating my noddle. Everytime I get on it I think, “This is impossible… for anyone.” But it’s not. If you buy it for someone (or yourself), be sure to drop me a line.
For many of us, the desire to fish runs deep. A Tenkara rod goes back to the basics — being the most simple and light — so you can carry it anywhere, and never miss an opportunity to cast your line.
If you are ready to introduce someone to the adult scooter, this is the one. I like the ride provided by the wooden deck, and the front hand brake is a dream, especially in wet weather. When chasing a younger and faster scooting partner, the right ride is key to keeping up.
If you know someone who dove into a new hobby this year — such as photography — a supporting gift can be spot on. Every photographer needs an awesome, stylish and functional way to carry a new camera, whether out for a hike or on a road trip this season. The McKinnon bag by Nomatic delivers.
During COVID, my desire to get on the river has never been stronger. Imagine a three-pound boat you can carry in your bag… They exist. Buying your loved one a packraft will expand their world at a moment when so many of us feel like our wings have been clipped.
Gift Ideas for Self-Education
In 2020, as we’ve tried to stay highly engaged while spending hours at home, this has been the year of learning new things.
It seems to me like so many people I knew had “learning a language” on their lists of hobbies to work on during quarantine. With turning language-learning into a real habit, you’ll be ready for that dream trip we are planning for when the world reopens.
I know so many creatives, and it’s like we’re always trying to learn new skills to get better at everything. A Skillshare subscription is a great gift for all those curious people. You can give the gift of creative learning for endless types of creative skills, maybe even helping someone jump-start a side hustle.
How absolutely cool would it be to learn cooking from Gordon Ramsay or acting from Natalie Portman? The annual MasterClass subscription is a special gift. In fact, doing a course as a family is a great way to spend time together this winter.
Gift Ideas for Cooking & Food Lovers
One bright side to all the time at home this year is that I got to cook so many new delicious foods.
Our goal with this 2020 gift guide category is to celebrate food and cooking, to make a difference in the lives of anyone who has been spending countless hours in the kitchen this year.
Our team has been using these global-inspired cookbooks to whip up recipes from all over the world for the past year. If I had more space in my bookshelves, I’d get all these books to spice up my daily and weekly meal routine: Bitter Honey, Japanese Soul Cooking, and Jerusalem: A Cookbook.
Wow, this one’s exciting. What a super-easy kit and what an interesting idea to give or receive this year. Could make a really fun housewarming present for someone who’s recently moved.
Here’s my tip: If you have a loved one who had a trip planned to a faraway place, then pair a movie recommendation with a special gift of global foods from that place, and voila: a virtual trip for your favorite people this year. Online stores like Kalustyans (middle Eastern, Indian), H-Mart (Korean, Pan-Asian), and Penzey's Spices are great for hard-to-find world spices and flavors, and you can even think of matching a spice gift to a foreign film.
Starting at $10.95/month
I’m always into new types of subscriptions that make choosing easier. MistoBox makes coffee very simple, and you can give the continual gift of great coffee to your favorite caffeinated friend or family member with gift subscriptions of bags of whole bean or ground, fresh-roasted coffee.
I’m all for bringing the coffeeshop into the kitchen, and these pro-grade coffee grinders are pretty close. I think we all deserve cafe-grade brewing equipment, especially when it’ll last for years.
I think the thing about this kettle is that I can’t stop looking at it. This is a special gift for the person in your life who is always on the hunt for cutting-edge products, as this electric kettle is really something to look at (and use). Tip: makes a great housewarming present.
I think backyard stoves are amazing. They’re so cool for lighting up in the yard and enjoying a fire just as you would when you’re camping. This is the type of thing a loved one will carry with them on some of the most special adventures of their lives.
If I had all the time in the world, I’d be attending class after class from an online cooking school. Having access to specialized cooking courses sound like the way to confidence in the kitchen, for home chefs at any level.
I like finding out about new handy travel gadgets and working them into the collection of things I take everywhere, especially when they help eliminate waste and disposables. Glad to see that Matador is coming up with cool ways to promote sustainable travel this year.
Stocking Stuffer Ideas (for Everyone)
Wouldn’t it be great if stocking stuffers actually became the most-used items in your backpack, travel bag or suitcase? That’s the aim with our suggestions: these small products pack a bunch, and this year, we’ve added two incredible stocking stuffers to the Bluffworks collection: our Threshold Scarf for women and men, and our BluffCubes.
If you really want to wow your friends and family, get a few of our Threshold Scarves (one of our newest products this year), and you’ll be surprising everyone when they find out about the hidden functional pockets.
Our packing cubes can be used for more than just travel. I like using them to stay organized within my messenger bag on a day to day. The BluffCube Pro has a business traveler in mind with its shape-holding structure, and the BluffCube Pro is the ultralight model, made for the adventure explorer.
Sometimes it’s hard to pick out clothing for another person. A gift card makes it easy to share a brand you love, without having to guess what they’ll like. Plus, it saves time on shipping, since it comes straight to your inbox to share when ready. Win-win.
"Better at Home" Gift Ideas
Home: a place for relaxation, comfort, family and joy. In looking at the best gifts for home, we went a bit broad: we’ve listed bath and body products from brands we love and trust, sustainable blankets, candles that will warm up a room and personally, a workout product that I stand by (for changing my life in 2020).
You know when a place has a smell? It’s what comes to mind when I think of places like Vietnam. It has a distinct smell. Having a candle is the best way to make your home cozy, and with these scents drawn from around the world, it’s a great way to add some travel memories into the mix.
Here’s the gift: letting someone know that this view-at-home foreign film series from UW Parkside exists, and then, picking two or three best films. Give your “someone” a card that says you’ve made a donation to UW Parkside, as suggested, and the gift is the virtual escape of these faraway films.
In my mind, smelling great is something that goes with looking great. Here’s a gift bundle I’d be getting in a second: a full-sized container of Blue Ridge solid fragrance, along with a bar of Blue Ridge-scented bar soap.
The Bluffworks staff is pretty into Rumpl right now, and recommends using these fun blankets with an outdoor stove while roasting marshmallows this winter. The Rumpl blankets are made of a ripstop shell and insulation from 100% recycled materials, which I think is pretty cool, and makes this a sustainability-friendly gift.
My goal for this year is to write hand-typed thank-you notes to people I want to say something special to. How cool would it be to do this on an old-school typewriter? Everything is much more meaningful when received through ‘real’ mail.
Wow, I loved it. One of my favorites, ever. This book is an ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of what might be murder. The author reminds us, “we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.” That's my pick - and our staff picks, for the best books to get your mind far, far away this year also include What We Were Promised and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
I think Hammerstone is one of the best men’s skincare brands out there, and a great buy from them this year are long-lasting chemical-free deodorants that are sure to please the adventure-ready gentlemen on your list.
$1,495, and/or $42/month
Getting a Mirror was one of my best quarantine investments. It’s expensive, but less so if you just canceled a gym membership. This would be a big-deal gift for someone. You can buy their class subscription too, and not have to own the device.
Our fun recommendations above are meant to inspire you to get creative, sustainable and thoughtful while doing holiday shopping this year.
At the same time, our own products are marked down up to 50% off through the end of the year. Even if you’ve seen our products time and again, take a look at all our men's and women's collections to shop our biggest sale of the year.
If you need even more advice on how to give wonderful gifts creatively and mindfully, here's my gift-giving method that you can use to really blow someone’s mind this year.
Happy holidays & happy gifting.