At Fast Company, we spend our days thinking about design and innovation. This year, we compiled a list of some of favorite gifts to give (and receive) this holiday. From a magical massage to a diving watch, to inspiring mugs, there’s something for everyone (and every price range) here.
Lydia Dishman, senior editor, growth and engagement
Uneducated by Christopher Zara, $26.97
Refreshingly honest and slyly humorous, this memoir from our own senior news editor takes readers through the challenges and triumphs of navigating a career as one of the more than 60% of Americans without a college degree.
Yasmin Gagne, associate editor and host, Most Innovative Companies podcast
[Photo: courtesy Brother Vellies]
Brother Vellies Negril Tennis Tote, $1,095
Do I play tennis? No! Would I play tennis if I owned this bag? Absolutely. The raffia caning gives this holdall a unique, vintage feel.
[Photo: courtesy Flamingo Estate]
[Photo: courtesy Jennifer Behr]
Jennifer Behr Despina Bobby Pin Set, $398
It can difficult to find hair accessories that don’t feel juvenile. Jennifer Behr’s bobby pins, hairbands, and clips give any outfit some understated glamor. These hair pins are made with Swarovski crystals and antique gold. Her statement earrings are also beautiful.
Shiffon Duet Pinky Ring, from $155
When I got married this year, I wanted to get my mom, mother-in-law, and sister a piece of jewelry they could wear every day to remember the occasion. I hadn’t even thought of getting rings because I figured sizing would be too tricky until a friend of mine introduced me to Shilpa Yarlagadda, a recent Harvard graduate who started a jewelry company while she was still in college. Shiffon makes spiral-shaped pinky rings that come at different price points depending on the metal and stone used (prices start at $155 and go up to $2,580). The best part about them? The design can be adjusted to fit any finger size, and the rings are super lightweight, so you can barely feel them on when you wear them. Because pinky rings aren’t so common, no one already owned one and all three women now wear theirs every day. Fifty percent of profits from the Duet Pinky Ring, go directly to funding female founders.
Live The Process Multi Marl Jacket, $228
During the holidays, most of us like to wear sweats, but it can be hard to find loungewear that doesn’t look too sloppy. This top is stylish and relatively structured, making it acceptable to wear on end-of-year zoom calls and relaxing on your parents’ couch.
[Photo: Katherine Maclaine courtesy Rustico Surf Club]
Rustico Surf Club Headaches Hoodie, $65
While senior staff editor Jeff Beer covers branding at Fast Company, he cofounded a brand of his own. Inspired by the surfing where he lives on Prince Edward Island the unisex line is great for any surfer (or wannabe surfer). The brand is also part of 1% for the planet.
Ricari Studios Gift Card, from $100
One of the best gifts I ever received was a lymphatic drainage massage with Gracia Imboden at Ricari Studios in Soho (the company also has locations in LA, London, and The Cayman Islands). This is the perfect gift to give an athlete, or someone pre or post-operation. I left feeling lighter and more aligned than I have in years.
[Photo: courtesy Mejuri]
Mejuri Flat Curb Chain, $498
This unisex chain adds a subtle statement to any outfit. Mejuri also has great cheaper gold-plated or titanium offerings for about $200 if you don’t want to spring for solid gold.
Sandra Riaño, associate photo editor
[Photo: courtesy Bien Mal]
Bien Mal Throw Blankets, $200
Bien Mal, an LA-based brand, designs with nostalgia and memory in mind. The colors are rich and understated, the designs range from minimal to funky. You can’t go wrong with this 100% cotton machine washable blanket!
[Photo: courtesy MoMA Design Store]
Artistic Quote Ceramic Mug, $14
This boldy colored ceramic mug is as practical as it is beautiful. The handle on this mug screams, “I’m a star.”
Kartell Book Worm Shelf, from $630
You know you’re a bookworm—now it’s time to tell the world. This brilliantly designed bookshelf is as playful as it is awe-inspiring.
David Salazar, associate editor
[Photo: courtesy Only NY]
[Photo: courtesy Zojirushi America]
Zojirushi America Micom Boiler 4l, $190
Boiling water isn’t the most onerous task, but having it on demand is a game-changer. This upgrades the electric kettle, boiling liters of water and keeping it at a preset temp so it’s ready for making coffee, steaming food, and even making ramen.
[Photo: Kort Havens courtesy Fishwife]
Fishwife Tinned Fish Serving Set, $140
Though it was never much on my radar, the moment tinned fish is having led me to Fishwife, which has established itself among tinned fish enthusiasts with its packaging design and willingness to collaborate with other notable brands to make a splash (its Fly by Jing colllab produced a delicious spicy salmon). The latest version of that is a fish-shaped Fredericks & Mae serving board and utensil set, bringing a splash of color to the act of putting out tinned fish for a crowd (or just yourself). The set comes with your choice of three tins of fish (I recommend the Spicy Trio).
Outlery Set, $50
Outlery’s modular cutlery set—which allows you to assemble a knife-spoon-fork set, or set of chopsticks and a third utensil—fits into a small tin when disassembled and really tickles the part of my brain that loves easily packable products. I carry it with me when I leave the house and it’s come in real handy—park picnics, street food, and camping.
[Photo: courtesy Bellroy]
Bellroy City Pouch Plus, $99
People who know me might call me a maximalist, and this cross-body bag helps encourage minimalist maximalism. It has a spot for my iPad Mini 6, and fits my Outlery set plus sundries like hand sanitizer and hot sauce packets that I’ve stolen from restaurants. It expands quite a bit, but keeps a small profile.
Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e, $399
Though perhaps not the catchiest name in the world, what these headphones lack in name recognition is more then offset by how well they work. They sound amazing, have great noise cancellation, and have a bit of a heft that comes from its materials but never feels too heavy after being worn for a while. I gave up a pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones for these bad boys (in forest green) and haven’t regretted it at all. And even at this price point, they’re still cheaper than AirPods Max.
Max Ufberg, senior staff editor, technology
Shinola Sea Creatures 40mm Dive Watch, $338
The standard maximum depth of an inground pool is 8 feet. The Shinola Sea Creatures dive watch can withstand plunges up to 100 meters—or 328 feet. In other words, I have absolutely no need for this timepiece. But it looks cool and I can pretend to lead a more adventurous life when I wear it. And most important, it’s made from ocean-bound plastic waste.
Kindle Paperwhite, $139
Let’s be clear: Books—the real ones, made out of paper—are cool, and Amazon is not. But the Kindle Paperwhite will save you a lot of shelf space, and offers a way to avoid eliciting eye-rolls when you’re reading Infinite Jest on the train.
Levitate Fisherman Sweater, $90
I’ll never pull off the fisherman sweater like Colin Farrell did, but that won’t stop me from trying. Bonus points to Levitate for using recycling plastic in their sweaters—if I’m going to look bad, at least I can feel smug about my eco-consciousness.
Brendan Vaughan, editor-in-chief
Creative Endurance by Mike Schnaidt, $19.99
Preorder alert! Our genius of a creative director has a book out on January 16, 2024. Creative Endurance is an absolute must-read for anyone, in any field, who wants to be as generative at the age of 62 as they were at 26.