The phrase good things come in small packages may be a sappy cliché most of the time, but in this case, we’re defending it. Stocking stuffers are the unsung heroes of the holiday season, so often getting the short (sorry) end of the stick. Whether this is because they’re the first thing you open morning of or because they’re generally less eye-catching than the main event, we can’t say—but we’re here to make the argument for changing how we view them. Some of our favorite designers and artists feel the same way: There’s nothing unremarkable about the cozy socks and glittery butterfly barrettes (more on those later) that top their wish lists—or the presents they still think about years later.
Joyce Lee, Head of Design at Madewell
I love Jane D’Arensbourg’s beautiful glass rings. I have one that my daughter dubbed a “marble” ring, and she has already called dibs on it for when she’s a teenager. I discovered D’Arensbourg’s pieces at Quiet Storms, a jewelry store in my neighborhood, and a few of the women in my office are also fans. We all gush about the colors and shapes of her creations.
Josh Young, Artist and Designer
The best stocking stuffer I’ve ever received was the design book Entryways of Milan/Ingressi di Milano by Taschen. What made it so thoughtful was my own personal connection to it—I lived and studied in Milan for more than six years—but for any design lover, it’s a great way to get a feel for the city without it being a typical guidebook.
Danielle Walish, Cofounder and Creative Director at the Inside
Many of my friends and family members have been hyper-focused on making their homes more stylish, comfortable, and useful. Furniture is hard (and expensive!) to give, but curated fabric swatches are a thoughtful and creative way to gift design. My plan this year is to put together groupings of five for each of my loved ones who are decorating, which will help move the process along and offer personalized inspiration. It’s a great stocking stuffer—five swatches for $5—and it’s fun! It’s less about the actual patterns and more about the conversation they will stimulate.
Benjamin Reynaert, Style Director at Domino
I love the colorful Lucite and petal-like rounded corners on this set of trays. I would keep them nested and place on my coffee table with some flowers, coasters, and a few decorative accessories. They’d be great to have on hand for guests and Netflix snacks.
Ali Kriegsman, Cofounder of Bulletin
I am absolutely obsessed with Le Bonne Shoppe, a Los Angeles–based apparel and accessories brand that just started selling through our wholesale marketplace—its socks look so ridiculously perfect for post–Christmas dinner lounging. I have yet to own a pair myself, but besides having the coziest stuff ever, the company is female founded and minority owned, and its products are ethically produced and made in the U.S. If anyone’s listening (Mom? Boyfriend? Anyone?), please buy me these mulberry cloud socks stat!
Ellen Van Dusen, Founder of Dusen Dusen
My parents used to fill my stocking with all the important necessities they’d need to buy me anyway—pencils, toothbrushes, etc. I’d say the best stocking stuffer I have received is a set of Band-Aids that look like pickles. I use them when I run out of regular ones, and it’s super-embarrassing when people notice them. It’s a long con—my parents getting one over on me from a distance—and it always makes me laugh.
Erica Maltz, Assistant Social Media Editor at Domino
Ali Arain and Greg Coccaro, Founders of Beam
Arain: Louis Vuitton’s Tokyo City Guide. As a retailer, Japan has been on my bucket list for a while because of its unique culture and amazing shopping.
Coccaro: My best friend gave me a Walk On flip clock by artist Yoshitomo Nara because she knows I love Pop Art, and I use it every day to get moving in the morning. I much prefer this analog clock to my iPhone, because I get to see a new illustration every time I glance at it.
Andrea Hill, Founder of Tortuga
Katie Kimmel, Ceramist
I had one of Susan Alexandra’s butterfly barrettes gifted to me, and it is the most magical, happiest item on my head (and sometimes in my bathroom drawer)! I am determined to collect all the colors.
Rebecca Atwood, Designer
At the top of my list is a By Humankind shampoo bar. I haven’t tried it yet, but the fragrances sound amazing, and I love that it reduces single-use plastic. You can buy individual bars, but there is also a multipack with a bunch of scents, so you can test them out. I love the idea of buying the set and giving them to family members and friends.
Nisha Mirani, Founder of Sunday/Monday
I was once given a set of reusable Baggu bags, which are so useful but also fun! As a textile designer, I appreciate the variety of colors and playful patterns. I usually keep one on me just in case, since they are so lightweight and great for grocery shopping and packing picnics.
Julia Stevens, Associate Style Editor at Domino
This face mask is a spa-night essential and makes the perfect gift. I like to use it biweekly to help brighten and soften my skin. Not to mention, every purchase you make helps to support girls’ education—Tatcha is a partner with Room to Read.
Connie Matisse, Founder of East Fork
I’m hoping there’s a new scent in my stocking, but I’m still stuck deciding between Falls and Cacti from Régime des Fleurs. It takes me forever to choose a fragrance; I’ll smell the same bottle in the same store for two years before biting the bullet. Yesterday I was at Sid & Ann Mashburn in Atlanta, and one of the store associates whom I know and love was like, “Connie, you’ve been over here sniffing the same four bottles for 45 minutes–what the hell?” I’m leaning toward Cacti, which has amber, mate, heliotrope, black tea, shiso, aloe vera, jasmine sambac, cucumber, watery notes, and bergamot.
See more gift ideas:
This Personalized Art Is at the Top of Jeremiah Brent’s Wish List
All Eva Chen Wants for Christmas Is This Planner and a Fountain Pen
The Unexpected Holiday Gift Everyone Is Buying on Etsy