The Internet’s Best Unique Gifts: Porcelain Doughnuts and Vintage Tennis Rackets
Unusual ideas, starting at $6.
Updated Nov 2, 2023 5:02 PM
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Every holiday season, we inevitably fret over finding the ultimate unique gift for the picky people in our lives. You know the ones—a friend or family member who already seems to have everything or wants for nothing. We know it takes a pretty particular present to wow them. Thankfully, the holidays at Domino are already about unearthing the best unique gifts every season. So instead of worrying about getting just the thing this year or panicking about whether or not they’ll be impressed after unboxing, refer to our out-of-the-ordinary findings, below. Each pick is guaranteed to surprise and delight, or at least raise a quizzical eyebrow or two.
Best Unique Gifts Under $10
These skin soothers are under-$10 gifting gems. Pumice Valley’s stones are sourced from volcanic lava rock and act as excellent exfoliators for all those rough or dry spots, i.e., heels and elbows. Scoop them up in multiples as a bulk gift or add one to a self-care gift basket.
This set of sparkling Lurex sponges from perennial editor-favorite Hawkins New York will make their kitchen sparkle. They’re also cute enough to leave out on the counter.
A tiny tenniscore planter for the smallest of their succulents. But this ceramic vessel isn’t just for greenery—it can also be home to dainty accessories or used as a pencil cup.
Meurisse is synonymous with the finest Belgian chocolate, and its packaging is a cut above the rest. Serve these bars as stocking stuffers or tuck one on top of a special gift. Our flavor pick of the lot is puff quinoa and pink peppercorn, but classics like milk chocolate with hazelnuts and caramel sea salt will surely please anyone.
Best Unique Gifts Under $50
They won’t be able to eat with this set of flatware, but they’ll want to scatter them on the table nonetheless. Made from 100% plant-based stearin wax and a cotton wick, each candle has a 14- to 16-hour burn time.
This MoMA Design Store exclusive is nothing short of jubilant. Designed in the 1980s by none other than Ettore Sottsass, the Bodum electric kettle is like a postmodern sculpture for your kitchen. It has all the trappings they’ll ever need—rapid boil, automated shut-off, integrated cord storage—in a package design lovers will appreciate.
Put a big flouncy bow around this 100% cotton card cushion and stick it under the tree for someone you love. Better yet, pair it with its Clubs counterpart.
Both sizes of this plant trellis are under $50, and we’re partial to the column shape over the human and ram. The powder-coated iron construction is appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, and their trailing vines will take right to it.
A classic tome for the creative in your life. Best known for the concept of Morning Pages—a daily practice of writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness—Julia Cameron has inspired a great many people to tap into self-discovery and self-growth.
We’re big fans of Tosaryu, a Japanese brand that’s been crafting products from Hinoki cypress since the ’70s. Its aromatherapy soap is made with the tree’s oil, and an included base is also crafted from wood. (Psst: The brand makes even more affordable Hinoki bath flakes.)
A sensory touch for their dressers and closets, straight from Italy. Gift these Santa Maria Novella wax tablets—carrying an aroma punctuated by lemon, rose, and sandalwood—together or split them up for stocking stuffers.
This classic gadget is a must for the baker in your life. Made primarily of iron, it’s a high-quality peeler that’ll make quick work of apples and pears and does more than just take off skin: It slices and cores, too. The whole thing suctions to countertops and comes with a nonslip pad.
We’re big fans of interiors shop Pentreath & Hall. These intaglio and cameo bar soaps, created by co-owner Bridie Hall, are the latest addition to the store’s stock that we’ve fallen in love with. Available as a single, duo, or collection (all under $50), they are handmade in London with beeswax and rose honey. Hercules is scented with aqua minerals and sea salt; the Diana duo, with cardamom and mimosa; and the Grand Tour spanning eucalyptus to basil and neroli blossom. Perfect for the mythology buff among your set.
An apron for their best vintage is a flourish they didn’t know they needed. Tie one around their favorite bottle for gifting time, and then they can save it to leave on display.
Best Unique Gifts Under $100
The tinned fish lover will be over the moon if you bring 500 grams of delicious Cantabrian anchovies to their house. These succulent little guys are handpicked at their peak and preserved in organic extra virgin olive oil, just waiting to be added to your favorite slice of sourdough.
A little reminder for them to reflect. The Nanu nudge counter is made from heavy-weight brass alloy and has a durable mineral glass lens. This substantial handheld tally is all about counting their wins and blessings, and it looks great on display, too. Plus there’s a lifetime warranty.
Food decor is all the rage, and these French-made cutlery rests fit right into the theme. The set of six hand-painted resin pieces includes carrot, onion, asparagus, turnip, radish, and sweet pea.
If they have a stocked home bar, this set of ice trays will elevate any drink they make. The four unique molds—prism, ripple, petal, and crystal—are made from food-grade silicone and add a fancy touch to cocktails and mocktails.
Gift them a dose of prep in the form of tennis decor. Chairish is stocked with vintage rackets like this 1980s find, a Wilson Victory Cup swinger commemorating Chris Evert.
The paint-by-numbers kit got a serious upgrade. Each Paint Anywhere kit comes with a 16-by-20-inch printed canvas, five premium brushes, and pots of acrylic paint with the colors and corresponding numbers. The packaging is eye-catching, and all the art is sourced from female artists and illustrators around the world. This one features Pasta Party by Hebe Studio.
For the plant parent who has everything, may we suggest a leaf-cleaning brush from German stalwart Redecker? Made with pear wood, stainless steel, and goat hair, the brush is well suited for delicate, large leaves such as the fiddle-leaf fig, monstera, and yucca.
Americana at its finest. If their ideal end to long summer days is to call everyone home for a meal, or they find happiness in a little nostalgia, this bell’s rich ring will do the trick. It’s been crafted in the U.S. since 1832 and includes a steel mounting bracket. (For a smaller-scale version, try this solid-brass handbell we found hiding on Amazon for just $12.)
Iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is the subject of this excellent monograph by art historian Luis-Martín Lozano, now in its 40th edition. Included are a selection of drawings, pages from her diary, and an illustrated biography with photos of Kahlo; her husband, Diego Rivera; and Casa Azul, her home. A surefire gift for anyone who is always at galleries and museums or the aspiring artist in your family.
Best Unique Gifts Under $200
An all-season-appropriate gift for perennial hosts, Xaquixe’s mezcal set—exclusive to Goodee—will look just as good at a cozy winter dinner party as it will on an outdoor table during the height of summer. The gorgeous carafe and tumblers are handblown in Oaxaca using recycled glass from local villages.
The unique gifts category goes for little ones, too. The Banwood trike is timeless, yet it stands out from the rest of the kid-friendly wheeled pack for its soft colors and clean lines. It offers the same balance training and physical activity as any other option, but the padded oak seat, vegan leather details, oak pedals, and a wicker basket make it a no-brainer for the design-conscious parent. The trike is suitable for children ages 3 to 6, and it has a removable push bar that can be attached to the back.
A can of sparkling wine inspired this sweet recycled 14-karat gold charm, a collaboration between Sofia Wines and Catbird to celebrate the wine label’s 25th anniversary. Adding on a chain will up the price, but if they already have one of their own, this is a darling addition to it.
This hand-molded ceramic cup is the fruit of a collaboration between two of our favorites, John Derian and Astier de Villatte. Hand-molded from black terracotta and finished in a milky-white glaze, the vessel is made in an antique Bastille workshop in Paris. No two are quite alike, making it a one-of-a-kind gift.
Masienda sources its Chicatana ants, a rare Mexican delicacy, from coastal Oaxaca and dry-roasts them on a comal. The edible insects are collected by hand at night and in specific parts of the country, once or twice a year during the first major rains of the season. Use them to make salsa Chicatana or serve with mezcal; they’re a salty, smoky snack. Reviewers call them “highest quality,” “so tasty,” and “surprisingly floral.”
Give the gift of repair with this kintsugi kit—because a cracked platter is bound to happen at some point. Kintsugi is an ancient art of mending broken pottery, in which cracks are filled with a lacquer known as urushi, which is then dusted with a gold powder to highlight, rather than hide, the repair. They’ll get all the tools they need to fix damaged goods they can’t bear to part with.
Best Unique Gifts Over $200
Wrap up a unique fragrance for them to add to their vanity. Colekt is a Stockholm-based brand, and its Cologne Concentrée is consciously sourced and made in small collections by a renowned fragrance house in Grasse, France. The Void scent is as earthy as they come, with notes of rhubarb, mint, citrus, warm basil, and dry wood.
Some might consider a doughnut-shaped porcelain box frivolous, but if the person you’re gifting has a sense of humor or an appreciation for Austrian baroque pottery, it might not be. Crafted by 300-year-old Viennese workshop Augarten, the hand-painted treasure looks good enough to take a bite—and is beautiful enough to keep for a lifetime.
An object as beguiling as it is functional, the Mono Filio teapot is for someone who considers slowing down a worthy pursuit. A glass jug, in which a strainer, tea leaves, and water are placed, hangs loosely from an oscillating stainless steel frame. It’s all positioned over a lit tea light to keep their future beverage warm.
The Il Letterato candleholder from the Italian home brand Ginori doubles as a porcelain sculpture. Each one includes six tea lights that fit atop the statue: Orange Renaissance has notes of bergamot, black currant, mint, cypress, and musk, while Amber Lagoon is infused with grapefruit, fig leaves, geranium, lavender, and vetiver.