An NYC Holiday Gift Guide

Good morning, friends! Today I'm happy to welcome a guest contributor! Abby currently lives in my favorite place, Brooklyn, NY, so she always seems to know about the prettiest trends and products long before we hear about them here in the midwest. She is a media professional, frequent traveler, and seeker of new food, exhibits, and happenings in NYC and beyond, and I'm thrilled to share this space with her! 

Rand and I are both very fortunate to have jobs with generous holiday breaks, so we try to make a habit of traveling over the holidays. I always vote New York, since it is definitely one of the most magical places to be during the Christmas season. Abby has created a holiday gift guide for others who like to travel during Christmas break or for those who would like some big city holiday inspiration. Take a look at all her wonderful ideas!

See? Magical.
(Photo by Samuel Zeller, via Unsplash)
New York is one of the most exciting places to be during the holiday season. If you live there, you are familiar with the high energy and buzz of the city during December. If you've never been, see the list below and skip to #10 immediately. For everyone else, I've included fun NYC inspired gift ideas to create memories that your friends and family will love. 

1. I recently purchased this assorted graphic card set designed by Rifle Paper Co. that are perfect for the holiday season. Blank cards with festive details, such as gilded lettering or fun patterns that are not necessarily holiday themed, make excellent gifts. This set in particular can be used for multiple occasions. Pink Olive Graphic Card Set. $22

2. L'occitane is the holy grail of hand lotion, which you will need during the dry winters. It feels and smells amazing, both small enough to fit in your bag yet creamy enough to really last. They typically offer gift sets that include different scents which are perfect when you need to get similar items for multiple people in a school or office setting. $28 for a gift set of three.

3.  Any New Yorker will tell you that you've got to visit at least one museum while you're here, so be sure to research your favorite artists to see where you can find their exhibitions. Everyone knows MoMa and The Met, but looking for specific artists will take you on an adventure to excellent new spaces in any city. You will never forget seeing Lautrec at the Frick or Ai Weiwei at Brooklyn Art Museum. Costs will range by event and and admission fees. Some accept donations (The Met, and yes, you can pay as little as a $1) and some do not (MoMa $25), but set aside at least $30 for a ticket to any major exhibit. 

4. After running around the city all day, you must treat yourself to to a massage. Rather than going to high dollar spas, I recommend the small Chinese Body Work shops. It's only $50 for an hour massage and $30 for half an hour. It's pretty no frills, but feels amazing, which is what matters. They are located throughout Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

5. I'm not totally anti-spas, but I do save money by purchasing beauty products I love at a fraction of the cost. The Boscia black mask is amazing. Buy this for your best friend and she will love you forever. It's a thick, black mud that drys to a thinner film which dries and peels off. It makes my skin soft for days. Bring a bottle of red wine and have a relaxing girls night. Way more fun than the spa!  Boscia Luminizing Black Mask $34 

6. If you have a friend that lives for lipstick, you have to go to Bite Lip Lab in SoHo. You can create your own custom lip color that is perfect for your skin tone. You work with a colorist to find your shade by mixing hundreds of pigments. Once you find your color, you pick your finish and flavor for any gloss, lipstick, or lip liner. I got the lipstick and the color really lasts. Bite Lip Lab - $48 for one deluxe lipstick

7. A great gift for any friend is a convenient wallet that holds everything you need, including your phone. Function is key in the city. I purchased a Lodis wristlet wallet and haven't needed another one since. It's cute, simple, and functional. My kind of gift! $108 

8. If you know someone who loves to create, treat them to a fun art class. The classes at the Painting Lounge are fantastic. It's a 2 hour BYOB painting session where you recreate famous works such as The Scream or Starry Night. 

Another fun options is glass blowing. You get to work with knowledgable staff and learn the tricks behind those swirly colored paperweights. 

The Painting Lounge 2-hour class - $50
Brooklyn Glass - $195 per session 

9. There is nothing better than finding the perfect holiday dress to wear to the most anticipated party. In terms of gift giving, this would fall more so under the category of gifts you'd get for yourself, but I would be delighted if my significant other surprised me with a fun new dress for a specific event (see #10!). For holiday parties, I suggest a jewel-toned color that compliments your skin tone. You will definitely stand out amongst all the LBDs. Dress by Catharine Maladrino - $148 

(Photo by Vita Vilcina, via Unsplash)
10. Booking a spontaneous trip to another city is always exciting. Surprise a friend or your significant other by spending the holiday in another city, preferably New York! If you're already here, you can also plan a stay-cation and feel like you're getting away from the grind by booking a hotel using apps such as Hotel Tonight. It finds deals on remnant hotel rooms in trendy, upscale locations at a discounted rate. You can book the day of, and now they have options to book multiple days in advance as well. Costs vary, but nightly rates range as low as $120 - $300 per night in New York, a steal for the quality of the rooms. In other cities you can find quality hotels for less than $100 a night. Locations and prices vary across multiple cities, and locations change daily, so I recommend checking often and getting on a plane. 


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