EW's 2019 holiday gift guide
It's the most shoppable time of the year.
EW's 2019 holiday gift guide
This cozy season, our gift to you is a gift guide free of gift guide ennui: We've done our best to scour the zeitgeist (plus several high-end elf workshops) to curate a list of exciting, practical, ever-so-pop-cultural products that holiday revelers will actually want to unwrap. Click onward for 60+ of our favorite picks in tech, toys, home, beauty, and food.
Pictured: Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years Single Malt Islay Scotch Whisky ($97 x reservebar.com)
Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera/Printer
The modern paradox: Just as parents want to start digitizing all their photos, kids suddenly want to start printing them (in real life, on paper — the shock of it all!). Thankfully, this camera/printer hybrid quickly achieves both, leaving you plenty of extra time to scream internally about how technology is just a flat circle.
Sega Genesis Mini
This long-anticipated entry in the mini-console craze lets Sega step into the spotlight this season with over 40 classic pixel-perfect games including Earthworm Jim, ToeJam & Earl, Ecco the Dolphin, and your last pure memories of Sonic the Hedgehog before the (admittedly very exciting) live-action movie.
Beats by Dre Solo Pro Wireless Headphones
The first on-ear noise-canceling headphones in Dr. Dre's signature line is a versatile, lightweight addition to the brand and confirms Beats as the hottest and best headphones in the biz, capable of making both the gift giver and recipient instantly cool — a true Christmas miracle.
Beats by Dre Studio3 Wireless Headphones
Slightly more elevated than the Solo Pro, these studio-ready noise-cancelers might only seem meant for major music buffs on the surface, but the practical applications for Apple's high-end headphone also extend to diligent students keen on concentration and exasperated adults hoping to silence roommates, neighbors, and occasional family members.
Mighty Vibe Spotify Music Player
This portable music must-have lets users of Spotify Premium (the best 10 bucks you could spend a month, FYI) stream and store over 1,000 songs without needing their phones. Think of it as a modern-day iPod Shuffle specifically for people who have never heard of an iPod Shuffle.
Blue Yeti Nano USB Microphone
If you hear the Thanksgiving-table boast "Somebody should give me a podcast," consider calling that bluff with this easy starter microphone perfect for podcasting, YouTubing, Skyping, Twitch streaming, or doing ASMR with tortilla chips.
House of Marley Stir It Up Wireless Turntable
No vinyl? No cry. Earn your song redemption with this bamboo Bluetooth record player from the venerated House of Marley, touted as the most sustainably designed turntable on the market.
Case-Mate AirPods Hook Ups Case
If you carry your AirPods in a bright neon charging case with secure carabiner and slim-fit grip and you STILL lose them? Honestly, that's on you.
Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield (Nintendo Switch)
The eighth generation of Pokémon takes design inspiration from Great Britain, so even as you enjoy the dynamic new additions to the Pokédex, you can trust that your clever joke about catching a Brexit has already been made approximately 150 times.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS4/Xbox One)
This seasonal Star Wars standout follows a Jedi on the run after the infamous Order 66 given at the end of Episode III. That alone is a mainstream enough way in for casual fans to get involved with the game without having to have gone deep on Star Wars lore, but the title really shines with both a stellar performance from Shameless' Cameron Monaghan and the kind of exotic new Star Wars planets, species, and droids you'd expect of any entry in the franchise.
FIFA 20/Madden 20/NHL 20/NBA 2K20 (Multiplatform)
When the apocalypse is over and the empty world sizzles with silence and smoke, someone will still find a way to put out a new edition of Madden.
$59.99, nba.2k.com (NBA), ea.com (FIFA/Madden/NHL)
Death Stranding (PS4)
Norman Reedus has made a career of traveling post-apocalyptic countrysides; in this ravishing PS4 game from Hideo Kojima, the Walking Dead star traverses the wasteland as a supply courier linking the United States' surviving colonies with a communications network. It's eerily prescient, powerfully weird, and unsurprisingly poignant — it is a Hideo Kojima creation, after all. Any gamer would be lucky to escape their own wasteland by spending a few days unraveling this must-play experience.
Xmas S.O.S. (Tech Edition)
Completely lost? Level up whatever video game your kid is obsessed with by loading up a GameStop gift card (gamestop.com) with funds meant for downloadable content (the kids call it DLC). They'll appreciate the premium boost they wouldn't have otherwise had, and you'll seem significantly more hip than you probably are.
Mega Construx Game of Thrones Daenerys & Drogon
The age 16+ label is no joke for this grown-up DIY model which manages to put more care and detail into the mother of dragons than Games of Thrones' entire final season.
The indisputable board game of the year is this deliciously addictive role-player starring iconic Disney delinquents like Ursula, Jafar, and Captain Hook. It's not just that the gameplay is ferociously non-stop. or that essential standalone expansions are constantly adding more playable characters like Scar, Hades, and Yzma. But Villainous thrives because it encourages you to openly screw over players yet allows you to safely blame a majority of your evil behavior simply on method acting.
$34.99 (Villainous), $24.99 (Wicked to the Core; Evil Comes Prepared), target.com
Hasbro Marvel Legends Series Avengers Power Gauntlet
The entire EW office lost its damn mind over this massive bejeweled electronic fist from the Thanos (by Thanos) collection. Just imagine how your actual children will react. Be warned that it's as geekily cool as it is absolutely gigantic.
Lego Stranger Things: The Upside Down
Any former kid would tell you that there's no source of euphoria quite like a giant Lego set. This season's 2,287-piece de resistance is an astonishing, flippable, fascinatingly detailed recreation of the Byers house, the construction of which would make any Stranger Things fan Millie Bobby Proud.
Blockbuster Retro Puzzles in VHS Video Case
Throw movie night back a few decades with these joyful jigsaws that pay as much homage to classic films like Animal House, E.T., and Sixteen Candles as they do to those chunky plastic Blockbuster VHS cases that almost definitely contributed to climate change.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition
The fourth book in Jim Kay's ambitious reimagining of J.K. Rowling's masterwork will entertain and educate as much as any toy. After you've pored through the first three books, let Goblet of Fire take you away with Kay's gorgeous artwork which includes magnificent new illustrations of three of Harry Potter's best near-death experiences.
Osmo Creative Starter Kit
If you've got an iPad or Amazon Fire to spare, this ingenious tech toy for budding artists animates your tot's dry-erase drawings into adorable interactive adventures. And if you take our recommendation and your kid grows up to animate a Pixar movie in 20 years, EW reserves the right to demand royalties.
You'll never triumph nor tank so hard on family game night than with this oh-so-extra extension of the classic Pictionary formula. Instead of sticking to paper and pen, you use smartphones and the fabric of space time to draw pictures in the air that are almost certainly going to be far more hilarious than intended. If the digital future is going to consume us all, might as well have fun with it.
No toy company serves a bigger variety of pop culture interests than the Bobblehead heir apparent, Funko. The signature collectible Pop! line continues to grow in surprising directions, with some of this year's highlights including Britney Spears with a snake, Rodney Dangerfield with a golf club, Patrick Mahomes with a football, and Don Draper with institutionalized misogyny.
Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo
A lifetime after he wanted to be tickled, Sesame Street's cutest resident now just wants to be hugged. So do it. Hug him. Hug Elmo like your child's entire happiness this Christmas depends on it.
Adults, listen up: Many moons ago, a vat of Play-Doh's new Foam was sent to the EW office, where it has since been repurposed for stress balls, intricate if short-lived pop culture statues, and relaxing bouts of intense taffy-like elongation. It's all to say that the great Instagram slime craze has led to the creation of this satisfyingly supple, shockingly therapeutic foam compound. Buy one container or buy a dozen, but trust that for adults, it's a little gift that goes a long, long, and depending how far you pull it, loooooong way.
A Is for Audra by John Robert Allman and Peter Emmerich
A true necessity for any kid's bookshelf is this clever book of short poems dedicated to an alphabetical runthrough of Broadway's most iconic leading ladies. Everyone from Audra McDonald to Liza with a Z gets a brief moment in the spotlight (after spending their careers in one) and may just inspire your budding thespian to go down a YouTube spiral that changes their playlists — and potential musical theater careers — forever.
Disney and Pixar Buzz Lightyear Star Command Spaceship Playset
If your child thought Toy Story 4 was too light on the Lightyear, let them come to the narrative rescue with this primo playset featuring Buzz and his cozy one-bedroom spaceship.
Xmas S.O.S. (Toy Edition)
If you have absolutely zero knowledge about the pop cultural taste of the child you're spending money on, stick to safe educational gifts. The expansive collection at Fat Brain Toys lets you shop by age and interest—and if you still don't know either of those answers, you must ask yourself whether the real gift this child needs is a better relationship with you.
Juniper Books Banned Books Set
In a world increasingly afraid of common sense, a completely sensible gift is this stylish packaging of once-controversial literary classics (next year's contenders for which already include the U.S. Constitution and Peppa Pig Goes Apple Picking).
Homesick is wicked hot in the wax community thanks to their scented reminders of cozy state vibes representing everywhere from Seattle to New York to Philadelphia. If lighting them all doesn't summon up nostalgia, at least you'll summon up Tom Hanks from 1993.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 9
To all the plants you've killed before: Honor their memory with this incredible automated tabletop garden that does all the work to add fresh green life to your house of murder.
Pottery Barn Friends Peephole Frame
Short of surprising someone with an entire apothecary table, treat a Friends fan to this simple posh apartment accent that lets any door look like Monica's even if the rest of the place looks like Joey's.
House of Intuition Magic Dusting Powder
This year, we'll take good vibes anywhere we can get them. Surrender yourself to the universe with these four magic dusts, designed to grant you love, prosperity, protection, or manifestation of whatever intention you need to come your way. Supposedly, celebs like Sean Combs, Lucy Hale, and Jennifer Lopez are fans, if that makes this any more convincing.
Laura Ashley Dogs on Parade Food Bowl
Whether you're a dog owner, dog neighbor, or you yourself are dog, enjoy this classy little porcelain number that won't cost you a kibble and bit to eat in style.
FinalStraw Collapsible Straw
Are straws the single biggest problem facing our sizzling globe? No. But if you want to be able to at least tell future generations that you tried, consider this packable portable that makes being eco-friendly a little user-friendlier.
truMedic MagicHands truShiatsu Neck and Back Massager
Not all massagers are worth the hype, but you'll solve any deep tissue trust issue with this versatile shiatsu sidekick (dubbed by Oprah as one of her favorite things this year) boasting three colors and four massage nodes. In literally no other situation except this, four "thumbs" are truly better than one.
Lovepop Holiday Cards
Clip art comes alive in Lovepop's delightful 3D greeting cards, which get creative with famous characters (like Elsa, Yoda, and Minions) at Christmas but particularly thrive when their unique pop-up designs riff on iconography from across the wider Gregorian calendar.
Happy Socks Macaulay Culkin Naughty or Nice Holiday Gift Box
Three pairs of rabbit socks populate this gift box curated by Macaulay Culkin, who harnessed the holiday cheer from Home Alone into this innocuous bunny-based present.
Xmas S.O.S. (Home Edition)
It's not as generic as a gift card, but if you're stumped on someone's taste (or simply don't trust your own) consider investing in the gentle gesture of a monthly subscription box for various interests: Book lovers (OwlCrate), wellness fanatics (FabFitFun), or those in need of a slight nudge toward personal styling (StitchFix).
Stick With Me Bonbon Box
Exquisite artisanal chocolates or long-lost Infinity Stones? There's no difference as you admire their elegant beauty then inhale them quickly to get Josh Brolin's attention.
Bird Bakery Cookies
Elizabeth Chambers Hammer ups the custom sugar cookie game at her Texas-based bakeries (in San Antonio and Highland Park Village) capable of indulging any design whim—such as EW's request for more Hustlers representation in the dessert industry.
Prices vary, birdbakery.com
Highclere Castle Gin
Thanks to the iconic estate where they filmed Downton Abbey, you too can drink gin just like…one of the characters on Downton, we guess? Did somebody drink gin on that show? Was that a thing? It's been so long. Remember when Matthew died? Damn, that was so crazy.
Arena Cinelounge Gourmet Popcorn
With unique flavors like Sweet Chile Lime and Rosemary Salted Caramel, you can finally have it all: The comfort of streaming movies at home and the luxury of eating popcorn that doesn't taste like a burnt microwave.
Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman
Influencer chef Alison Roman (inventor of the Insta-famous treat known simply as "The Cookies") drops another relatable cookbook, this time dedicated to the art of entertaining — which, it turns out, is more than just throwing a chunk of Trader Joe's Gouda on a plank, Karen.
Cravings™ by Chrissy Teigen Enameled 3 Qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Twitter royal, kitchen queen, and grand duchess of dutch ovens Chrissy Teigen continues her run of good taste with a hip line of cookware available at the only thing more relatable than her: Target.
Goop x GreenPan 8" & 10" Blush Frypan Set
Let Gwyneth Paltrow show you the way with this palatable pink pair of frying pans, which will add some clean luxury to your kitchen and let you work "I got these from Goop" into a shocking amount of conversations.
Williams Sonoma Marvel Spider-Man Silicone Spatulas
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does what spatulas often can. Batter stuck? Pay no mind. Spidey scoops up what's left behind. THANK YOU! For spatula Spider-Man.
Casamigos Cocktail Gift Set
Famously handsome George Clooney's equally handsome cocktail set is perfect for anyone wishing to tell their lover, "You're not George Clooney and never will be so let's both drink."
Williams Sonoma Harry Potter Cookie Cutter Set
Harry Potter and sugar cookies — two things that aren't automatically Christmas things but are also totally Christmas things — make certain kitchen magic together with this nifty little set of cookie cutters. Icing your creation to catalogue-level perfection is never easy, but if Harry can overthrow a pure-blood despot keen to make the wizarding world great again, the least you can do is try not to give Hedwig googly eyes.
Lady M's Chocolate Mille Crepes
The price tag is steep but the elegance is evident in this caramelized cocoa indulgence, a favorite of A-list celebrities and anyone who looks at ratatouille and thinks, "Cool but needs but more layers."
Xmas S.O.S. (Food Edition)
If you're wistful for your favorite bagel back home, delivery service Goldbelly will ship any food throughout the United States — like PostMates for very, very rich people.
The Big Box of Lippie Stix
ColourPop's impressive stash of 48 shades (including fun names like Daydream, Poison, and a crème dusty coral known as Topanga) stands to make a lipstick lover's day, 48 completely separate times.
Drybar at First Crush Kit
Detangle, detox, then debut your perfect hairdo with this comprehensive cache of Drybar straightening essentials that includes everything except a human stylist and a copy of PEOPLE to read.
Dependable slayer of awards shows Tracee Ellis Ross pays her perfect hair forward with a stunning new product line custom-tailored for textured curls.
$20 (Hydration Shampoo), $25 (Leave-in Conditioner), ulta.com
Urban Decay Naked Honey Eyeshadow Palette
You won't need a DNA test to be 100% that bitch thanks to this Lizzo-endorsed 12-shade palette that will leave your glow looking good as hell.
Rachel Zoe x Lorac Face & Body Diamond Dust
It's not every day that a highlighter lets you sparkle like one-third of Orion's Belt and have a reason to say the sentence, "Don't worry, the diamonds are sustainably sourced."
Benefit Cosmetics Brow Superstars!
This six-piece pencil-and-gel set comes in a snazzy display shaped like a magician's top hat, which will make sense when your eyebrows confuse straight men when viewed up close.
Biossance Glow On, Gorgeous!
Jonathan Van Ness chose three of his favorite facial finds for this quickie kit that will make anyone feel like the star of a Queer Eye episode without Antoni trying to teach them what, like, yogurt is.
Lord Jones x Tamara Mellon High CBD Formula Stiletto Cream
The fancier the event, the more uncomfortable the shoe — until this soothing topical cream entered the picture, capable of making your high heel just a little higher and thus a whole lot happier. (However, the rules of cannabis still apply: Don't have a bad trip.)
Serums you've heard of and creams you definitely haven't join forces in this fantastically colorful set featuring the best Drunk Elephant products, miniaturized for chic convenience to give you a sample of what the plastered pachyderm company has to offer.
Hipdot Ultimate Eye Trio
With Hipdot's luminous cavalcade of color, you too can look like one of the glitter-tear children on Euphoria without facing any of the horrifying realities of modern adolescence.
Xmas S.O.S. (Beauty Edition)
When in doubt, remember that no human in history can refuse the allure of a stocking stuffed with Sephora face masks. (One says, "I forgot." Ten says, "At least I tried.")