Holiday Gift Guide for the Modern Girl - Skillful Cook
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Holiday Gift Guide for the Modern Girl

Holiday gift guide.

WHOA! The week of Thanksgiving?


Wowz. This season has gone especially fast for me, maybe because of that whole being pregnant thing, I don't know. Does having an actual baby inside you make time go faster? It has to. But here we are, getting ready to celebrate the holidays with our friends and family, and dreaming of all the gifts we want to buy for ourselves our people.

For today's post, rather than give you suggestions for Thanksgiving recipes (although, may I quickly recommend SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE and BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD), I thought I would share with you some of my all-time favorite things just so happen to make for great gifts, whether you yourself are the Modern Girl or you are gifting to the Modern Girl or you have nothing to do with Modern Girls. It doesn't really matter, okay? It was just a catchy title and it can be interpreted however you want - this is just a collection of things, by topic, that we love using in our life and that make for amazing holiday gifts.

Also worth noting that 95% of these are gifts you can buy on Amazon, which means, if you have Prime, that you will get them shipped to you in a speedy 48-hours and you can spend the rest of your most wonderful time of the year eating saltine toffee and sipping away on your eggnog.

I used to be a traditionalist must-go-to-the-mall Christmas shopper, but in the last few years I think Bjork has really made me into a person who can appreciate the beauty of online shopping: just me, at home, in my jammies, with Amy Grant Christmas playing on the Jambox and minty hot chocolate in my copper mug.

Seriously just try it and you will never-ever go back.

Wishing the best to your crew in the next few days as you gather for what I hope is a feeeeeast of epic proportions!

A bunch of utensils and items for the cooking enthusiast.


Nordicware Crown Bundt | Dutch Oven | Salt Box | Kitchen Aid Mixer (Mini) | Truffle Oil | Whirly Pop | Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars | Blendtec or Vitamix | Instant Pot | Toaster | Hammered Copper Mug Set | Marble Mortar and Pestle | Egg Poacher | Inspiralizer | Food Processor | Cast Iron Oil | Nespresso Coffee and Espresso Maker | Silpat Nonstick Baking Mat | Cast Iron Pan

My Top Picks

Inspiralizer: Healthy eaters? Veg heads? People who like to get their vegetable on? This is one of THE MOST fun toys a person could have in the kitchen. I use mine all the time. Modern, practical, and very fitspo.

Instant Pot: An all-around amazing contraption. It is like an upscale, super cool, modern version of a crockpot. I've been playing around with it for the last few months and we've made a million and one soups - like lentil soup, chicken soup, veggie soup - all in 30 MINUTES. Wait, though - we're talking about soups that normally take 6+ hours in the crockpot. Done in 30 minutes. Boom. Instant Pot doesn't mess around. Rice cooks in 5 MINUTES, and a whole roast? 1-2 hours, no problem. Also fun for people who like to make their own yogurt and goofy/clever things like that.

Dutch Oven: Let me just direct you back here for the ultimate list of reasons why I love this beauty. At $50, it makes a perfect, classy holiday gift for your favorite food lover. Whoever the recipient is: they need to know about the miracle no knead bread because that should absolutely be the first recipe made in this pan. ♡

Nespresso Coffee and Espresso Maker: Bjork and I and our whole POY team have all used this magical machine for the last few years, and it makes HANDS DOWN the best coffee and espresso of any single serve machine out there. I don't know how to say this without sounding snobby, so maybe I just need to embrace the coffee snobbery here - the Nespresso is just miles ahead of the traditional Keurig or single serve coffee maker. The pods are recyclable, the coffee is high quality, and the price is spot-on considering you can get this instead of those espresso makers that cost, what, like, $1,000? No way, man. This is your winner.

Hammered Copper Mug Set: Just way too cute. Also, the entire set is less than $50. Hello NYE!

Fashionable and everyday use items for a girl


Sweatpants | Makeup Brush Kit | Rose Water Spray | Essential Oil Diffuser | Kelly Moore Bag (casual) | Minimalist Necklace | Fairbault Wool Throw | Hair Dryer | Kelly Moore Bag (leather) | Straightener Brush | Sea Salt Spray | Plaid Infinity Scarf | Stacking Rings | Soy Candle | Leila Lou Natural Perfume | Water Bottle

My Top Picks

Sweatpants: I may have mentioned these 500 times before, but it's worth mentioning again - these are sweatpants that I would live my entire life in. They are SO COMFY - not in the way your old ratty sweatpants are comfy, but in the way of luxurious, cute, stylish sweatpants, which makes them awesome for gifting. I normally don't love buying clothes as gifts, but this little number is a real treat that anyone and everyone, regardless of style, would love to chill out in.

Fairbault Wool Throw: It's Christmasy, it's cozy and adorable, it looks good in anyone's house. Win.

Kelly Moore Bag (casual): I have had this for two years and I have taken it evvvvvverywhere. It's a camera bag meets travel bag meets computer bag meets diaper bag meets any kind of bag you need. With tons of adjustable built-in storage compartments, it is a bag lover's dream. The casual olive green canvas version (which I have) is nice because it can be unisex - and sometimes I just need Bjork to carry it around for a second, know what I mean? #pregnant The leather version is more feminine and it's on my own personal Christmas wish list. Future baby bag goals!

Sea Salt Spray: Just learned about this miracle on my trip to San Diego - who knew that such a basic, minimalist, natural spray could be so awesome for texturizing hair? I'm obsessed.

Leila Lou Natural Perfume: Super nice, light, good-for-everyone scent that is made with essential oils so you can be yummy-smelling and CLEAN clean. The roller is super convenient and the price point is awesome for gifting.

Various electronic devices in a collage.

GIFTS FOR THE Savvy Techie

50mm 1.8 lens    |    Natural Light Sunrise Alarm Clock    |     Amazon Echo    |    Beats    |    Canon 6d    |    Jambox Mini    |    Pebble Smartwatch    |    Instant Polaroid Mini Camera    |    iPhone 7 Plus    |    Mobile Printer for iPhone and Android    |    Book case    |    Amazon Fire Stick    |    Q Bracelet iPhone Charger    |    Charging Station    |    FitBit     |    iPhone case

50mm 1.8 lens: If you have a photography lover in the family, this lens is an awesome upgrade from the basic lenses that come with most camera kits. I have a lens that is very close to this one - just a tad more expensive (50mm 1.4) and it is my one lens that I would literally use for everything if I could only pick one. This lens is super similar to that but just at a more approachable and giftable price point.

Beats: This is the kind of technology most people would love, and feel cool getting, and enjoy using regularly... but wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves. Making it the perfect gift, amiright?

Instant Polaroid Mini Camera: We don't have this exact version, but we have a very similar Polaroid and it's so super fun to snap pictures when people come over to our house. This would be the ideal gift for someone who likes photography and loves being social. Also IT'S BLUE AND IT'S MINI. So, obviously.

Mobile Printer for iPhone and Android: Yes, we have a Polaroid AND this. But this is different - it connects to your smartphone and allows you to print mini pictures of your smartphone photos. We use this as a daily photo journaling tool. Great for techie moms and dads... or, um, dog lovers.

iPhone case: I have this basic Apple silicon case, which I actually love and highly recommend for any minimalist tech lovers in your circle. But just the general idea here is that phone cases make great gifts. Usually they're anywhere from $20-$100 and you can pick something that speaks to that person's personality. I often shop for unique phone cases on Etsy!

For the book lover, ten covers and a Kindle are shown.


100 Days of Real Food | Small Great Things | A Man Called Ove | Cooking for Jeffrey | The Nightingale | The Nightingale | Saveur Cookbook | The Magnolia Story | Present Over Perfect | Kindle Paperwhite | Skinnytaste Cookbook

My Top Picks

Small Great Things: I just started this one so I can't vouch for it as a whole book, but so far - amazing concept. This is a book for thinkers who like to process big issues (think racism, privilege, and power) through complex characters and emotionally gripping drama. Love u, Jodi.

The Nightingale: Another drama, and this one has characters that I am still, to this day, totally in love with, along with themes of family, love, grief, and forgiveness. For your book lovers who don't mind a good book-cry now and then - this is probably the one.

Saveur Cookbook: Hands down, my favorite cookbook. It's got some recipes that are a little out there for the regular cooks of the world, but most of them are approachable, unique, fun, and all-around reliable. I get so much blog inspiration from this cookbook.

Kindle Paperwhite: Honestly, JUST SKIP THE BOOKS and get this gem for your bookworm. Even for a me, a self-proclaimed have-to-hold-a-physical-book-in-my-hands type of reader, it's so amazing to be able to download books and take them on the go with me, all in one sleek device. The Paperwhite version features a beautiful screen that is not really a screen at all, which is why I love it. No glare, with just-right backlighting. This is the modern girl's guide to gifts, after all.

Orange rolls.

One final quick Thanksgiving note: I'm so thankful for you. Yes, you there, reading this slash holiday shopping at work (I won't tell), or you there, on your phone at the gym, or you there, checking your email from a coffee shop. I love having you reading the blog, following along on Instagram, and just generally being people who make what I do fun and worthwhile. It wouldn't be what it is with you, so thank you for everything that you bring to my life. I am insanely grateful.

Happy early Thanksgiving - whether you stay close to home or travel to be with family or share a meal with friends or decide to hit the malls for the chaos of Black Friday - I hope you have so much fun and I hope your next few days are filled with gratitude and love. ♡

This post contains affiliate links for products on Amazon.
Filed Under: Life Lifestyle

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Agreed…but totally minus the Amy Grant bit. I’m forwarding this list to my husband and hopefully I too, will get sweatpants this year. I know the man means well, but the gifts he gets me….they just don’t make sense. One year it was a real live shrunken alligator head. The next, the ugliest mens orange golf coat I’ve even seen. I don’t golf! Never have. Then I got these high end water shoes. Huh? So I get wet….. that man

  1. Skillful Cook Logo


    We, the readers, are thankful for you! I look forward to your insightful, creative and witty words and recipes every day.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love the muted tone of pink of the iPhone case you recommended. Sometimes simple is best. I remember when I used to have a plain green one! Bonus: when I take mirror selfies, it doesn’t draw the attention away from myself too. 🙂


  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love this post! Will be taking some of your ideas for sure for my family! Question though – what’s so special about that chocolate?? It’s crazy expensive – is it the epitome of all chocolates in the world or something?!?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Oh wait I just realized it’s 10 bars instead of 1? I thought it was only 1 bar for that much. Ha. 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Thanksgiving Lindsay and Bjork! We don’t celebrate thanksgiving in these parts of the world but I wanted to say thank you to you guys – for always being an inspiration. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love your choices! I just ordered the copper mugs for my husband. I know he’s been wanting some and I’ve been looking for a good set that was hammered. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks Lindsay – such timely advice! A question – are those copper mugs good for hot drinks as well as cold drinks?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love your suggestions!
    On a slightly different note, do you have suggestions and recipes for baked gifts? I know my family is a big fan of giving / receiving something homemade, like spicy pecans, truffles, etc. I would certainly like to have your take on it!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting a Christmas list that’s actually realistic with affordable options. There are several things im putting on my list!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I finished Small Great Things a few weeks ago…you will not be disappointed. It certainly made me think, and made me appreciate the privileges I have just for being born into the race I was born into.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    My boyfriend and I started a tradition of getting each other a book and exchanging on Christmas Eve. Last year he got me the Nightingale and it is one of my favorite books ever. Great picks.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve already pinned those sweatpants to my Christmas list!
    Also, I would LOVE it if you would have a random blog post of those (vegetarian) soups you’ve made in your Instant Pot – I’ve had mine for a couple of years now and love it, but need new ideas for it (other than cooking beans!). 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    GREAT IDEAS here!!!! Christmas is going to be interesting this year. I am celebrating it on the 22nd and then I will be in Asia on the actual day… Not sure if I need to even get gifts for my family, but I like having this list in the back of my mind!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really loved this gift idea. Will be taking a number of your ideas of course for my family! Question tho’ – what’s, therefore, special that chocolate? It’s crazy expensive – is it the epitome of all chocolates within the world or something?
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Very cool, I can’t wait to try it out. Just please get rid of that ad that keeps repeating. So painful!!!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I finally got around to buying those sweatpants (is it still a gift if it’s for me?) and wow they are SO WORTH IT!