gift ideas

Gifts I Gave & Received

This is one of my favorite posts about the holidays even though it comes after the holidays. Gift giving is definitely my love language. I always have so much fun coming up with ideas for people and I keep a running list of notes and ideas throughout the year as people note or mention things. For example, Maria Shriver was on the news one day and my friend mentioned how she loved her. I added her new book to my Amazon Wishlist and sent it out when her birthday rolled around six months later!



Stacy just turned 27 and is absolutely killing it right now. I’ve always been a proud sister but this year I feel particularly proud. She put in a lot of work at her job and is definitely reaping the rewards right now. Her birthday is December 15 and we also celebrate Hannukah as a family in addition to Christmas so her gifts are almost always lumped together– I try not to do that so she gets to truly celebrate her birthday. I like to spoil her with things that she wouldn’t necessarily buy herself.

For her birthday, I got her a pair of AirPods. She hadn’t specifically asked for them, so I kind of took a gamble that they’d be something she’d want. And when she opened them she goes, “I really wanted these!!!”

Now for her Christmas gift, I had an idea for the better part of the year. We’re both really into collecting jewelry right now. I bought a rainbow gem ring from Ring Concierge for her on Cyber Monday. It’s sadly sold out right now, but here’s a similar one and here’s a more affordable option. SHE LOVED IT! It’s dainty and pretty while still being fun.


My dad is notoriously hard to shop for and he’s never shy about saying that he doesn’t like something. The second I saw these sleep buds online, I bought them for my dad’s gift. A few years ago, I got my dad the noise canceling headphones for Christmas and he wears them at night sometimes to block out my mom’s snoring. (Sorry mom for exposing you to the world 😂I snore too though 😉) The funniest part of this gift though was that the week leading up to Christmas morning, we must have had four separate conversations about my mom’s snoring and my dad trying to sleep through it. My mom knew what was sitting under the tree for him and we could hardly keep ourselves from laughing.

When he finally opened the gift Christmas morning, he was intrigued but not sold on the idea. They’re not noise canceling headphones. Instead, they’re buds with pre-programmed sleep sounds (like the ocean). But they fit perfectly into your ear so you can sleep on your side. The first night he slept with them, he couldn’t hear my mom AT ALL. Victory, all around.


I walked by the John Derian store in NYC one day and spotted beautiful cake stands in the window. My mom collects cake stands and has an entire bookcase of them in her office. She uses them for all of her desserts and even lends them out to clients for events. She has stands of all shapes and sizes. I got her this petite John Derian stand! The colors are absolutely gorgeous and the details are exactly what you’d expect from John Derian. (My sister actually ended up giving her a little John Derian tray too– loved that we were on the same page.)


I got my boyfriend an AWAY suitcase. I was so excited to buy it for him because I knew it was something that he really needed and wanted from both a work and personal perspective. That was going to be my main gift for him but then at the last minute, I was on the Ritz Paris’ Instagram account and saw that they opened an e-commerce site. Since we stayed there for our trip and had such an incredible time, I thought I’d get him something (I was thinking a book?) from the store. Then I saw that they had a branded monopoly game and it couldn’t be more perfect! His reaction opening that was priceless!!


I wasn’t sure what to do gift-wise for his family. I wanted to do something personal and festive and was actually inspired by a blog post I did here! In that post, I found this black lab ornament and figured I’d get it for someone in their family. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of ornaments for everyone. I had so much fun picking all of them out. Some of my favorites: a kettlebell Santa (LOL), a Rosé bottle, and a baguette.

FOR ME: I really, really made it clear to my family that I didn’t need or want anything. But my mom was kind of insisting so I asked for an iPad. I was debating buying one for myself, so it seemed like a good gift idea. Let me be the first to tell you, I AM OBSESSED. It’s so much faster than my old, poor 2011 one and the capabilities are incredible. The split screen and compatibility of Apple Pencil are game changers. I’m going to be doing a full post about it soon as I continue to use and get the hang of it more. My sister got me a pink case for it and a bluetooth keyboard– I am so happy with both!

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what a merry holiday! I’m already looking forward to the IPad post; I received the same one! ♥️

Ashley C

I love how thoughtful all of your gifts were. Gift giving is definitely my love language, too! In fact, I kind of pride myself on being a great gift-giver, so Christmas is like my personal olympics. There is nothing better than seeing a love ones reaction to receiving a thoughtful gift—especially if it’s something they mentioned in passing liking or wanting.


Looking forward to your iPad post. Wondering how useful they are for notetaking for class? My MacBook is heavy and I walk to class so considering an iPad. Will you be doing a YouTube video on this by any chance? Also would be really cool to see Hanukkah content during the holidays here!


Hey girl! First off – thank you for posting this. All of these are great ideas. I do have a question: what noise cancelling headphones did you get your dad a few years back? My sister asked for those for Christmas, but I really had no clue where to find them or what good ones even were, so I ended up not buying them for her. However, I know it’s something she really wants (she’s in med school right now and has extremely noisy neighbors) and would be super grateful for a pair!


Such great gifts! As the spouse of a snorer, I am going to have to try those Bose ear buds, they seem like a game changer. What did the boyfriend get you for Christmas? My husband either knocks it out of the park or fails miserably! Poor guy!


Carly, my boyfriend surprised me with an iPad for Christmas. I’ve mentioned that I’ve wanted one before but wasn’t sure what I would use it for. I LOVE YOU! I would love to see a post about how you use your iPad/a general review. Enjoy! Happy New Year.


I just realized that I said I LOVE YOU instead of I LOVE IT (I just submitted a comment about the iPad) hahaha sorry!! But I do love you! You’re my favorite blogger!


I love how thoughtful you are with gifts! I want to get better at being super thoughtful with my gift giving, sometimes I struggle knowing what my friends/family would really really like.
I also can’t wait to see the new Ipad post. I actually asked for either an Ipad or a camera for Christmas… I got the camera (which I am super excited about), but maybe next year I will snag an Ipad.


Sounds like an awesome holiday season!! I wish my gift giving skills were on par with yours!
I also have an iPad with an Apple Pencil. I use it to take notes during lecture, and it is a game changer!!! Why wasn’t this around during undergrad!! Enjoy your new tech!

xoxo Libby


I know it was a gift and not for you, but would you be willing to talk more about the Away suitcase you got your boyfriend? I’m in need of luggage and Away has been on my list of options. Thanks so much!


I have an away suitcase and it’s honestly my favorite thing. I the pink carry on from they Gray Malin collaboration and people ask me about it all the time. Plus I keep the battery in my purse when I’m not using it in my suitcase. 1000% worth it if you need luggage.

Nicole Griesman

Hey Carly!! First off I absolutely ADORE your blog. It’s been my favourite since day 1!! My birthday is December 19 and I celebrate Hanukkah, so my birthday ALWAYS falls on Hanukkah and my gifts get lumped together 😂 so I love that you recognized that two separate gifts make all the difference haha. I also want to hear all about what you are using your iPad for in relation to blogging, my iPad is my favourite thing in the world and I love hearing how others use it!!

Lots of love

Laura H

Gift giving is my love language too!!! I absolutely love giving at Christmas more then I do receiving so I fully enjoyed reading this post!! It was so fun hearing what you got your family and definitely gives me some different ideas too. So glad you and your family had a happy Christmas!