Editors’ picks: The 41 best holiday gifts our editors have ever given or received | CNN Underscored

Editor’s Picks

Sometimes, everyday products our editors use don’t make it into our in-depth, long-form comparative pieces in which we vigorously test similar products head-to-head. That’s where our Editors’ Picks come in — where we highlight everyday products we personally stand by and use on a daily basis, and think you should too.

Getting just the right holiday gift can feel like a lot of pressure. While we’ve got plenty of gift ideas for what to get them, we also have firsthand experience with both giving and receiving lots and lots of different gifts.

And not to brag, but we are pretty great at giving gifts. Ahead you’ll find the best gifts we’ve ever given and received. Need more ideas? Check out our favorite gift ideas for men, gift ideas for women, practical gifts, Amazon gifts and Nordstrom gifts.

Swap your grimy loofah for Goshi’s bestselling shower towel, which features a contrasting weave that gently exfoliates skin while you lather up.

Picked by: Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

“My mom is great at finding unexpected beauty gifts that I’ve come to love. Case in point, this luxe safety razor,” our beauty editor says. “My mom and I both appreciate giving and receiving presents that are beautiful and, most importantly, useful, and that’s exactly what this is.”

Picked by: Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

“As someone who has both gifted and received the Dyson Airwrap, I can confirm that it’s worth every penny,” our beauty editor says “It’s a blow dryer, hair curler and styler all in one, and it’s just as futuristic as it looks. I love the brush attachments for getting the smoothest, sleekest blowout at home, but it’s super easy to switch it up and use the curling barrels, too.”

Picked by: Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

This at-home treatment is like a science experiment for your feet. It will give you all the feels, from dismay and revulsion — while the skin on your tootsies molts — to gratification and total and utter devotion when the end result is a pair of baby-soft feet.

Picked by: Chelsea Stone, senior editor

If you struggle with breakouts or hormonal acne, consider this cleanser from CeraVe formulated with salicylic acid. Our editor noticed a huge difference after swapping to this cult fave for just a few weeks.

Picked by: Lindsey Smith, associate editor

This growth serum will give a little extra love to your lashes and brows. Our editor saw results in just two weeks with daily use as part of their morning routine.

Picked by: Savannah Born, Underscored intern

This mouthwash keeps our breath smelling good all day long. The bottle is deceivingly big, so it lasted us plenty of time before we needed a restock. The brand also features a variety of flavors, so you can choose which one is best for you.

Picked by: Tyler Holender, Underscored intern

This essential oils blend is not too overpowering. It is a subtle mixture of lavender, orange, chamomile and peppermint scents. Plus, the roll-on feature makes it very easy to apply.

Picked by: Savannah Born, Underscored intern

This spray improves hair texture and shine, and it smells so good you might even want to wear it as perfume.

Picked by: Hayley Saltzman, former head of social

A personalized necklace with their name is nice, but this one features not only their birthstone but other particular gemstones and crystals correlated to their specific birthdate. The backside of the pendant can also be customized with their birthday, initials and zodiac glyph. It’s an easy way to say “I really, really care about you.”

Picked by: Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

If you’re looking for a fantastic everyday bag for your loved one, you can’t get more versatile than this. According to one of our editors, it’s “spacious enough to fit all my everyday essentials and even a large wallet and comes with a thick black band that gives you the option to throw the purse over your shoulder or hold it by the handle for a classier look.”

Picked by: Sarai Thompson, social coordinator

“My mom is incredibly sentimental and after losing both of her parents, I knew I wanted to get her something special,” says our associate editor. “This personalized handwritten necklace from MignonandMignon was the perfect gift to pay tribute to my grandparents. I found a card they wrote to her, and the company captured the handwriting perfectly. It’s an affordable yet thoughtful gift.”

Picked by: Lindsey Smith, associate editor

“Earlier this year, I got my partner and myself matching custom sneakers with our initials on the back,” our beauty editor says. “It was a cute anniversary gift, but could be a sentimental present for any occasion. The Air Force 1 style is timeless, comfortable and you can make it totally your own with custom colors and monogram on the back.”

Picked by: Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

“What’s the holidays without a gift that will make Mom cry? My family’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, passed down from my mom’s grandma, is the stuff of legend,” says one of our senior editors. “And to celebrate it in all its glory, I got her this plate personalized with the recipe, which is written in my mom’s own handwriting.” 

Picked by: Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

“My partner and I are still working on building this Lego Globe that I recently gifted him for his birthday,” our beauty editor says. “It’s so cool to see it come together, and I’d recommend it for anyone who’s into puzzles. This is one of Lego’s adult sets that are for ages 18 and up, and although it is pretty complex, I’m sure your kids would be able to follow along with some supervision, making it a fun gift for the whole family.”

Picked by: Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

These linen sheets from Cozy Earth are ideal for hot sleepers. Plus, we found they get even softer with each wash.

Picked by: Stephanie Griffin, social lead

Etsy gifts are the best gifts, and these embroidery hoops would make a great accent in any home. According to our associate editor, “You’re not only buying something one-of-a-kind but you’re supporting a small business, and nothing feels better than that.”

Picked by: Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Yana isn’t just your average long pillow; it’s an innovative U-shaped pillow that wraps around your body and contours to your curves. That’s right — a pillow that hugs you back. You haven’t known comfort until you’ve enjoyed a peaceful slumber wrapped up in a Yana.

Picked by: Chelsea Stone, senior editor

In just a few seconds, this “superwhisk” helps makes a frothy, delicious coffee drink. We’ve used cheaper whisks and frothers before, but they are typically weak and battery operated and never truly frothed the milk the way we like. This one recharges with a USB port, making it far more long-lasting and powerful.

Picked by: Hayley Saltzman, former head of social

If you know someone who always has The Beatles channel at the top of their Spotify list, McCartney’s two-volume set is a must. Filled with lyrics from 154 of his iconic songs from 1956 to today, along with commentaries on origins and inspirations, the books also include photos, paintings, handwritten texts and more, which makes a great gift for music lovers.

Picked by: Hayley Saltzman, former head of social

This dish brush makes washing dishes easier and more sustainable. Once you try it, you’ll ditch traditional sponges for good.

Picked by: Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Get your shower essentials off the ground with this wall organizer. The super-strong adhesive holds all your products for a no-fuss and stumble-free shower experience.

Picked by: Tyler Holender, Underscored intern

Getting sick of staring at your sponge on the counter? This sponge holder solution keeps your sponge dry, clean and out of sight.

Picked by: Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

These stackable organizers help maximize space underneath your bathroom sink. Deceivingly spacious, get ready to categorize and store every single one of your makeup and skin care products — and be able to actually find them now too. 

Picked by: Stephanie Griffin, social lead

Our editor loved that these pillows were not too full and not too flat. They’re the perfect Goldilocks pillow for those who readjust throughout the night. We also named them our best budget pillows for side sleepers and back sleepers.

Picked by: Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

If you love garlic but dread prepping it, then this is the tool for you! Simply stick a clove in the clear part, then roll the tool along your kitchen counter until your garlic is pulverized. Food prep has never been so fun.

Picked by: Chelsea Stone, senior editor

This New Mexico Piñon coffee has a natural taste similar to a festive holiday blend that’s especially delicious in the winter.

Picked by: Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

This 14-pack of stretchy silicone lids in varying sizes will keep your food tasting fresh. They’re made of a thick silicone, so they won’t rip, and there are enough sizes in this 14-pack for pretty much any dish. After you’re ready to eat your leftovers, you can plop these lids right into the dishwasher and use again next time.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

If your kitchen sink cabinet is becoming a real mess, try these grid storage baskets, which make it easy to find the items you reach for most.

Picked by: Lindsey Smith, associate editor

The Apple AirTag is the perfect tool to bring on your next trip. Its simplicity, functionality and size will ensure you never lose track of your bags while on the go.

Picked by: Stephanie Griffin, social lead

“My best friend gifted me this passport holder just before my semester studying abroad in college,” our beauty editor says. “It’s now been with me to over 10 countries and reminds me of my favorite destinations. While the exact same one isn’t available anymore, Etsy has plenty of cute options that are a similar style.”

Picked by: Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

A good carry-on suitcase can be hard to find, but if you’re in the mood for a splurge gift, we can’t recommend this one enough. According to our travel editor, it’s got plenty of space inside to hold all of the essentials for a quick weekend trip, two TSA-approved locks to keep your belongings safe and the smoothest-rolling wheels we’ve ever experienced on a piece of luggage.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

If they’ve got all the travel gadgets they can get their hands on, this book would make for a lovely gift. According to our travel editor, even if you’ve not got upcoming travel booked, this is the perfect read for curling up at home and picturing far corners of the globe through Bourdain’s words.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

Want sunglasses that are comfortable, go with everything and look way more expensive than they actually are? Pick up a pair of these Peepers Sunglasses or gift them to someone on your holiday list.

Picked by: Hayley Saltzman, former head of social

Too many clothes but not enough space? Free up some room in your suitcase or closet with these bags. They’re great for organizing and storing seasonal clothes. Plus, the smaller sizes make ideal travel companions.

Picked by: Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Tired of not being able to watch in-flight movies with your favorite Bluetooth headphones? Prepare to love the Twelve South AirFly Duo. With a simple setup, this product is a game changer for frequent travelers who want to go totally wireless.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

This cheap trash can helps you keep your car from turning into a disaster. It’s stable, convenient and leakproof, giving you a worry-free way to tidy up your car.

Picked by: Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

This power adapter is an absolute must-have if you’re traveling internationally. It’s got four easy-to-use settings — EU, UK, Australia and US — that will cover you in more than 150 countries. It can simultaneously charge five devices through its four USB ports and one universal AC socket.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

Shouldn’t your pup be able to enjoy PSL season too? These soft and chewy, wheat-free and oven-baked treats come in pumpkin, peanut butter and cinnamon flavors.

Picked by: Stephanie Griffin, social lead

This flopping fish keeps our felines entertained for hours. It’s (relatively) realistic and is the perfect kicker toy for the feline in your life. It looks like a fish and its tail flops on contact. Plus, it’s got catnip in it — a huge plus to pique your cat’s interest. The device is chargeable via an included USB cable.

Picked by: Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

If you’ve got a destructive chewer, you know there are only a few toys your pet can really go to town on that won’t fall apart. Fill this Kong ball with treats and let your pet chew away for hours trying to get them out. And after months of abuse, it should still look as good as new.

Picked by: Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

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