The Best Holiday 2021 Home Gifts, Since a Candle Isn’t Going To Cut It This Time

'Tis the season to shop for the best home gifts online.

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Illustration: Eli Orth

Time is a flat circle, so somehow, it’s the holidays once again. While this year may not be quite as strange as the last one, it’s still going to be an unusual time for everyone. Whether you get to celebrate with friends, family, and chosen family in person this year, or are at a distance once again, there’s one thing everyone has in common: Gifts. Exchanging thoughtful gifts, no matter the value, is an integral part of the season. (Along with, you know, togetherness, giving back, and bickering.)

That said, even if you have to cheers via Zoom for a second year in a row, a candle or three won’t be quite enough to count as meaningful. Here are some of the best home gifts for the holidays⁠—ones that anyone on your list will cherish, no matter their interests. Unless their interests really are candles.

Automotive

2-in-1 Car Heater And Defroster | $33

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Image: MuiSci
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No one likes digging their car out in the morning. But once they do, there’s still the windshield to defrost and the car to warm up. So an unconventional but thoughtful little gadget is the MuiSci 2-in-1 Car Heater Defroster. You attach the device to the windshield, and it helps speed up the defrosting process (with natural air) while also warming up the car (with heated air). Ideal for anyone with a commute, or who lives in a seasonal area, or just any dad.

First Secure Emergency Car Safety Kit | $80

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Image: Amazon
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Nothing says “I love you” like an Emergency Car Safety Kit. I mean, “I love you” says it pretty well, but this 90-piece set to keep in the car is definitely up there. The zippered case itself is soft, compact, and has two reinforced handles, making it easy to throw into the trunk and leave there until it’s needed. It contains just about everything one may need in the event of an unwelcome roadside surprise. A practical gift, if not a super cheerful one, for anyone with a motor vehicle.

TopVision Portable Car Battery Starter | $85

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Image: TopVision
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Also from the department of Safety First: This TopVision portable battery starter. It’s a 4-in-1 multifunctional device, with a jump starter, portable charger, LED flashlight, and SOS signaling device. It’s something that everyone kind of knows that they have on hand, but keeps in the back of their heads because they’d rather not think about it. It’s better to own than to not own, so why not save someone the trouble and gift it to them? They’ll be touched you thought of it, and it’ll really come in handy if something happens to your car.

Home Goods

Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock | $90

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Waking up gradually with the sunrise is generally not an option available to most of us. But with the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock, you can greet the day softly, calmly, and almost as naturally as you can get. Instead of annoying beeping or “I’ve Got You, Babe,” this alarm offers progressively brighter light that mimics the sunrise itself. It helps ease you into the day, without any jarring sound effects (though there are 3 sounds to choose from, if you want them). With 20 options for light settings and an FM radio built-in, it’s an endlessly customizable gift for your favorite not-a-morning-person.

Honeywell HeatGenius Ceramic Heater | $74

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A quality space heater is always appreciated. I like the Honeywell HeatGenius Ceramic Heater because it’s quiet, easy to use, and extremely warm. Whether it’s for your parents as a message that they really need to turn on the heat this season, or for a friend who likes to work out of their garage, this little (large!) number is equal parts practical and thoughtful.

Levoit Air Purifier | $100

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Image: LEVOIT
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Air purifiers rule. I’m obsessed with mine, and I only have a small one that I keep near the litter box. Essentially, what the Levoit Air Purifier for Home does is filter the air of its surrounding environment, removing dust, allergens, mold, pet dander, bacteria, and more from the air you breathe. This leaves you with cleaner and healthier breathing air. An air purifier (especially a quiet, unobtrusive, plug-in-and go model like this) should be up there on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Buy it for someone you like and they will quickly come to love you.

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Kitchen

KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer | $300

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Anyone with even a remote interest in cooking or baking wants a KitchenAid stand mixer. But they’re heavy, expensive, and there isn’t always room for them on the countertop. So make someone’s life this season with the KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer. It’s perfect for homes with small countertops, or for people who probably don’t have the upper body strength to move a full-sized one to where they need it to be.

Hamilton Beach Blender | $39

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No matter what people tell you, a blender is not something that needs to be super fancy. It just needs to be able to crush, puree, and make a fine margarita, I mean, a smoothie. This Hamilton Beach Blender is a fine example of that! Gift it to someone who likes to make food and beverages go whirr. Seriously, it’s inexpensive, efficient, and maybe they’ll be so excited that they’ll make you soup with it.

Oster Belgian Waffle Maker | $18

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A lower-price waffle maker is a gesture of like, you don’t want them to feel obligated to use it, and they can always re-gift it if they absolutely have to, but they’ll be so charmed by the novelty of it that they’ll want to make them all the time. The Oster Belgian Waffle Maker, for example, is a totally reputable brand, but it doesn’t have the commitment that, say, a Cuisinart would. My last year of college, I worked at a place that only served waffles, so please know you can trust my recommendation here.

Outdoors

Tacklife 28" Fire Pit Table | $147

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We’ve been advertising this deal for a while, and for good reason: The Tacklife Fire Pit Table absolutely, in the parlance of the youth, slaps. It’s ideal for large porches or small backyards, where building a fire is simply ... impractical. My parents have one, and I can assure you that it’s cozy as all heck. It’s also a creative gift that people almost definitely won’t be picking up for themselves this year. No ash. No smoke. No tending a fire. Just instant mini bonfire. And at this price? 11/10, highly recommend.

Coleman 8-Person Tent | $160

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No one kind of likes camping. If they like it, they really like it. So get them a treat! The Coleman 8-Person Tent is down to $160, and it literally is built for 8 adults. Plus, there’s a bonus closet to store their stuff in without losing any space. (Or to scream into, once they’ve realized the plans they made.) It’s weather-resistant, features a room divider for privacy, and is literally designed for easy setup. In return, your loved one can give you the gift of not asking you to go camping with them.

Amazon Basics Outdoor Propane Patio Heater | $160

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Turn their patio into a rad-io with the Amazon Basics Outdoor Propane Patio Heater. It’s about as easy to wrap as a bicycle, but oh man, the look on their face when they realize you’ve given them the gift of year-round outdoor dining at home? Priceless. It’s professional-grade, but also suitable for use at home. You barely have to do anything to make it work; just push a button and whoosh. Gas tank sold separately. But hey, at least that’s an excuse to make a bunch of Hank Hill jokes.

Smart Home

Honeywell Home Smart Thermostat | $85

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Image: Honeywell
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I rent, don’t own, and even I want this. The Honeywell Home Smart Thermostat offers a digital display (and controls), with adjustable everything to boot. You can set your preferred temperature, compare it to the temperature outside, increase the fan, program it in advance, and more. It is also a fun passive-aggressive thing to get for your parents, assuming they keep the house at a balmy 67 degrees Fahrenheit, like some people I know. It’s techy, it’s useful, and anyone can navigate its user-friendly interface.

Kasa Smart Light Switch | $13

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I can keep this one real simple: The Kasa Smart Light Switch is a hands-free, Wi-Fi-enabled adjustable dimmer that can be synced with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Remember those commercials for “The Clapper” thing? It’s like that, but fancy and not absurd. You will absolutely be jealous of this gift, were you to buy it for someone else instead of treating yourself. But at this price, why not do both?

Hex Home Security System | $160

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Know a security-head? Impress them this year with a Hex Home Security System. It’s subtle, easy to set up right out of the box, and can be monitored via any smartphone. The way it works is mindblowingly simple, too: When enabled, this system uses Wi-Fi waves to detect motion in your home. If it notes a significant level of disruption, the Hex will notify you, the user, through the app. Not only that, but a pretty loud siren will sound off from the system itself to ward off intruders. Also, it just looks like a little air freshener, so there are no worries about throwing off your loved one’s home aesthetic with it.

Tools

WorkPro 103-Piece Pink Tool Kit | $40

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If this many tools for a cool $40 doesn’t convince you to pick one up for someone just starting to build up their arsenal, then maybe the pink color will. The WorkPro 103-Piece Pink Tool Kit is a great gift to give to someone headed to college or just starting out in their first solo apartment. It includes literally every basic tool someone would need to become Mx. Fix-It around the house. The easy-grip set is made with an anti-corrosive chrome finish, ensuring the kit has a lengthy shelf life. Is it a very Dad-like gift to give? Of course. But the classics are classics for a reason.

Aoovan Cordless Drill | $37

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For the DIY fan with a garage workstation or Designated Shed, the Aoovan Cordless Drill Kit is it. Yes, everything pictured here is included. There’s the cordless lithium-ion battery charged drill and its 25 adjustable settings, as well as 40 interchangeable pieces, heavy-duty gloves, and a tidy plastic kit to store it all in. No matter what project they have in mind, or more likely, half-finished and languishing in DIY Purgatory, this affordable drill wonder kit will help your favorite handyperson see it through. Please don’t let them throw out the user manual, though.

Kineval Laser Level | $80

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When a tool kit is so last year, and a drill set is like, elementary level, you know what you get for someone this holiday season? You get them the Kinavel Self-Leveling Laser Level. Ideal for big construction projects and just hanging stuff alike, this extremely awesome dude includes a bracket, a lift, adapter, remote control, and more. Basically, they’ll get everything they need to operate it, pew pew pew laser sounds not included. The large-capacity battery offers up to 8 hours of continuous use, so it won’t die out mid-project. Also, the laser works with accuracy down to the millimeter from up to 82 ft. away. It’s not for the amateur, nor the faint of heart, but it has big Dudes Rock energy that your fave DIY-er is sure to appreciate.