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Article: Gift-Worthy Gear: Our 2021 Holiday Roundup

distil's 2021 gift-worthy round up of products

Gift-Worthy Gear: Our 2021 Holiday Roundup

A collection of gift ideas for the 2021 holiday season

It’s quite possible that you picked up a hobby over the pandemic year—this holiday, everybody's getting sourdough starters! Alas, not all of us are blessed with such talents, so we’re sharing a few things we think they'll love. If you’re drawing a blank on what to give, check out our top present picks and gift-worthy gadgets in a range of price points from stocking-stuffers to splurges. Let's start with a splurge, shall we?... 

Onewheel GT

1. Onewheel GT - Starting at $2,200 

Y’all, this is ridiculous, but we warned you—we were starting with a splurge: Two thousand hard-earned dollars for a single wheel. Is it a high value per wheel? No. Is it the most fun you’ve had since your dad tossed you 10 body lengths up and over in the pool while your mom understandably watched nervous as all get out? Probably! While we found the Pint underpowered, the XR is just right—but for some reason, Onewheel made this new one with even more power and even more calf-melting, foot-cramping range. We’re not cool enough, strong enough, or rich enough tbh... but maybe you are? Wear a helmet and let us know how it goes. 

Studio Neat Mark One Pens

2. Studio Neat Mark One Pen - Starting at $65

As tools we use on a daily basis, pens are one of our favorite items to give and to receive. Practical, yet personal. This Kickstarter-crushing design from Studio Neat features their “satisfying-as-heck custom click mechanism” and pairs perfectly with any of their fastidiously designed notebooks. Our suggestion? Get the Mark One to give, and pre-order the Mark Two for yourself… 

Craighill Rook Knife

3. Craighill Rook Knife - Starting at $130 

A superstition exists about giving a knife as a gift, that it will sever the friendship between the giver and recipient—that is, unless you also give them a coin, and the coin is immediately handed back to the giver. What? OK. Weird, so tape a dime to this AMAZING little knife and breathe easy. The weight, the shape, the chamfer, the action, and the finish all work together to create yet another heirloom-quality object from the good folks at Craighill. 

Ikepod Duopod Watches

4. Ikepod Watches - Starting at $760 

These striking timepieces were first introduced in 1994 by occasional Apple design collaborator Marc Newsom. If you look at the early versions, you’ll see where Apple got their rubber watch strap design; while that watch strap has mysteriously disappeared from the Ikepods, the striking design DNA is still there. The brand lives on with many variations to choose from. And if the price tag is too steep, clock this watch roundup from The Coolector for great options under $500. 

Google Nest Audio Speakers

5. Google Nest Audio $99 $59 for Black Friday

We just picked up a short stack of these speakers because they’re already on sale at Best Buy and we’ve got to say—Larry David would like them because they’re prettay prettay prettay good. They also connect with your AppleTV, so they're a solid option if you haven't already splurged on a pair of HomePod minis in some eye-catching new colors...

The Google speakers blend with your decor and deliver more-than-decent sound at a now incredible price. We’re guessing they can sell them this cheaply because they’re harvesting and reselling all our information. Embrace the inevitable AI robot future! Digital Santa, is that you?... “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” We’re moving to the woods (or turning the mic off—there’s a privacy switch on the back). 

Wooj Lamp by Sean Kim

6. Wooj Lamp - $130

Featured in Dwell, these award-winning lamps by designer Sean Kim are a whole vibe. 3D printed from corn-based compostable bio-plastic in their Brooklyn studio, they come in two sizes and a range of colorful bases (also 3D printed). These sustainable fixtures include a warmly glowing LED bulb and are made to order—so place your order soon to get it in time for giving! 

Sugru Rebel Tech Kit

7. Sugru Rebel Tech Kit - $13

This practical set is just the right size (and price) to be a stocking-stuffer hit! Sugru is essentially practical play-dough for grown-ups, and any of their kits are absolutely perfect for the person in your life who loves to tinker (aka the reason we can’t have nice things). 

Modern Fuel Pencil

8. Modern Fuel Pencil - Starting at $150

This stunning piece of craftsmanship comes in a range of options carved out of a solid block metal, with no plastic parts, for a look and feel that’s restrained and luxurious at the same time. You simply can’t go wrong with the impressive, lightweight titanium. 

Switchpod tripod

9. Switchpod Tripod - Starting at $100

We’re always looking for better camera gear and the functionality packed into the Switchpod Tripod, by a fellow Kickstarter alum, is what makes this product worth gifting. (Pictured here with Levi Allen, one of our favorite YouTube tutorial guys.) If you have someone on your list who loves creating content, give them one of these. Made of strong, lightweight aluminum, the Switchpod *switches* between tripod and a handheld grip in less than a second. Add an optional phone adapter so it can be used with the thing in your pocket that does all the things. 

A Sightsee Gift Card disappears into a MagSafe Edition Wally Junior

10. Get Creative with Gift Cards! 

We love digital gift cards for so many reasons—they’re practical, instantaneous, and worry-free (no supply-chain delays 🥳). Digital gifting is definitely our go-to when we’ve waited until the last minute and still want to send something personal.

While e-gift cards are the easy button, if you have a local establishment in mind, give them a call and ask about their gifting options. A physical gift card is a chance to get creative, too: hide a local cafe’s gift card in a barista-approved reusable Keep Cup, or sneak one into a new wallet (that's our MagSafe Wally Junior shown above, with a shoutout to our buds at Sightsee in Charleston for offering both physical and digital cards—they get it, and your favorite local spot probably does, too).

And remember, there are digital gifts that go beyond the typical gift cards: 

  • Make a donation in their name to a cause close to their heart (you can browse Charity Navigator or by category for some ideas).
  • Give them the gift of peace-of-mind with a meditative year of Headspace or Ten Percent Happier.
  • Gift a subscription to a print or digital magazine (Dwell+? Yes, please!)
  • Sign 'em up for a streaming service like HBO Max or Netflix—or heck, go for the splurge: Giving an Apple product includes a year of Apple TV+, so you can finally binge Ted Lasso together (even if you’re miles apart). 

Gift Set from the School of Life London

11. Books and Beyond.

While there’s a good chance they already have the newest book by their favorite author, you can’t go wrong with a coffee-table book boasting glossy photos of faraway places—or a travel guide with a pair of plane tickets tucked inside (pro move, this one). 

And if you want to think outside the box for your bookish loved ones, there’s a dizzying array of fantastic gift ideas and sets like the one shown above from The School of Life—don't miss their Stoicism flashcards, sleek 15-minute hourglass or set of “How to Become a Bit Wiser” cards with wooden display stand. 

Ferris ModStation, ModWallet and KeyLoop from Distil Union

12. Distil KeyLoop and ModWallet - Starting at $50

Time for the shameless plug, the humble brag, the hard part for introverts…. Our stuff makes great gifts! If we had to pick just one Distil item to recommend, well, anything from our Ferris System is going to make them smile and solve a frustration—misplaced wallets, dropped sunglasses, an embarrassing cluster of keys—all problems of the past thanks to magnets. The KeyLoop Kit and ModWallet Kit each come in gift-ready boxes, while we put together the Ferris Full Bundle to cover all their everyday out-the-door bases. 

13. Ugmonk Analog Card Set - Starting at $89

After the holidays is a good time to review the year and try to adopt healthier routines in the next. If you’re like us and have struggled with the constant barrage of all this productivity we’re supposedly capable of, do yourself a favor and give yourself (or some other busy soul) a better way to prioritize and track your to-dos! The Analog system promises to help you manage all those ideas and spinning plates in a simple, tried and true way.  

Still drawing a blank on what to give?

If after all that you’re still searching for the perfect present, here’s last year's favorite gift ideas that’s still looking fresh! Want to do your shopping with us? That’s mighty cool of you—we've rounded up our best-sellers here to help you narrow it down. Wishing you and yours a festive, restorative, well-earned holiday!

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