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What we’re gifting. The Lagom 2021 holiday gift guide.

Photography by
Words by Tracey Creed and Amandine Paniagua

Published December 19 2021

These holidays, where we might wish to show appreciation through considered gifts, things that we know will be used, are of a need, we find great pleasure in surprising those who are near and dear to us. When it comes to gift-giving, we adhere to the one-for-you-one-for-me approach, an endorsement of sorts. A genuine demonstration of the high esteem in which you hold the recipient. Gift what you wish to receive. Your selected present should be so good, you had to have one too.

So after closing many tabs, hours spent searching gifts for others, and admiringly newer purchases of our own, to save you the time we have compiled a list. Like last year, it’s a curation from brands who believe there’s power in championing integrity, quality, form and functionality, items that are enduring and ideas that seek to create an impact for others, our environment and ecosystems beyond the holidays.

You can view the 2020 guide here.

Rinse and repeat. Normalise second-hand gifting

With online shopping reigning supreme, scouring for thrift finds is still a viable option — given the time, commitment and perhaps an enthusiasm for eBay filters, you will find one-of-a-kind items — that today, the only way to acquire them is through the secondary market. That and the Internet holds no shortage of upcycled curators who have already done the work for you. I would highly recommend, in addition to online stores and Instagram accounts — browse Etsy. You can view our curated gift guide here.

Begin within. Gifts to nourish

Little Bird Organics donuts Partaking in casual visits with your closest these holidays? Be that person that brought a half dozen donuts that look as good as they taste. These vegan delights are made in Auckland from organic ingredients—also nutritionally dense, indulgent, every bite a celebration of the goodness within. Available in Salted Caramel and Raspberry Chocolate.

Good Sh*t Soda I don’t drink alcohol, a decade ago there was not much, so the arrival of kombucha was exciting. Good Sh*t provides carbonation and probiotics—the kind of functional beverage I can get behind. Whether it is a one-off delivery or a 6 month supply, these high health sodas make a welcome addition to any fridge.

Serious Food Co. Gift a box of popcorn, a six month supply of puffs. The Barbecue ones are quite possibly one of the greatest alt-chip snacks. They’re smoky, salty, Certified Organic and perfect to reach for when the craving hits. If you don't like chips, then you might like these.

Coffee There is no shortage of quality roasters with a higher level of ambition for raising ethical standards in the industry. More recently Coffee Supreme bags are frequently found in the kitchen. Ethiopia Guji is really good quality with great notes; all Supreme coffees have a nice level of acidity, and you can always perceive the notes.

Apostle hot sauce For those whose table and life feels incomplete without hot sauce, Apostle is the best. Saint Peter, Kiwifruit & Kawakawa Verde is the one I use for almost everything and for fellow lovers of hot sauce, Saint Phillip Roasted Capsicum & Chill is the one for you!

East Imperial tonic waters For making better drinks. This holiday season, send a box to your friends, clients. Replenish your supplies. In New Zealand, East Imperial offers a beautifully-curated monthly club subscription.

Alicia Kennedy’s spice blend Amandine’s favourite newsletter food writer collaborated with Burlap and Barrel to create a Pumpkin spice blend. In this baking spice blend, you will find a balance of cloves and ginger paired with warming cinnamon and nutmeg and a twist of coriander. Ideal to lift any pancakes, cookies, rice pudding, tea, and of course pumpkin pies.

Last Jar condiments Our nature is to share and support our community and Amandine had recently mentioned her friend pickles and ferments. Her company—last jar, consists of a rotating line of homemade preserved condiments, pickles and ferments. The Miso Pickled Mushrooms are very tempting. If you’re outside of New Zealand, there must be a condiment or jam maker near you. Farmer markets or social media are good places to find them.

A plant-based milk subscription We LOVE plant-based milk, and for the days where we can’t make our own, it is always a relief to know that we rely on a monthly subscription and keep enjoying matcha latte and iced chocolate. At the moment, Sunny South and Happy Happy Soy Boy are on high rotation. Look at your local distributor for the best deals.

Self indulge

Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol For that friend who requires a pick-me-up throughout the day. In Ayurveda, the rose is used to balance all three Doshas and the heart and a mist instantly revives and rejuvenates the skin. Ideal for long hot days, coordinate with a 4 p.m. caffeine fix. Anything Aesop however would suffice for those you care for.

Bar soap A bathhouse staple reimagined. These bars bring the herbal botanicals straight to your shower sans the packaging. For those in the U.S, Wonder Valley Two Desserts Soap or the Hinoki Bar and Binu Binu. Personal favourites include the Orris and Sphaera—who recently released a modern update to the solid-state shampoo and conditioner. Curionoir is one of my personal favourites available in a box set this year, each infused with one of four different Curiornoir parfums.

Film for those into film photography or an analogue camera (prices range) because it gives someone the gift of using a medium where there is this balance between considered framing and spontaneity.

Facial gua sha This one has been covered a lot on the Internet recently, and if I am being honest, I had not been focused on this Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of my routine. My housemate Eden, who has beautiful skin, sold the practice to me which is why I was excited to discover Oli Oli, gift the gua sha, Cactus Face or opt for the duo. I'm 100 percent positive that anyone would be honoured to add this to their daily ritual.

KNC Beauty Natural Retinol & Gold Infused Eye Mask These are perfect for that holiday you are planning. The one where you are not stressed and can lay on the beach or in bed streaming movies sans puffy eyes. For all those people you know who work as hard as you do—gift KNC Beauty retinol infused eye masks. No one should be walking around with dark circles. 

Facial washcloths My favourite beauty secret to share is a stack of washcloths to pat skin dry after each face washing. You’ll have slightly more laundry to fold, but good clean skin is priceless. Personal favourites include Baina, Otto Loom and Bianca Lorenne.

Rowie bralette After searching the Internet for bras, this zero waste knit bralette from Rowie checks all the boxes. Based out of Byron Bay, sustainable and inspired by nature and women, it is exactly what I am wearing now. SO comfortable. And given sizing is S-M and M-L, the risk is less when purchasing for someone else. 

Gloria scrunchie Hair accessories that are both beautiful and functional. These scrunchies are made in New Zealand from archival fabrics—Gloria is a new project by New Zealand artist and designer Kristine Crabb. 

Lip balm The key step to getting your best lips ever is an ultra-nourishing clean balm. Ideal for secret Santa and stocking stuffers, a balm. Everyone needs one. Favourites include Sans [ceuticals], Summer Fridays, Drunk Elephant and KNC BEAUTY Supa Balm. And for a balm with tint, Axiology Balmies are my go-to.

Grounding down at home

Anything Fourth Street Located in Auckland and Sydney, this online store is filled with things you’ve been looking for but are yet to find. One I’d recommend if you are searching for that person who has everything. Fourth Street’s enviable wares didn’t end with the egg sculpture. 

Candles For those who are grounding down at home these holidays, a scented candle from one of my favourites, anything Le Labo and D.S & Durga, both available in New Zealand at Mecca and Curionoir. Sculptural candles, though you’ll rarely want to light them, bring charm to anyone’s home. Recent discoveries include Tawdry, Wax Altier which are available via Made Good. 

Incense I like lighting incense to mark either the start or the end of my day, and these smokeless ones by AYU and MAHŌ are my new favourites. 

Cold Picnic These bath mats

Moon Lists Journaling if that is a daily ritual you know a friend engages in or might consider, then this workbook allows you to document your days thoughtfully. Available in New Zealand via Penney and Bennett.

Forestry Wool blanket If you know someone well enough to contribute to their decor, these generously sized blankets are my recommendation. Woven from pure New Zealand wool, made in Europe, I purchased this one for Goji, my Shiba, but I want this one now too.

Puzzles, games and cards 2021 was another year for the most part spent behind screens, so on that note, let’s encourage human interaction and a low key conviviality. Coming Soon New York have dominos designed to be both played and displayed, playing cards housed in acrylic and a lucite version of 4 in a row.

Seeds for the garden For those who managed to have a plot of land or soil in a pot, seeds are the gift of abundance. We source ours from Koanga Institute and Kings Seeds. Check your local reseller, try to opt for those who promote plant diversity and heirloom varieties.

Gumboots Amandine’s partner Benoit asked for a pair of gumboots to work at ease in the garden, so I thought I would share the results of my investigation. Two options adapted to your wallet possibilities. Made in New Zealand, the Bata Industrial are sturdy and practical, or the Muck Boot, breathable and built to last, made abroad. And both are gender-neutral.

Uplift and empower

Here’s to abundance, prosperity and limitless gifting for all, including those you are giving the money to educate you, nourish you or inspire you.

Subscription to an interesting newsletter There are talented writers worldwide, sharing their passion topic and yet not employed by mainstream media. God bless there are newsletters from them to express their talents, and us to put our money towards something of value, improving our brain and their livelihood. If you are willing to broaden and challenge your views on the food industry, consumption and capitalism, my suggestion is Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter—$30 per year to support her.

A volume of Atmos magazine (or several!) We discovered Atmos through Instagram. Expect in-depth stories put together by an eclectic group of adventurers, creatives and journalists, exploring climate and culture, the keys to project into a more sustainable future. There are so many incredible independent publishers to support platforming essential conversations, some of our favourites include It’s Freezing in LA, and Lux Magazine.

Organic veggie subscription Support the shift toward a sustainable and regenerative food production system, by participating in a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Here in Auckland, we have a subscription to Organic Market Auckland CSA. Check Open Homes NZ as well, it is donation based. 

And let's not forget that giving is the greatest luxury. Here are some of our favourite international conservational causes: Locally, Project Jonah, Koha Apparel, Lifewise, Youthline, Kokiri Marae. Internationally, Native Organic Alliance, Oxfam, Ocean conservation research. Dear to our heart: Virunga National Park, Lion Recovery Fund, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation. Also look for your local animal sanctuary, here we have The Animal Sanctuary or The Black Sheep. Reach out if you know others!

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