10 holiday gifts that make apartment-living easier (plus one just for fun)

By Cassidy Havens  | December 10, 2013 - 12:43PM

Living in New York City can be tough. Sure, we have access to some of the best food, entertainment and cultural institutions in the world; but between working, socializing and attempting to meet basic needs (newsflash: eating a pop tart for dinner is not “meeting basic needs”), there’s rarely time to do anything else, much less relax.

Here are 10 holiday (or really anytime)  gifts that will make your favorite New Yorker’s life a little bit easier.

1. GetMaid

Best for: The “Pig-Pen”

We all have priorities, and sometimes (okay, most of the time) cleaning isn't one of them. But when someone resorts to using paper plates because their sink is filled with a mountain of dishes and the dust bunnies have morphed into dust wolverines, it's time to take action. This is where GetMaid comes in. An on-demand maid service that allows you to book via an app, gifting options range from a 1-hour starter clean at $45 for the lightly messy person to a 6-hour deep clean at $270 for the situations that just can't be helped by anyone but a professional. 

2. Citi Bike Annual Membership

Best for: The Mover & Shaker (Without Storage Space)

Just because you like getting around on two wheels (rather than being squished in the subway) doesn't necessarily mean you have room to store a bike. Enter CitiBike. The bike share program makes for an excellent way to get around town quickly  without having to haul (or store) your own bike.

An annual membership is $95 plus tax (that's less than a monthly Metrocard!) and the only requirement is that the bike is returned to any station within 45 minutes or a fee will be incurred. 

3. Container Store Gift Card

Best for: The Tiny Apartment Dweller

Space is at a premium in the city, so most of us are forced to make due with what we can get, even if it means absolutely no closets or 8 full inches of counter space. Fortunately for all of us, the Container Store exists and is filled with tons cool gadgets for making the most of your space. From over the door organizers to grid systems, the Container Store is basically a magic wonderland for those in need of storage solutions. Order a gift card in any amount, or give an eGift card if you're really in a pinch. 

4. Seamless Gift Card

Best for: The Workaholic

Early mornings and late hours make Jack a hungry boy. A Seamless gift card is perfect for those who frequently order food on the way home from work, have fulfilling friendships with more than three delivery guys and don't even know where the closest grocery store is located. Plus, Seamless is giving a $5 discount for every gift card you purchase. Talk about a win-win situation.  

5. Wine Awesomeness

Best for: The Vinophile 

Pair some wine with that Seamless order. In a city like New York, good wine is everywhere, but the wide array of options can be a little intimidating. That's why Wine Awesomeness is a great service for people who want to learn more about wine without spending obscene amounts of time doing research or scouring wine shops.

Simply choose how often you'd like to receive wine deliveries (weekly, monthly, quarterly), which varieties you prefer (a mix, white only or red only) and how many bottles. The wines are curated by experts and come with a guide that includes information on the wine, food pairings and music suggestions. Prices range from $45 to $540 dollars, depending on the time period and amount of bottles. 

6. Blue Apron 

Best for: The Aspiring Cook

For those who don't want to rely on takeout only, Blue Apron is geared toward those of us who are interested in cooking, yet don't have the time or wherewithal to take classes or seek out new and interesting recipes. Each week, a box filled with fresh, seasonal and pre-portioned ingredients along with an original recipe is delivered to your door--and voila, cooking is made easy and convenient. Help someone accomplish their dream of being the next Julia Child with subscriptions ranging from 1 week at $60 to 4 weeks at $250. 

7. An E-Reader

Best for: The New Yorker with Little-to-No Bookshelf Space

Who wouldn't love built-in bookshelves to line a full wall of their apartment and show off just how smart you really are (with all the books perfectly  coordinated by size and color of course)? But in New York City,  it's much more likely that you're relying on one narrow Billy bookshelf from Ikea to show off your absolute favorites.

The rest will have to be stored electronically.

Lightweight with the ability to be preloaded with a plethora of reading materials, many e-readers also offer apps. And they're discreet, so no one will ever have to be embarrassed about reading 50 Shades of Grey on the subway again.

Price: Nook Simple Touch, from $79; Kindle Fire, from $139; iPad Mini, from $399

8. Kiwi Crate

Best for: The Super-Busy Parent, Especially For Rainy/Winter Days Inside

For  parents juggling work and home-life (and trying to keep kids content inside on a rainy/freezing cold winer day),  Kiwi Crate is a great way to engage their children creatively. Each month, a crate filled with fun craft projects arrives to your door with a theme, such as gardening or dinosaurs, and a magazine showing you how to make it all happen.  

Kiwi Crate even has a "sibling add-on" to prevent fighting over materials. Three month subscriptions start at $60, and shipping is always free.

9. For the Makers

Best for: The Wannabe Pinterest Crafter

We always see those really cool DIYs on Pinterest and think, "Yeah! I could totally do that!" Then we spend $80 at a craft store and end up creating some weird Franken-version of the original DIY. For the Makers makes it all better by supplying everything you need and crucial instructions on how to do it in cool themed collections, like "Champagne Hangover" where you create a sleep mask and cute cluster earrings. Gifts are available in 1 to 6 month subscriptions, and it costs $29 per collection. Shipping is free. 

10. ZipCar Certificate

Best for: The NYC Lifer

Housing costs are high enough in this city that it can be hard to afford to store your car too (after all, garage prices in the city equal rent in some parts of the country).

That's where ZipCar comes in. Cars are available all over the city, and are usually about $13-$16 an hour. And let's face it, sometimes you just need to get out of the city for a bit.

11. Love Is Art

Best for: The Romantic

This might be a good gift to save for Valentine's Day, but the sensual art package is good any time of year.

South African-born abstract artist Jeremy Brown created an artists' kit designed for couples to create art during their most intimate moments. Each package comes with a canvas and specially formulated paint in up to four non-toxic colors of your choosing. 

There's also a drop cloth to protect surfaces from paint splatters, disposable slippers to  walk from the canvas to the shower, and a body scrubber.  You then can hang it up and it'll be your little secret as to how it was created. 

Most kits range from $60-$75.

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