Holiday gifts tend to fall into two categories: the well-meaning but unwanted or the safe but generic. Why not go for unique, fun and interesting instead? We've rounded up 10 holiday items—some off-the-wall, some useful, some both—to enhance the digs of every New Yorker on your list:
For your friend, relative or roommate who is always losing everything, give them BiKN, a set of smartphone-enabled labels. Simply attach the BiKN tags to anything important—your keys, your backpack, even your dog—and use the BiKN app on your phone to locate them if they go missing. Alternatively, and brilliantly, you can also use one of the tags to locate your phone if it's ever lost. A starter kit costs $129.99 and comes with a smartphone case, plus two tags. $129.99, BiKN.com.
2. WOOD CHRISTMAS TREE BY RETREE
If it’s time for your loved one to graduate from mini table-top tree to full-fledged Christmas tree, this wooden version from Retree is a good option. The six-foot-high fake tree takes up a minuscule amount of space when disassembled, much less than your average artificial tree, and is less maintenance than real greenery. Who wants to spend the holidays sweeping up needles anyway? (It's eco-friendly, too!) On top of that, it’s also easy to put together and adds a modern, chic look to any home. $320, RetreeJoy.com.
Perfect for the person or family on the go during the holidays, this compact, magnetic menorah breaks down for easy storage, and comes with a black velvet travel bag and test tubes to protect the candle holders. $160, ModernTribe.com.
If you’ve ever thrown a holiday party, you know the one thing that will kill the seasonal joy is scrubbing punch stains out of the carpet. Give your host or hostess the gift of never having to touch the ridiculous amount of Solo cups littered about with a home cleaning from Homejoy. Gift cards can be given in any amount, they never expire and they can be sent instantly via email, if you’re really in a pinch. HomeJoy.com.
The August Smart Lock is a good bet for co-op and condo owners with frequent guests, a regular dog walker or a cleaning service. The system is managed on a smartphone or computer and eliminates the need for keys; you simply send virtual codes to any visitor to give them access to your home. Also, it can sense your approach and open the door for you when you arrive, as well as lock up once the door has been closed. It’s easy to install, as it replaces the interior portion of your existing deadbolt. $249.99, August.com.
6. GLOW STICK MENORAH
This colorful menorah is flame-free and a fitting choice for kids and college students alike. The menorah includes nine glow sticks in four different colors, and replacement glow sticks are also available. $32, ModernTribe.com.
7. BETTER BATTER BEATER
Make things a little easier for the baker in your life with this sleek, cordless beater, and help them avoid the awkwardness of plugging a mixer into the one weirdly located outlet in the kitchen. It offers up to two hours of battery life, and the removable head is dishwasher safe. $19.99, Prepara.com.
If you’re looking for a gift to capture the spirit of Christmas without all the shmaltz, look no further than this funky Steampunk tree topper. It’s made with laser-cut cardboard, so it’s lightweight while being extremely detailed. $25, Etsy shop SplendidColors.
The bartender's answer to a Swiss Army knife, this all-in-one bar tool has 10 different instruments, from a zester and a muddler to a jigger and a strainer. And it certainly keeps the kitchen drawers or bar cart clutter-free. $39.99, UncommonGoods.com.