What a time to be alive.

The pandemic persists, as do other large-scale (and not-entirely-unrelated) woes like systemic injustice and climate change — all while many of us are trying to make the work week “work” once more. Most of us could use even the tiniest of respites from trying to juggle it all. That’s where our gift guide comes in. 

Now, there’s surely something to be said for emphasizing non-material expressions of appreciation, especially as our finances are still rebounding and supply-chain woes place added pressure on shoppers and sellers alike. But for those who earnestly enjoy gift-giving, or for those who want to show they care from a safe distance, we have an array of options that provide breaks, big and small, to recipients of all ages and interests.

Bonus: With these gifts, you’ll be lifting up women-owned small businesses — a sector of our economy that continues to struggle from the effects of a pandemic-induced recession.

So if you’re starting to brainstorm what to get for others as the holiday season nears — from your employees, who are expertly navigating their hybrid work schedules, to your closest gal pal, who’s an unapologetic wine (or weed) mom, and everyone in between — we’ve got you covered.

All gifts were independently researched, reviewed and chosen by The Story Exchange, which does not earn a commission. Product images are credited to each business owner.

An At-Home Sommelier Session

Remote sommelier consultations from Vanessa Raymond of Telesomm — To be sure, this is one of our more high-end offerings. And it should be noted that participants must procure their own wine. But Telesomm’s localized experts help users every step of the way. And as far as pandemic-era socializing goes, this is an especially clever, yet safe, way to “gather.”

$100 - Available here

A Spa Day - in a Box

The Sophia Luxury Gift Box from Amanda Klingenberger of Linden Square — The notably beautiful packaging makes this feel like an indulgence before you even open it up. When you do, though, things get even better — with candles, bath tablets and more awaiting you. If ever you wanted an “escape” while in your own bathroom, this kit will surely provide.

$65 - Available here

A Decadent Naptime Addition

Mulberry Silk Pillowcase from Danielle Jackson of Celestial Silk — To describe these as “soft” would be an understatement. If you’re looking to sink into a good night’s rest, laying your head down on these will assist. And with 31 colors to choose from — all of them created with non-toxic dyes, Jackson notes — you’ll surely find one that fits your style, as well as your sleep needs.

$38.99 - Available here

A Kit for Readying Your Zoom Face

Hot Gyal Starter Kit from Keisha Bent of Bent Beauty — Whether you’re comfortable with (careful) nights out on the town, or if you’re sticking with online meet-ups for the time being, some of us still enjoy throwing on some makeup. Bent’s comprehensive kit makes the getting-ready process as much of a fun diversion as the hangout itself.

$60 - Available here

A Sweet Afternoon Snack

Individual cupcake kits from Sarah Neal of InstaCake Cards — Who says you can’t have a “great escape” at your desk, or on your couch? We tested them, and these cards and kits were adorable, easy-to-use, and the end result was quite yummy! They’re a perfectly sweet way of saying “thank you” to one special someone, or a whole hard-working crew.

$18.99 - Available here

A Fun Craft for Those Far and Near

Marquise Earrings from Amy Dryer of Create Connect Jewelry — Jewelry wearers and lovers will adore this fun (and simple) way to create their own statement earrings. The bold colors and gold accents will make them a conversation-starter on their own. Now imagine someone getting to say they (mostly) made them themselves!

$22 - Available here

A Sexy, Sustainable Bedtime Outfit

Silk chemise from May Deldari of Maylyn & Co. — Combining “feeling gorgeous” and “taking care of the planet” is a tall order for any gift. Yet this flirty blue number, full of fun details, is more than equal to the task — and the ethically sourced, plant-based material Deldari uses for her fashions feels decadent to boot.

$100 - Available here

An Easy, Award-Winning Nightcap

Grisly’s Cosmic Black from Samantha Franklin of Black Yeti Beverage Co. — If you’re a Jack-and-coke lover, this one’s especially for you. But either way, at the end of a long day, these make for a rather fun, rather easy (and rather sweet) drink option. No shaking or stirring necessary; just crack open a can from this pack of four and enjoy!

$15.99 - Available here

A Welcome Respite from Screen Time

Crafting kits from Kirsten Field of Kids Crafts LLC — These thoughtful kits are geared toward kids, with crafting activities, info cards and more that spotlight historical women like artist Frida Kahlo and former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Give them a break from the tablet, while still giving yourself a break from the caregiving.

$29.99 - Available here

A Gorgeous Way to Make Mulled Wine

Mulled wine kit from Kim Cruickshanks of Cooking Gift Set Co. — The packaging of these kits makes them a standout option from the outset. But then, each kit contains enough goodies — from whole anise stars to dried orange slices — to make mulled wine out of eight bottles of your favorite red. (Or your favorite cider, for those who prefer nonalcoholic options.)

$49.99 - Available here

A Candle to Get You Humming

“Brown Sugar” candle from Samm Stangeland of Rock & Roll Candle Co. — No one will mind having a song stuck in their head with the way these candles make a home smell — especially a classic. We liked the clever concept (there are nine songs to choose from in all, as well as a fun lighter) as much as we liked the subtly sweet scent of these handsome candles.

$20 - Available here

A Box of Women-Made Wellness Gifts

Self Care & Lifestyle Box from Denisse Espalter of Unboxed Life and Style — This gift isn’t just about a temporary escape from the grind. It’s about escaping the patterns that are wearing you down. Its contents, sourced mostly from other women-owned businesses, are as much about empowering recipients as they are about pampering them.

$49.99 - Available here

A Fashionable Backpack for Getaways

Classic backpack from Matilda Sandstroem of Adventurist — These backpacks, which come in a variety of colors, are comfy, sturdy, and large enough to fit everything you’d need for a trip down (or up) your favorite nearby hiking trail. It’ll be that much easier to enjoy all that fresh air knowing you have everything you need right there with you.

$65 - Available here

A Stylish Way to Enjoy Your Weed

Silicone bong from Burgess Powell of Hydroponique — For those who “partake” to get away from the stresses of the day, this colorful bong offers a sturdier, dishwasher-safe alternative to the glass and plastic options currently dominating the market. It also has a suction cup on the bottom, for safe storage between hits. (Plus, both the turquoise and violet options are really pretty!)

$39.99 - Available here

A Fun Tea Time Gift for All 5 Senses

Butterfly pea flower tea from Deborah Agustoni of Saathea — “Cool!” It’s not the usual exclamation one offers during tea time, but this tea’s almost neon-blue hue is truly noteworthy. Even better, though, is that Agustoni sources her signature product from women growers in Cambodia, providing them with economic opportunity (and customers with a unique and tasty tea experience).

$16 - Available here