Design

Gift Guide #4: Your Outdoorsy Sister Who Makes the Best Chicken Parm and Whom You Cannot WAIT to Squeeze.

The softest sweats for her to wear on repeat this winter, $69.50.

A funny hat to continue a conversation you’ve been having for decades. $30.

A faux fur blanket for cuddling up while watching Schitt’s Creek, from $45. (The company is on a mission to ban the sale of real fur in the United States.)

Pumpkin spice caramels, handmade and handwrapped in Chicago. $10 for 20 pieces.

One of the great books of 2020, such as The Vanishing Half, Writers & Lovers and Untamed. Or a collection of your all-time favorite books to enjoy (for me: Olive Kitteridge, An American Marriage and Away From Her.)

The cutest carafe, $65, to make her bedroom feel like a soft landing place.

Mittens inspired by duvets, for long winter walks. $45.

A vegan boar-bristle brush with a serious cult following, $28. (The reviews are bananas, and New York Magazine compares it to Mason Pearson.)

Rummikub, the best game, and a promise to play together as soon as possible. $7.50.

Zee, a cute, three-speed vibrator that my friends and I swear by, $30. Or this amazing number that really hits the spot!

A donation in her name to The Outdoors for All Foundation, which helps enrich the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through outdoor recreation. Because she believes in the power of nature so deeply.

P.S. The 2018 sister gift guide, the 2019 sister gift guide, and the 2020 gift guide so far.

(Vanishing Half photo from Riverhead Books. Braid photo by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Elle says...

    Often the redirecting links don’t work for me (in the UK), so I don’t know what product is being mentioned :'( please enlighten me on the brush and consider mentioning the name in future instead of just linking! I have had so many great recommendations over the years from CoJ <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sorry about that! it’s Briogeo: https://briogeohair.com xoxo

  2. Donna says...

    Love love love this gift guide! I’m probably gonna gift myself that faux fur blanket 🤗

  3. Cailey says...

    Hi – I just wanted to cautiously suggest that COJ put some thought into celebrating UnHide’s mission to ENTIRELY ban the sale of real fur in the US. I also do not support commercial fur farming, however fur sales are much more nuanced than that. Trapping and fur sales are an important aspect of many Indigenous communities economies (particularly in northern Canada). Typically Indigenous fur industries are sustainably sourced and managed by communities that use the entire animal harvested. Banning all sales of real fur also means banning long-term and sustainable Indigenous fur economies.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, this is so helpful and informative, cailey. xoxo

    • Cailey says...

      For more info – this documentary provides an explanation of the Inuit fur economies in Northern Canada and the effect that anti-fur activism has on that economy: https://www.cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/episodes/angry-inuk
      This is just one example of many communities that support their livelihoods with sustainable fur trade.

  4. Kate says...

    These are my favorite gift guides and I buy a bunch of stuff from them every year! Is there any chance CoJ would roll them out a little faster this year, though, since shipping times are going to be longer and most of us (hopefully) will be mailing our gifts instead of giving them in person?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note! yes, we will try to do them asap — another one potentially coming up tomorrow! thank you xoxoxo

  5. Robin says...

    That “should I get bangs” hat is hilarious and I’m tempted to buy it ironically. For me it has always been “should I grow my bangs out?”. I have had bangs since childhood, with a very brief stint in my mid-20s sans bangs. My hair just seems to want to grow directly over my face. But the flattened, messy look post-bike helmet or winter toque is such a pain! Truly an eternal dilemma.

  6. Mel says...

    My sister recently got me a faux-fur blanket with a hood and buttons. It’s my favorite thing–every time I wrap myself up in it I imagine my sister is giving me a hug.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so sweet. <3

  7. Katherine says...

    Ok real talk. HOW DO YOU DO THESE BEAUTIFUL FISHTAIL BRAIDS?!?

  8. Carla says...

    I wanted to take a look at the mentioned reviews for the vegan boar bristle brush but I don’t see any at the link! Where can I find them?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks, Carla! we were talking about reviewers/editors/bloggers writing about them online — New York magazine, beauty sites, etc. people were going ape!

  9. Shawn says...

    I was so pleasantly shocked and surprised to see Outdoors for All on this list. As a local Seattleite, I have volunteered with them several times and have collaborated with them to ensure kids I work with get access to the outdoors. I can personally attest to the fact that they are an amazing organization that positively impacts MANY lives and increases the participation in the outdoors for everyone. Thank you for considering donating to them this holiday season. 💜

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, thank you so much, Shawn!

  10. Christina says...

    My sister and I have been sending the Loft sweatsuit back and forth all year long. “oh it’s on sale again!” I think I have it in four colors now.

    I texted her last night to say, “we’re so on trend!” Thanks for making us feel cool, Joanna. :)

    • Laura S says...

      Christina — same with my sisters! And we just ordered a set for our Mom as well. Love it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha yay! I wear it pretty much every day :)

  11. Francesca says...

    The link for the gloves is missing – they look great/cozy! Thanks for the ideas :)

  12. Emma G Poole says...

    The vibrator on this list really hits the spot…it would be funny to gift the carafe with a cute little vibrator tucked inside. Surprise! Favorite gift guide yet <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!! Love it.

  13. MK says...

    I can personally attest to the AMAZING-ness of the UnHide blankets! You gotta get one if you love being warm and comfortable.

  14. Molly says...

    Thank you so much for including cruelty-free options :)

    • Lissy says...

      Yes yes yes to this list! A vibrator! Sweats! Books!

  15. Nathalie says...

    Lots of great ideas here but my take away is I want to paint my nails to match my favourite book covers!

  16. Meg says...

    Didn’t buy anything on the list but did make chicken parm for dinner after reading this post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yum!

  17. SARAH says...

    Writers & Lovers was my favorite book that I read this summer. Funny, authentic, lovely writing, and uplifting. Would be a great gift.

  18. Taylor says...

    COJ community! Can anyone recommend a small business or independent creator who makes a dishwasher safe serving platter? Ceramic, porcelain, etc—just something pretty that can serve as a centerpiece for the hot items in a meal? My mom has been serving dinner family style on the same single platter she’s had since I was a kiddo and I’d love to give her another to put in the rotation. Thank you!!

  19. Roxana says...

    This is a great list!
    Also, The Outdoors for All Foundation is making me weepy. What a beautiful organization! They’re not located near me, but as the mother of a kiddo who has Down syndrome I thank you so much for including them!

  20. Jessica Catherine says...

    There’s a Rummikub app!! You can play with friends on it too! That’s how my family plays right now during quarantine!!

    • ml says...

      No way! Thank you!! We love this game. : )

  21. Addie says...

    I love that you put a vibrator on the list!! Due to some medications I take it became difficult to achieve an orgasm so I started looking and found the Lelo….for the love….it is amazing 😉 so for my antidepressant taking fellow readers out there-you can have your cake and eat it too 😂

  22. Jules says...

    I have never heard of rummikub but I am getting it right now. Very excited to find a new fun game! Also made a note to read about this brush. You know, for my sister…. or me!

    • b says...

      Rummikub is so fun. I used to play with my grandparents and my uncle – things got fierce. That braid is all my lifelong hair dreams in one image.

    • Katie says...

      I grew up with the game and love it!!!! Highly recommend!

    • Such great ideas! And I love the writing that goes with each. With such a modern and progressive audience, I’d love to see more eco-friendly options on these lists. Like a Merino wool blanket (super-fine wool so less scratchy than standard lambs wool) or organic cotton throw for cuddling up in on the couch, or a glass jar of local honey, outdoor wear that’s made from recycled materials, handmade candy that’s plastic-wrapper free etc. So many great businesses out there working hard to minimise damage to the environment, while still making beautiful products x

  23. Bec says...

    Giggling at the thought of my mum’s face if my sister or I unwrapped a vibrator around the tree on Christmas morning! Haha all lovely gift ideas though.

    • AR says...

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED writers and lovers and already ordered it for my sister :-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Me too! Such a great book — esp if you loved normal people.

    • Cheryl says...

      My mom asked me to buy her a vibrator for Xmas last year
      She’s 74. She was inspired by “Grace and Frankie” and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. She needed my help because she didn’t know where to buy one safely online! A total OMG moment.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg I LOVE that Cheryl!!!!!

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Haha Bec, did you watch Fleabag? “It was supposed to be a bedroom present.” (Both meanings in this case)

  24. Lesley says...

    rummikub always and forever!