Tech gifts

Light up their holidays with digital gifts – from affordable speakers and a portable planetarium to blow-out-the-budget virtual reality systems.

Moshi iGlaze Ion

This excellent, fairly lightweight battery pack offers you extra juice and some peace of mind.


Pencil by Fifty Three

A tried-and-true stylus for sketchers and writers looking to split the difference between the digital and analog worlds.


JBL Clip 2

The compact speaker is not the loudest on the market, but it is an excellent value for its price.


Echo Dot

The downsized version of the full Echo is a great addition to your nightstand.


Universe2Go personal planetarium

Put the universe within reach with the goggle-like housing for your phone and companion app.


PlayStation VR

PlayStation headset is probably going to be the best VR buy for the most people.


HTC Vive

HTC’s headset offers the best virtual reality experience on the market right now.


Sense with Voice Sleep Tracker

If you have the patience, it is a great tool for understanding what goes on when you’re off in dreamland.


Nest Cam Outdoor

The simple-to-use outdoor security camera lets you keep an eye on things from afar, but it is best for the DIY crowd.


iPad Pro, 9.7-inch model

The tablet can almost replace a laptop thanks to its booming sound and ultra-fast processing.

Starts at $599

Prices listed above may vary.

Home gifts

For people who love, love, love to nest and entertain, a gift for the home is always a win.

Cocktail Napkins Sets

Charm any hostess with one of nine witty animal napkins.


Photo: A Mano

Faribault Plaid Blanket

When you can’t give a gift in person, a warm blanket is the perfect thing to send.


Photo: CB2

Tastemaker Recommendation

Flower Arrangement

“I enjoy giving luxuries one might not buy for oneself. Like beautiful flowers!” In the D.C. area, he recommends choosing six special dates for arrangements from Barbara Hamilton of Ociana.

Barry Dixon, interior designer

$175-$550 per arrangement, D.C.-area delivery

Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

Three Piece Bamboo Bowl Set with Pour Spouts

Give a baker an update on her workhorse mixing bowls.


Photo: Click! Design That Fits

White Butter Keeper

Any foodie with a love for handcrafted items will appreciate this piece.


Photo: James Ransom/Food52

Tastemaker Recommendation

Heath Ceramics

“I love the classic Californian design of Heath Ceramics. Their pieces are elegant and down-to-earth and feel great in the hand.”

Melissa Ho, Renwick Gallery curator of 20th-century art

Winter seasonal bud vase set, $104

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

Eat Cake 3 Piece Set

Encourage your baker-in-law to keep on baking with this set.


Photo: Kate Spade New York

Insulated Wine Tote

The smart, plaid tote is like an entertainer’s emergency travel kit.


Photo: Eric A. Zepeda/Mark & Graham

Tastemaker Recommendation

Box of Six Rancé Soaps

“Luxurious soaps are a practical luxury. I love Rancé soaps and always put a fresh bar in guest rooms. It’s an ancient product made for kings and queens of France.”

Barry Dixon, interior designer


Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

Toolbox Grill

There is no more perfect gift for the outdoorsy person in your life.


Photo: Suck UK

Ice Cream Scoop and Bowls

Inspire the dessert-maker in your life to swirl up some goodies.

Soapstone Ice Cream Scoop, $25

Hot and Cold Soapstone Handheld Bowls, Set of two, $60

Photo: UncommonGoods

Concrete Jungle Bookend

For a book or cookbook lover, go beyond a bookend.


Photo: Urban Outfitters

Tastemaker Recommendation

Jelly Roll Morton’s Library of Congress Recordings

The jazz pianist talks music, what it was like in New Orleans at the turn of the century, and all of his crazy tales about life there.

Jason Moran, Kennedy Center artistic director for jazz

New and used from $94.89

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

Prices listed above may vary.


For the readers in your life, books are the perfect gift. Let the editors of Book World make it easy for you with these picks.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton (Workman)

This wonderfully illustrated atlas highlights the world’s most unusual and little-known sites.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster)

This year Springsteen bared his soul in a memoir.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Lyrics: 1961-2012

Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster)

The iconic folk singer is now a Nobel laureate.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post


Ann Patchett (Harper)

An illicit kiss at a christening breaks apart two marriages and throws two families together.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Tastemaker Recommendation

The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects

“It’s an intriguing idea to discover and follow the history of America through visual objects.”

Martin Dahinden, Swiss ambassador to U.S.


Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Amy Schumer (Gallery)

Schumer reveals her life in essays that whiplash from hilarious to grim.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Hidden Figures

Margot Lee Shetterly (Morrow)

The unsung work of a group of black female mathematicians who helped build NASA.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post


John Lewis, Andrew Aydin; illustrated by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)

This commemorative set contains all three volumes of Lewis’s graphic novels about the Civil Rights Movement.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

My Own Words

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Simon & Schuster)

The Supreme Court justice’s speeches, opinions and writings.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

The Pigeon Tunnel

John le Carré (Viking)

With this memoir, the master of the spy novel finally comes in from the cold.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Tastemaker Recommendation

Children’s Book gift Basket

The Newbery-winning author recommends assembling a gift basket with some of his faves: “Zoe in Wonderland” by Brenda Woods, anything by Mo Willems, Debbie Levy and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s “We Shall Overcome” and his own book “The Crossover.”

Kwame Alexander, poet

From $10

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (Simon & Schuster)

A behind-the-scenes look at the popular sitcom and why it endures.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

Ruth Franklin (Liveright)

There is so much more to this offbeat author than just “The Lottery.”


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family

Daniel Bergner (Lee Boudreaux)

The inspiring story of how Ryan Speedo Green rose from juvenile delinquent to opera star.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Today Will be Different

Maria Semple (Little, Brown)

The author of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is back with another loopy, darkly comic novel.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

The Trespasser

Tana French (Viking)

Two detectives from the Dublin Murder Squad are assigned to investigate the death of a young woman.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

In this thrilling tale of a woman escaping slavery, the underground railroad is an actual subterranean train system.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia

Ursula K. Le Guin (Library of America)

This volume gathers Le Guin’s fiction set in the imaginary country of Orsinia.


Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post

Prices listed above may vary.


From robots to race cars, Stephanie Oppenheim, KidsPost’s go-to toy expert, found the holiday toy lineup has never been stronger.

3Doodler Start (Pen Sets)

Age 8 and older

Coolest toy ever, some kids say after using the pen to draw 3D objects in the air.

$50-$100 (mega set)

Photo: Lewis Durkin/WobbleWorks

Tastemaker Recommendation


“Don’t tell my general manager. I have one, but I left it back home. . . . I just fell in love with trying new tricks and just getting the balance right.”

Kelly Oubre Jr., Washington Wizards forward

Dusters x Grateful Dead Bertha 35-inch Pintail Longboard Complete, $220

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

American Girl Melody (And Book)

Age 8 and older

Melody is an African American girl growing up in Detroit in the 1960s.


Photo: American Girl


Age 6 and older

Watch out: The sneaky hexbug could be lurking in one of the game’s drain pipes.


Photo: Ravensburger

CHiP Interactive Robot Pet Dog

Ages 8 to 15

This Canine Home Intelligent Pet is always ready to play.


Photo: Samuel Pasquier/WowWee


Age 8 and older

“Cute” is just one of the words used to describe this little bot.


Photo: Leah Verwey/Anki

Dr. Eureka

Age 8 and older

Looking for a fun science game? We have found it.


Photo: Blue Orange

Journey Girls Dolls, New York 2016

Ages 6 to 12

These seven BFFs have been globetrotting since 2010.

$40 each

Photo: Toys R Us

Lego Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster

Ages 8 to 12

Spend a fun day at the amusement park on the four-car roller coaster and more.


Photo: Lego

Rebel U-Wing Fighter

Ages 8 to 14

We have a good feeling about this toy, the latest in Lego’s “Star Wars” series.


Photo: Lego

The Magic School Bus Human Body Lab

Ages 5 to 12

No bones about it, this toy is fun and educational.


Photo: Young Scientists Club

Tastemaker Recommendation

Art Design Kit

“I would give an art design kit. Pencils, pens, papers, just things an artist would need . . . Just give them the basics to create something simple.”

Kelly Oubre Jr., Washington Wizards forward

Royal and Langnickel Sketching and Drawing Artist Set for Beginners, $17

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

It’s My Life Scrapbook

Age 7 and older

Rhinestones, a marker, stencils and 200-plus stickers add to the fun.


Photo: Creativity for Kids

Playmobil Furnished Children’s Hospital

Ages 5 to 10

This 291-piece kit comes fully equipped for the would-be doctor.


Photo: Playmobil


Age 10 and older

The twist to this card game is that everyone plays at the same time.


Photo: Gamewright

Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Remote Control Showdown Set

Age 8 and older

Mustangs and Camaros race down 60 feet of glow-in-the-dark track.


Photo: Skullduggery

Prices listed above may vary.

Video games

The best present is something to play with, whether you’re a kid or just feel like one. Check out this year’s crop of mesmerizing and just plain addictive video games.

Dragon Quest Builders


A classic franchise meets a “Minecraft”-style building world with good results.


Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Lego has adapted this game to be part love letter and part parody.




"Mesmerizing" may be the best word for this game, which is supported by the PlayStation VR headset.


Skylanders Imaginators


The game takes another creative leap forward with the best customization yet in the franchise.


Song of the Deep


The exploratory game offers a lot of bang for its buck with a lot of playtime and surprises to uncover.


Civilization VI


This is one of those franchises that manages to stay familiar while never getting too stale.




Pure team-based fun, but the online multiplayer game is arguably better with your real-life friends.




This innovative game is worth checking out if you like a slower pace to your play.


Battlezone VR


This game puts players in the cockpit of a hovertank, thanks to the PlayStation VR headset.




The indie game is unique, dark and utterly engaging.


Prices listed above may vary.

Food gifts

Whether it’s practical, stylish or just plain delicious, the right gift can delight the food and drink lovers on your list.

Watercolor Art Prints

Add a fun pop of color with prints from Washington artist Marcella Kriebel.

$20; $38 with frame

Photo: Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

K.O. Handle Growler

The fashionable ceramic stoneware from Washington-based Bernard goods provides better insulation than glass.


Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nesting Trays

The trays from Elizabeth Benotti Handmade Ceramics in Henniker, N.H., combine good looks with function.

Small, $54; medium, 70; large, $88

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Small Wooden Board

The board doubles as functional cutting surface and stylish serving ware.


Photo: Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

Tastemaker Recommendation

Swiss Army Knife

“I would gift someone a Swiss Army knife, a useful gift in many ways: You can use it to cook (knife), to repair (screwdriver), to open (bottle opener) or to smooth (nail file).”

Martin Dahinden, Swiss ambassador to U.S.

Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan II pocketknife, $17

Victorinox Swiss Army EvoWood 17 Swiss Army knife, $55

Photo: Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post

Seasoned Carbon Steel

The Lodge skillet is lighter than cast iron but provides the same thorough heat retention.

12-inch skillet, $50

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Pallarès Solsona Navaja Folding Knife

The knife — made in Spain and featuring a carbon steel blade and olive wood handle — is ideal for the traveling epicure.


Photo: Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

KitchenAid Pro Line Series Blender with Thermal Jar

The 3.5-peak-horsepower motor provides serious power. A recipe book is included with purchase.


Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Tea Towels or Oven Mitts

The designs from Washington-based Naked Decor are on point.

Oven mitt, $15; tea towel set, $28

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Hot Handle Holder

A leather handle holder from Lodge for cast iron or carbon steel is handier than you might think.

Leather, $21 (other materials available)

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Craft Cocktail Box

Up a lucky someone’s bartending game with this box from Wild Roots Apothecary in Sperryville, Va.

Grande, $75; petite, $38

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Coffee Club Subscription

A subscription from Atlas Coffee Club delivers single-origin coffee (whole beans or ground) from around the world.

Starting at $14 per shipment

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Tastemaker Recommendation

Blue Apron subscription

“I’d go over to the gift recipient’s house and cook them the first meal from a Blue Apron subscription while listening to one record on repeat. And that record is Buika’s ‘Niña de Fuego.’”

Jason Moran, Kennedy Center artistic director for jazz

One week at $59.94 for two people, $69.92 for four

Photo: Blue Apron


Heritage grains are freshly milled into super flavorful flours from Hayden Flour Mills in Queen Creek, Ariz.

Artisan bread flour, $10; semolina flour, $8.50; purple and bronze ancient barley, $8.50

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Oaxacan Moles

Moles from Guelaguetza in Los Angeles are the next best thing to made-from-scratch.

Festival de Mole bundle with three varieties: Rojo, Coloradito and Negro, $32

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Heirloom Beans Sampler

The sampler from Llano Seco provides a good starting point for exploring the diverse world of legumes.


Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Prices listed above may vary.

Travel gifts

Make travel more efficient, more comfortable or just more fun for the jet-setters in your life.

Slim Sonic Toothbrush

A welcome alternative to lugging your electric toothbrush and charger on vacation.


Photo: Container Store

Necktie Travel Roll

Rolling rather than folding your clothes is the packing trend of the moment — why should your tie be an exception?


Photo: Uncommon Goods

Point it: Traveller’s Language Kit

This slim volume could mean the end of inefficient charades for non-speakers of the local language.


Photo: MoMA Design Store,


A little something for those of you who spend the first few hours of every day on the road trying to find a decent cup of coffee.


Photo: Courtesy of The Grommet

Toiletry Sheets

An ingenious way to sidestep those pesky TSA regulations about liquids.

Set of two, $10

Photo: Travelon

Atlas Cork Board Set

Part scrapbook, part art installation, this is a great way to document where you have been — or map out the future.


Photo: Seattle's Travel Shop

Mask Bunny Luggage Tag

Here’s a kids’ luggage tag that’s likely to stand out on the baggage carousel.



The Getaway Passport Holder

Break away from that classic navy passport cover and let the world know how you really feel.



Matador Daylite16 Backpack

Boost your carrying capacity on the fly: This full-size backpack fits into a tiny storage bag when not in use.


Photo: Matador

Collar Perfect Compact Touch-up and Portable Iron

Just enough iron to smooth out travel’s inevitable crinkles and creases.


Photo: Courtesy of The Grommet

2017 Bon Voyage Wall Calendar

Rifle Paper Co. brings its characteristic ebullience to this calendar inspired by travel destinations.


Photo: Rifle Paper Co.

Cooling Eye Pads

For a whimsical jet lag cure, just pop these babies into the minibar.


Photo: Paper Source

Rothy’s Flats

Looking for a comfy, machine-washable travel shoe that is made from recycled water bottles? We thought so.


Photo: Rothy's

Prices listed above may vary.