Ramsey Qubein, Contributor
Secret Santa is a popular holiday tradition in the workplace, among friends and family, and even with online acquaintances. Depending on how close you are to your Secret Santa, the type of gift you consider can vary by price or purpose. Don’t forget about all of the online Black Friday vacation deals and Cyber Monday discounts when looking for the perfect gift. For the frequent traveler in your life, these are some creative gift ideas that can improve their trip when away from home or make them feel happy to be home after a long trip.
Known for its variety of fragrances and candles, Kendi Lux has several new scents on the market this year. And their names are quite interesting, which makes them entertaining gifts. The holiday and Noir collection includes names like Morning Wood, French Kiss, Peach Fuzz, Cocobum and Eternal Flame. They come in black or white containers that look great on a countertop, dinner table or even by the bathtub. Typically, the candles retail for $35, but there are special sale prices on the brand’s website.
If you want to encourage family, friends or colleagues to drink more water, why not make it taste good? Waterdrop has a series of drink cubes that can be used in cold or lukewarm water as well as a micro tea that can dissolve in hot water. Different flavors can make drinking water fun, and a steel water bottle makes drinking more water eco-friendly. Each drink cube can provide different enhancements from boosting energy or focus to relaxation for that perfect evening cup of tea. The Waterdrop Steel Starter Set retails for $52 online.
Beyond water, travelers may want something heartier to drink between meals without lugging a heavy bottle around all day. Kencko’s latest smoothie flavors can be just the perfect gift. Its powdered sachets for $2.49 each pack a punch with a daily boost of nutrient and vitamin-rich ingredients. You’ll get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables when adding water to this powder pack and shaking it vigorously on the go. It’s a great gift for flavor seekers that need a more balanced diet. The newest flavors include “pitaya pinks” (gut-friendly fiber from passionfruit, raspberry and lucama, which also contribute to cell repair) and “sunny guavas” (packed with Vitamins A and C using carrot, mango, sweet potato, guava and papaya for better vision and immune function).
This portable speaker is a great gift for a frequent traveler or even someone who wants to work remotely without losing access to their favorite tunes. Two 2’’ full range drivers and two passive radiators give this compact speaker a mega punch for excellent sound. Bluetooth capability means you can listen to music wherever you go for 15+ hours of play time between charges.
It charges up fast, too, needing only 20 minutes plugged in for 3 hours of uninterrupted play. The Marshall Willen speaker is both dust and water-resistant, and its size means that it can easily fit anywhere (standing up, on its side or laid down). It can also be connected to another speaker for even more amplified sound making this quite a deal for music lovers with a price tag around $119.
If you know a warm-blooded sleeper, the Rest Evercool Cooling Comforter could be the best gift. Retailing for around $200, this blanket encourages a more sound rest and helps to prevent night sweats. Cool to the touch, the comforter is incredibly smooth and soft, and the company says it helps to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) promoting deeper sleep. The lap-tested fabric is softer and stronger than silk and is moisture-wicking. It is also hypoallergenic and fully sustainable. This cooling and breathable comforter is the type of gift that can last all year long.
For someone that wants to freshen up their home, the exotic Kai fragrance comes in the form of linen spray, home fragrance and room diffusers. The cruelty-free and vegan scent is lively and sweet. The reed diffuser blends together exotic perfumes and natural essences with a slow release into your home. Many other scents can be overpowering, but these are both balanced and delicate meaning that you can use them on a daily basis. The linen and room spray can create a welcoming and familiar scent that travelers look forward to returning home to after a long trip.
Dubbed the the “IV in a bottle,” the Biolyte electrolyte drink was created by a cancer patient who was looking for a way to reset and energize the body. With the same amount of electrolytes as an IV bag, Biolyte serves multiple purposes today including for athletes, those feeling unwell or after a late night of partying. The recovery drink can help fight headaches, hangovers, fatigue, cramps and dehydration. It comes in a variety of flavors and makes a great gift for the frequent traveler looking for a pick-me-up after a long trip.
Have a friend that wants to start a podcast? Or maybe they do a lot of remote work from non-traditional locations? The Blast Mic from Blast Radio allows them to record content to download later to edit, export and share. The microphone has can capture audio and livestream it instantly and easily by pressing one button. It can be used as a standard microphone (karaoke anybody?), but also for recording professional content, including the ability to mount on a tripod. The free Blast Radio app allows users to upload and share their content giving people an instant audience for their content. Within the app, listeners can share feedback and ask questions as well as follow for future uploads.
If you want the candle that is just right for you, Scent Lab has created the first personalized candle experience. It is a fun way to design your own candle that matches your preferred fragrance and scent notes. Users start by sharing personal lifestyle habits, choosing scents from different lists that form the primary and secondary components of the perfume, and then choose the vessel color and style they want for the candle. Once complete, Scent Lab crafts the one-of-a-kind candle, personalized with your own name, of course, and ships it directly to you. The nifty concept is similar in price to other large, upscale candles clocking in at less than $50.
Forget fruit cakes and Yule logs. Perk up the chilly season with a tasty, island-flavored aloha to your Secret Santa with a gift box from Mana Up, a female-run company in Hawaii. These affordable snack sets come packed with locally-made food products from the state that support Native Hawaiian-owned and culinary and agricultural-focused small businesses. The company has helped over 70 Hawaii based food businesses grow their brand beyond the state while bringing unique and fun flavors to people beyond the state. Boxes include everything from Island Harvest Sea Salt and Ulu Mana Sweet Potato to Kauai Sweet Shoppe Pineapple Caramel and Big Island Coffee Roasters Espresso Bites.
For the foodie in your life, these spicy and tangy sauces from Brooklyn Delhi add plentiful flavor to any dish. Whether you are cooking Indian cuisine or want to add it to pasta, grain bowls, salads, or grilled meats and fish, these exotic and unique tastes have ample fans. The company offers a variety of gift boxes of premium Indian pantry staples including curries and masalas plus hot sauce and flavored ketchups. All of these Indian condiments and sauces were developed by chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal. Even the beautiful gift box has designs created by a Delhi-based artist.
Another option are these West African spice rubs from Yolélé that can kick up the flavor palate of any barbecue, seafood or meat dish. You can also use them in a variety of other recipes. The U.S.-based African food business has recently added a line of spice rubs and mixes to its line of pilafs, grains, flour and chips from the African continent. These are perfect for frequent travelers that want to experience new or familiar flavors long after a trip has ended. Among the new options are “yassa” (a blend of scotch bonnet chili, onion and thyme), “rof” (a mix of parsley, chili and scallions) and “Afro-funk” (an umami-heavy mix of dawadawa, garlic and mushroom).
In recent years, keeping our space clean and fresh has never been more important, and this air purifier is the perfect gift. The Puraclenz P1500 Air Purifier is ideal for interior spaces as large as 1,500 sq ft making it a great gift for offices or apartments. It can help deactivate bacteria, get rid of viruses and odors in the air, and eliminate particles from the air and exposed surfaces. This is a great gift for frequent travelers, but also those with pets or those that live in packed cities where the air can be sometimes “less than friendly.” If you’re unsure of the sophistication of this device, it was originally patented for the International Space Station using patented photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology.
The First Aid Stash with Compass + Light is an all-in-one emergency tool to help when you need light or survival tools. It is an ideal gift for fans of the outdoors or to keep in your car. Especially if driving in secluded areas or those with inclement weather, this gift could be a lifesaver. Inside the kit is an oil-filled compass, four-mode LED flash light and screw top storage tins. They are water-resistant, which also makes this a great gift for those who enjoy fishing and boating.
Whether for the office, traveling on the road or plane, or at home, Sleep Number pillows are an affordable and comfortable gift (most are under $50). They come in a variety of styles from knee and lumbar pillows to a bolster pillow that could go under your neck, back or knees when lying down or even sitting at a work desk. Made from hypoallergenic, machine-washable cover, they have multiple uses and can be cleaned whenever needed. The travel pillow can clasp around carry-on luggage or a purse for those work commutes. The Sleep Number brand is world-renowned for its mattresses, pillows and other sleep accessories like blankets and soft, weighted eye masks.
This travel pack is designed to stop those in-between snack cravings you get when it’s not exactly meal time. Especially for travelers visiting different time zones, this can be a healthy lifesaver. Kroma On-The-Go includes six powdered, Vegan packs in a clear zippered bag. Each sachet simply requires water to create a tasty snack like a breakfast super porridge, a supergreens elixir, veggie broth with plant protein and a vitality latte with herbal extracts. From drinks to snack bowls, this is a great item to carry along in a briefcase, carry-on bag or purse to add water and munch on at any time, day or night.
Fitness buffs and active travelers will find the Remedy+ Ultimate Gift Box packed with snacks and supplements to boost energy, focus and the immune system. These plant-based natural products are made from hemp compounds, organic oils and terpenes to help boost relaxation. The THC-free products including premium hemp extract tablets with curcumin, premium hemp protein chocolate energy bars and cinnamon agave liquid shots with caffeine, CBD and vitamins. All can provide a solid boost in performance and focus, which is just what one needs after a long flight.
These eco-friendly containers for Juliet Wine look more like picnic baskets or travel boxes, but inside is a pouch of wine that can last for six weeks once the spout has been opened. The company says the container reduces the carbon footprint by 80% when compared with a traditional glass bottle. The charm of these boxes is that they allow you to take this to a cookout, picnic or office party without having to worry about a wine opener or finding recycling containers for glass bottles. Plus, you can keep the leftovers for several weeks.
When the inner wine pouch runs out, keep the main container and discard the pouch. If you choose to discard it, the cardboard box can be recycled with paper or other cardboard products. Wine options include delicious varietals from Central California like Sauvignon Blanc and a dry Grenache Rosé.