gift guide: gifts to savor (now or always).

November 26, 2018

A precious spice jar to fill on repeat +/or something special for seasoning.

A bottle opener to last a lifetime +/or something bubbly to open

Linen terry towels for everyday luxury +/or something to soak up during a mid-week bath.

A bright copper tea kettle to treasure for always +/or something bright to sip this winter.

A drawstring apron for decades of meal-making +/or something to make a mess with.

A pen to keep forever  +/or something to offer to someone else.

 Fancy glasses for refilling +/or something festive for sharing.

A brass headband to outshine all others  +/or something to make hair gleam.


I’m often extolling the virtues of—and my personal preference for—gifts that get used up. Give me a luxurious bath soak, or a jar of spices, or a tin of tea and I’m pleased as can be. And yet, what a joy it is to be given something that I might treasure forever. 

Budgets and square footage and particulars of givers and recipients will dictate the permanence of the gifts we choose to give. Whether you’re hoping to give something that gets used up, or hoping to give something that sticks around for years to come—or, perhaps, a little bit of both—I hope this might serve as something of a jumping off point. 

Many thanks to Anna Jacobs for research assistance on this post. This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. 

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  • Reply Abby November 26, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    I always look forward to your gift guides and advice for the gift-giving season, and I’m revisiting your library book advent calendar in hopes of making one for my own daughter this year. I wanted to mention this in case you’re interested–there’s a book subscription box starting up called OurShelves, featuring a curated selection of diverse picture books mailed quarterly. Given your recent picture book posts, I thought you might want to have a look.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      Lovely! I really love the Conscious Kid subscriptions options (including one to borrow!), but will check this out too!

      • Reply Abby November 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Ooh, love that!

  • Reply Kelly Libby November 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Beautiful post, Erin.

    This year, I’m on a very limited budget due to a decreased work schedule, therefore, I’m focusing on smaller, more meaningful gifts. Books and movie tickets and art supplies and puzzles and flannel pj pants and a hearty coffee mug and bath treats are topping my list for giving. And, honestly, once i got past my own feelings of being inadequate for not being able to give more expensive gifts, i’m enjoying shopping so much more. One gift for each person. A thoughtful, inexpensive (cost wise) gift that will be useful, loved and appreciated.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 26, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Never inadequate, always lovely! Happy gift giving!

  • Reply Huma November 26, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    What a beautiful way to consider gifts! As ever, inspiring and thoughtful.

  • Reply Anna B November 26, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve been waiting for your gift guides! This is truly lovely! Thank you! Helps keep me poised on the path f giving to others and doing so simply and without causing harm.

  • Reply Missy November 27, 2018 at 12:33 am

    I love the gifts you suggested but please think about the use of copper as a suggested new item. I live in an area where a proposed copper mine is to take place and the damage it leaves behind is horrifying. Please reconsider. Thank you!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 27, 2018 at 1:55 am

      Ah, yes. Of course. I didn’t pause to consider. Thanks so much for shining that light. A vintage copper kettle then! Better yet, no copper at all!

  • Reply Anna November 27, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Nice ideas, thank you. The tiny Liliput pen (the black version) has been my only pen for years — so it really is a great zero-waste gift.

  • Reply Sasha L November 28, 2018 at 9:50 am

    We like to give useful things and things that get used up as well. This year gifts include nice wash cloths, favorite skin/hair/beauty supplies, coffee, tea, chocolate, homemade granola. Plus a Happy Light, guranteed to chase away winter sadness in our far north home. And matching tee shirts, local made by an artist friend, proceeds to help the animals in the California fires.

    Thanks for more ideas Erin and promoting simplicity and sustainability.

  • Reply Christie November 28, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I know you have affiliate links with Amazon, and I have often used Amazon (probably to the detriment of local businesses, but it’s so easy!). But I am disturbed by new reports of Amazon assisting ICE. I thought I would share with you. As an immigration advocate and lawyer, I have decided not to buy from Amazon anymore, at least until the extent of their work becomes more clear.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 28, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Thanks for sending this along. Disturbing indeed. My relationship with Amazon is complicated, to say the least. I rarely use it myself and always, always opt to shop in small local businesses whenever I can. (I actually have a post in the works about the forgotten convenience of local shops!) Still, as the person responsible for all of the creative content of this site as well as raising all of the money to keep it afloat—and pay my salary—being a part of the Amazon affiliate program has helped to keep things running. Beyond that, it helps to serves the purpose of directing folks to sources where they might find things online themselves. Despite the convenience and potential income, I use it very sparingly (I’m proud to report that each one of the items on this guide is from a small, independently owned business, as they will be for each of my gift guides!), and I have recently decided to stop using it for certain kinds of items all together. This represents a significant loss of income for me, and I’m grappling with how divesting from Amazon entirely might impact my business (and my family). Many thanks for bearing with me as I muddle through this.

      • Reply Christie November 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm

        Definitely no judgment. I own my own business, too, and I totally get the difficult decisions one has to make as a business owner. It’s something I grapple with on a daily basis. I merely wanted to bring it to your attention.

  • Reply beastmomma November 29, 2018 at 11:29 am

    I really enjoy the gift guides and used the one you did for kids a few years ago. Will you be publishing a gift guide for little ones?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 29, 2018 at 11:45 am

      On it’s way!

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