You’ve heard the old saying “It’s the thought that counts” — typically offered up off-handedly following the receipt of a less-than-thrilling present. But did you know the aphorism is actually backed by research? Dig into the science of great gift giving, and then put your thinking cap on as you peruse Nice News’ annual holiday gift guide. 

We compiled some great gift ideas this year, with something for everyone on your “nice” list, from personalized children’s books to self-care journals, an award-winning party game, and a portable pizza oven for the foodie in your life 

Courtesy of Silk + Sonder

Silk + Sonder self-care journals combine cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology exercises, and bullet journaling to help reduce anxiety and boost brain function —  and they come with another, equally exciting benefit. Users get access to a built-in community support system through the companion app. Gift a subscription and a new journal will arrive on your recipient’s doorstep every month, or start simpler and wrap up one of the brand’s beautiful gift boxes

Courtesy of UGG

UGG may be best known for its trendy footwear, but wool-lined boots aren’t the only cozy items the brand offers. Blankets make great gifts for the people you know best and the newcomers in your life — because who doesn’t appreciate an added layer of warmth in the winter? This 50 by 70-inch throw is both beautiful and extra plush, and it comes in a variety of colors.

Courtesy of Siblings

With its clean, coconut blend wax and sleek, refillable vessels, Siblings is a staff favorite here at Nice News. Right now, we’re enjoying the brand’s holiday collection, which includes fragrances like musky Vintage Cardigan, cozy Chestnuts Roasting, and Nightcap — with notes of smoked bourbon, honey, and black oakwood. They make great gifts, but we wouldn’t judge if you snatch up a few for yourself — take the company’s scent quiz to see which one suits you best.

Courtesy of Charlo

This beautiful deck of cards by the artist and muralist Charlo is a portal to an imagined world: The Joylands, where “every shared smile, laughter-filled adventure, and heartfelt conversation are the true treasures, revealing the enchantment of life itself.” Featuring mesmerizing designs with hidden words and symbols, the cards are “a reminder of the magic that unfolds when we come together, be it with our community, friends, or family,” said Charlo. “I aimed to craft a symbolic realm that reminds us to cherish the significance of shared moments and the time we spend together.”

Planning a game night? Check out Concept: It’s award-winning and easy to play with groups of all sizes and ages. The object is to non-verbally communicate words and phrases by coming up with creative associations between the board’s colorful illustrations — and you’re bound to hear some hilarious guesses. This writer received the game as a gift a few years back, and it’s now a staple at family gatherings.

Courtesy of Ooni

Like most things, pizza is often better homemade. Serve up your own delicious pie with this portable and easy to use oven that reaches scorching hot temperatures, so you can enjoy authentic stone-baked pizza cooked over wood or charcoal in just one minute. Bonus: You can also use it to cook steak, fish, and vegetables.

Courtesy of Fizzics

This neat device transforms canned or bottled beer into a nitro-style draft, for an extra refreshing finish to a workday or weekend without having to hit the bar. It converts existing carbonation into uniform bubbles, creating a rich and creamy foam head on any brewski. It’s also great for impressing guests at parties!

Courtesy of Ninja

The Ninja CREAMi has gone viral for good reason. Filling TikTok feeds with an endless variety of homemade concoctions (like a can of peaches turned into sorbet and a protein-packed “Oreo McFlurry”), this machine lives up to its tagline: “Turn almost anything into frozen treats.” It’s a perfect gift for someone with a sweet tooth — and if that person just so happens to share a freezer with you, even better.

Courtesy of FAMILIFE

This writer was gifted a travel manicure set as a stocking stuffer last year, and it’s no exaggeration to say it has changed her life for the better. The Swiss Army knives of personal grooming, kits like this one mean you never have to walk into a meeting with a rogue eyebrow hair or pick at a hangnail in the middle of a movie again. Choose from rose gold, classic brown leather, navy blue, and seven other styles.

Courtesy of Gorjana

Founded by a husband and wife in Laguna Beach, California, Gorjana offers both everyday and fine jewelry, from a beautiful blue lace agate bracelet set for under $75 to sparkling white sapphire earrings. In addition, the brand partners with charities like Baby2Baby, Dress for Success, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Courtesy of Nomatic

Everyone needs good luggage, whether they’re occasional road trippers or regular jet setters. Shopping for said luggage isn’t necessarily the most fun item on a pre-travel to-do list, though, so consider saving your loved ones a step and doing it for them this year. Nomatic carries everything from backpacks to duffel bags to suitcase sets, and the brand is offering up to 40% off with its holiday sale.

Courtesy of EverFoams

Slippers you can leave the house in? We’re sold. These are microsuede, made with comfy memory foam and lined with cozy faux fur. They also have rubber soles, so their wearers can grab the mail or take the dog for a short walk without switching shoes. They’re available in 10 colors, and the brand also offers men’s styles.

Courtesy of Helly Hansen

Bundle him up in a Helly Hansen parka this winter: The jackets are sleek and stylish yet seriously effective at keeping their wearers warm. Choose from a wide selection that includes waterproof options as well as windbreakers and ones specifically for active lifestyles. The brand also sells winter clothing for women and kids.

Courtesy of Roka

Roka was founded in 2013 by two Stanford University swimmers and has grown to become a favorite for triathlon gear and other sports apparel. But you don’t need to be an athlete to wear the brand’s prescription eyeglasses or sleek shades, with patented “FloatFit” technology, polarized lenses, and a ton of different styles for every face shape.

Courtesy of Put Me in the Story

Want to make a bedtime story reading ritual extra special? Put Me in the Story lets you personalize an array of popular children’s picture books for all age ranges, starting with infants. Featuring characters from Sesame StreetCurious George, and more, they make for particularly thoughtful and meaningful gifts that are sure to become keepsakes for the little ones you love.

Courtesy of Architectural Digest

This Architectural Digest coffee table book celebrates 100 years of the magazine’s production, and it’s a perfect present for the design-minded person on your list. With a foreword from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, it features the personal spaces of famous figures like David Bowie and Truman Capote as well as works from renowned architects and interior decorators like Frank Lloyd Wright and Elsie de Wolfe.

Courtesy of Shauna Shapiro

Based on neuroscience and psychology principles, this children’s book by mindfulness expert Shauna Shapiro provides a roadmap for fostering deep calm and compassion in youngsters. “By teaching self-compassion to our children, we are hardwiring in resources that will support them for their entire lives,” Shapiro told Nice News. “These seeds of kindness will ripple out into our world.”

Courtesy of Amazon

This isn’t the first time we’ve recommended the Amazon Kindle, and it likely won’t be the last.  Its Paperwhite display means no glare, and it can hold thousands of books, so the bibliophile in your life will never run out of reading material. Plus, it’s designed to withstand accidental water immersion, and a single charge via USB-C lasts weeks.