It’s here: the holiday crazies—gift planning and shopping are in full swing. Breaking out in a cold sweat? Don’t panic. If you want to make this year extra special, cut through the noise a little, or just want to give those gifts that have a little extra meaning to them, look no further!
Here at west elm, we work hard to promote conscious initiatives throughout our product line, with items that are Fair Trade Certified™, Handcrafted, Organic, and Sustainably Sourced. Whether it’s helping to protect areas from deforestation, advocating for workers’ financial freedom through Fair Trade Premiums, promoting Organic initiatives, or celebrating a traditional handicraft from a small community, each and every one of these purchases contributes to something you can feel good about for years to come.
In addition, our west elm LOCAL program, started in 2013, now has over 800 artists that we work with in locations surrounding our stores, introducing designers and artists throughout the U.S. to our communities. Our LOCAL assortment turns our stores into community-connectors and each purchase directly benefits a broad range of small local artisans.
This year, we’re taking a step back and taking a deep breath—and you can too! We’ve put together this gift guide that will help add a little extra significance to your holiday offerings this year, whether it’s for a friend, family member, coworker, or for guests staying over at your place for the holidays. Warm up with these feel-good, purposeful and diverse gifts for every type of person. Get gifting!
Gifts For The Hygge Enthusiast
We all have that friend who takes a lot of convincing to get them out of their house and their cozy robe + slippers (can you really blame them?). If you have a hygge lover in your life, try these extra-cozy gifts that will make for a luxurious hibernation season. Having guests over for the holidays? Deck out the guest room with these staples and make them never want to leave.
1. Belgian Linen Sheet Set: A fan favorite, our linen is expertly crafted from fine Belgian flax, which is washed for a lived-in look that is unique to every piece. Our Belgian linen is created at our very first Fair Trade Certified factory in China, which employs 200 people—over half of who are women. As most of these workers are migrant, meaning they leave their home & families for months at a time in order to find a job, the factory recently used their Fair Trade Premium fund to host a summer camp for their children, allowing them to spend some time with their parents during the work day, connect with other kids & engage with educational content.
2. Silk Hand-Loomed Pillow: These silk and cotton pillow covers add luxe texture and refined style to bedrooms, living spaces and reading nooks, and the festive red is the perfect addition to a holiday guest room. These pillows are hand-spun by Eco Tasar, a workshop and social enterprise in rural India that provides economic empowerment for women in two of the poorest states in India. You can learn more about the process & Eco Tasar from our blog post!
3. Louise Gray Quilt Wall Hanging+ Throw Pillows: You’ve got the cozy bedding down, now throw in a stylish pillow (or three) and add some warmth to your walls! The Louise Gray Ida Little Quilt acts as a sophisticated geometric work of art when displayed above a bed, going together effortlessly with some soft and stylish Louise Gray Throw pillows. A recent addition to the west elm LOCAL assortment, each Louise Gray Quilt + Pillow is made with traditional techniques by Alexandra Gray Bennett and Jocelin Johnson of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They enlist local artisans to handcraft each quilt from 100% cotton.
4. Geo Waffle Slippers: There’s nothing like some soft, plush slippers to add some spa-like luxury to your bedroom or guest room. Slip into these soft, comfortable slippers made of pure organic cotton in a moisture-absorbing waffle-weave texture—perfect for hours of lounging. Even better, our Geo Waffle Slippers are GOTS-certified (GOTS = Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton, the gold standard of organic certifications. With GOTS, we trace the organic cotton fiber through every stage of the process—from growth in the field, to processing and dyeing, to final production and finishing. GOTS ensures all stages have thorough environmental standards and eliminates harmful chemicals in production. They also ensure worker safety and fair wages and working hours.
5. Made*Here NY Cotton Fisherman Knit Throw: A twist on the classic, cozy basketweave throw, Made*Here New York is based in NYC and is advocating for the rebirth of New York’s textile industry. Karyn Villante is committed to making her knit sweaters and blankets locally and works with some of New York’s best and oldest cotton mills to produce pieces that are always made with purpose. Inspired by the depth and texture of woven baskets and made with 100% cotton, the Fisherman Knit Throw is the coziest addition we can think of for your bed! Learn more about Made Here NY from our studio tour on the blog!
6. Fishs Eddy Gilded Cafe Mirror Tray: In collaboration with our favorite quirky NYC kitchen-supply store, Fishs Eddy, this gilded tray is perfect for having breakfast-in-bed every day. (Yes, please!) This tray is made in one of our Fair Trade factories in India that employs over 4,000 workers. The workers here soon plan to use their Premium funds to open a shop that will offer basic goods for workers at a reasonable price, as many employees live in rural areas and have to travel far for basic goods. This will allow them to purchase items more easily and cheaply than offered elsewhere.
7. Amigo Modern Double Octahedron Pedestal Table: LA-based designer Eric Trine of Amigo Modern designs by making, rather than drawing. Each project begins in his studio with his hands and tools. To create this pedestal, he welded the geometric steel base and then powder-coated it so it can live indoors or out. It makes a perfect bedside table!
8. Melanie Abrantes Hardwood Vase: A true statement peice in its own right, Melanie Abrantes’ vases transform sustainable and locally sourced materials into one-of-a-kind pieces using the lathing technique. Crafted of solid hardwoods, this vase is hand-finished with mineral oil and beeswax and each piece includes a glass vial for fresh flowers. Check out Melanie’s Oakland studio tour here!
Gifts For The Dinner Party Planner
There’re two types of people in this world: those that run and scream from the idea of hosting a fancy dinner party at their place, and those that simply live for it. Know someone who’s the latter? Gift them any one of these hosting gifts this year (and maybe sneak some ideas for your next one)!
1. Belgian Linen Tablecloth: A truly classic and timeless foundation for any good tablescape, our Belgian Flax Linen Tablecloth is sourced from Europe and constructed in the same Fair Trade factory in China as our linen bedding, which means each sale helps to directly fund more Fair Trade premiums for factory workers.
2. Honeycomb Studio Vases: With their simple, porcelain silhouettes, these adorably-sized vases work equally well as stand-alone pieces of art as they do flower bud holders. A star of our LOCAL assortment, Courtney Hamill’s passion for ceramics grew from a class in college, which eventually inspired her to walk away from her career as a nonprofit fundraiser to pursue ceramic making full-time from her backyard studio in Atlanta. Each of her vases is slipcast and finished by hand, so no two are exactly the same.
3. A MANO Ceramic Dish: The perfect addition to any table, this unique dish is perfect for holding condiments, small snacks, or salt! The A MANO Ceramic Trinket Dish comes in a an array of fun colors and textures. Each piece in Louisa Podlich’s collection starts as a tiny ball of clay and is shaped and decorated by hand, aka “a mano,” in her Minneapolis studio. Louisa believes her art should be accessible to everyone and designed her collection in a variety of colors, functionalities and with an attention to detail that proves each piece is made with love. Take a tour of her studio here!
4. Craftsman Mugs: These large stoneware mugs feature hand-applied glazes that make each cup truly one-of-a-kind. They are made in a Portuguese ceramic manufacturing facility that has, since it’s foundation in 1987, built its reputation on excellence and quality in the production of dinnerware and decorative items in stoneware. Their integration of environmentally-friendly practices reduce their ecological footprint and guarantee a sustainable future. Learn more here!
5. Mid-Century Expandable Dining Table: Wanna go big with your gifting? This dining table is made at one of our Fair Trade factories in Vietnam that employs 2,800+ people. They’ve been using their Premiums to provide computer and exercise classes for workers. It’s also FSC-Certified (Forest Stewardship Council)! Similar to GOTS, FSC is the gold standard in wood certifications, because they ensure responsible sourcing of wood from the forest all the way to the final product. FSC prohibits the use of hazardous chemicals and the harvesting of rare old-growth forests, as well as preventing the loss of natural forest cover, protecting biodiversity. They also ensure rights of indigenous people throughout forest production.
6. Edge Marble + Terazzo & Marble + Wood Serving Boards: Handcrafted in India from a blend of cool marble, speckled terrazzo, and wood accents these modern serving boards are a sleek and stylish way to serve everything from cheese to fruit to hors d’oeuvres.
Gifts For Those That Like To Make An Entrance
If you’ve got a guest for the holidays that likes to make a grand entrance, make it grander with these few tricks that make hosting even easier, and can be given as gifts when they leave! These also make great gifts for anyone in your life who likes to stay organized.
1. Honeycomb Studio Cylinder Vase: This sleek and simple vase is the perfect subtle accent vase for an entryway to add a some welcoming florals. To create this porcelain vase’s artistic accents, Courtney Hamill of Honeycomb Studio slipcasts and hand-paints each with 22-karat gold leafing.
2. A Mano Ring Dish: Louisa Podlich’s ring dish is the perfect decorative ceramic dish that is multi-functional for an entryway—use it for rings, jewelry, keys, change, and more!
3. Made Solid Hand-Shaped Leather Tray: The ultimate entryway hero: each box is created by hand using traditional Western saddle-making techniques, and is the perfect catchall for jewelry, keys or anything else that needs a resting place upon entering. Peter Maxwell, the artist behind LA’s Made Solid, is inspired by traditional leatherworking styles and the simplicity of west coast living. The Made Solid Four Corners Leather Box is a reflection of those influences, as well as a little Japanese culture. Tour his studio on our blog!
4. Craighill Wilson Key Rings: The days of boring key rings are over. The team at Craighill believes “a product should tell a story about its creation and potential.” Using a range of materials, they advance their mission of creating distinct and useful objects for you and your home, offering contemporary options to some of the outdated designs we’re used to. With the Wilson Keyring, Craighill reimagined its classic counterpart, offering a contemporary option that’s as efficient as it is simple. Based in Brooklyn, their designs are right up our alley. Check out their studio tour to learn more!
5. Large Curved Basket: This roomy entryway basket acts as a convenient storage for newspapers, magazines, blankets, and more, ready to grab and go. Each of these baskets are made of a highly renewable resource: water hyacinth. On top of that, each one is Handwoven in Vietnam, which allows us to invest in and preserve traditions and support local economies.
6. Happy Habitat Recycled Cotton Throw: With each one made-to-order and crafted completely from recycled cotton, these throws are as cozy as they are sustainable. Kansas City-based artist and designer Karrie Dean starts her process by drawing, then sends her designs to a small knitting team in New Jersey where each throw is finished by hand.