Need Unique Gifts? Here Are Our Favorite Stores for Holiday Shopping

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11-4-21_Favorite Holiday Stores_cover

Something for Everyone

When it comes to holiday shopping crunch time, it’s easy to fall back on the usual suspects like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target — retailers that make it easy to shop, have great inventory, and more or less guarantee you’ll get what you want. But these big box stores aren’t the only game in town, especially if you’re looking for unique gifts that appeal to specific people in your life. Here are a few of our favorite lesser-known online retailers worth considering for gifts this holiday season.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

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New Year, New Beginning Candle
Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods

Best for Home Decor

Shipping: $6.99 and up; expedited options available

Returns: No time limit, except 30 days for fine jewelry

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Whether you want to brighten up a room with a new piece of art, add some flair to your wardrobe, or give someone a gift to warm their home and their heart, there’s Uncommon Goods. We especially like this store for their home decor, much of it handmade by artists or sourced from sellers and crafters in the U.S., Europe, and beyond.

Fun find: New Year, New Beginning Candle ($30)

Related: Unusual Gifts They'll Never See Coming

Le Creuset Bistro Grill
Sur la Table

Sur La Table

Best for People Who Love Cooking

Shipping: $5.99 and up; expedited options and in-store pickup available

Returns: 60 days; in store or via UPS for $7 fee

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Whether the loved ones in your life are one step away from opening their own restaurant or just enjoy the occasional foray into the kitchen, look to Sur La Table for the best in cooking and baking tools, tableware, countertop kitchen appliances, and more. You’ll also find seasoning, baking mixes, and other food, plus online cooking classes.

Fun find: Le Creuset Bistro Grill ($160)

Related: Practical Kitchen Gifts They'll Actually Use

Vintage Best Cat Dad Ever T-Shirt
TP Apparel LLC


Best for Fun Tees, Stickers, and More

Shipping: $6.99 and up; expedited options available

Returns: Only for defective items; exchanges for clothing sizing issues

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Looking for some new graphic tees, tanks, or hoodies to liven up a loved one's wardrobe? Look to TeePublic for a first-rate selection of apparel for adults and kids, featuring the work of independent graphic artists. You’ll also find stickers, phone cases, magnets, posters, and a selection of home goods, all featuring colorful, eye-catching artwork.

Fun find: Vintage Best Cat Dad Ever T-Shirt ($20)

Related: Best Friend Gifts Perfect for Your Sister From Another Mister

Plant of the Month Club


Best for People Who Love Subscription Boxes

Shipping: Price varies

Returns: Contact customer service

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What’s more fun than opening a gift? Opening a gift that contains more gifts within! No matter what personality you’re shopping for, there’s a gift crate that will delight them: adults, kids, adventurers, foodies, crafty types ... whomever. You’ll find both one-time and recurring-delivery options.

Fun find: Plant of the Month Club ($36 and up)

Related: Subscription Box Gifts That Keep the Giving Going

The Adventure Challenge Friends Edition
The Adventure Challenge

Adventure Challenge

Best for Couples, Friends, and Family

Shipping: $4 and up; expedited options available

Returns: 30 days for full refund; buyer pays return shipping 

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Everyone needs quality bonding time with loved ones, family, and friends, and the activities contained in every Adventure Challenge are designed to do just that. Just scratch off the ink to reveal a new activity; each challenge comes with an estimated time commitment and cost, usually $20 or less. A subscription-box version is also available.

Fun find: The Adventure Challenge Friends Edition ($40)

Related: Gifts for Couples That'll Make Them Both Happy

Made With Love Personalized Ceramic Bakeware
Personalization Mall

Personalization Mall

Best for Custom Gifts with a Personal Touch

Shipping: $6.99 and up; expedited options available

Returns: 30 days for manufacturing or product defects only

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Personalization Mall is your one-stop shop for just about any sort of customized gift you can imagine, whether it’s to celebrate a wedding anniversary or a friend’s birthday, or to tell a coworker “good job.” Check out the selection of personalized holiday ornaments, too. The site makes it easy to shop by occasion, product type, or recipient.

Fun find: Made With Love Personalized Ceramic Bakeware ($35)

Related: The Best Heartfelt and Hilarious Personalized Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Bowie Quizpedia - The Ultimate Unofficial Book of Trivia
Always Fits

Always Fits

Best for People Who Love the '80s, '90s, or '00s

Shipping: $3.95 and up; free for orders over $59

Returns: 100 days

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Calling all pop-culture junkies and lovers of gag gifts. Always Fits is the place for you (or a loved one who fits that description), with its selection of greeting cards, novelty socks, stickers and magnets, mugs, puzzles, and more. The emphasis is on kitsch and nostalgia with a Generation X and millennial sensibility.

Fun find: Bowie Quizpedia: The Ultimate Unofficial Book of Trivia

Related: Gifts for People Who Just Love the '80s

The Bacon Crate

Man Crates

Best for Guys Who Like to Eat, Drink, and Make Stuff

Shipping: Price varies

Returns: Contact customer service

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The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and Man Crates offers gift boxes for guys who love jerky, snacks, barbecue, booze, and other noms. But they also sell gift boxes that appeal to guys who like to tinker and build, play games, and get outside. 

Fun find: The Bacon Crate ($70)

Related: 25 Gift Ideas for Guys Under $25

Candle in a Can - Popcorn
The Ltd.


Best for Toys, Gizmos, and Gifts

Shipping: $4.99 and up; with delivery tracking, $12.99 and up

Returns: Contact customer service for all return/refund issues

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Got a friend who’s crazy about “Friends,” just wild about Harry Potter, in love with Lego, or who just has an offbeat sense of humor? Then check out the gift selection at iWoot, where you’ll also find a selection of graphic T-shirts, board games, poster prints and home decor, and small electronics.

Fun find: Candle in a Can - Popcorn ($18)

Related: Awesome Gifts for Couch Potatoes and TV Lovers

Chocolate Chip Cookies Patterned Socks
Print Syndicate, Inc.


Best for People Who Express Themselves

Shipping: Free for orders over $50

Returns: 40 days; contact customer service to initiate

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If you have a person in your life who loves letting everyone know exactly how they feel about anything and everything, then LookHuman is, well, worth a look. You’ll find apparel, stickers and magnets, garden flags and tote bags, pillows, pins, phone cases, and other goods, each with a design or message to fit any occasion and reflect any personality. 

Fun find: Chocolate Chip Cookies Patterned Socks ($10)

Related: Fun and Funny White Elephant Gifts Everyone Will Want to Steal (Most Under $20)