We've Gotta Have it
The Ultimate, No-Fail Gen Z Gift Guide
Our Gen Z reporter surveys her friends so you can take the How-Did-You-Know-That? award this holiday season
From the novice crystal healers to the “let me finish this level” gamers, this holiday gift guide has any Gen-Z kid covered.
Crystals + Tarot
Yes, Mom, we’re into crystals and tarot. When people ask me why, I explain that believing this pretty stone will bring me joy or success or healthy relationships gives me a better outlook on life when I get my day started.
The same thing goes for tarot. Each card has a meaning, and I take whatever a card tells me into consideration during my day. On one day, I will work on my patience, and on another I’ll start that new project I’ve been pushing off. I recently got a deck called The Modern Witch Tarot Deck to replace one that got ruined from mini flooding in our garage during Hurricane Ida. I appreciated the all-female imagery. It’s also a great starter deck because the illustrations do a good job of depicting what the card means. Other decks sometimes will be a little tough for beginners like me, because the illustrations are minimal and you have to look up the cards’ meanings online or in a guidebook. Of course, you also can’t go wrong with the classic Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.
As for crystals, there is no particular shop that I would recommend because there are so many. I am all for supporting local businesses, so finding a local crystal shop near you would be a great option. If not, there are many crystal sellers on Etsy, and I often look for the shops which state that the crystals sold are ethically sourced. In terms of which crystals to get, amethyst and rose quartz are great starter crystals; their properties are, respectively, stress relief and healthy relationships. I love howlite, tiger’s eye, ocean jasper, rhodochrosite, and obsidian. Make the gift special by understanding crystals and their properties, and deciding which would be best for the person you’re shopping for.
This is for your favorite Instagram influencer, the TikTok aficionado who is trying to get you to learn the new dances, or just the kid who likes to take well-lit pictures with their friends. You can get a larger ring light set, like this Neewer Ring Light kit, or something smaller like this Godox 12” Desk Ring Light.
I don’t personally fit into these aforementioned categories, but I could definitely see myself enjoying an even smaller ring light that simply clips to my phone, like the Brilliant Ideas Color-Changing Clip-On Selfie Ring Light Mirror.
These are on my list for Santa Claus. There are tons of new “fill in the blank” card games out there that are so fun to play with friends, and they just keep coming out with different variations.
New Phone, Who Dis? is a game “where players compete to create the funniest text message thread.” I played it the other week at a Friendsgiving picnic and we couldn’t stop laughing. Over-Rated consists of players competing “to match the funniest ‘Review’ card with the ‘Location’ card for each round.” These descriptions do not do these games justice, but you’ll get a great idea of the kinds of card combinations and jokes that could be made by looking at the above product images.
Subscription boxes are huge and there is literally one for every kind of person. For Gen Zers, these are an exciting gift to receive monthly or tri-monthly, especially while away at college. The following are a few options I’ve heard about that would appeal to a few different types of Gen Z folk.
The first box is Alltrue, which is definitely more female-geared. I got this box for myself because I’m all about sustainability and intentional living. Alltrue boxes are seasonal, and subscribers get to customize what comes in their box based on the specific season’s options. I got a great weekend tote bag and a cute set of ceramic nesting bowls from one of my boxes!
The next box, OwlCrate, is for the bookworms, specifically Gen Z bookworms. With OwlCrate, subscribers receive a Young Adult book monthly alongside small goodies related to the book and its themes. There’s also Book of the Month, which may appeal more to older Gen Z readers. Every month, subscribers get to choose one hardcover book out of a selection of five recent publications. These book delivery subscription boxes are the perfect way for Gen Z readers to be introduced to books that they may not usually grab off the shelf in their bookstore.
Finally, a guy friend of mine suggested Dollar Shave Club, which delivers top grooming products, on a subscription basis, to your door. They’ll send the base of the razor in the first box and will deliver replacement razor blades on a monthly basis. As someone with a young adult brother and other young adult guy friends, I feel like the simplicity of DollarShaveClub is a major selling point, alongside the quality of their products.
Sunset Projection Lamp
Sunset projection lamps, which literally project the light of a sunset on a wall, are all over social media (especially TikTok). They are replacing the recent popular lighting trend of sticking LED string or fairy lights along the edges of their ceilings. The sunset lamps are aesthetically pleasing and fun to take pictures with.
Plants are in! Succulents have been trending for a while now, but Gen Z and millennials have also gotten into leafier plants. I just got the prettiest Calathea plant from a local vendor, but you could also get the plants delivered to your Gen Zer. The Sill is a houseplant retailer that has some in-person stores, but is mostly known for plant delivery and their large online plant collection. These leafy plant options are not as low maintenance as succulents, so I would lean toward the lower-maintenance species like Calathea, Pothos, or Monstera.
Men’s Casual Pants
What if guys could feel like they’re wearing sweatpants while wearing khakis? They can, thanks to Birddogs, a company that makes pants, joggers, and shorts with sewn-in underwear. One guy friend loves these because they are comfortable, with plenty of stretch, and “everything stays perfectly in place” with the built-in briefs. I can’t completely relate to this, but I’ll take his word for it.
Skincare for Men
Young men are apparently interested in upgrading their skincare but don’t know where to start, nor how to ask for help. There are some great, easy to understand options that could help them out.
A trending men’s Black-owned skincare line called Bevel offers everything from face wash to toner to moisturizer. The range is geared toward restoring and hydrating skin, and premium ingredients include witch hazel, tea tree oil, coconut, and vitamin B3. Another option is Jack Black’s Face Buff Energizing Scrub, described as “a pre-shave cleanser and facial scrub in one that exfoliates for an easier, closer shave.” With biodegradable ingredients like bamboo powder, vitamin C, and peppermint, this scrub provides a refreshing and gentle exfoliation. The classic CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is great on all skin types and contains ingredients that will make anyone’s skin happy, including hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide. I use a couple of CeraVe products in my own routine, and you can’t go wrong with this dermatologist-recommended brand. The last skincare item with rave reviews from men is Kiehl’s Facial Fuel. This is a moisturizer with SPF, which is great for young men who care about their skin, but not enough to have their moisturizer separate from their sunscreen. This water gel moisturizer — with vitamin C, chestnut extract, and caffeine — refreshes the skin, evens out texture, and protects it against pollution and UV rays. Many reviewers swear by this moisturizer and use it either after their shower or in their post-shave routine.
Video Games + Accessories
I never know what games are popular or what games my brother wants. Luckily, all of my guy friends love their video games more than anything else in this world. Per their recommendation, the top games of this holiday season include Call of Duty: Vanguard, Halo Infinite, and Battlefield 2042. As might be expected, these are first person shooter games, each with very different storylines. Call of Duty: Vanguard mimics battles of World War II, Halo Infinite takes place in a sci-fi world, and Battlefield 2042 brings its players to a near-future disorderly world. As this gift guide is being written, Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042 are available on most gaming platforms, but Halo Infinite is only currently available on Xbox.
My friends also explained that a good gaming headset would be an appreciated holiday gift. The Razer Kraken X is a highly reviewed, durable, and comfortable headset with crystal clear sound. For over a hundred dollars more, you can get the Razer Kraken V3 Pro Wireless Gaming Headset, which is more immersive with Razer’s “HyperSense” technology and potentially more convenient without the wire connection.
Last but not least on this list is a wallet. We Gen Zers don’t really carry cash, so I’ve found that my peers and myself carry our cards, and on rare occasions our cash, in very sleek and accessible wallets. The only wallet I use is a PopSockets Wallet on the back of my phone, and thus, my phone is really the only thing I carry with me. It’s convenient to have everything in one place, and the extra PopSocket feature allows me to prop my phone up when watching videos or to simply have a better grip of it in my hand.
On the guy’s side, a Ridge wallet would be a great option. Ridge wallets are more geared to holding cards but do also carry cash if need-be. These durable wallets are so slim that they won’t leave any bump in a pocket. They’re small, convenient, and hold just what the average Gen Z kid needs it to.