Holiday Gift Guide

Give a gift that throws exactly the right amount of shade

Unleash the power of petty (and practical) this holiday season.


There's something expedient about being petty. Gifts are a fantastic opportunity to send a subtle message; sometimes it's a message of love and appreciation, and sometimes it's pure shade. Okay maybe not pure shade; we're not encouraging you to go full Grinch this holiday season, but there are ways of letting people know how you feel without being too overt. It's an art, after all.

To accomplish this we've compiled seven gifts with varying amounts of shade. Being petty on its own is entertaining. But being petty and practical? That's how it's done.

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the internet has seen an influx of complaining related to gyms closing. I'm one of those people, admittedly. The best and most understated way to get that specific person to shut up is by giving them a Peloton subscription. Warning: you'll be footing the bill every month for $39. But if it's someone in your own home and you're tired of hearing them whine, why not give it a shot. Get fit and nix the complaining in one go — and avoid the virus by staying home.

We all know that one person who won't — no matter how hard you try — take care of their skin. This holiday season, tell that special someone to please, for goodness' sake, put some sunscreen on. The acidity of your gift is instantly hidden by the fact that you got it at Fenty. Plus, they'll thank you for aging well later on.

No amount of friendship or romance can ever lessen the disappointment you feel when they don't know how to cook. A gift card from Blue Apron for $120 that runs two weeks gets the message across and fills the belly. In the spirit of being shady this winter season, you can also suggest learning recipes from the Blue Apron website as opposed to returning to eating cardboard once the gift card runs out.

There needs to be a word for that very specific feeling of living with a roommate, partner, or sibling who treats the shower like a trash can. You know the type. The Harvey and Oliver set by Tooletries is so sophisticated and compact that it elegantly hides that understandable (and petty) rage you're feeling toward your housemate for leaving the shower like it's a circle in hell from Dante's Inferno. Grab it for $35.

This is one of the pricier ways to throw shade at your partner, friend, or roommate who simply won't clean the floors no matter how many times you ask. You thought suggesting to use the average broom would work, but no. You even made a house chores list to sort out responsibilities. None of it is helping. A $224.99 iRobot Roomba 614 is the kind of help they need. Without taking up a ton of space or starting a fight, it gets the job done.

Do you know someone whose sole purpose in your life is to create chaos? This vinyl soundtrack based on the United Goose Game is for them. This double groove, recycled, eco-friendly record packs Dan Golding, Claude DeBussy's preludes, and other hits. Nothing says "you make my life hell" more subtly than this soundtrack.

Help your friend save money with this Oxo Good Grips 32 ounce cold brew coffee maker. There's a pandemic raging on and people still can't get their budgets together. A coffee maker like this is particularly helpful for us caffeine addicts who can't help but drain our wallets at Starbucks. Handing your friend a book on how to cut down on extra expenses by investing in prudential products like this sounds like a good way to throw shade but it won't work, but an Oxo coffee maker just might.