It's the most wonderful time of the year—so bring on the comfort & joy, we say. In The Art of Chill Holidays, we'll show you how we keep celebrations low-key, with festive decor tricks, clever time-saving tips, and scrumptious spreads of snacks (always snacks!).
The other day, I called my little sister.
"Want to make brownies together over video chat?" I asked.
"Can't," she said. "I have a paper due at 3:30 p.m. and I only just had a second to start it."
I looked down at my watch—it was 1:15 p.m.
"Good luck," I said, and gave my mom a call. "Brownies?" I said, shaking a bag of chocolate chips in the background suggestively, in an effort to influence her subconscious.
"Sounds fun, what type were you—" she began, and then, abruptly, "Pigeon! Get off of that rug! OH! Pigeon! No, bad dog! Pigeon do not do that on that rug right now, for the love of—" the line went dead.
An hour later, my best friend texted from L.A.: "FaceTime tonight and watch My Brilliant Friend?"
"Can't," I wrote back brusquely. "Forgot about a post due tomorrow morning—and a dinner I agreed to tonight. Death to Sunday social plans!"
According to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, my loved ones and I are not the only ones who need to take a really deep breath these days: 88 percent of respondents noted feeling stressed out over the holiday season.
And while I can't exactly show up to everyone's workplaces (or college classrooms) to demand deadline extensions, or hypnotize tiny dogs into behaving courteously from afar, I plan to push tranquility this year by leaning into the belly of the beast itself: holiday gifts.
Here are my 20 best ideas for blissed-out gifts at every price point (and mom, if you're reading this, I'm really into the squishy cats):
What's your go-to when you want to gift some chill? Let us know in the comments!