Have you ever given a gift to someone and heard them say, “Well, it’s the thought that counts?” Ouch. We both know that’s code for “I hate it, but thanks for getting me something.” To ensure that you never have to hear that devastating statement again, Character Media is here to help you score the ultimate, affordable gift for your loved ones this year.
For the bookworms in your life
Kuang’s satirical novel, “Yellowface,” follows the story of June Hayward, a literary nobody who steals the unpublished manuscript of the recently deceased, acclaimed writer, Athena Liu. After publishing the stolen work under pen name, “Juniper Song,” June bathes in her newfound success as an author. Despite her working hard to keep the lie going, things inevitably backfire and June must confront the consequences of her actions.
For young readers of the fantastical genre, Maunakea’s novel is the perfect choice. 12-year-old Anna Leilani Kama’ehu always believed in the Hawaiian folktales her grandma told, that is, until it became the source of ridicule from her peers. On a trip to Hawaii, Anna decides to withdraw from her family’s stories and traditions, opting instead for a fun vacation as a tourist. But, that plan goes awry when she catches the attention of the fire goddess Pele, who curses her.
Poetry (and Ocean Vuong) lovers, this one’s for you. The #booktok favorite, “Time Is A Mother,” has gripped readers with its effortless charm and lyricism in covering topics such as loss, family, war, and identity. Vuong is an author in his prime, so you won’t want to miss out on what he has to say in this deeply moving poetry collection.
For the “It Girls” in your life
If you have an It Girl in your life, you know how seriously they take their skincare. Etude House, Peach & Lily and CosRx are the Korean skincare brands that have been receiving rave reviews lately. But, if your It Girl has already cemented their products and routine, then you can get them some skincare-related goods instead, such as: jade roller, gua sha tool or product mini fridge.
- Workshops and Experiences
It Girls are lovers of life and new experiences. There are several shops and pop-ups that host experiences and classes for hobbyists who love to craft and/or learn. These range from beginners’ pottery, rug tufting, candle making, and jewelry making. And if your It Girl loves being active, you can sign up for two spots in a yoga, dance or exercise class.
- Style Bundle
Is your It Girl also a vintage Depop girlie? If so, try piecing together a style bundle for them. You can get a good sense of their style from their Pinterest, Instagram and closet. With this inspo in mind, go to your local thrift stores and find a few pieces that fit the vision. If you need any help along the way, search “style bundle” on TikTok and see how personal stylists go about finding their pieces. We promise, your It Girl will be extremely touched by your attention to detail to their personal style.
For the “Letterboxd Lover” in your life
- Film/TV Merch
If your loved one is on Letterboxd, it almost goes without saying—they’re probably also A24 fans. Luckily for them, Letterboxd and A24 both host high-quality merch on their respective sites. There, you can find figurines, collectibles, movie posters, and much, much more. For those who want to learn about the making of their A24 favorites, the online store also offers screenplay breakdown books.
Does the Letterboxd Lover in your life not shut up about movie trivia and random information on C-list actors? Then, it’s time to put their knowledge to the test. The Cinephile card game is the perfect game night activity—and a way for your friend to flex their media literacy. With 150 cards in the deck, and multiple ways to play, the difficulty level ranges from Movie Geek (easy), Film Nerd (intermediate) to Cinephile (expert).
- Home Theater Gift Basket
On the days when your Letterboxd Lover doesn’t feel like going out to a theater, they need a cozy set up for movie night at home. Grab a cute basket and fill it with some goodies to curate the perfect movie watching experience: their favorite candy, popcorn packets, a blanket and candle. If they weren’t already convinced by Nicole Kidman to invest in an A-list membership, you could even throw an AMC gift card in there!
For the “Foodie”
- Customized Kitchenware
If the foodie in your life likes to cook, help them invest more into that hobby—starting by upgrading their kitchenware. Whether it be a customized cutting board, charcuterie board or kitchen towel set, this gift will be imbued with a personal touch that’ll surely bring up your memory with every use. Here are some Asian-Owned homeware brands to support!
Jotting down a recipe on the notes app isn’t that aesthetic, but you know what is? A recipe journal. If you grew up with an older relative who kept a detailed stack of recipe cards, detailing your family’s age-old kimchi or curry recipes, you may be well attuned to the sentimental value that this kind of physical recipe log can evoke. If your foodie prefers analog to digital, this is the perfect gift for them to record their genius creations. Or, if they want a recipe book of ideas not their own, buy them the new Made Here cookbook, created by NYC’s Asian communities.
- Snack box
What’s a better gift than food itself? There’s plenty of subscription box brands for Asian snacks to choose from. If your friend has a more sophisticated taste, then gift them a food set from William Sonoma. Some sets to choose from include: the Rub Library, Cocktail Gift Set and Olive Oil Set. There’s an abundance of holiday gifts to choose from in their Christmas and Hanukkah sections, like ornate boxes of peppermint bark and kosher snack baskets.
For the “Top 0.01% Listener”
- Band Merch
We all have that one friend who shocks us with their Spotify Wrapped every year. They listen to Spotify more than 99% of other users, and have racked approximately 100,000 minutes listening. Check which artists are in their top 5 and grab them some merch—shirt, tote bag, vinyl—from their online stores. Olivia Rodrigo, Mitski, Beabadoobee, Raveena and 88Rising are our top 5 at the Character Media office!
Another analog gift idea! If your music-obsessed friend is also an avid concert goer, then give them a ticket stub diary to document their concert experiences. Unlike movies, concerts can’t be re-watched, as they exist as a brief moment in time, so this is the perfect way to memorialize them. Better yet, you can provide them with the ticket to a concert they’ve been dying to go to.
- Coffee Table Books
Nothing screams class and chic more than a coffee table book. There are plenty of books to adorn your coffee table with, ranging from topics such as music history to band-specific biographies. 1000 Record Covers and The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time are popular choices, but there are many more to choose from.