Madewell’s 10 Best: Gift Upgrades


There’s nothing like unwrapping and opening a present—no one will argue with that. But there’s also nothing like getting (or giving, for that matter) something extra with each gift, something thoughtful that can’t be wrapped.

Here, 10 gifts that transcend wrapping—and pair perfectly with things you’re probably already giving this year.

1. What goes best with a cuddly sweater? A fire and the incredibly cozy feeling of curling up with someone you love. (Danish people even have a word for it: hygge.) If you don’t have a fireplace, an evening with the three-hour video here is (almost) just as good.

2. A new pair of sneaks calls for a lazy afternoon meandering through a nearby museum or gallery—a list of great ones, here.

3. Seeing live music together is the ultimate way to upgrade a gift. Slip concert tickets into a wallet or bag and immediately become the best gift-giver ever. Get alerts when your favorite artists are on tour, here.

4. An online game of Scrabble goes with, well, anything, doesn’t it? Start a game between you and a faraway friend, here.

5. The best thing about taking a scenic cold-weather hike? The view. The second best thing? Instagramming it. (The third? A portable phone charger.) Find nearby trails, here.

6. Serving a massive skillet cookie like this one here with a mug filled with hot cocoa has a place on our wishlist.

7. Give the gift of nostalgia and host a sleepover. Turn in early with a dear friend (matching pajamas required) and stream an audiobook as a bedtime story (like one of the 550 free ones, here).

8. This online breakfast lecture series hosted by creatives from around the world addresses themes ranging from happiness to food, here. The gift of listening to your favorite one together over breakfast, in a new pair of shearling slippers, is, well, priceless.

9. Instead of the standard countdown-with-Champagne routine, ring in 2015 with a festive cocktail and a few hilarious toasts. Use the Academy Award mad lib generator, here, and gift a cocktail shaker to the friend with the best speech.

10. Bowling is practically a required home-for-the-holidays activity. Surprise your team with some handy tips, here, and matching socks at the shoe rental counter.

For something you can wrap, shop our #Giftwell Guide here.

Photography by Angi Welsch.