What I Gave My Coworkers and Friends for Christmas 2019

This Christmas, I gave in abundance to friends, family, and coworkers, which resulted in not one but two blog posts to cover all the gift-giving. As the second installment, this blog post will cover all non-relatives. Dive in and enjoy!


I work in a space with many women, so for the overall floor, I created mini beauty goody bags and then gave separate gifts to those on my team.

Gladys, Darlene, Priya, Melody, and Carla

As is tradition, I turned to Ulta’s 5 for $5 holiday beauty steals to stock my goody bags. This year, I purchased makeup wipes, lotions, and tweezers.

After selecting my base products, I added in a couple of luxe products in mini sizes. Some of the goody bags contained minis of the Hot Mama! blush by TheBalm (earlier in the year they were having a 50% sale so I stocked up for this very occasion). The other goody bags contained a Bobbi Brown lipstick in the shade Uber Beige, which I picked up at the Cosmetics Company Store. I scored a 6 minis for $15 + a free makeup bag deal, so I bought two. There were some other products I threw in, like treatments/masks/essences from Origins, Glam Glow, Clinique, etc.


Each Christmas, I compare beauty gifts across Ulta, Sephora, and *most crucially* Marshalls and curate a tray of goodies from which each giftee can select one product. These gifts are typically value-sized treats, but enticing products nonetheless.

This is a little extra but I am going to give a brief callout to each product and where it was purchased. I can’t promise vivid amounts of detail for each item but I’ll leave what I can.

Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow Set – Marshalls ($11.99) Who doesn’t love glitter eyeshadow? This set from Stila is a great trio of sparkly, neutral shades.

theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Vol. 3 Set of 6 Mini Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks – $14.50 (regular price $29) How gorgeous is this set? I think theBalm makes some of the best makeup on the market (if only Sephora still carried them). Their products are amazing and they have huge sales throughout the year.

Ofra Cosmetics Madison Miller Moondance Highlighter – This product came in one of my Ipsy glam bags and I decided to add it to the pile because it’s very giftable and I have a ton of highlighters I’d rather grab for. The full retail price of this is $35!

Colourpop Night Owl Palette – $12 This was a STEAL of a palette for just $12. I should’ve photographed this without the plastic film on top. It’s really beautiful, so I’ll pop the product photo down below. It’s selling for $31 now on Mercari.

Kylie Cosmetics Mini Liquid Lipsticks Set – $12 I found this awesome lip duo from Kylie Cosmetics at Ulta for a great price. Super on-trend and a nice little goody.

Sigma Brushes P82 Precision Round Brush – $20 I got this for I *think* $8.99 from Marshalls. It’s usually $20. Score! I own this brush myself and I love it for concealer.

Real Techniques Mini Brush Duo – Last Christmas I found these adorable Real Techniques minis at Marshalls for $5.99 and amazingly enough, I found them again this year! They’re the perfect beauty tray item so, needless to say, I purchased these immediately.

Buxom Big Tease Plumping Mascara – $5.99 I picked up this volumizing mascara from Buxom at Marshall’s for a great price. Their mascaras are usually around the $22 mark and they have that brand recognition of being at Sephora, so to me it was a no-brainer to get this.

Nudestix Freebie – During Ulta’s Friendsgiving Sale I scored this free 3-piece gift with purchase. I decided to contribute it towards the pile because I didn’t love the shades.

For the rest of the office, I decided to put out a bowl of all the makeup/skincare/fragrance/hair samples I’d been sent that I just wasn’t reaching for. Most of these came from unused Ipsy subscription products (now cancelled) and unused Play! by Sephora subscription products (now cancelled). Everyone really loved it! By the end of the day the bowl was almost completely empty.


Violet is my friend and confidante at work. We sit together and usually talk to each other if we have questions about work (10% of the time), need to complain (10% of the time), or just fancy a chat (80% of the time). We have shared interests in beauty and fashion, so we get along very well. Being that she is my closest friend, I had to make her a luxe gift package to show my thanks during Christmas.

Mini Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in the shade Pillowtalk – I was shopping at Sephora and realized that the icon Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk lipstick was one of the 100 point gifts! I picked up the last two remaining ones and gave one to Violet.

Sephora Gift Card – I can’t remember if this was a $10 or $15 Sephora gift card, but essentially, I wanted to sweeten the pot by adding in a gift card. I gave her *just* enough to be happy with what I was giving, but I thought this would really put the gift over the edge.

Real Techniques Foundation Blender – I love Real Techniques because their brushes are so. damn. good. I was intrigued by this product when it came out, so I purchased it and LOVED it. It seamlessly applies and blends foundation and I just thought it was the coolest product. When Violet expressed interest in trying out some new makeup brushes, my mind went to this, so I got it for her.

Japonesque Baking Duo Brush Set – This was my second brush gift to Violet because I simply couldn’t turn down this deal when I saw this brush set from Japonesque at Marshalls. The value was amazing (two incredible makeup tools priced at $8.99), and the fact that it was from Japonesque – it was a no brainer! Plus, I own these brushes myself and they’re amazing for applying foundation and concealer.

Tall Phone Stand – Last but not least, I got her the same phone stand I had bought myself for work a few weeks prior to Christmas. She thought it was so useful (which it is, especially when I use it to watch videos on my phone during lunch), so I got her one too! It’s from a brand called Latt Liv, and the closest comparison to their store I can make is Flying Tiger or Ikea.


Mei is also a good friend of mine at work (we take the bus home together after work, so it makes sense that we’d become close). Mei is more of a skincare enthusiast than a makeup enthusiast, so I created a similar gift package to Violet’s, but tweaked to take into account her interests.

Bliss Face Spa Squad Mask Kit – I was browsing Target on Thanksgiving night (I took a walk around my grandmother’s neighborhood around Delancey street) and came across this face mask kit from Bliss. I loved the packaging and it just felt like a gift, even though it wasn’t designer brand. It was a good base gift so I bought it on the spot and then stuck a beautiful bow on top.

Mini Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in the shade Pillowtalk – I gave her the other Pillowtalk lipstick from Charlotte Tilbury.

Custom Gift Box of Skincare Goodies – So I did something pretty unique for Mei by combining the best of all my deluxe skincare products, all of which came from Ipsy and Play! by Sephora. I had Kiehl’s products, Fresh, Sunday Riley, Youth to the People, Belief, Josie Maran, etc. Some were masks, some were cleansers and creams, I basically just gave her the creme de la creme of my stash.

Sephora Gift Card – As you’ll have seen in the picture above, I also added a $10 or $15 (can’t remember) Sephora gift card to sweeten the deal, just as a nice extra.

Tall Phone Stand – Finally, I also got Mei the phone stand because waaay before Christmas I asked if she wanted one and she said yes. I think she forgot by the time we swapped gifts, but I remember she said she’d like it in black so that’s what I got her.


I decided to give my coworker, Olga, this festive set of hot chocolate mixes from Target and a pretty marbled mug from Latt Liv – a perfect two-fer.


I gave Steven, our Director of IT at work, a set of assorted truffles from Godiva. The other set I gave to Rick, our VP of Business Operations.


Wooden Tea Chest in Brown Featuring Eight TeasRick works quite closely with Violet, Mei, and myself, so we chipped in to get him this handsome wooden tea chest from Harney & Sons. He always drinks tea throughout the day, so this seemed like an elegant and fitting gift. Inside are 10 packets of eight different flavored foil wrapped teabags (80 total).


Torrid Gift Card – Violet, Mei, and I chipped in to buy Carla, our Director of Marketing, a $75 Torrid gift card. She is such a great boss and we wanted to get her something we knew she would love. Also… she has a black and white chihuahua named Maxie (who she’s obsessed with), so when I saw these earrings at Kate Spade, I couldn’t pass them up. So cute!


theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Vol. 3 Set of 6 Mini Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks, Erin Condren PetitePlanner Daily Planner Volume 3, Mantraband Bracelet – I curated a few gifts for my college friend Judy. I got her a silver bracelet (her preferred jewelry color) from Mantraband with the message “Braver than you believe, Stronger than you feel, and Smarter than you think.” I just love that mantra and I wanted her to know she’s all those things and more. I also bought her a set of pens and this planner THINKING that it was a yearly daily planner from Erin Condren when really, it’s only for three months of the year. Ugh. Oh well. She’ll have a summer planner. Finally, I gave her the liquid lipstick set that no one chose from my curated beauty tray (I have no idea why, this was one of the best ones).


Because I ended up buying more goodies than I actually needed, I assessed my stockpile and decided to give a couple of my beauty buys to my friend Nina. She will be getting the Colourpop eyeshadow palette and the mini duo of the Real Techniques brushes.


Friendy is my chillax buddy through and through. We’ve been friends since high school and we love going to the movies and making brownies at my house. I went to Costco and bought a 2-pack of AMC tickets ($21 compared to $17-20 each) and a tin of brownies. I didn’t remember to take a photo of the tin so I’ve inserted a picture of the brownie mix I like to use below.


The Mini Bar: 100 Essential Cocktail Recipes; 8 Notebook Set By PUNCH – Eric is Nick’s soon-to-be-roommate, and he’s an old college friend I recently reconnected with. He loves going to the bars and getting drinks, so I thought it would be a neat gift to get him a set of notebooks that have 100 cocktail recipes. He can use it in the new apartment when they set up a little bar area!

And that’s it, folks! That is everything I bought for friends and coworkers for Christmas 2019. Hope you enjoyed this read and that you found some inspo for gifts you may want to give in the future. It’s one of my favorite blog posts to make each and every year, but I look forward to writing a much more pared-down list in 2020.

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