Today is the last day featuring material gifts on the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide! Following today, the remainder our gift suggestions won't require any shipping so you can comfortably finish your last minute holiday shopping without the nail-biting agony of watching delivery windows narrow as we rapidly approach the gift-giving dawn. But if you're on the hunt for small stocking-sized objects that can breeze through shipping hubs and spokes, we've got you covered. This collection of gifts is designed to inspire you to think beyond traditional stocking-stuffers; we encourage you to explore anything and everything small to fit within the hung woven wrappings as appropriate mantle material. From stunning stickers to jaw-dropping jewelry the only thing these objects have in common is their petite size and undeniable exceptionalism! There is a lot to look through today so we've compiled a gallery so you can scroll through all of the items on the list before diving into the writeup.
Let's warm up with gifts that fit a more conventional stocking gift model.
If you're a seasoned follower of ARCANISA—if you're new, WELCOME!—you've likely noticed that we have a deep-seated inexplicable affinity for bizarre and admittedly deranged artistic characters like the Worry Sloth and the Panic Turtles from our Critter Creations day. With that predisposition in mind it should come as no surprise that this Ticky pin effortlessly wins our hearts. Everything about him—excuse the arbitrary gendering of the bean shaped beast—is spectacular and unquestionably Philadelphian. We adore the wonky teeth, the deadpanned and unusually curious, maybe even pining gaze of the cyclopitic eye, and of course the matching tongue and ear texture featuring a psychedelic stripe that makes us desperate to have whatever he last ate. Ticky is a character that reveals more and more personality the longer you look at him so be prepared to unintentionally allocate hours to staring into his mammary eye.
Featuring another crushingly cool character-rich creature, our next gift is the Cat Reaper shirt from Ixachi Art. The cat clearly has some truly unsettling emotional problems and we live—or should we say die— for it! This feline is highly possessive, and arguably proud, of its skull collection, a behavior we find extremely endearing and, as avid collectors ourselves, fully respect. At first sight, this cat instantly stole our hearts enough so much so that we'll willingly and eagerly surrender our souls in recognition of his supremacy and represent his sovereign image on our clothing!
Another freaky feline comes to us from CatMade. With four surprisingly friendly eyes looking up at us, the Tiger Orange Cat Earrings are an exceptionally enchanting accessory featuring a cat that is equally as eccentric as the Reaper but doesn't seem to have the same thirst for our souls! We also appreciate that you can wear the cat on the opposite ear, which results in it looking off into the distance away from you with a haughty indifference we cat owners recognize.
Should you live in a home ruled by a feline fiend as we do, we recommend you sneak some sacrificial stuffed animals into a stocking just for them. Hands down our favorite pet toy this year is the Wool Shrimp Cat Toy from Ware of the Dog; for a brand dedicated to dogs they really nailed it with this cat creation! Filled with catnip, these shrimp made craftswomen in Nepal are perfect "for the cat who has an appetite for fun" (1). We also feel no semblance of shame admitting we bought a few of these just for ourselves because they're so gloriously good looking that we just had to have them. Desk toys? Pocket pets? Pantry protectors? Yes, please! We fully plan on hiding these crustaceans all over our homes.
Looking for a sweeter character? The affable golden slithering serpent on the midnight blue Hey There Snake Shirt from Martha Rich is a charming chum that your loved ones will feel privileged to carry with them over their hearts. The friendly face sits ready to rattle off a warm, jovial hello whenever one looks down, offering companionship and pleasantry in addition to an outstanding aesthetic design.
Switching a single slithering companion for a collection of crawling critters, the insects on this Spanish-made, silk Outumuro scarf from Ramón Tormes and Botanica Etcetera form a natural mandala that would make Damien Hirst proud. Last year we featured an entire day dedicated to the artistry of arthropods so you can imagine how excited we were when we discovered this truly phenomenal scarf featuring elegant insects in all their aesthetic glory.
When we want a more minimalist animalistic object we turn to the Cachalote Pequenos, smiling sperm whale paperweights made of Azorean cryptomeria wood like the surfboards from Breklim. Designed by artist Horácio Raposo, these simplistic sculptures form a pod of gestured aquaticism articulated with the warmth and terrestriality of wood. They're stunning gifts that everyone on your list will love to spot swimming in their stockings!
For a less weighted menagerie, try the Cardboard MINIJUNGLE set from Milimbo. A small unassuming brown box opens to reveal a full kingdom of geometric animals including elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and lions. Arrange the trees, with stacked circle canopies and Moorish-arch-like. weeping willow branches, to create a forrest habitat beyond the cardboard vivarium. The set is so contemporary and sculptural even adults will be thrilled to receive it!
How about some flexible friends? The 3d printed articulated slugs from Brock Custom Designs and the Triatop Flexi Dinosaur from Husky Printing are the ideal gift choice for those with fidgety fingers that are inclined to wreak havoc on the fragile cardboard creates from Milimbo. We love that each of these segmented sculptures are available in a variety of colours so you are able to personalize the for each lucky recipient on your holiday list!
And for your littler loved ones, we can't think of a more wonderful stocking stuffer than this Hérissons Bamboo Top Knot Hat from Mini Tipi. While we won't usually turn down an opportunity to wear a festive Santa hat, these baby soft caps covered in delicate hedgehogs and a sprinkling of fairytale-esque mushrooms are so delightful we'd drop the white fur trim for a chance to wear one!
If those are your list are a bit too grown for an infant-sized top knot hat but are still young at heart, the Futbol Loteria Shirt from Kid Diablo is a great gift choice. Any futbol/soccer fans can feel their blood boiling and ears steaming at the thought of indefensibly theatrical diving during matches. While we always appreciate performance art, on the pitch, this behavior elicits passionate, full bodied boos rather than dignified applause. So this shirt, depicting a player fully committed to feigning injury rather than taking a shot on an unobstructed goal, is a fashionable piece de resistance for those who love the game.
A wearable stocking-worthy gift that even non futbol lovers will enjoy comes to us from STRATONAUT Shop which offers "clothing, accessories, art and gift items inspired by the rich visual heritage of the Soviet era...from propaganda images, to space-race postage stamps, to souvenirs inspired by Soviet avant-garde art and brutalist architecture"(2). We could dedicate an entire day to the STRATONAUT but today we're featuring our current favorite item: the 'I'll Become A Sheep Breeder' T-Shirt. The image, sourced from a Soviet poster and printed onto a classic t-shirt template, features a boy cradling a luminous white lamb while wearing a turban formed by a flock of idle sheep. It's utterly bizarre, absolutely outstanding, and, in our opinion, a perfect stocking stuffer.
If you're loved one are more food-focused, we recommend the Chenille Banana Patch from Kristina Micotti. A pleasantly pally, peel-covered pet—we're in a very alliterative mood today, forgive us!— each banana smiles with a disconcertingly tight red-lipped curl that is suspiciously maniacal but extremely fun! We also appreciate that the bananas are chenille which gives them an unusual matted fur quality that is honestly just amazing. We had no idea we'd love lumpy fur-covered bananas with conniving grins but we really do and we're confident you're loved ones will as well!
Even those who follow gluten-free lifestyles will be smitten by these Angry Toast Keychains from Outsider Collective in Pawtucket Rhode Island. We don't think there will ever be words to adequately describe how crushingly cool these rubber characters are. Even pandemic-approved face coverings can't contain the powerful presence of these show stopping keychains. With their pinpoint eyes and stern dashed eyebrows sending us a universally understood Morse Code message of artistry and chicness, we feel the need to make duplicates of our keys as an excuse for our ever expanding collection of these expressive characters. One ARCANISA team member described their Angry Toast keychain as their "accessorizing version of Obama's Key and Peele anger translator" working to channel their inner frustrations through impeccable artwork, which we believe makes these keychains even more gift-worthy!
If you're looking for an accessory that is a less whimsical expression of your twisted internal dialogue, the Duality: Love and Thoughts patches from Scott Bokma are spectacularly surreal stitched sculptures that will make you feel alive. Gradients of shaded embroidery wind through black outlines to form arterial pillars and a cerebral labyrinth that is gloriously graphic and deeply aesthetic. Representing the duality of self as a ying and yang of literal heart and mind, the patches are perfect gifts for those with an unapologetically dark sense of style. It's also available in glitter, which feels so wrong and yet so right!
If you're questioning our sanity after reading through some of these more bizarre gift ideas, you'll likely be happy to hear that we're switching stylistic gears for the remainder of the collection!
Should your loved ones recoil at the idea of fashionable organs, the Monarq Portrait Stickers are magnificent accessories capturing the beauty of humanity in an arguably more pleasing—and certainly more societally palatable— aesthetic. We simply adore the work of Sabella, also known as the monarq. Each of her portraits is a masterpiece of authenticity; we feel as if we know her subjects, we find privilege in the observation of their beauty alongside the aesthetic revelation of their characters. Tender smiles glow beneath blushing cheeks, chins stand tall and proud under crowning red arched brows, vulnerably glossy petal lips part beneath curious eyes unaware of our presence. The works are indisputably worthy of gallery walls so you can be confident your loved ones will be thrilled to discover them in their stockings!
We feel socks are given an undeservingly bad reputation over the holidays. These Boot Socks in Ember from Little River Sock Mill (zkano) and Imogene + Willie are so sophisticated they leave us weak at the knees and certainly forgetting any seasonal stereotypes about gifted socks from grandmothers! In Fort Payne, Alabama, vibrant charcoal and searing umber Texas-grown cotton is woven into glowing textile that seems to ignite. The toe, heel, and neck of the sock are trimmed in a contrasting citrine cotton heathered with blackened strands to produce a distressed, static-esque accent that feels inexplicably holographic. Atop the toes, an indigo dyed teal cross stamps a mark of elegant design and geometry that is breathtaking. The socks are a visionary and contemporary work of artistry applied to a recognizable, and typically functionally mundane sock form. They're simply gorgeous.
Pamper your loved ones this year with the Nopalera Cactus Flower Exfoliant. Made by hand and colored with achiote seeds, this sugar-based scrub is rich with skin soothing oils, healing nopal cactus, and notes of effervescent tangerine. The remarkably beautiful packaging provides instant aesthetic gratification even before your gift recipients use the scrub. Their dry, winter-chapped skin will certainly thank you for the delicious revitalization from this a gentle physical exfoliant!
For further soothe our winter skin, we turn to glide-on healing balms which happen to make perfect stocking stuffers. With highly sensitive eczema prone skin we can emphatically say we've tried every skincare on the market and these two sticks stand in a league of their own. From Satya Organic, the Easy Glide Stick is a topical lifesaver. Sweet almond oil, jojoba, beeswax, and anti-inflammatory calendula are mixed with colloidal oatmeal to create a luxurious balm that we can't possibly live without.
In addition to the Satya Stick, we never travel without the All Purpose Healing Honey Stick from Life Elements. "With ingredients that have been trusted for centuries...the Healing Honey Stick is a crowd favorite for its endless versatility and reliability" (3). Honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and pollen are blended with emollients and decadent essential oils including bergamot, lavender, and calendula for a healing balm that leaves us feeling pampered as it calms our dry winter skin. Even fissure-prone feet find restored softness with the help of this salve, even after enduring assaulting cold snaps and parching heaters. These sticks define our seasonal skincare routines and we eagerly share them with everyone we love over the holidays.
While we do use both of the aforementioned balms on our lips, there is something uniquely opulent about the Walnut and Cognac Lip Bam from Biainili that holds our full lip-focused attention. Essential oils and moisturizing extracts are suspended in nourishing shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax to create a delicious, concentrated balm that is an every day indulgence that makes us want to throw on our smoking jackets and curl up in a tufted leather club chair. A classic glass jar topped with an elegant tin lid introduces the user to the luxuriousness of the experience even before touching the balm. We can't envision a more perfect stocking surprise.
Next we transition to our favorite paper stocking stuffers, starting with the Incense Leaves from HA KO Paper. Fennel scented gingko, osmanthus Japanese maples, elegant citrus oaks, and nibbled spicy jasmine leaves create a bouquet of sensationally delicate cut paper that fills the room with intoxicating fragrance. As a dry arrangement the leaves offer a potpourri experience while, when burned, trails of scented smoke fill the air with visual and olfactory wonder. Each set comes in a minimalist blonde wood box so they arrive beautifully packaged and gift-ready.
The Triangular Cards from ATELIER. encle d'encle are paper works you certainly won't want to burn. Square stationary letter sets are decorated with clouds of cheerful clovers, flocks of soaring seagulls, and prides of skiers leaving winding trails through the snow. Each card is paired with a translucent triangular envelope—rather than a conventional four sided alternative— which imparts a whimsical geometry that reveals whispers of the colorful card within. The cards are unexpected and exceptional and, as such, they make extraordinary gifts.
Yesterday we invited you to gift Book Blind Dates and, if you do share books with your loved ones this year, why not slip some foreshadowing bookmarks into their stockings! This year we were thrilled to discover an abundance of experiential bookmarks that move beyond the simply page-marking functionality and we'll share two of our favorites. The first is the plantable bookmark from Portuguese brand, Life in a Bag.
"The bookmarks are made from seed paper. The seed paper is made from cotton rags mixed with water and organic seeds that creates a pulp and then it’s compressed and dried to create sheets of paper. The sheets are printed with the bookmarks and then goes to a die cutting process that makes a paper card with the bookmark shape ready to grow flower...[Simply] soak the paper overnight, cut it into pieces, put it into a pot with soil (or garden) and water until is moist." (4)