“S.O.S.: I Need A Gift!” The GC Staffs Picks Their Go-To Holiday Gifts

GC’s Marketing Director Lena Braun recently coined the term “S.O.S. Gift”– a small collection of unexpected items she keeps in her apartment in case she needs a last-minute gift to bring to a party or celebration. We think this is a brilliant idea. This time of year there are so many Secret Santas, work parties, and random get-togethers that it’s easy to let your obligatory contribution to the gift exchange slip through the cracks– and further still, it’s often hard to shop for people you might not know really well.

Below, the GC Staff has rounded up their go-to nature-sourced gifts for the holiday season. Each of these items is inexpensive and easy to stockpile in the event that a client invites you to their Christmas party and you feel compelled to bring a gift. They’re also great last-minute gifts for friends, colleagues, and family (you can thank us later).

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Nora Mueller, Staff Writer

For the adventurous diner in your life, Punch Drunk’s Chocolate Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce is the perfect stocking stuffer, and is certain to keep you warm during the winter months. Non-GMO, vegan, and made with stout and chia seeds, this hot sauce is a delicious addition to chips, tacos, chili, and Bloody Marys. But be warned–ghost peppers are one of the hottest in the world!


Molly Beauchemin, Editor-in-Chief

Every time I go to SXSW I make a beeline to an amazing beauty shop in East Austin called Las Cruxes, which is housed inside an equally-awesome bookshop called Farewell Books. It’s a trendy little boutique known for selling epic biodynamic herbal oils made by Austin’s own Pretty Hole Collective— a group of herbalists inspired by Ayurvedic aromatherapy and the mystical plants of the desert. (I know– it’s super Austin.) Herbalist Tess Seipp founded the practice in 1999, and has been employing the transformative process of making “biodynamic remedies for a variety of physical, psychic and esoteric functions” ever since. I love the courage perfume oil, which is a botanical fragrance made with palo santo, oakmoss, sapphire, fennel and frankinscense essential oils, and whole kernels of black pepper and yarrow flowers that float beautifully in the oil base. The scent is formulated to encourage strength, confidence, and poise– it’s also a great anti-anxiety perfume to use before a big performance and presentation.


On the home front, there’s also a little shop in my corner of Brooklyn called Scosha, which sells beautiful jewelry, beauty products, and home goods. I recently discovered Balm & Co’s “Flower Oil” while shopping there, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s a cold-pressed Argan oil scented with roses– great for face, hair, or body (my favorite way to use it is by mixing it with a rose hydrosol and dabbing it on my face after a warm shower). This is definitely a product for women– but the men in your life will also be impressed with the results.


Lena Braun, Marketing Director

Our entire staff loves Kishu Binchotan’s activated charcoal water filters. I recommend this product because it is made from Japanese holm oak and turns ordinary tap water into tasty mineral water. The design is clean and gender-neutral– perfect for those situations in which you don’t know the host very well.

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Laura Braun, Creative Director

During my travels I come across a lot of unique places and stores, so I am always on the look out for extraordinary gifts. It sort of feels like treasure-hunting. When I do need a present I look at my collection and choose the most fitting gift based on the person receiving it. During my last trip to Paris, I rediscovered incense sticks, and these ones by Astier de Villatte bring a new elegance to the concept and are a great option if you have given candles as a gift too many times already.

Daisy Helman, Founder

….But if, by chance, you do want to give a candle as a gift, The Prosperity Candle is a great one to give. Each candle is handmade to order in a one-of-a-kind toxin-free vessel that can be reused once the candle burns out, and proceeds from the purchase go towards creating equal opportunities for women– a cause that is very important to the Garden Collage staff.
Oya also makes a fabulous terra-cotta watering jug that I rave about every chance I get– in case you want a more straight-forward gardening gift. This is a great unisex item, and it’s timeless enough to blend in within any modern or old-fashioned garden.

One Last GC-Approved Stocking-Stuffer:

Our team also loves this “healthy hot chocolate” from Four Sigma Foods, who also make some of the industry’s best mushroom coffee (we’ll be doing a big story on that soon). Infused with Reishi mushrooms– the flavor of which goes unnoticed beneath the cinnamon and cocoa flavors– this box of individual hot chocolate packets is an ideal stocking-stuffer for kids and adults with a sweet tooth. Reishi mushrooms are one of the most healing superfoods on the planet, used for centuries to prevent disease and cure illness in Chinese medicine. This is a drink that is actually as nourishing as it is tasty. Now snuggle up and relax!
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