Born and raised in New England, I have a deep appreciation for brands that also originate from one of the region’s six states. Shopping local, shopping small, and shopping brands that you personally want to support is paramount this time of year.
When looking for holiday gifts for my friends and family, I dedicate a significant amount of time selecting stand-out pieces that I think they will truly enjoy for years to come. While compiling my holiday gift guide for The A-Lyst, I reached out to companies that I have come to know and love, and want others to appreciate, as well. The majority of these brands are small, growing businesses, with a large portion of them being female-owned and run, which makes me adore them even more!
As you do your holiday shopping this season, I hope that you’ll also turn to businesses in your own backyard and purchase gifts that have a local connection.
Happy holiday shopping!
The A-Lyst for the Best Holiday Gifts from New England
For the Outerwear Queen
I’ve been a fan of the Third Piece since 2016, when I bought my first knit headpiece from a pop-up shop they were hosting in Chestnut Hill. Fast forward almost three years later and this Boston-born brand now has a beautiful retail space on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Doubling as a knit bar, where you can come in to learn how to make your own knits, the Third Piece store is a one-stop-shop for all of your knitting needs! You can read more about my knitting class experience at the Third Piece here. Founded and run by Bostonian Kristen Lambert, the Third Piece produces the most luxurious and well-made knitwear, which make the most amazing gifts! My latest obsession is The Bowery Cowl, a stunning loopy stitched scarf with a fringe border along part of the bottom. This cold weather statement piece comes in an array of eye-catching hues and is hand-knit in Boston by a member of the Third Piece’s knit team. If a person on your gift list is naturally crafty or loves a challenge, instead of buying them the already made scarf, you can also gift them with a “Made By You” Kit so they can create The Bowery Cowl themselves!
For the Friend on Island Time
Nantucket is undeniably my happy place. While my husband and I have been lucky enough to travel to many gorgeous destinations, we both say that Nantucket is one of the only spots that we want to return to, year after year. Every time I step off of the ferry, I fall in love all over again! If you have a person on your list who adores the Grey Lady as much as I do, the one-of-a-kind pieces from Skar Design Jewelry will make them swoon. I first stumbled upon designer Renee Scarfone Gillies’ Nantucket necklaces at one of my favorite boutiques on the island, Blue Beetle. While she has a full collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings that aren’t tied to Nantucket, for me, her hand-cut “Ring Around the Nantucket” pendant is a top pick. I love wearing my necklace by itself, but it also looks equally as pretty when layered with a longer piece. Your gift recipient will be flooded with happy memories of her time on the island every time she wears it!
For the Accessories Lover
I met the owner of Boston-based Mary Bret Jewelry at an event and instantly fell in love with her gorgeous handmade earrings. As a big fan of statement jewelry, especially earrings, I knew I had to have a pair, and of course, buy them for the accessory lovers on my gift list. I was immediately drawn to the Luci Hoop, but the Pippa Tassel (especially the two-tone style) is equally as fun, and both are super lightweight. From classic black to striking fuchsia and holiday appropriate red, you’ll find it hard to choose which color to buy! You can purchase Mary Bret earrings online, or if you are based in the Boston-area, you can check out her selection at Its For Now in the Seaport District and the Third Piece in the South End.
For the Clean Beauty Fan
Follain is my go-to for clean beauty essentials. With the FDA’s lack of regulations for the cosmetic industry, it’s imperative to educate yourself on the harmful ingredients that could be lurking in your beauty products. When Follain was founded in 2013 by Babson MBA graduate Tara Foley, Boston not only gained a beautiful place to shop for skincare and make-up must-haves, but a resource for educating consumers on non-toxic beauty. Follain now boasts seven brick and mortar locations, continuing to spread the clean beauty movement across the United States. For the beauty lover in your life, I highly recommend one of Follain’s perfectly paired gift sets, such as the Kiss of Winter Lip Kit. This duo features my favorite lip products, the French Girl Organics Rose Lip Polish and Kari Gran Peppermint Lip Whip, to make your pout oh-so-smooth and kissable for those mistletoe moments. I also recommend the Clean Essentials Kit, which includes trial-sizes of four of the store’s best-selling products; the Indie Lee toner is a personal favorite!
For the Active Woman
While New Balance is universally known for both its sneakers and fitness apparel, many people may not realize that its roots are in Boston! The New Balance headquarters and global flagship retail store are based right outside the city in Brighton. I’ve been a longtime fan of New Balance products and have really enjoyed seeing how relevant they remain in the market despite being founded over 100 years ago. Athleisure is so trendy right now and I can’t help but love so many of the sleek, durable pieces being sold by New Balance. The brand’s Heat Loft collection pairs innovation with style, offering an assortment of woven pieces designed to keep you warm without weighing you down. If someone on your gift list loves keeping active, even in the harsh temperatures of winter, any of the pieces from this collection would make for a practical present under the tree. My favorites are the New Balance Heat Loft Asym Jacket (the pink hue is soft, beautiful and very feminine) and the New Balance Heat Loft Intensity Jacket, which features trendy cropped sleeves. These pieces are so easy to throw on for running errands, taking a brisk walk/run around the neighborhood, or hitting the gym on a cold morning! I love giving gifts that are fashionable and functional.
For the Lover of All Things Cozy
I cannot say enough good things about the cozy yet stylish apparel by Connecticut-based Dudley Stephens. Founders and sisters, Lauren Stephens and Katherine “Kaki” McGrath use 100% recycled yarn to design the most comfortable collection of turtlenecks, ponchos, scarves, and more. On cold New England days, I literally don’t want to wear anything else but my Dudley Stephens fleece! I am the proud owner of the brand’s widely popular Cobble Hill Turtleneck and can’t wait to add additional colors to my wardrobe. If you have a friend or family member who loves to be cozy (I mean, who doesn’t?), but still dresses fashion-forward, this is the gift that will keep on giving all winter long. Sustainably made in Brooklyn, New York, you can purchase Dudley Stephens apparel on their website, or if you are in the Boston area, at the brand’s pop-up at Its For Now in the Seaport District.
The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.