Gift-Giver’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Capital Region’s Top Instagrammers Provide You With Gift-Buying Advice

For some of us, Instagram influencers have replaced our friends and family members as our main source of recommendations. We turn to them for everything from beauty and makeup tips to recipes and movie suggestions—so why not get their opinions on what to buy for our loved ones this holiday season? Saratoga Living turned to the Capital Region’s most-followed Instagrammers for gift-buying advice in seven categories—kids, men, fashion/beauty, pets, health/fitness, food and home—and boy, did they deliver. Read on for their top #shoplocal picks, and prepare to be thoroughly influenced.

For the Kiddos

Jenny O’Keefe (@jenny_okeefe)

Retro My Little Pony ($14.99) – G. Willikers

Obviously, this pick is for the kids in your life—but it’ll definitely tug at your nostalgic heartstrings, if you were a child of the ’80s. There’s nothing like the My Little Pony line, and these replicas are sure to be playtime favorites in no time.

Corolle Rainbow Dolls ($29.99) – G. Willikers

How adorable are these dolls from French dollmaker Corolle? G. Willikers has four dolls to choose from, each one with different colored hair—and cuter than the next.

Frozen Science Lab ($19.99) – Northshire Bookstore

For your future GE Global Research scientist, this STEM-based science kit is a great way to combine knowledge and fun. Lab-test a “snow rainbow” in between snow angels.

Moulin Roty La Grande Famille Bus with Julius ($44) – Lex and Cleo

Well-made wooden toys—like this busload of animal friends—always make a great holiday gift for kids. They’re the perfect open-ended toy for sparking a child’s imagination and (better yet) hours and hours of glorious uninterrupted playtime.

Maileg Princess Mouse and the Pea set ($55) – Lex and Cleo

Your kids will be obsessed with the Maileg mouse, and it’ll soon become the sweetest addition to their busy toy room collection. If mice aren’t your kid’s definition of nice, Lex and Cleo has a great assortment of other Maileg products, too.

Just for Him

Brett Ferri (@brettferri)

Curated Basic Wool Socks and Heritage Madman Scarf ($33) – Union Hall Supply Co.

When you live in a place that’s cold seven months out of the year, you’d better have some warm accessories. Start with an oven-y pair of wool socks and a durable scarf in a neutral tone, so you can pair it with many different outfits.

On Cloud Running Shoe ($129.99) – iRun LOCAL

If you’re an athlete on the go, you’ll know that it’s hard to find a comfy, reliable running shoe with a casual look that goes with an everyday outfit. The running shoes from On Cloud check all the boxes. For primo versatility, go with the slate/rock color—it’ll match just about anything.

Aeropex Wireless Bone Conducting Headphones ($159.99) – iRun LOCAL

AirPods lovers know that wearing them too long will hurt their inner ear. A cozier alternative? These lightweight, waterproof headphones from Aeropex Wireless, which painlessly wrap around your ears and beam in your  music, loud and clear.

The Gucci Mane Guide to Greatness ($28) – Northshire Bookstore

For the music lovers in your life, try expanding their horizons with platinum-selling hip-hop artist Gucci Mane’s The Gucci Mane Guide to Greatness. With it, they’ll unlock a new appreciation for rap music—and living life to the fullest.

Shana Lee sterling ring ($121) – Silverado Jewelry Gallery 

Call it double dipping. Saratoga’s Silverado sells wares from multiple artists, so in buying a gift there, you’re supporting two small businesses in one. This silver ring by Shana Lee is such a simple piece; it could go with literally anything you wear.

Just for Her

Emily Becker (@emmbecks)

Yankee Coin Necklace ($88) – Supernatural 

Any accessorizer on your list is sure to fall for this flashy gold-plated New York City subway token necklace by Electric Picks Jewelry, which will pair famously with any outfit. It comes from Saratoga’s new kid on the block, Supernatural, a gift-giving goldmine of wonderfully whimsical items.

Beekman 1802 Milk Drop + CBD Facial Oil ($100) – Lifestyles of Saratoga 

Schenectady-headquartered Beekman 1802 crushes in the skincare category, and the fact that you can buy this locally produced product at a Saratoga small business is nothing short of a holiday grand slam. The skincare junkie in your life will be all over the spa-day-in-a-bottle Milk Drop + CBD Facial Oil.

Leopard Lounge Set ($72) – Piper Boutique

Since we’re all spending a lot more time at home these days, buttery soft loungewear goes a long way. This Leopard Lounge Set from Piper is the perfect gift for your remote-working machine of a significant other. And the material is so velvety smooth, she’ll want to live in it all season long.

Caswell-Massey Hand Cream ($18) – Menges + Curtis

When it’s blustery and cold outside, it’s important to keep your skin hydrated. This Caswell-Massey Hand Cream is a luxurious way to catch all those cracks before they form. Better yet, it smells like gorgeous Gardenias. Stocking stuffed!

Knit sweater ($60) – Caroline + Main

Nothing says “holidays” like a cozy sweater. Caroline + Main has an amazing selection of neutral knits that will keep your “main” squeeze toasty and comfy on the chilliest of days.

Pet Love

Tim Pink (@saratogadogwalkers)

Puffer coat (starting at $48) – Bella and Lindy

Not only are these canine puffer coats super cute and fashionable, but they’ll keep your furry friend warm in all types of weather.

Jolly Pets Jolly Ball ($15.75) – Benson’s Pet Center

Jolly Balls are a dog’s best friend, because man’s best friend can bite at them all day long, but they won’t pop or rip. This one for medium-sized dogs comes with a rope, so it can be used for both fetch and tug of war.

Orthopedic dog bed ($134) – Benson’s Pet Center

A great gift for any dog, the Ortho dog bed is especially comfy for your senior canine companion. Its gel cushion makes it super soft, so it’s easy on an older dog’s joints. Plus, your pup will love its built-in pillow sides.

Custom pet portraits (starting at $60) – Feathered Antler

Gretchen Louise Tisch bases her pet paintings on an actual photo of your furry friend—and they’re fully customizable, too. Get yours on a canvas, pillowcase, article of clothing…you name it! Stop by the store, order online or catch Gretchen, in person, at either one of Saratoga’s weekend farmers’ markets.

Kurgo Hammock car seat cover ($59.99) – PetSmart

Dog owners are familiar with the never-ending struggle to keep the inside of their car hair- and muck-free. This contraption will keep your backseats spotless and dry after any wild winter adventure.

Healthy Living

Hannah White (@hannahraefit)

Gift Card (any amount) – iCRYO

Everybody needs more self-care during these maddeningly uncertain times, so why not get your special someone a pass to iCRYO Recovery and Wellness, which has locations in Clifton Park, Latham and Guilderland? Friendly suggestion: Try the cryo-facial, which uses ultra-chilly temperatures to reduce lines and wrinkles, promote collagen production and brighten your skin’s appearance. Cold never felt so good.

Reflective vest ($44.50) – iRun LOCAL

Buying for an outdoor enthusiast who doesn’t let Daylight Saving Time get in his or her way? Check out this reflective vest that’s sure to make any runner, walker or biker visible to drivers.

Custom Legging ($48) – GTS Clothing

Saratoga’s Greater Than Sports makes satiny soft leggings that work for both gym-time sweats and your day-to-day. Take advantage of its Custom Legging option to give a truly unique gift.

Gift Card (any amount) – BARE Blends

For your gift list’s fit, on-the-go smoothie lover, Albany’s BARE Blends has just what the trainer ordered. All of the smoothie-maker’s ingredients are plant based, and its supplies are environmentally responsible, so you’ll be giving the gift of green. Plus, you’ll get an additional gift—a free smoothie, smoothie bowl or BARE T-shirt—if you purchase gift cards in $50, $75 or $100 increments.

Outdoor Research face mask ($20) – Fountain Square Outfitters  

Comfy, breathable face masks are now an essential accessory—even more so for the gym rat in your life, who’ll be required to wear one inside his or her gym all winter long (if they stay open). The Outdoor Research mask, available at Glens Falls’ Fountain Square Outfitters, is an indoor champ. Plus, masks make amazing stocking stuffers.

For the Foodie

Camila Hurst (@piesandtacos)

Cheese box (starting at $30) – Saratoga Grazing Co.

All true foodies melt for a cheese board. Sizes of Saratoga Grazing Co.’s boxes vary and can serve anywhere from two to 15 people. Each box is filled with a variety of cheese, charcuterie, fresh and dried seasonal fruits and accoutrements.

Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt pan ($34.99) – Compliments to the Chef

Give the gift of a Bundt pan, and the baker in your life will thank you—in baked goods, that is. Compliments to the Chef wins with this one on price alone. Take that, Amazon!

Chemex pour-over glass coffeemaker ($38.99) – Healthy Living Market

Up your Joe game with this super-elegant coffeemaker, which brews a smooth and delicious cup (this three-cupper is the smallest version). Consider pairing it with one of Healthy Living’s sturdy stoneware mugs ($9.59-$10.59) and a locally roasted, consciously sourced bag o’ beans—like Upstate Coffee Collective’s All Day ADK blend ($15).

Starter Gift Basket (starting at $50) – Saratoga Olive Oil Co. 

Packed with Tuscan herb olive oil, traditional balsamic, garlic medley sea salt and two pour-spouts, Saratoga Olive Oil’s starter basket is a wonderful gift for your favorite culinary condiment connoisseur.

Saratoga Sips gift bag ($29) – The Savory Pantry

Have any hot chocolate lovers on your Christmas list this year? Look no further than The Savory Pantry’s Saratoga Sips bag, which comes complete with Saratoga Chocolate Co. hot chocolate, locally made marshmallows and authentic Scotch oat biscuits. Mmm.

Home Design

Nicolle Mallinson (@ourtinynest)

Wick Apothecary candle ($16) – Wick Apothecary

Wick Apothecary is the brainchild of Michelle Law, a mother of three based in Clifton Park. Her candles are 100 percent soy-based, making them clean and healthy—the perfect gift for the people you care about the most.

Flannel New York State pillow ($42) – Fort Orange General Store

Nothing says “I Love New York” like these pillows handmade locally by Abby Kirkman Quilts. They come in a few different colors and patterns—some flannel, some solid—and make a wonderful gift for the new homeowner (or homebody) in your life.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg ornament ($20) – Vischer Ferry General Store

Honor late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with these adorable fair-trade ornaments. No lengthy deliberations needed here: Just pick one up from the Vischer Ferry General Store.

Let’s Stay Home books ($39) – Our Tiny Nest By Nicolle

These book-stacks from my very own Etsy collection are made from real upcycled books, hand-stamped and wrapped in twine. They’re the perfect addition to bookshelves, mantles or tables, or make for very farmhouse-chic tray décor.

Saratoga Springs vinyl tile mat ($85) – Silverwood Home & Gallery

Vinyl mats are all the rage, whether they’re in your kitchen or home office. And the tiled look? It’s not only fun and stylish, but also durable and functional.

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