When coming up with 10 things from Instagram on my holiday wish list, I thought of a quote I recently read: “culture creates our objects and objects create our culture.” It’s a platitude with a mathematical feel; there’s probably little worse granted in language, and it begs for the dough hooks of more than an introductory paragraph. But I’ll add that culture starts on the level of the individual. It is the circulation of one’s quiet or determined intuition spreading out like a thumping signal. It pushes forth new options for expressing yourself at a particular time. We couldn’t ride to the top of buildings before the 19th century. It was a new thing to spend your aliveness on. Secondly, (and emphatically), culture and trends are shaped by the emotions of our social consciousness. This year that has meant grief, loneliness and febrile nerves.
We’ve seen the feeling of absurdity reflected back to us in the home décor trend of pastel, wavy-edged furniture—as lighthearted looking as our world is fraught—or Apollonian shells to hold our fake jewelry. And desire for comfort has increased the popularity of domestic coziness. I’m thinking eyeglass chains, the Always Pan, diffusing oils and the revived Juicy Couture tracksuit that was just released. This year I’ve been drawn to exaggeration in design, small-business products, and classic kitchen brands.
As our lives have had to narrow and reconstitute, the pandemic has made culture feel exhaustingly materialistic. Our expressions of belonging to one another are increasingly confined to our purchases. So, when I began my holiday shopping last week, I decided to focus less on commercial products, as I did here too. Because the most authentic signature of culture is what we’re brave enough to create. Here are 10 things from Instagram on my holiday wish list.
1. Ceramic Mug by Lolly Lolly Ceramics
Lalese Stamps is the founder of Lolly Lolly Ceramics. She’s based in Columbus, OH and creates attention-catching ceramics that will also hold your morning brew. Recently, the “New York Times” filmed her at the clay wheel for their “Thanksgiving Distractor” compilation.
2. Bathrobe from Dusen Dusen
This brand, launched in 2010, is full of colorful, geometric prints—from bath towels to pillows. I loved reading on their website that “naive design” is a conceptual practice for creating their highly recognizable products.
$132, Dusen Dusen
3. Getting to Center: Pathways to Finding Yourself Within the Great Unknown by Marlee Grace
Marlee Grace is a writer from Detroit. She’s also a dancer and a radio host for the advice and music show “Friendship Village,” by KMRD. Her new book, “Getting to Center,” couldn’t speak to this moment any more squarely: “an empathetic offering to those who are looking for a roadmap for finding their way back to equilibrium.”
$14, Getting to Center
4. Table Lamp by Hay
If thanks to the pandemic you now have a bedroom-office like me, intentioned style in the space will make the de-factoness easier. Trust me. I’ve been looking for a minimalist lamp that wouldn’t remind me of desk work and make my job more of a design feature than necessary. This lamp, with its bright shades and dimmer option, will do the trick.
$140 on sale, Matin Table Lamp
5. Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz
Like many people, I pretended I was on “The Great British Bake Off” during quarantine and began using the word “stodgy” to describe my sister’s eyebrows and pining for marzipan. After months of this, I’ve decided it’s time to find a cookbook that I’ll return to again and again. One that years from now will be marred with the flurry of occasion.
$21, Dessert Person
6. Clothing from Nong Rak
This Thai and American brand is one of my favorite Instagram finds of the year. They make, in their own words, “nostalgic knitwear.” While expensive, the clothes are sustainably sourced and couldn’t get more original. They do have quick turnover though, so check the account out soon.
Starting at $78, Nong Rak
7. Unscented Hand Candle by DADA Daily
I saw this candle on Leandra Medine’s Instagram. She is most known for founding the fashion and lifestyle website “Man Repeller,” (which folded this year). I’ve always been inspired by her creative style—it’s joyfulness and juicy palette. Now I’m an admirer of her candle fashion too.
8. Four Quart Cast Iron French Cocotte by Staub
Staub is having a big sale, and it includes this piece. Cocotte is the French term for what we know as a Dutch oven. I originally saw this on a post by Food52, but if you order it from Bed Bath & Beyond, the shipping is free.
$99 on sale, Staub French Cocotte
9. Nut-Milk Base by Joi
I’ve decided to start making my own nut milk instead of spending the $6 every week on a two ingredient product. This nut base makes it possible to do so without investing in the actual nuts, or you can combine the two for a richer flavor. Here’s the recipe I plan to use.
$38 on sale, Almond Base
10. Makeup from Noto Botanics
Gloria Noto is the brand’s founder and was a makeup artist in California since 2006. Not only do her products seem to deliver warm tones and effervescence, but they come backed by a mission. Noto seeks to challenge the mainstream ingredient list in beauty products and the “visual identity of what wellness and inclusivity look like.”
Starting at $14 on sale, Noto Botanics
There you have it; those are the 10 things from Instagram on my holiday wish list! Tell us in the comments what’s on your wish list.
Title photo courtesy of @honeyfangs