If there’s one gift the work-from-home set would likely love to receive this season, it’s boundaries. While there are definite benefits to eschewing the commute and daily lunch budget for comfortable pants (or none at all) and working from bed (if you insist), there are also significant downsides as the lines between that aforementioned work and home become increasingly blurred. Given the circumstances, we dare not complain, but Refinery29 perfectly encapsulated our perverse privilege (because unequivocally, it is a privilege) in a recent article titled: “The Literal Pain of Working From Home.”
Some of this silence might have to do with the fact that we feel lucky to be able to work from home at all. You may wonder if it’s insensitive to be talking about the pain from working a cushy white-collar job while other workers are actively facing danger. The great COVID work-from-home era has, however, only highlighted how unhealthy our work habits and setups are...Our homes never asked to be offices and many of our cramped apartments were ill-prepared to serve as a workspace, but we’ve made do...
Added to this is the fact that, as pointed out by a Black C-suite exec quoted in LeanIn’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report (produced with McKinsey & Co.): “The greatest challenge has been the ability to disconnect from work. I get out of bed and go straight to my office, which is 20 steps away. And it’s very easy to get in early and stay late because there’s more than enough work to be done.”
Frankly, we envy her having an actual office to go to, since far too many of us have been forced to carve out corners of our bedrooms, living rooms, closets or kitchens to find a place to work each day. With none of us returning to the office anytime soon, if ever (we’re optimistically forecasting a minimum of 4-6 months, if not much longer), if the work-from-homie in your life doesn’t have a designated workspace as comfortable, organized, and full of creature comforts as possible, perhaps ‘tis the season for you to give the gift of an assist. (And if all else fails, remember: a well-thought-out gift card goes a long way.)
Okay, so maybe you don’t have an extra room to spare or convert into a whole-ass office. But if you have a closet—or even a corner—you can still make it special. (Y’all do realize The Glow Up’s famed “Beauty Closet” is literally that, right? With just some wallpaper, a mirror and shelving?). With just a few peel-and-stick panels, Chicago-based wallcoverings studio Mitchell Black can brighten up any work-from-home space—and differentiate said space from the rest of the home.
If wallpaper’s not their vibe, you can still help them set a mood with one of the brilliant, Zero VOC paint colors from Clare—which you can preview with stick-on samples! Once they decide on a shade, Clare will deliver everything you need to your door (yes, including supplies), making this a major upgrade on home improvement. (We’re also quite fond of their era-appropriate “Indoor Person” sweatshirts, because this is where we live now.)
Alright, so you’d rather skip the DIY and get straight to the decor. Let the walls do the pep-talking with banners from this perennial favorite brand, which centers Blackness in all of its quotes and sayings—making their pieces both made for collecting and worth far more than small talk.
Maybe it’s not inspiration, but organization they really need in their head and schedule; which is where the bullet journal-inspired planners of Alter Planning Co. come in handy. In addition to Alter’s Semi-Annual and Annual planners (also available for digital download), The Dailies undated 30 Day Planner is available, as is a gift-worthy Sacred Divination Journal by Tatianna Tarot.
If she’s an aspiring (or established) “enterpreneuher,” give her an affirming and adorable boost with Copper & Brass’ brown girl-specific “goal getting journals, perfect for budding businesswoman and positive-thinking pros alike.
On the subject of entrepreneurs, did you know 763 new businesses are started by Black women every day (h/t iFundWomen). For those getting started—or getting brave enough to launch their own ventures amid layoffs and furloughs, them you support their hustle with an all-access pass ($30) to this virtual daylong conference on January 31, hosted by EveryStylishGirl and featuring “business, media and fashion’s leading tastemakers and curators.”
“Whether your business is a product or you’re looking to build yourself into a brand, our speakers intimately understand the challenges Black businesses face and will candidly share the secrets that helped launch their brands to success!” promise the organizers.
If they’re working from home, chances are they’re spending way too much time in front of their laptop screens—which means some blue-light filtering lenses are a must. A gift card to this eyewear brand co-owned by Jamie Foxx will protect their gaze—and with both a 2 for $50 sale and a new collection inspired by Disney’s Soul (starring Foxx, of course), your gift could be a double vision.
If they run on coffee, make sure it’s high-quality and delicious. These rich Haitian blends are considered some of the best beans around—and with a subscription, you’re sure to keep them buzzing well after the holidays.
If they prefer to sip the tea, twerk up their routine with a Trap Tea Set from Ivy’s Tea...with some loose leaves to fill it. Or better yet, help them “Zen the F*ck Out” with a classy, bougie and ratchet set of Trap China.
This planner thinks of everything—even financial planning (which we all need, while another round of stimulus relief remains in limbo. Add to that a page just for gratitude, and even amidst this dark time, they’ll be reminded of all there is to be grateful for.
The art of letter writing may have given way to the text, but the art itself is always ripe for a revival—and the gift of stationery and great pens is ample incentive. Paper & Stylo offers personalized options and hardworking staples alike, perfect for journaling, love letters, or writing you a thank you note.
Sourdough wasn’t the only thing rising this year. A whole new crop of plant lovers brought the outdoors in, brightening their lives by any means necessary. If growth is their focus for 2021, give them a visual metaphor to help ground their intentions.
Help spark some initiative (or help them relax) with the highly relatable messages on these Harlem-created candles...because if there’s anything we should all be doing at the end of 2020, it’s exhaling the bullshit.
We know it’s only Zoom, but let’s not lose all our sartorial sense while we’re trapped indoors. Pants may be optional, but the most dapper person in your life will likely love the opportunity to dress up a little bit with this kid-founded brand—which has grown with its owner into adulthood.
We love checking things off our to-do list—which is why we are entirely here for the organized, yet inspiring “Let’s Do This!”-themed notepad from Effie’s Paper. Those of us in a state of perpetual overwhelm *raises hand* will appreciate the effort to help us feel accomplished—no matter how much we have to get done.
If they’re leery about being in close quarters at the nail salon *raises unmanicured hand again*, treat them to some instant polish with these handpainted sets—which have come a long way since first-gen press-ons. Watch how much much more expressive those Zoom meetings become they feel like their nails are “did.”
No hairstylist? No problem. If they’re trying to keep their look chic and Zoom-ready while making a transition (or simply giving their tresses a much-needed break), choosing from the many, many styles Fanm Djanm offers will help them make a new style statement with an enviable and elegant wardrobe of wraps.
Remember the joy of shopping for school supplies? Well, the office aesthete will love Greer’s upgraded take on the essentials—and even better, those not-so-essentials they might never buy for themselves. Matter of fact, how would they feel about being gifted a great fountain pen?
And the end of the day (and this exhaustive list), ”whooooo f*cking saaaa” is exactly the phrase that escapes our lips—and this stress relief candle with notes of eucalyptus, oatmeal “and a sprinkle of curse words” is exactly the level of petty we need to let the workday go.