I've Discovered the Easiest Last-Minute Holiday Gift: Lip Balm

Give the gift of not-dry lips.
Publish date:
November 28, 2016
fresh, burt's bees, gift sets, lip balm, ChapStick, eos, Lip Smacker, gift guide

I probably sound like your cheapskate uncle, suggesting you pick up a few blister-packs of Carmex at the drugstore to feebly fling towards your nominal loved ones at this year's holiday shindig.

But before you scoff at such plebeian offerings, hear me out.

  1. Who doesn't appreciate a good lip balm?
  2. If not, who doesn't need lip balm? Especially in the winter.
  3. End of list.

In all seriousness though, there's always someone you are roped into gifting something to and you have no idea what to get them. You hate the idea of wasting money/time on a useless gag gift that they'll probably chuck as soon as they get home, but you also don't have the clams to shuck at some pricey objet for that coworker you never really talk to but whose name you've randomly picked from the Secret Santa lot. Or maybe you just don't know what to get your sis or your mom or whoever has lips, honestly, so you want to get them something they'll at least use (so they can't be too mad that you didn't think this through). I'm tellin' ya — go with lip balm. But not just any lip balm — go for that holiday shit. Limited edition — even better!

This idea came about somewhat from one year when I was a teen (read: broke) and didn't know what to get my dad for Christmas. My mom was easy because she appreciated anything cute or whatever. My dad however is a staunch pragmatist. If an object cannot serve at least three functions (or one very important function), he has no desire for it and considers it a waste of money. So my mom off-handedly mentioned, "Well, your father needs toothbrush replacement heads for his Sonicare." So I bought him a bulk package of replacement toothbrush heads.

Imagine my dear old pa, gingerly opening my haphazardly wrapped (those blister packs are really awkwardly shaped, okay?) set of a dozen toothbrush heads from Costco, eyes alight and he goes, "Ah, I needed those! Thanks!" and he set them aside in the bathroom cabinet with all the other hygienic things and that was that.

So to that end — lip balm. Sure, it's not leagues thoughtful but being thoughtful is very energy-sapping, plus shouldn't we be thoughtful every other day of the year as well? Don't get me ranting about consumerist holidays!

I still like doing nice gestures for peeps even if it's just making sure their lips are never flaky or dry. Lucky for everyone, this isn't such a trying task — in fact you can clear it with a trip to the drugstore (or Sephora, if you fancy).

The Cavity-free Candy Lip Balm Set

Dude, seriously, I'd be stoked to get a pack of eight candy-flavored lip balms from Lip Smacker. There's the Skittles or Starburst Candy Roll. Think about what a person could do with eight candy-flavored lip balms? They could put one in every purse, one in the car, one next to the bed, one in the bathroom — this set is truly something. Honestly, I'd be tempted to buy this for myself if I were to happen upon it at the drugstore.

The "Nice" Counterpart of This Divide-and-Distribute Lip Smacker Holiday Stocking Stuffer

The weirdest part about this Nice Stocking Stuffer is not that there are perforated lines for you to cut and dole out to four "nice" people, it's that its counterpart is the same offering but in a "naughty" variety? Why wouldn't they combine a nice/naughty combo pack? I mean, that's still a bit weird but I at least understand the whole holiday kitch of niceness being rewarded with material possessions as a way to manipulate children into being compliant. But then again, whose moral scale are we really evaluating this niceness upon? Am I overthinking this? Yes. I don't know — just get it for four people who you don't know very well but with whom you share a polite relationship.

The Cake Boss of Lip Balms

This isn't just any lip balm in holiday packaging — it's Lip Smacker's Biggy Dr. Pepper lip balm. Instead of a pocket-sized tube, this one is the size of a sunblock stick. It's jumbo sized, which means jumbo lip balm (seriously, just pucker up to it and twist, it's that big). Solves that whole one big thing vs. many small things gifting conundrum.

Alright I'm done with Lip Smackers. But they're the OG trend-driven lip balm so obviously there'd be a lot to offer.

Speaking of OG lip balms...

Did you know that Chapstick — the brand that is so trusted that its very name has become a genericized trademark for lip balms 'round the world — also doles out limited edition holiday gifties? Well I didn't, but they do. And they're pretty cute! There's Candy Cane, Sugar Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie too, why not — all of which really do smell/taste like the thing they say they do. You can find them individually sold, in a trio of three individual holiday flavors, trios of one flavor, or these cute tins with two tubes in them. The holiday tins come in Candy Cane and Sugar Cookie. Sure, you could pick up a few singles, or if you're feeling real generous, you can gift someone the dozen pack of Candy Cane, because if you're going to do something as risky as give Chapstick as a gift, I think we need to go with the "several small gifts" route here.

The "Lip Balms That Don't Look Like Lip Balms" Set

I like that these EOS balms are round little spheres — it makes the look special even though they are just lip balm. Not to say that lip balm isn't special but on account of them getting lost before you're ever able to finish them, that ought to give you an idea of where lip balm stands in their line of value.

These are cute stocking stuffers that come in a set of three berry-based flavors or two "winter" themed flavors. It's up to you/your gift-receiver. If you want, you can use the red one as the nose on your Rudolph. These Amazon prices make no sense so I'd probably just pick these up at your local drugstore.

The Lip Balm That's Basically Just Makeup

I love Burt's Bees tinted lip balms (who doesn't? Seriously, no one hates these) but I'd wager that they're so pigmented that it's essentially makeup. They're the only lip balms my boo won't borrow (but somehow he loves the really glossy ones?) because it's essentially like wearing sheer lipstick. But it's also super hydrating and conditioning — win win! The glosses are great too because they're not gloopy at all — just like shiny sheer lipstick. The good folks at Burt's Bees went subtle with the holiday packaging (it's a faint knit snowflake pattern on the packaging — see it?), but who's going to care about that? They'll be too stoked to get three supreme lip colors.

The Holiday Lip Balm Set for Someone's Ass You're Really Trying to Kiss

When you gift a Fresh lip balm set you are letting that person know that you are really trying. They are so fancy, so luxe, so pricey. May we all be blessed with knowing someone worth $39 of lip balm, truly. But sometimes it's nice to spoil a loved one too — and this is the set for that person. Yes, the one you are still stumped about what to get, so fancy lip balm it is!

The Sugar Lip Bliss Collection (the one that looks like a bon-bon) has Fresh's Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy and Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 — a duo that makes it impossible to drop the ball on lip hydration. The Sugar Lip Small Wonder set contains a lip exfoliator and two mini balms, and that four-pack, the Sugar Lip Charmers Collection has four minis which nobody better lose because it's a $39 set. I find it a bit weird that the value price is printed on the packaging — don't people normally remove price tags?

Although one could argue that anyone who's visited a Sephora would understand that receiving a Fresh lip balm gift set means the price tag reads "fancy."

Gift shopping is very stressful if you're like me and drag your feet about it until the end, so it's good to have a theoretical strategy in place as a way to find stuff that anyone would deem useful. I mean, not everyone has an electronic toothbrush that you could top off with replacement heads, but honestly, that's quite personal and cold. Lip balm is too, sure, but it comes in much more festive packaging.

  • What's your go-to gifting guide?
  • But would you be mad if someone got you lip balm for the holidays?
  • But what if it was really fancy lip balm?
  • Or perhaps you'd prefer to receive a bulk order or less fancy but still quality lip balms?