NEW YORK – Look no further than TikTok and its pandemic-expanded ranks for unique holiday gifts, from the hot Halara athleisure dress to a miracle cleaning paste called The Pink Stuff, worthy of any neat freak's Christmas stocking.
The short-form video platform was a hit for millions during quarantine times, and the hashtag TikTokMadeMeBuyIt endures. The hashtag has been viewed more than 5.6 billion times, driving TikTok to boost its direct shopping tools. There's something for everybody down that yellow brick road for the holidays.
Try one of these:
THE HALARA: Nothing says viral quite like the sporty, ultra-popular Halara dress, specifically the tank-top version that comes in a range of colors and sizes up to 3X. It's called the In My Feels Everyday Dress-Wannabe, and it includes attached shorts and handy pockets. It's super soft and stretchy. The brand followed up with the In My Feels Everyday Chill Dress-La La Land, a version with a midi slit skirt. The tennis-looking original sells for $49.95. The newer one goes for $44.95. Both are available on Halara.com.
THE PINK STUFF: The basic ingredients in this all-purpose cleaning paste are baking soda, quartz, sodium silicate and soap, lending an abrasive feel. It's a stocking stuffer extraordinaire for uber-cleaners and the rest of us who don't want to break a sweat. Fans on TikTok are most impressed by its muscle on built-up greasy things. Best part: It's only $8.15 on Amazon for 17.6 ounces. There's a bathroom foam cleanser and multipurpose spray cleaner as well.
THE WORK ROBE: With so many people still working from home, top-only dressing remains a thing. The WorkRobe, as thousands of TikTokers have noted, just makes comfy sense. It's a belted women's robe that looks like a Zoom-worthy top in three styles: button-down collared, cross-over blouse and cowl neck. It even has cuffs. There are black, white and gray options. The robe sells for $70. Shop at Myworkrobe.com.
THE ALMOND COW: Plant-based everything is the rage, and that's ever-present when it comes to milk. This carafe requires nuts to be thrown into the base, water to be added, a button to be pressed and voila, 5 to 6 cups of frothy almond milk. It automatically separates the milk from the pulp. Users can add coconut, dates or whatever extra ingredients they like. It takes just a minute with no mess and easy cleanup. The milk lasts three to five days in the fridge. The magic extends to cocktails, creamers, dressings, soups and more. It goes for $195. Available on Almondcow.co.
THE CIRKUL: Created by two former football players at Dartmouth who wanted to improve their hydration, the Cirkul water bottles and their flavor cartridges allow users to ramp up or tone down the taste with the turn of a dial. Cartridges come in more than 40 no-sugar, no-calorie, all-natural flavors, including ice coffees and teas. The bottles are customizable in a range of sizes in BPA-free plastic and stainless steel. $30 for a 22-ounce plastic bottle and four cartridges. On drinkcirkul.com.
THE MOBOT: Speaking of hydration, another water bottle called the Mobot doubles as a BPA-free massage foam roller for aching muscles. They're constructed from recycled stainless steel in sizes with catchy names: Big Bertha at 40 ounces, Grace at 27 ounces and the Firecracker at 18 ounces. There are some fun patterns and colors, including the fruity style called Juicybot. Actress Lucy Hale never leaves home without one. Prices range from $39.99 to $59.99. Buy at Mobot.com. Also available on Amazon and Nordstrom.com.
THE MIZZEN + MAIN: This company did it the TikTok way: It amped interest in its men's shirts through hilarious videos mocking work life, both in the office and fresh out of bed at home. Sell me a shirt without telling me you're selling me a shirt. The thing is, the shirts are quality in no-tuck gingham, city flannel and moisture-wicking dress. They come fitted and relaxed, in polos and vests, stretchy and not so much. There's a color or print for just about everyone no matter how good or bad at his job he may be. Prices from $78 to $125. Head to Mizzenandmain.com.
THE FANCY COTTON: Le Coton at Chanel.com to be exact. There's a bounty of videos on TikTok and elsewhere with creators hunting down the cheapest items on various luxury sites. They came up with the bougiest cotton squares ever. The fun is in the unboxing. The signature white Chanel packaging is elegant, and complete with sealed tissue paper and a couple of sample products thrown in. One gets 100 squares of cotton embossed with the brand's double C monogram. Gifters report glee from giftees, though some of the latter anticipated far pricier treasure. $20. Chanel.com.
THE PHONE CASE: Who doesn't love a new, fun phone case one doesn't have to purchase for oneself? The buzzy Casetify has a huge selection of uber compostable cases for Apple and Samsung devices made of a proprietary blend of biopolymers, starch and bamboo grain. The company promises the cases are 100 percent compostable — 90 percent in 180 days. There's something for dog people, cat people, flower people, art lovers, pop art lovers and this in black, based on a Picasso quote: Everything You Can Imagine is Real, with topsy-turvy letters. Good for a drop of 6.6 feet. The hashtag casetify has more than 755 million views on TikTok. $55. For an extra cost, they can be customized using imprinting or soybean ink.
THE POP ITS: TikTok drove hordes to scoop up silicone toys with bubbles that make a popping sound. While not as satisfying as bubble wrap itself, people went crazy for them as the fidget toy trend spread last summer. Warning: The noise may be annoying in class now that schools are back in session. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and from numerous companies. Some experts believe kids with ADHD, anxiety, autism and other disorders can benefit from these and other fidgets. The company that makes the Pop Its! brand is coming out with Star Wars, Marvel and Disney characters in time for the holidays at $9.99 each. Look for them at Target, Walmart and Amazon.
Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie