One of my favorite things about the holidays is finding the perfect present for friends and family that I know they will love. Something to show them that I appreciate them, I know them and I want to make them smile.
One of my least favorite things, conversely, is when people don't give an ounce of effort to gift giving. They don't think about what the gift recipient would want or need based on what they know about them so they get something generic or pre-packaged. It's such a waste of money and is contrary to the purpose of the whole idea in the first place. In my opinion, of course.
So I'm here to give you some help. If you are one of those people who just cannot think of something meaningful to give, at least give something useful. Something 90% of whomever you gift it to will love and use and appreciate. Here are some ideas:
1. For your drunk friends...Booze Gifts (or stuff you can use to mix, carry or hide booze)
I don't see a downside to this one. Unless the person has an issue with alcohol (make sure you find out first), shoring up their liquor cabinet is never a bad thing. Now, don't bring the gift and then drink it all yourself while you're visiting - that's rude.
- A bottle of top shelf liquor or a really good bottle of wine
- Bar tools, such as a muddler, a nice corkscrew, a shaker or an aerator (find good ones here)
- Special drinkware (Moscow Mule mugs are popular)
- A flask or another fun hide-the-booze container, such as these or these
- A nice carafe or decanter. Try this one.
- The ingredients to make a particular drink
You get the point.
2. For your friends with a phone, computer or listen to music (duh that's everyone)...Tech Gifts
At this point, everyone - up to and including your grandparents - is using some sort of technology and needs to charge it, find it, listen to it or clean it.
- Noise Canceling or Bluetooth Headphones (these are nice)
- Portable chargers
- Tile Bluetooth trackers, buy here
- Mini wireless Bluetooth speakers (they come in all shapes, sizes and prices; here's one I like that's waterproof)
- Cleaners (check out the iroller from the Grommet)
- Spotify membership or iTunes credits
3. For your foodie friends...Kitchen Gifts
It doesn't matter if the person doesn't cook at all or cooks every night, there are certain things everyone needs (in my opinion).
- A nice bamboo cutting board
- Kitchen tools you can't live without, such as a Microplane, tongs, a citrus press. Check out ideas here or just hit TJ Maxx and you'll be golden
- Flavored olive oils or vinegars or salts
- Entertaining tools (cheese knives, spreaders, a serving platter)
- A really cute (or really funny) apron or set of tea towels
- Cookbooks (bonus points if you pick something local or a book from the location of a trip the person just came back from)
- A cast iron skillet
- Grilling or tailgating tools
4. For your friends who have hobbies, like to travel or live in homes (that's everyone!)...Personal and Home Gifts
OK your first instinct here is "candle." I implore you to resist that urge. Try a little harder.
- A multi tool flashlight (if the person has a dog this comes in handy for nighttime walks)
- Games! You cannot go wrong with games; think Trivial Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity, Catch Phrase
- Gardening tools
- A thermometer or wireless weather station (I have this one)
- Beautiful custom coasters (shameless plug here)
- Travel gear, such as luggage tags, passport holder, a travel journal, a book for a trip you know they have coming up (check here for ideas)
- A luggage scale (I have one and it is one of the most useful things I own. Buy here.)
- Peeps Eyeglass cleaner, buy here
5. For your friends who are planning a trip, renovating or saving up for something specific...Gift Cards
For the record, I hate giving people gift cards. I will only support it if it's for something thoughtful that the person really needs or is saving for. If you're gonna go gift card it has to be meaningful.
Examples here would be:
- GC to an airline so they can apply toward a fun trip or honeymoon
- GC to Hulu, Netflix or HBOnow if they are a cable cutter
- GC to Ticketmaster if they have a bucket show concert on the horizon
- GC to Home Depot or Lowe's or a furniture store if you know they are renovating
I'd even support a gift card to their fave grocery store or for a subscription to the lottery - no rational human would turn up their nose to either of those.
Now take your candles and boxes of chocolates and Starbucks gift cards and shove them where the sun don't shine. Happy Holidays!