It’s getting down to the wire and you need a present, ahhh! Aside from the usual last-minute picks like a gift card to a local coffee shop or juice bar (I mean, just stop reading right now – those would be great choices), here are some great ideas for gifts pretty much anyone on your list will appreciate.
Again, better to go with a boring yet will-be-used gift like the aforementioned coffee shop card rather than grab something random off the store shelf that will likely gather dust on another shelf soon. I split the list into two broad categories that cover my go-to items for when I truly don’t know what to get someone: things to eat and useful (but pretty) things.
These are guaranteed-to-be-appreciated gifts for when you’re totally drawing a blank on what to get for your … [fill in the blank]. Also good ideas for white elephant, yankee swap, secret santa or host/hostess gifts!
As someone with pretty specific taste and a minimalist approach to stuff in her house, I can tell you that consumables are among my favorite gifts. Your recipient will think of you fondly when they use the item. Plus, they’re easy to buy amidst the holiday mayhem. Many supermarkets carry artisan and specialty fancy foods these days – and you might even find local items. I’ve found that more and more large chains are allowing regional and even store-by-store buys of local eats. Or head to a specialty or natural/organic foods store to find some ideas.
Jams, sauces … No Smuckers, please. Go for something local or gift a sampler set. This set from Potlicker (a Vermont company) would be an amazing gift. Or if budget doesn’t allow, just gift the Carrot Cake one – it’s incredibly delicious, trust me. Can be shipped or hand delivered.
Oils and Vinegars … I credit Cup of Jo for this simply perfect idea for a gift. Might be best suited as a host gift but everyone can use olive oil. There are some really nice sets out there that can be shipped to family or friends you won’t see in person.
Wine or liquor … Like oils, best possibly when you can hand-deliver. When it comes to wine, ask for advice at the shop/store. Even if you know something about wine, its easy to get caught just staring at the shelves for 20 minutes. Staff knows what they’re doing so take advantage of their knowledge and give them your budget and occasion/anything you know about the recipient. If gifting liquor, go for something more special than the standard brands you can find anywhere. Small distilleries are opening up anywhere – a small bottle of local vodka or whiskey would be well received by many people. Only gift to people 21+, obviously.
Coffee or tea … Fair trade, organic, ethically sourced options abound. If you wanna get a little creative, buy local beans, buy loose-leaf tea. I’d be psyched for a bag of one of my current local favorites: Brio or Speeder and Earls.
Chocolates, candies or desserts … This is a last resort, honestly. This time of year we’re all bombarded by sweets and come January we may not want a lot of sugary stuff lying around. But if you know your recipient has a sweet tooth and won’t curse your name for stocking their pantry with more sugar, go for it! Opt for fair trade, organic chocolates and handmade candies.
This isn’t consumable … yet. But since it will be at some point I think it belongs here – GROW Cocktail Herbs Kit. No green thumb or large garden space required. Just needs, water, sunlight, and your desire to make tasty cocktails with fresh ingredients.
PRACTICAL AND PRETTY
You can’t get more practical than socks – everyone needs them at some point, right? But you can get cheeky with a “Wifi Love” print (made in America by Living Royal) or these sweet socks in a variety of fun, some downright hysterical, prints made in America by Freaker.
How about some lip balm, yo? Good for guys or gals … let’s be real, no one likes dry lips! My absolute favorite lip balm is Kari Gran Lip Whip (the ‘naked’ ones without pigment are my recommendation.) Ahhhhhmazing. Luxurious. Worth every freakin’ penny. I swear I apply this once and pretty much don’t have to use anything else for hours and hours. I have had disgustingly chapped lips, applied a thin-ish layer before bed and wake up with glorious smackers again. It’s magic in a beautiful black glass tub. Whereas with other sticks or balms (that yes are less expensive) I’m reapplying every few minutes. If you realllllly aren’t sold by my paragraph of love for the Lip Whips and prefer a stick formula, grab a few from Hurraw. You can buy them lots of places – I even randomly saw a display at my local American Apparel. Unique flavors and really hydrating.
This might seem a little kooky but hear me out. I think pretty much anyone can find a good use for a new bath towel. Turkish towels are great for gifting pretty much anyone because they’re thin yet absorbent, come in elegant patterns and are available at many price points. If your recipient already has bath towels they love, these can easily be used as a blanket outdoors or at the beach, or as a throw.