It happens every single year around the holidays: you find yourself
searching for the right gift for someone you don't know very well. It could be a friend whose taste just confuses you, it could be a co-worker you picked in an office Secret Santa, a family member you don't see very often, or a significant other's parent you want to impress, even though you have no idea how to do so. Whatever the case, it happens to the best of us — and it can be really frustrating. How can you make a gift seem meaningful and special when you have no idea what someone would want? We've done some of the work for you to find gift ideas for people you don't know very well.
First off, you’ll want to pick items that are versatile, basic, and useful. You don't want to buy someone you don't know clothing, because you might not know their style or their size. You don't really want to get them food if you don't know what they love. Gift cards are obviously a go-to in this situation, but sometimes you just want the gift to seem like it came from the heart more, you know? In that case, you're better off with an actual item rather than a gift card or money in an envelope.
The below items should be perfect for basically anyone on your list — or at least one of them will be!
A Sampler of Single-Serve Wines
Why gift just one bottle when you could gift eight single-serve wine bottles they can savor for months to come? This is perfect for the wine enthusiast looking to sharpen their knowledge or just unwind at home.
A Tik-Tok Baking Kit Dana Hasson has amassed over 2.4 million TikTok followers who love catching up on her baking tips and recipes. This baking kit lets followers recreate her signature mini donuts, muffins, and more from home. A Bath & Body Works Gift Set
Make life easier on yourself by getting three gifts plus the gift bag in one haul. Even better, it’s just $15 for all four pieces, which includes a hand sanitizer, body cream, and shower gel.
A Beautiful Planter
Everyone has become a plant parent this year. For the newbie, this beautiful planter adds just the right amount of sparkle and glam to any space.
A Glam & Easy Eye Pencil
Gift the gift of easy and glam beauty with this easy-glide pencil that delivers high-pigmented metallic color in one simple step.
A Nice Candle
Everyone could use more candles in their life, no matter who they are. Pick one that has a nice scent that isn't overpowering, and that will also look aesthetically pleasing as almost a piece of home decor. This Paddywax candle checks those boxes.
A Chic Makeup Palette
Even if they already have a portable charger, they could probably use another one — it's always good to have several of these. This one is small enough to fit anywhere, and it has the cutest saying on it.
A Warm Beanie
Stylish accessories can be tough to purchase for someone you don't know well, but a beanie is something almost everyone loves. A black beanie isn't too bold, so it would go with any style. It's also perfect for the winter weather.
A Tote Bag
A tote bag is always useful, and this faux-leather one is a great option. It's inexpensive but looks chic, and it's ideal for holding pretty much whatever one needs to hold, whether they're shopping or they just need something to take on a short trip. It also has a removable pouch, which is a convenient feature.
A Healthy Beverage
As we head into the new year, continuing (or starting) a health-conscious routine is on everyone's minds. Give your secret Santa this superfood latte sampler to give their New Year's resolution a boost.
A Coin Purse That Gives Back
For the person on your list who likes their gifts to pull double duty: purchasing this coin purse from Parker Clay provides one hour of employment to a woman in Ethiopia. Over time, women sharpen their leather-making skills, move up as creators in the company, and in the process, Parker Clay provides living wages, benefits, skills training, financial literacy training, and more.
A Unique Travel Mug
Every travel mug out there claims to keep your hot beverages hot for hours, but they don't always work. Ember is a little different: this one is temperature-controlled, and you can pick how warm you want it. It's a really chic gift option.
A Well-Designed Bottle of Vodka
I like every gift I give to be functional and beautiful at the same time, and this bottle of vodka cut with alkaline water and distilled seven times looks absolutely stunning on a bar cart.
A Luxe Body Scrub
Beauty products can be tough to buy for someone you don't really know, but a body scrub is great for pretty much anyone. This one, from Herbivore Botanicals, has a beautiful minimalist bottle, and it smells fantastic.
A Portable Speaker
You never know when you need a portable speaker. This one is super convenient, and waterproof, so you can take it anywhere. It's also Bluetooth-enabled, making it incredibly easy to use.
Simply input a zip code and search multiple providers to gift a unique facial experience. Price typically runs from $100-$300, depending on location, and you don’t have to know someone very well to know they’ll appreciate a luxe spa experience.
A Trendy Cookbook
Sure, not everyone cooks. But doesn't everyone love Stanley Tucci? Basically. This cookbook is great for anyone, even those who think they aren't into cooking. There are recipes, sweet personal stories, and gorgeous photography.
An Initial Necklace
Everyone deserves a bit of happiness. Your secret Santa will be able to take happiness everywhere with this stylish necklace.
Additional reporting by Eden Lichterman.
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 24, 2018