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10 Practical Gifts to Give

Updated on May 20, 2015

The Foreign Land of Practical Gifts

We all know and love them. They are the practical gift givers. The ones who buy what you need instead of what you really want. Example? One Christmas my mother gave us all laundry baskets. Why? Because starting that year we would all be doing our own laundry. My boyfriend fully supports and loves the practical gifts. When I told him about my mother giving a gas gift card to my sister's husband one year for Christmas, his reaction was "Wow. What a great gift." No. He was not being sarcastic. To him receiving money to buy gas is a great gift over some trinket to put on a shelf and gather dust. I am not a practical gift giver by nature so it took me some time to get comfortable with the whole idea. Having figured it out, here are some of the top practical gifts to consider giving. Now, I say consider giving for people who like practical gifts. Not all of us are excited over receiving a new laundry basket with a pair of socks on the side.

Picture from* - I used this picture because I thought it was amusing as it would be one gift I could never imagine receiving from any family member of mine

Bath & Body Works Signature Collection Hand Soap - Give the Gift of Flu Prevention!

For Christmas this year, my parents gave Bath & Body works anti-bacterial hand soap as gifts (or Bailey's Irish Cream). They opted not to go with the typical chocolate or cookies as many people are trying to cut back on sweets or have food allergies. I fondly called this, "the gift of cleanliness." For once I agree with my mother on giving such a practical gift. Winter is definitely flu time. So this gift to me says "I care. Now wash your hands and don't get sick."

Bath and Body Works Signature Collection Japanese Cherry Blossom Anti Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap! 8oz/236ml NEW Look!!
Bath and Body Works Signature Collection Japanese Cherry Blossom Anti Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap! 8oz/236ml NEW Look!!

Note: My favorite is definitely the Japanese cherry blossoms or in Japanese: nihongo no sakura


Handmade Alpaca Winter Hat - High Quality Winter Accessories are Useful & Stylish

Every year someone gets me some type of winter accessory. People who live in cold climates must believe it is practical to update someone's collection every year. My father gets all my scarves in India or Hong Kong so I kindly thank the person and end up having to return it because I have at least 15 already. Along with the scarf, I generally get new gloves or a hat which is nice but I really just wear the same one all the time (my awesome Alpaca hat from Peru!). If you are going to give the practical gift of warm weather clothing than spend actual time and money picking out something nice. Seriously. People appreciate a practical gift a lot more when it looks nice and lasts a long time.

Stylish Underwear vs. No! Not Underwear! - If you are giving the underwear...give the good stuff!

You would be surprised how many people give underwear for Christmas. I figure if you are going to do it, at least get the nice ones. Buy them from a store like Victoria's Secret, Gilly Hicks, or Banana Republic.

Imaginary scenario of awesome versus lame underwear.

"What'd you get for Christmas?"

"I got Victoria's Secret panties."

"What?! I'm so jealous. All I got were generic boring ones."

Starbucks Coffee Mugs & Cups - Caffeinate in Starbucks Style

Every year I end up getting a coffee cup. Typically with something in it but many does one need? If you are going to give coffee cups to a person (look. if you did it last year, I'm sure they are fine) than get some cool ones or at least a little coffee to go with. My sister loves starbuck's coffee cups and everywhere she goes in the world, she gets one from that place. Start your own world collection or get one and inspire yourself to plan a trip to that place.

Pilates Socks? Under Armour? Kawaii Socks? - Get personal with your socks.

I am guilty of the sock giving. I discovered some people I know are thrilled to get new socks because then they do not have to spend money buying it themselves. Someone once gave me Christmas toe socks. Yep. I never wore them and thankfully, no one ever gave me socks again. However, looking back...socks can be a great gift. You just need to get personal with them!

Rampage Womens Cool & Comfortable Yoga/Pilates Socks, Assorted Color Themes, 3-Pack, rp33566npinkgreenblue
Rampage Womens Cool & Comfortable Yoga/Pilates Socks, Assorted Color Themes, 3-Pack, rp33566npinkgreenblue

Do they love Yoga or Pilates? Keep feet warm with socks specially created for their workouts.

Men's Resistor Lo Cut Six Pack Socks by Under Armour LG 9-12 1/2,black
Men's Resistor Lo Cut Six Pack Socks by Under Armour LG 9-12 1/2,black

Are they big into using Under Armour in their workouts? Get socks to keep them feeling cool during even the hottest of days.


Pop Up, Fold-Up, and Just Plain Laundry Baskets - Give one now. Use it for years to come.

My most memorable practical gift (which is still laughed about by my mom to this day) was my laundry basket. I must admit having a good one did come in handy for college but I hope to not start receiving a new one every year. If you have someone who is going to college or you want them to start washing their own clothes, the practical gift of a laundry basket is not such a bad thing.

Conair Hairbrushes in All Types - Nothing Says 'I care for you' than personal hygiene items!

I kid you not. I received a hairbrush one year for Easter in my basket. There it was, nestled next to all my German chocolate and marzipan, a very weird combination, made weirder by even my brother (although he did have longer hair) receiving one. Luckily, mine was a special brush recommended by a beautician family friend and is supposed to be one of the best brushes available. All I know is it never makes my hair stick up with static and is easy to use. So if you are going to go the unique hairbrush way, at least pick a decent one. Their hair will thank you for it.

New Set of Bathroom Towels with a Towel Rack to Boot - Share the love

One year I purchased my boyfriend a whole new set of towels for his apartment. I had no idea towels were actually so exciting. So if you know someone who is just starting out or visit and realize they are seriously lacking in towel decor, consider purchasing them a new set of towels or a handy towel rack.

Luxury Hotel & Spa Bath Towel 100% Genuine Turkish Cotton, 27" x 54" ,Set of 4,White
Luxury Hotel & Spa Bath Towel 100% Genuine Turkish Cotton, 27" x 54" ,Set of 4,White

Go luxurious with Turkish bath towels to enhance their experience.


Carry-On Travel Luggage - For the traveler...nice luggage is always a great gift

My mother likes to give new luggage for Christmas. A very practical gift considering the amount of time spent traveling and the wear on our suitcases. This is a gift definitely appreciated for those who travel. Having a nice rolling carry-on is actually a great way to say I love you and have a good time. She is giving one to my father this year which has wheels which rotate in any direction. Therefore, you do not have to fight your bag to get it down the plane's aisles safely. If you are getting luggage, consider what kind of traveling they do. International? Consider a nice suitcase. Domestic? Think more along the lines of nice carry-on so they won't have to take the big suitcase. Although, on one of our trips, a couple did travel with just their carry-ons for a ten day tour. A feat I could never be capable of.

The Throw Blanket

Every year, I get a throw blanket. They aren't usually from the same person but I get one. Surprisingly, this practical gift does come in handy. You can put them in the car because they do not take up much space which comes in handy for the person who is always freezing. They also work well when watching television or sitting on a couch because they are easy to put away. I like to put one on the bed when my dog is shedding to save my bedding. Plus, he seems to like it to. If you are going to give this practical gift, please pick a blanket which fits well with the person. What does that mean? Don't get someone who hates pink a neon pink and yellow flower motif blanket.

The Practical Gift Poll

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