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Practical Gift Ideas For Christmas

Updated on August 23, 2016

There will always be some people who complain when they receive too many "practical" Christmas gifts like socks or school supplies, but these items will at least never go out of style. Unlike the latest cell phone or latest video games that will be forgotten by next year, your family members will often appreciate the practical gifts later on when they find these are useful. Also, practical gifts often are the only way people on tight budgets can afford to buy their family Christmas gifts, so I suggest not turning your nose up at these items. Okay, I know the exciting big ticket items seem much more fun right now, but is over-spending the only way to have a good Christmas?The holidays are not about receiving lots of glitzy presents, but about learning to appreciate the few practical and useful items your family members may give you. I am not suggesting people should only buy useful gifts for Christmas, but these do make good stocking stuffers.

People on a budget might want to buy only one of two large ticket items for each member of the family, and then focus on the rest of the gifts being more practical and under twenty dollars. If you charge up your credit card during Christmas you know you are going to regret it with the interest charges come January, so do not feel guilty about buying a few practical Christmas gifts that will never go out of style. Just remember to buy things your family members will actually use or wear, or then the purpose of giving a practical gift is defeated. When giving family members socks make sure you pick the right sizes, and select styles and colors they would actually buy for themselves. When buying a family member a sweater or other clothing item, make sure you know their size, and choose something that is appropriate for a professional setting rather than for drinking eggnog around the Christmas tree. Yes, Christmas sweaters can be fun, but I can guarantee most people are not excited about others buying these for them unless the gift giver is really in tune with the taste of the recipient. Today with Instagram and Pinterest it is a lot easier to figure out what type of clothing a friend or family member might actually wear and like, and you can order these online!

Small Mirrors

Small mirrors are practical gifts that you can give to members of your family. Many teenage girls would appreciate having a small decorative mirror they can put on one of the walls in their room, or in the bathroom. Look for mirrors that are on sale, or even find a cute mirror at the second hand store, which is a treasure trove for wonderful finds if you are willing to keep an open mind.

An ornamental mirror for the wall is a simple and practical gift.
An ornamental mirror for the wall is a simple and practical gift.

Socks Make A Practical Gift

Maybe I am too practical, but I always loved getting socks as a gift for Christmas. My favorite type of socks are knee socks, which allow me to wear skirts in the winter and stay warm. I love a nice thick pair of thick knee socks, and since I do not wear pantyhose or tights these are so worth it to me. Of course men and boys are going to want shorter socks, but us ladies of all ages will appreciate cute knee socks of all colors. I recommend buying your family members knee socks that are neutral colors such as white, beige, gray, black, and navy blue, which will look great for work or school. You can buy your loved ones more zany colors of knee socks, but I would make sure these are colors that the person wears on a frequent basis.


Students of all ages can use notebooks for taking notes in class and for doing homework assignments. Yes, even in the age of the computer sometimes it is nice to take notes the old fashion way. So buy your family members a few pen and pencils so they can write in those colorfun and fun notebooks you give them on Christmas day.

I used to love having a composition book to write my notes in, and I sometimes even write rough draft pages for the novel I am penning in one of these.  There is just something special about writing in good old fashion cursive on paper rather than always typing away on the laptop.  Try it sometime for a change of pace, or maybe just to be a bit old school once and awhile.


Yes, I know I just talked about writing with pencils and pens, but make sure you actually include a few in that stocking to go along with that cute notebook you have wrapped. Actually pencils are fun for drawing and sketching, too! When I draw pictures I enjoy just using regular pencils for this as these are not expensive if they break, and sketching pencils can be a bit more pricey.


Sweaters are always a practical gift for Christmas, especially since in the cold of winter you will need a few of these to stay toasty warm.  I was just thinking the other day I need to buy a few new sweaters to replenish a few that have become torn over the years, and Christmas is the perfect time to buy such gifts for members of your family.  Just remember to buy everyone the right size of sweaters and colors that they would actually want to wear outside of the house.


Here in Southern California we have been getting some pretty severe rains this December, and I know if you live in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere you will most likely get some rain and/or snow during the winter and spring. With that being said, umbrellas are always a practical Christmas gift to get for members of your family because you know they will actually need one! However, make sure to pick an umbrella with patterns and colors that your family members adore. Your teenagers might think they are too cool to carry a cartoon character umbrella, whereas your five or six year old would love one. With any practical Christmas gift always pick things you know your family members would like, and ask a few months in advance so you can get ideas before the Christmas season rolls around. Merry Christmas and happy practical shopping.


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