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Gift Ideas For People Who Have Everything

Updated on November 29, 2016

Gift Ideas for the Hard to Buy For

Every time my parents birthdays or Christmas gets near, I get a sinking feeling. What do I buy for them?

Due to my father's great, lifelong, financial planning, my parents are very well off, and anything that they truly want, they buy. That does not leave a lot of room for gift buying. Especially since my dad is the sensible type that frowns on wasting money on things he thinks of as "frivolous," such as a day at a spa, or dinner at a very expensive restaurant. Travel is also out because of their health. Do you see my problem? Just thinking about going shopping for gifts for them is enough to make me want to jump in my bed and pull the covers over my head.

There are others in my life that are just as hard to buy for, maybe not for the same reason but there can be many reasons why a person is hard to buy for.

Over the years, I have had a few "pretty good" ideas of things to get my parents. Some were a hit, some were not. You just never know, in these situations, but I will include all of them, as what my hard to buy for people didn't like, yours might. I hope my ideas will help others that are running into this dilemma, and at the end of this lens is a place for you to share your good ideas to help me and other readers.

~photo courtesy of

Puzzle Books - These Were a Hit With My Mom!

One year for my Mom's birthday, I got her a bunch of different kinds of puzzle books. A crossword, a word find, brain teasers, picture puzzles, all in the hope I would find something she liked. I hit pay-dirt ! She loved the find a word books !! She now plays them regularly, so I have a built in thing to get her for birthdays and holidays, and also once in a while during the year, just to show her that I am thinking of her.

Magazine Subscriptions - Another Win Foe Me!

A couple years ago, my dad had to go into the hospital for a week. On my way to visit him, I picked up some magazines for him to read. For the rest of the week, I noticed that two of them, Readers Digest and Prevention, were always sitting on his bed table, while the others lay forgotten on the nightstand. Of course, a light bulb went off over my head at seeing this, so I was good for that Christmas, I got him subscriptions to both. I went to the newsstand and bought a copy of each and I wrapped them with a note of the subscription. My father received the gift stoically, but I have noticed ever since that both magazine are always on the table next to his favorite recliner. Cha-Ching ! A built in Christmas present for him every year, subscription renewals !

The Purpose of Gift Giving

In the world today, gift giving has become a matter of course, something we must do on certain days of the year. It is another task that must be done in our busy lives. The joy of giving and the purpose of giving a gift has been lost on a good many people.

The reason for giving someone a gift is to make them feel good, to let them know they are loved and appreciated. No one can get the perfect gift every single time, that is an impossibility. You can, however, take thoughtful care in the gifts that you give. Make sure they are items that will let the person know that you bought it personally for them, so they feel special and they know you went that extra mile and really tried to get something just for them. If you do this, even if you miss the mark with the gift, it will still be a lovely and real example of the old saying:

It's the thought that counts.

Throws - No, I don't mean throw the person out the window !

Throws are soft smaller sized blanket that are usually kept folded up and draped on the back of a couch or chair, in the TV room. They are to cover up with while you are watching television. They are also excellent covers should you decide to take a nap on the couch. Throws are excellent gifts for all ages from kids to the elderly.

I bought a throw (actually two) for my sister for Christmas one year. I knew she had just bought a new couch and chair in a different color theme than her old one, and her throws would not match any more. (She is an interior decorator and rather rabid about everything matching) So I bought her two different color throws, all in the color family of her new furniture. I think it was the first time I ever got her something that she really loved !

You might want to make sure that the throws you buy are neutral colored, such as tan, brown, grey or black, if you don't know the color scheme of the room. You want to make sure that you don't buy a red throw and then find out the colors in the room are teal and brown ! However, if you are buying for someone a bit more adventurous, you might want to consider something a bit wilder such as an animal print or a patchwork quilt. The key is to buy something especially for that persons home, for their personal use, in that way you will make them feel special.

Four Pack of Nicely Colored Canvas Reusable Grocery Bags - A Gift Everyone Can Use

These bags are a great gift that everyone can use. To be environmentally responsible just makes good sense these days, so providing the means to do so, to someone that is already hard to buy for, is a solid idea! These bags are also delightfully blank, so if you or your gift recipient are the crafty type, they can be decorated!

Why an Inexpensive Kindle Is A Great Gift - Even If the Recipient Has a iPad or Other Tablet

Giving an inexpensive Kindle is always a great idea! If the person doesn't have one, they will love it. If they already have an iPad, or Galaxy or Kindle Fire, they will still love it. Why, you say ? Because it is small, light and much more portable that it's larger, heavier brethren. Ladies can leave it in their purse, so they are never caught without something to pass the time, if they get caught in line, or in a waiting room for a lengthy period of time. Guys can carry it in their coat pocket, glove box or briefcase for the same reason. Bored in a traffic jam? Early for an appointment? Waiting for a friend or date in a restaurant? You are covered with something interesting to a newspaper, a magazine or a book.

The best thing is, with an inexpensive Kindle, you can leave them in your purse or pocket all the time, and let your bigger tablets do the heavy lifting, computing wise, at the office or at home. The Kindle can be solely your entertainment on the fly. There when you need it, wherever you are.

i.Sound Portable Power Max Cordless Charger - For iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPhone, DROID, and BlackBerry

I ran across this while shopping today and I immediately thought of at least three people on my "hard to buy for" list that would love to have it! This is like a battery that you can plug your electronic devices into that charges them, when you are unable to get to a plug in charger. Perfect for someone that flies a lot and spends hours in airports. Also perfect for people who like to hike, or camp. Also perfect for beach lovers and marathon shoppers. It could be a lifesaver for someone whose car breaks down and they have the misfortune of having a dead cell phone battery. This is a GREAT gift idea!

First Aid Kit - For the Car or Home

While not exactly a glamorous gift, it is very practical and could very well save a life. I got one for my aunt and uncle and they carry it in their car.

This kit is perfect for just about anywhere....the car, the job, home, sporting events. Packed in a sturdy polypropylene carrying case, this kit includes all basic first aid items. Sectioned top tray keeps contents neat and organized. Contains 61 pieces

Give the Gift of Gift Bags!! - Cloth or Paper, Both Are Reuseable

'Fire Gone' Disposable Fire Extinguisher

16 oz. - Pack of 2

Small, inexpensive, one time use fire extinguishers make a great gift. Most people either don't have any fire extinguishers, or they have only one. Fire Gone Disposable Fire Extinguishers are so small (the size of an air freshener can) you can find room for them in the basement, bathroom, kitchen, garage, really anywhere that a fire is possible. A gift of these fire extinguishers show you really care and want the recipient and their families to be safe. It is really something that most people would not buy for themselves, but should, and therefore makes a great gift!

Great Gifts for the Elderly - Gifts They Will Appreciate

The best thing you can give an elderly person is your time. They are often lonely and long for people to talk to. The second best thing you can give them is manual labor. :) Yep, it's the gift you have to put your back into. Helping them do the things they have problems doing due to age or health can be a godsend for an older person. The most important part of giving the gift of your time and labor (I call them I.O.U.s) is that you follow through and actually do them. If you don't, then you will look like a lazy, not to mention dishonest, bum. If you are unable to personally help out, due to your own health or time constraints, then I have also have some ideas of things that you can hire to get done, in lieu of doing it yourself.

  • Prepay a years worth of lawn service.

  • Give them an I.O.U. for the first Saturday of the warm months for yard work such as shrub trimming, flower or vegetable planting, weeding or gutter cleaning. Then make sure you follow through and do it !

  • Give them an I.O.U. for a day of basement cleaning, garage cleaning, or closet or cabinet cleaning.

  • Give them a gift certificate for carpet cleaning the whole house.

  • Buy them a year's worth of bi-weekly house cleaning. That way they can rest easy the house is clean, and not have so much work to do on their own.

  • Give them a gift subscription to the local newspaper.

  • Make a generous donation to their church or favorite charity, in their name. Make sure to get a letter of appreciation to give them.

  • Give them an I.O.U. to take their car in for annual service, oil change and tire rotation, if needed. Get the kids in on the action; they can vacuum and clean the car after you get it back from the service shop.

  • Give them an Entertainment Passbook and a sincere I.O.U. to take them out for dinner once a month to any restaurant in the book. They will be delighted that you are saving money on the dinner !

Standard I.O.U. Form ~ Good for any Occasion ! - Just Save To Your Computer and Print


~Form an original work by Jade, free for personal use

Christmas I.O.U. Form - Just Save To Your Computer and Print

~Form an original work by Jade, free for personal use

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Do you have a good gift idea for hard to buy for people ? - Please Share It!

Submit a Comment

  • Brite-Ideas profile image

    Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Jade, some very good suggestions here. I've often resorted to Throws as a gift, in fact this year I've purchased two for different people. I especially like Throws with artwork on them as well for something original. Puzzle books are also an excellent idea, I bought a few of those as well :)

  • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

    Sharyn Read 3 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

    What a well thought out list - I love crossword puzzles so was amazed to see that first on your list - great article, thank you for the ideas!

  • valmillsy profile image

    valmillsy 4 years ago

    Photo books. I just assembled one on shutterfly for my significant other who rarely likes ANY gift. This one had a vacation theme and was a big hit.

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 4 years ago from Michigan

    @ecogranny: Can you make a lens that shares that recipe? I love ginger cookies!

  • ecogranny profile image

    Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

    I especially like your idea to give reusable shopping bags and to use cloth gift bags. When in doubt, I give organic chocolate truffles because everyone I know loves chocolate and finds them a special treat. I think my mother's favorite gift in recent years was homemade triple ginger cookies. She still talks about them.

  • writerkath profile image

    writerkath 4 years ago

    These are great ideas! My dad is tough to buy for as well - another example of someone who just doesn't NEED anything. :)

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 4 years ago from Michigan

    @DebMartin: Thank you !

  • profile image

    DebMartin 4 years ago

    I love the car emergency kit idea. I'm not one to give people a lot of "stuff" to add to their home. But everyone who owns a car should have an emergency kit. Great idea.

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @webmavern: That is a great idea ! Thanks !

  • profile image

    webmavern 5 years ago

    Some great ideas here! The only thing I could add is a box/basket of mixed groceries, basic items and some luxury ones. Not very exciting but useful.

  • Christine Dever profile image

    Christine Dever 5 years ago

    Some great ideas! Thank you!

  • Mary Stephenson profile image

    Mary Stephenson 5 years ago from California

    I love to give melt and pour soaps that I have designed. It usually is a big hit.

  • profile image

    shrly67 5 years ago

    wow nice ideas

  • Dressage Husband profile image

    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    There are a lot of good ideas here that will definitely help for those difficult friends.

  • seashell2 profile image

    seashell2 5 years ago

    You've got some really great ideas, I like to give cozy throws too! :-)

  • Scraps2treasures profile image

    Scraps2treasures 5 years ago

    Great ideas! I have a couple of people on my list who are hard to buy for so I can use all the ideas I can get.

  • Nancy Hardin profile image

    Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Terrific ideas for those who have everything. This is really a good lens, thanks for sharing.

  • kislanyk profile image

    Marika 5 years ago from Cyprus

    Hah - now that's an interesting idea - for people who have everything!

  • Kumar P S profile image

    Kumar P S 5 years ago

    Great ideas ! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @SassyGie: Thanks !

  • SassyGie profile image

    SassyGie 5 years ago

    Your Lens title caught my eye ;) great work!

  • Brandi Bush profile image

    Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

    Great ideas! :)

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @Dianeyp LM: Thanks :)

  • profile image

    Dianeyp LM 5 years ago

    I love your printable gift certificates or "IOUs" really cool lens!

  • etrendw profile image

    etrendw 5 years ago

    great gift ideas, very detailed lens

  • profile image

    CreativeGal 5 years ago

    Word games, such a Bananagram or Scrabble, or Cross-word puzzle type of books are usually appreciated. I usually look for something that they can be creative with. Even a little kids 'weaving' kit can be fun for adults!

    Thanks for a great lens!

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @CrossCreations: I don't think it's so much that, but that older folks have had a lifetime to buy the items they really want, so that makes them a bit harder to buy for. It doesn't really have to have anything to do with wealth, it's more about time.

  • profile image

    AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

    Great gift ideas. I like to give and receive throws.

  • CrossCreations profile image

    Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I don't have many well off folks on my gift list, yet either way I have found the best gifts to be in the photo category, like a framed vintage family photo or a photo collage or the like. I refuse to contribute to the trappings of the wealthy who have everything. Good for them, but not my problem.

  • Mami Design profile image

    Mami Design 5 years ago

    Very nice lens! Blessed!

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @sunshinetricia: Thank you !

  • sunshinetricia profile image

    Tricia Meyer 5 years ago from Indianapolis

    Great lens! I find that it is more difficult to buy for the males on my list than the females for some reason. Especially keeping the price per item low. These are great suggestions.