ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gifts for Anyone and Everyone - Even if They are Hard to Shop For

Updated on November 23, 2016

Whether it's the cost factor, the relationship factor, or plain old insecurity, a lot of people get very nervous about giving gifts, no matter the occasion. There are two main philosophies when it comes to gift giving: give something a person wants and give something a person needs. (Of course, if you can get something someone needs and wants, that's the best of both worlds).



What to Give When You Don't Know What to Give - The Old Standbys

There are two easy gifts to give when you don't really know someone: books (the book industry has an entire category of books that run for $10 called giftables) and something from Bath and Body Works.

By the way, I steer away from bottles of wine and lottery tickets, the wine because you never know who either has a problem with liquor (they don't drink or can't drink) and the lottery tickets because how would you feel if they won $300,000?

Either way, the key with this type of gift is to include the gift receipt . . . just in case.

What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions
What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions

Most small sized books with a quirky title fit the bill for this type of gift. For some reason, this particular book seems to really tickle people's fancy.

 

For Someone Who Doesn't Have a Lot of Time - or for someone who doesn't have a lot of money

These gifts can have a dual purpose - they save people either time or money or both. In the case of Omahasteaks.com for example, you are giving food but you also save the hassle of going out and shopping for the food. Or you can buy a Spring Cleaning at your local Merry Maids (or other comparable, bonded service).

For Someone Who Likes Games - but not someone who loves them

Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, and Boggle are all good games. However, if you are giving to a true game lover, he probably already has these. In that case, I recommend going to boardgamegeek.com. They have more games than you can imagine and they are all rated. Have fun!

For Someone Who Likes to Cook

Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set
Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set

My mom highly recommends this kitchen gadget with the funny name of mandoline. It makes slicing everything from carrots to potatoes a snap.

 

Mix and Match

  • For the disorganized, try a filing cabinet.
  • For the really disorganized, hire a professional organizer to come in and do the grunt work.
  • For the t.v.-aholic, get a book with information about what happens behind the scenes of one of his/her favorite shows. Better yet, see if you can arrange a visit to the studio.
  • To be continued . . . .

For Someone Who Likes to Write

My favorite gift to give a writer is a glass blown pen that can be dipped in ink and written with. It is beautiful and very elegant. These pens are nice to write with or good just for displaying. You may also want to pick up a matching ink well.

Another good gift (credit to Kristine in New York for suggesting it) is a magazine subscription to a literary magazine. There are too many magazines to mention and it is going to depend on what kind of writing your gift receiver likes and what you think he or she is going to do with the gift (wants to know what is out there in order to publish, etc.). Try googling "literary magazine" and one other word that describes your person and you have something to go on.

Also Good For Writers: Going Old School

Sealing Wax Set
Sealing Wax Set | Source

For People Getting Married - or engaged

  1. The best thing to give newlyweds is cash to use for their honeymoon - just make sure they are going to open the envelopes before they go away. For fun, give them small bills to use as tips when they are away. For extra flair, get all the ones made into a pad, like a pad of paper so that they can actually peel off money as they go along.
  2. As uncreative as you might find it, the other good thing to give people who are getting married is something off of their registry. Yes it won't be a big surprise, but it will definitely be something they want because they are the ones who put it there.

    Most places with registries will allow the couple to buy things that have not been purchased on their registry at a discount after their event has passed, so you might want to think about getting a gift certificate instead of an actual item to make your gift "go further."

Wedding Gifts From You

Do you get people gifts from their registry for their wedding?

See results

. . . and Baby Makes Three

or more

The problem with shopping for babies is that everything for them is so cute I want to buy everything. Since that is not practical, I have made a few rules for myself.

1) I assume that someone is going to show up at the shower with a Whoozit and that someone else will buy a Gymini.

2) If at all possible, use the registry. That's what it is there for.

For My Brother-In-Law

Kenneth Cole REACTION Men's Cufflinks, Silver, One Size
Kenneth Cole REACTION Men's Cufflinks, Silver, One Size

My brother in law never cares what I get him or even if I get him anything. Somehow that makes me try harder.

Both my brother and my brother-in-law have requested cufflinks as gifts, which is great because if I am ever at a loss for what to give them, I can just get them more another set.

Although there are a lot of jokey cufflinks (shaped like poker chips, or the S of Superman, etc.), I prefer to get those that can be worn to work. They are generally more expensive because they are of a higher quality.

 

Music for Your Teenager

The easiest way is to buy a gift code to iTunes.

The (High School) Graduate

who is off to college

  • Roll of quarters for laundry and/or vending machines.
  • Coffee warmer for when the cafeteria is closed and all you have is soup mix. Also for coffee.
  • A digital camera (although this is less necessary with smart phones everywhere).
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  • Sweatshirt and other paraphernalia from new school. Extra points if you contact the school store and have it delivered to the student the first week of school.

    And, if you're looking for something that no one else ever thinks of, try a Swiss Army knife.

Source

Swiss Army Knife

- for any gender. While you can't take it on a plane, it's is super handy basically everywhere else. Here is the one my parent's got for me my freshman year of college:





Three's a Crowd . . . So Is Four - and five

What if you are going to be sending a gift to an office or for a party? Keep in mind the number of people getting the gift and what sort of access everyone will have to it. If you are sending a gift to an office like security, where people don't stay in the office setting, make sure to send something easily portable.

Keep in mind that some people are very particular about others not touching their food, especially with the flu going around. I've discovered Cheryls.com, which has individually wrapped cookies and brownies.


Another example?

Yum!
Yum!

Popcorn!

You'll get the most bang for the buck with any kind of popcorn tin. The traditional assortment is butter, cheddar, and caramel, but some tins have up to seven compartments with different snacks in each. And they don't just have popcorn. Best of all, it can feed a lot of people and lasts quite awhile.




Good News

of a sort

I have found that the best gifts I have every given and or gotten were the gift of time. For those who know you, people want to spend time with you. Take them out to dinner, or go to the zoo together or a museum.

Sometimes, all you really need to do is show up.

Know Your Audience

I don't mean to imply that a tattoo of Bea Arthur isn't a fine gift - it just isn't for everyone.
I don't mean to imply that a tattoo of Bea Arthur isn't a fine gift - it just isn't for everyone.

For a White Elephant Gift Exchange - or a Yankee Swap

This can be tricky.

For those of you who don't know, a "white elephant gift exchange is a popular party game played during the winter holiday season in the United States. The objective of the game is for guests of a party to each contribute one gift to the game, and ultimately each guest walks away with one gift from the game. Along the way is a random drawing to determine the order in which players get to unwrap gifts or 'steal' previously opened gifts." (from Wikipedia.com)

Gifts are generally capped in the $10-$15 range.

What you give is going to depend on what type of party you are going to. Is this a gathering of friends, who would appreciate an Action Figure Jesus doll (something I once received) or are you better off getting a $10 gift card to Blockbuster's paired with some microwave popcorn? Your call.

GrumpyOldLady wrote in to remind me that most people use "gifts" that are already at home that they don't want for a White Elephant gift exchange. (See comment in guest book below.) This is true in many cases, but it is not necessarily true for a Yankee Swap, which is almost exactly the same thing.

Accoutrements Lunch Lady Action Figure
Accoutrements Lunch Lady Action Figure

Sure, you could go with a more upscale action figure, like Sherlock Holmes or Mozart, but will anyone laugh as much? Accoutrements has a whole assortment of action figures that range from Edgar Allen Poe to Jane Austen to Crazy Cat Lady and beyond. It's a fun little gift that makes people laugh.

 

For the (Invisible) Men in Your Life - and Women

When I grew up, it was par for the course to give a gift to the postal carrier (Sam), the Sparkletts Guy (Sparkletts Guy), the UPS guy (Tom), etc. When I got older, I discovered that this is an unusual practice. It shouldn't be. If you have enough, definitely go out of your way to show these people that you do notice and appreciate them. Tips are probably best, but not everyone can accept them (postal carriers are not allowed to accept cash or gifts worth more than $20).

Don't confuse this with year-end tips for the doorman or nanny. They should get a lot more because they do a lot more and are serving far fewer people. Go with cash for these indispensable people in your life. Rates vary with location; ask around. A good article on cnn.com talks about this.

Try a box of specialty chocolates. Perhaps no one in his right mind would spend that much money for candy for himself, but it makes for a very classy gift. (Thanks to Michelle Slatalla of The New York Times for the suggestion.)

Sweet Sensations Cookie, Candy and Treats Gift Basket SMALL (Chocolate Option)
Sweet Sensations Cookie, Candy and Treats Gift Basket SMALL (Chocolate Option)

Really any gift basket would be good. I feel that especially in this economy, service people are going to get even less than usual.

 

My favorite, favorite gift (and the one I gave my mailman this year) is a gift card to Starbucks. It is a real treat; since their coffees cost more than some people can justify paying, those people won't buy it for themselves, but if you have a gift card, you are forced to have a little luxury in your life. If you are able, you should actually brave the cold and go to a Starbucks store to buy them because there is no handling fee, you can choose the amount, and you can choose a card design.

Survey Says - Five Years Old Edition

Which Was the Best Gift I've Given A Five Year Old Niece or Nephew?

See results

The personalized stickers were for a kid with a unique name.

Don't Forget Teachers!

There are an untold number of really clever gifts for teachers, but to tell you the truth, unless you can come up with something unique (and I'm talking about getting a cartoonist from the Disney company to incorporate your teacher's name and subject into an original drawing of Donald Duck and then framing the thing unique), you really ought to go with cash. Or, to be less crass, a gift card.

Teachers are underappreciated and are happy to receive anything, but all of the teachers I know have enough mugs and aren't making what they are worth. It doesn't have to be anything listed here, but why not give them something that isn't going to collect dust?

And don't forget religious school teachers. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive, but a little something would be nice for them as well.

Gifts for Teachers

Do You Give Gifts To Your Kid's Teachers?

See results

Eating

Although I think getting a gift card to a nearby restaurant is a great idea, I suggest you call the restaurant instead of ordering it through a third party. That way, you know what you are getting and who you are getting it from. Additionally, if you actually go to the store and pick it up, you save on shipping!

A Word on ReGifting

If you get a gift that you don't want and can't return, what are you supposed to do with it? There aren't that many options, but regifting is one of them.

I am very much in favor of regifting when done with panache. Some people feel slighted when they receive a gift that you didn't shop for. I feel that if you see something you think someone would like, even if it is something that someone else gave to you.

Do YOU regift?

See results

Flowers Are Always Nice

Birthday Cake of Flowers
Birthday Cake of Flowers | Source

Tell Me What You Want - What You Really, Really Want

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 3 years ago from New York City

      @Charito1962: Aw, thanks!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Nice suggestions! Love the giraffe teether!

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 3 years ago from New York City

      @StrongMay: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it (even though it took me two months to answer.

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 3 years ago from New York City

      @Suzannepierik: Sorry for the long delay and thank you for the comment. Question: Dinner at a fire station? Is that a charity thing?

    • profile image

      StrongMay 3 years ago

      I love these suggestions. This was a really good, useful lens, and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Suzannepierik 4 years ago

      Bond #9 perfume and diamond earrings and fashion jewelry like big rings and bracelets, clothing, baking stuff, sentimental cards sent spontaneously from my husband, Nordstrom gift cards, bath and body lotions, spa day at a nice hotel, slippers and PJ's, books, nice big pretty scarves from Free People, gloves, headbands, dinner at a fire station with my girlfriends!

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: As a whole, I like them, although appropriateness really depends on the circumstances and the relationship between the giver and giftee.

      It's also important that the gift certificate itself isn't wildly off base. A teenage headbanger is not likely going to want a gc to Laura Ashley, but that might be a great card for a girl who is graduating from American Girl love.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What do you think of gift cards as gifts?

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Point taken. However: Even though Myspace lost the social networking race, people who are into the smaller bands and new music still use it. I will add a note.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Myspace? How old is this article? lol

    • eightieschild profile image

      eightieschild 4 years ago

      Interesting list of gift idea. Taboo is one of my favourite board games, and the Einstein book has piqued my curiosity, so have added that to my wish list! :)

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 5 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Hi Linda. You're post made me fee great. Then I realized it was spam because this isn't a blog post, you didn't say anything specific, and you left a link to something that is clearly unrelated. But since it made me feel so good for those thirty seconds, I am keeping it here. Come back anytime.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is such a great blog post! Very good information! Appreciating the hard work you put into your site and detailed information you present. Itâs awesome blog.

      http://all4payday.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      enjoyed stopping by this tonight.

    • benny77 profile image

      benny77 5 years ago

      hmmmm re-gifting is okay :) I really really want black tights

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 5 years ago from New York City

      @Countryluthier: Thank you. And I highly recommend regifting.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      This is gooood stuff. Regifting is a thing of my future.

    • profile image

      baby-strollers 5 years ago

      I'm a definite re-gifter - unless it comes from the kiddies.

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 5 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Great idea, actually. Do you know of one that is particularly good? I love the one that looks like the NCC-1701, but that is really only good for Star Trek fans. You know who you are.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      a GOOD can opener :o)

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great list of gifts for just about everyone. It looks like you could plan out several offshoot niche lenses from this single lens. Well done, blessed.

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      A wonderful list of gifts. useful lens. Keep the lenses coming:)

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      i think i would love to have a couple of board games for a good time of family fun! cheers

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

      @LabKittyDesign: Yes, thank you so much for noticing. I think you are the first to comment on that. And SpiceWorld was underrated. :)

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

      PS: Is that a Spice Girls joke?

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

      Three words: Screaming Monkey Slingshot

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @Her-Motorcycle: Yes they most definitely did. I usually am great at finding gifts for everyone, but finding the right things for my mom is still a tricky thing, it doesn't help that her birthday is just a few days after Christmas. Suggestions anyone?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @Her-Motorcycle: Yes they most definitely did. I usually am great at finding gifts for everyone, but finding the right things for my mom is still a tricky thing, it doesn't help that her birthday is just a few days after Christmas. Suggestions anyone?

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

      @GuyB LM: I have the perfect thing. Elephant Poo paper flowers. They don't smell and they are beautiful but come on, they're made of poo. Available at UncommonGoods.com.

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Thanks for the suggestion and for commenting. I was thinking of doing a science-y gift lens and that just might make it on there.

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

      @scar4: I understand. It's best with a gift that is good but you just have no use for. Like if you don't drink but get a really nice margarita set.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for some of your great suggestions. I hadn't heard of that Chocolate Liqueur set before and that is a great price. I will probably get it for my dad for Christmas. Another item that is good for kids and adults a like is an LED faucet light http://www.eventsmedium.com/great-gift-for-anyone/... It is around seven dollars off of amazon.

    • profile image

      scar4 6 years ago

      Regifting is a good way to save earth but hard for me to perform it.

    • GuyB LM profile image

      GuyB LM 6 years ago

      What I really want is a present for someone that says, "I hate your guts, but I respect the hell out of you" Any thoughts? It's for my grandmother. I was thinking a Matlock DVD Season 4 but I doubt that old dullard can work the dvd player. Any other ideas? Thanks

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

      @aesta1: Thanks! I really do believe that. Although I like chocolate, too.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Like the gift of time. Your tips are very practical.

    • pinkpig lm profile image

      pinkpig lm 7 years ago

      Great lens! thanks for link to really cool funky gifts.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I really want an iPod!

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 9 years ago from Chicago area

      I like your suggestions and had fun browsing. I'm going to lensroll this to my Gifts That Feed the Soul lens!

    • profile image

      HwangKO 9 years ago

      Great Idea about giving rolls of quarters for laundry or vending machines for those off to college. My husband is in the business, and since there are now credit card vending machines available, perhaps we should also expand that list to include a debit card that they can run thru the machine of their choice lol.!

    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 10 years ago

      Lots of info, lots of great ideas.

      Well done.

      Sara

    • Peter111 LM profile image

      Peter111 LM 10 years ago

      Nice lens. I think a lovely gift is a gift basket. If you can make it yourself then you can add some extra personal touches to it.

    • Peter111 LM profile image

      Peter111 LM 10 years ago

      Nice lens. I think a lovely gift is a gift basket. If you can make it yourself then you can add some extra personal touches to it.

    • s96designs profile image

      s96designs 10 years ago

      Great suggestions.I'm in the gift basket business, so I know how people sweat over buying gifts.Great lens.

    • Casey van B profile image

      Casey van B 10 years ago

      We'd love to see you and all your lenses join our group: Ratings Soup. You've cooked up some good stuff, and this will give you even more visibility! http://www.squidoo.com/groups/ratesoup

    • profile image

      Glyphman 10 years ago

      Would like to exchange lensrolls with you!!

      We can lensroll the same lens two times. I gave you 5 stars and a lensroll. If you return the favor, I will come back and lensroll you again.

      TaoGem supports, promotes, votes, and lensrolls all fellow Squidoo lensmasters!

      Great Lens!! Good luck!

    • tmdblogger lm profile image

      tmdblogger lm 10 years ago

      I've now added the "White Elephant Gift Exchange" idea to next years party :-) Much better than a Secret Santa - love the reuse idea.

      Happy New Year!

    • tmdblogger lm profile image

      tmdblogger lm 10 years ago

      LOL - some great items here. Time to get a lottery ticket :-)

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 10 years ago from Detroit

      Great suggestions and so helpful! who doesn't know someone hard to buy for?

    • Her-Motorcycle profile image

      Her-Motorcycle 10 years ago

      Wow, you really did think of most everyone!

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      zuzanna 10 years ago

      Jennifer, congratulations! You've created a wonderful lens where everobody can find something to give (or to expect) during the Christmas time. And the "Good News" part is really first-class - yes, gift of time is one of the most precious we can give and receive. (5 stars added to Favs

    • groovyoldlady profile image

      groovyoldlady 10 years ago

      I always thought a white elephant gift exchange was a place to unload the those "special" unwanted gifts I received. That's the deal, isn't it? - getting rid of the (ahem) lovely white elephant lamp base from Aunt Matilda. You don't BUY white elephant gifts!