13 Brilliant Alternatives To Boring Gifts, Because Even Socks Can Be Innovative

Gifter's block: not unlike writer’s block, this pesky problem happens when you’ve got a tight deadline (like a housewarming party that’s an hour away) and zero gift ideas. Out of desperation, you reach for some basic “Stay Calm and Party On” t-shirt that you're not even sure the recipient will like, let alone wear. But don't worry — there are so many cooler alternatives to boring gifts, a.k.a. the foolproof solution to gifter’s block, because believe it or not, socks don’t have to be boring. There are coffee mugs that people will actually use, as well as notebooks that inspire your creativity and ties that literally work like keyboards. You just need to know where to look.

These new and improved gift alternatives are entirely within your grasp. You just need to do a little bit of research beforehand. If you’re currently reading this article in the housewares aisle of a Bed Bath & Beyond two hours before your mom’s birthday party, then you’re probably out of luck — but if you’ve got a solid week before said event, then check out these awesome gift ideas that you can purchase entirely from the comfort of your own home. Fortunately for you, the Internet is loaded with genius ideas that give your go-to options a complete facelift. And best of all, they all deliver in more ways than one.

1. Instead Of A Shot Glass, Get This 3-In-1 Flask

Black Leather Hip Shot Flask, $18, Amazon

Everyone who's ever gone on vacation has bought a commemorative shot glass, but this gift is truly innovative in that includes both a place to store the alcohol as well as an apparatus to take it from. The Black Leather Hip Shot Flask features a stainless steel construction with a leather wrap, an included foldable shot glass, and a funnel, all of which fit seamlessly together so you’re prepared anywhere you go.

2. This Amazing Mug Totally Revolutionizes The Typical Coffee Cup

Electric Stirring Coffee Mug, $15, Amazon

You could get someone a boring old coffee mug with a semi-witty phrase on it, or you could get them this Electric Stirring Coffee Mug, which has a built-in motor that whirls your drink around to mix in any sugar or milk — all without a spoon! It also comes with a travel lid for those who want to use it on the go.

3. This Totally Inventive Pen Lets You Build Off The Page

Professional Printing 3D Pen, $70, Amazon

Forget your average office pen set and opt for this tool of the future. This Professional Printing 3D Pen lets you use three different colors of plastic to draw 3D designs like action figures and desk decorations. Some say it’s the most effective model they’ve ever used, because you can customize the speed and the heat controls.

4. The Journal That Instantly Digitizes All Your Notes

Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook, $22, Amazon

Got an avid writer you need to buy something amazing for? This remarkable pick is perfect for them. Great to give any college student or writer, the Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook can be reused over and over again. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave to start the pages anew. But that doesn't mean you lose everything already written — it actually lets you instantly upload all your notes and doodles to Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote, Box, and email, so you'll always have a record.

5. The Wallet That Actually Charges Your Phone

iPhone 7 SlimPower Wallet, $20, Amazon

Not only is this iPhone 7 SlimPower Wallet beautifully sleek and minimalistic, it also has a built-in USB power bank to juice your iPhone when you’re running low. It also features three card slots and an elastic band for cash, and reviewers are loving its cool canvas exterior and slim fit.

6. This Way More Badass Version Of Monopoly

Monopoly: Game of Thrones Collector's Edition Board Game, $32, Amazon

Skip Park Place and take over Westeros instead with this Monopoly: Game of Thrones Collector's Edition Board Game. The money, game pieces, cards, and spaces are all customized to the series, and reviewers are saying things like, “Excellent Monopoly board and a must-have for every Game of Thrones fan.”

7. Soap That Smells Like Your Favorite Booze

Red Wine and Beer Handmade Soap, $17, Amazon

Soap is a pretty boring gift – unless it’s alcohol-themed, of course. These Red Wine and Beer Handmade Soaps both use organic virgin coconut oil and natural ingredients to create luxurious bars that feel great on skin and smell like a party.

8. The Tetris Lamp That Turns Your Bedroom Into A Game

DIY Tetris Puzzle Desk Lamp, $26, Amazon

On a scale of one to awesome, most desk lamps fall right around the 3.5 mark — but then there's this creation. One of the coolest desk lamps I’ve ever seen, the DIY Tetris Puzzle Desk Lamp comes with seven interlocking pieces that light up when they’re assembled. They can be arranged in any way to cultivate creativity while you’re working, and they make an awesomely bright accent for any desk or bedroom. It's the perfect gift for kids, adults, and maybe even yourself.

9. Keep All That Tech Equipment Charged And Protected

Ghostek Powerbank Waterproof Backpack, $90, Amazon

Fit for techies, travelers, photographers, and even students, this Ghostek Powerbank Waterproof Backpack is not your average laptop bag. In addition to protecting your devices with tons of padding and a water-resistant design, it can also charge your smartphones and tablets with a rechargeable battery. Plus, it features an external power indicator, as well as straps and pockets designed for comfort and convenience.

10. A Crazy Candle That Burns Down To A Skeleton

PyroPet Candles Kisa Candle, $34, Amazon

Everyone loves getting candles as gifts because it's a useful pick that people don't often buy for themselves, but enjoy having in their home. This morbidly awesome PyroPet Candles Kisa Candle beats your average candle any day, because as it melts, you’re left with a metallic cat skeleton that shields the flame as it burns. It’s surprisingly big, melts slowly and evenly, and leaves a memorable souvenir behind.

11. The Smartest Picture Frame You’ll Ever Own

NIX Advance Digital Photo Frame, $60, Amazon

This motion-activated NIX Advance Digital Photo Frame turns on when you enter the room and turns off when you leave. It’s ridiculously easy to upload all of your favorite pictures in a moving slideshow, so you never have to choose just one, and it’s got built-in clock, calendar, and speaker features.

12. This Fully-Functioning Musical Tie

Madsbag Musical Necktie, $20, Amazon

Ideal for the musician in your life, this Madsbag Musical Necktie has touch-activated working keys that play music through the speaker up by the neck – and it runs on batteries, so it’s entirely wireless.

13. Socks That Actually Heat Themselves

Flambeau Heated Socks (S - XL), $59-$91, Amazon

Got a hunter, runner, or frequent traveler on your list of people to buy for? Whether they're dealing with foot pain or just extremely cold weather, these Flambeau Heated Socks are way more innovative than the typical pair. They’re made from a warm blend of cotton and wool, and you can recharge the ion batteries and tuck them into the tiny pockets for up to five hours of wireless toe warmth anywhere you go.

Images: Amazon (13)

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