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

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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. A 3-In-1 Flask That Has A Built-In Shot Glass

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BarMe 3-In-1 Shot Flask, $20, 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 three-in-one shot flask features a stainless steel construction, an included foldable shot glass, and a funnel, all of which fit seamlessly together so you’re prepared anywhere you go.

2. A Self-Stirring Coffee Mug That'll Keep Your Coffee Fresh

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LEADNOVO Self-Stirring Coffee Mug, $20, Amazon

You could get someone a boring old coffee mug with a semi-witty phrase on it, or you could get them this self-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. A 3-D Drawing Pen For The Artist In Your Life

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Professional Printing 3-D Pen, $60, Amazon

Forget your average office pen set and opt for this tool of the future. This Professional Printing 3-D Pen lets you use three different colors of plastic to draw 3-D 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. This Smart Notebook That Quickly Digitizes Your Written Notes

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Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook, $18, 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. This Wallet That Charges Your Phone

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CaseCrown SlimPower Wallet, $20, Amazon

Not only is this 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. A Game Of Thrones Monopoly Set For Your Friend Who Can't Let Go

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Monopoly: Game of Thrones Collector's Edition Board Game, $35, 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. A Moon Nightlight That Can Change From Cool White To Warm Yellow

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Mydethun Moon Lamp Nightlight, $46, Amazon

This 3-D-printed moon lamp has all the same texture and coloring of the actual moon, and can shift colors from a cool white to a warm yellow glow depending on your preference. Charge this for just a few hours and you'll get 10 hours of use out of it. Hundreds of reviewers rave that this works great as a lamp or a nightlight. You can get it in one of five different sizes.

8. This Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker That Can Clip Onto Your Bag

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Kunodi Outdoor Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker, $18, Amazon

This handy clip-on Bluetooth speaker is an unexpected gift anyone is sure to love. Not only is it waterproof, it's even shockproof, dustproof, and durable enough to clip on to a backpack or handbag and take with you through the day. It has a built-in mic so you can take calls from the speaker, and is a great accessory for hiking trips, beach days, or any adventure on your calendar.

9. This Heated Blanket That Will Keep Someone Cozy & Warm

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Sunbeam Fleece Heated Electric Throw Blanket, $23, Amazon

Not just your standard throw blanket, this electric heated blanket is a fantastic gift for a friend who gets chilly. With three different warming settings and a three-hour automatic shut-off, this popular blanket is a steal at $23, and makes for a great present for anyone struggling in cold weather months.

10. A Nostalgic Candle That Reminds Them Of Their Home State

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Homesick Scented Candle, $27, Amazon

Formulated individually to specific states, these Homesick candles are nostalgic AF and designed to remind someone of the natural scents of a specific state or region, whether that be the wooded forests of the pacific northwest, or the apple cider notes of New England. Each candle has a 60 to 80 hour burn time and is made out of all-natural soy wax.

11. A Digital Picture Frame With Built-In Speakers

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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. These Unbreakable Stainless Steel Tumblers For Wine, Coffee, Or Their Favorite Beverage

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CHILLOUT LIFE Stainless Steel Tumbler With Lid, $12, Amazon

If you know someone prone to the dropsies, these stainless steel (and vacuum-insulated!) tumblers are a fantastic purchase. You can get them in 12-ounce and 20-ounce sizes in a full range of colors. Equip with a leakproof lid and a durable stainless steel design, these dishwasher-safe tumblers are an affordable present your friends or family will get so much use out of.

13. A Bluetooth Beanie Winter Hat That Can Play Your Music

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SoundBot¨ Bluetooth 4.1 Wireless Smart Beanie, $17, Amazon

This Bluetooth-compatible winter hat can play all your music or your favorite podcasts while keeping you warm in the cold weather. The battery can handle five hours of continuous streaming before you'll have to recharge, and thanks to an innovative design, you can even machine wash this hat. To top it off, it features a built-in mic so you can take calls hands-free! Amazon reviewers rave, "Great gifts. Love these perfect gift for those on the go listen to your music and answer your phone without touching it."

Images: Amazon (13)

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