It happens every single year around the holidays: you find yourself
searching for the right gift for someone you don't know very well. It could be a friend whose taste just confuses you, it could be a co-worker you picked in an office Secret Santa, a family member you don't see very often, or a significant other's parent you want to impress, even though you have no idea how to do so. Whatever the case, it happens to the best of us — and it can be really frustrating. How can you make a gift seem meaningful and special when you have no idea what someone would want? We've done some of the work for you to find gift ideas for people you don't know very well.
The trick to buying something that works for anyone is to pick items that are versatile, basic, and useful. You don't want to buy someone you don't know clothing, because you might not know their style or their size enough to do that successfully. You don't really want to get them food if you don't know what they love. Gift cards are obviously a go-to in this situation, but sometimes you just want the gift to seem like it came from the heart more, you know? In that case, you're better off with an actual item rather than a gift card or money in an envelope.
The below items should be perfect for basically anyone on your list - or at least one of them will be!
Most people love tea, right? Right. This steeping mug is extra cool because it comes with an infuser for loose tea leaves so that you can take them on the go. If you want to spend more, you can also get them a box of Tea Forte tea, which is delicious. And if they don't like tea? They can take the infuser part out and use this for any hot beverage.
It's about to be a new year, which means everyone needs a new calendar. ban.do makes the cutest calendars every year, with lots of fun designs and a great method of organization.
It's hard to go wrong with a bottle of really delicious wine. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get something impressive, either. This Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc features lifted tropical fruit aromas and a rich, complex flavor profile. The bottle is also pretty nice looking.
Blankets are an underrated gift. They're warm, they're cozy, and everyone always needs more, it's just not something they always buy for themselves. This Target one is neutral enough to appeal to anyone.
Lip balm might not sound like an exciting gift, but trust me: Fresh Sugar makes some of the best, and anyone who knows the name would be more than happy to receive one. Even if they don't, they'll love this stuff. It leaves lips hydrated but never sticky, and it smells wonderful.
Everyone could use more candles in their life, no matter who they are. Pick one that has a nice scent that isn't overpowering, and that will also look aesthetically pleasing as almost a piece of home decor. This Paddywax candle checks those boxes.
Even if they already have a portable charger, they could probably use another one — it's always good to have several of these. This one is small enough to fit anywhere, and it has the cutest saying on it.
Stylish accessories can be tough to purchase for someone you don't know well, but a beanie is something almost everyone loves. A black beanie isn't too bold, so it would go with any style. It's also perfect for the winter weather.
A tote bag is always useful, and this faux-leather one is a great option. It's inexpensive but looks chic, and it's ideal for holding pretty much whatever one needs to hold, whether they're shopping or they just need something to take on a short trip. It also has a removable pouch, which is a convenient feature.
Diffusers can be a bit more practical than candles sometimes: they give off an inviting scent without the danger of setting something on fire, and they also look really nice in someone's home. This holiday fragrance from Nest comes in a beautiful bottle and smells like a cozy winter day.
There's something really comforting about enjoying a glass of hard cider during the colder months of the year. This hard cider comes in a great bottle, which makes it an excellent gift option, and it's also delicious.
12. A Unique Travel Mug
Every travel mug out there claims to keep your hot beverages hot for hours, but they don't always work. Ember is a little different: this one is temperature controlled, and you can pick how warm you want it. It's a really chic gift option.
Planners are another thing everyone could use as we enter a new year. This agenda is gorgeous, and it also has a place for you to write your goals for the next 12 months.
Beauty products can be tough to buy for someone you don't really know, but a body scrub is great for pretty much anyone. This one, from Herbivore Botanicals, has a beautiful minimalist bottle, and it smells fantastic.
Sure, not everyone cooks. But doesn't everyone love Chrissy Teigen? Basically. This cookbook is great for anyone, even those who think they aren't into cooking. The recipes are delicious and most are pretty accessible for beginners, and it's just fun to read through.
You never know when you need a portable speaker! This one is super convenient, as it is small enough to fit in someone's purse — but it still delivers big sound. It's also Bluetooth-enabled, making it incredibly easy to use.
Not everyone is a plant person, but most people can handle watering an orchid once a week. This plant does well in low to medium sunlight, and it's minimalistic enough to match most home or office decor.
An initial necklace is an easy way to give a personalized gift when you don't know someone super well. This option can be worn alone or stacked with other necklaces, and it's simple enough to go with most people's style.
Additional reporting by Eden Lichterman.