BreakingModern — It’s a situation we’re all familiar with. Maybe you’re attending your rarely seen cousin’s birthday, or you picked some rando’s name during your office’s Secret Santa gift exchange. You want to buy him or her something nice, but you have no idea what he or she likes. And while you don’t want to break the bank, you don’t want to look like a cheap skate either. What to do?
Before you reach for that Amazon gift card (you were considering it — admit it), here are a few gift ideas that will make even the most distant acquaintance say, “Wow, this is amazing. Thank you!”
LCD Boogie Board eWriters
What do most literate human beings tend to do when they need to remember something? They write it down. And the Boogie Board LCD writing tablet is arguably the coolest way to do just that. These eWriters can go for about $25, and they’re simple enough for even the most tech-phobic of acquaintances. The user writes on the scratch-resistant plastic LCD with a stylus or his or her finger and presses a button to erase the writing when he or she is done. Easy! Better still, using the Boogie Board cuts down on scratch paper, which means it both looks cool and is good for the environment.
A Subscription to Graze
For $11.99 a box, you can send your lucky gift recipient monthly packages of healthy snacks. Does that sound boring? It’s not — the snacks are unique and super delicious, including concoctions like Zesty Chili Lime Cashews, Vanilla Walnut Fudge and Cocoa Cookie Dippers. The site has several different recipes, and your acquaintance gets to personalize their own mix of snacks (so you don’t have to find out about your coworker’s almond allergy the hard way).
Aloe Vera Potted Plant
These potted succulents go for about $9 each, though the price depends on the retailer and the size of the plant. Aloe Vera plants are both beautiful and functional — cut a little bit off and squeeze the inside onto a cut or burn to help sooth and disinfect the area. Useful!
Swiss Army Knife
Speaking of useful, who doesn’t need a Swiss army knife?
The prices vary widely, depending on the knife’s quality and the number of functions. Still, you should be able to get a decent knife for under $40. A Swiss army knife should contain a sharp blade and several tools like a screwdriver, a can opener, a nail file, scissors, etc. Your acquaintance will thank you when they go camping — or the next time they find out no one brought a bottle opener to the party.
Fancy Passport Cover
A fancy booklet cover for your passport — it’s a nice thing to have, but who’s going to buy one for themselves? That’s where you come in. The best part is, they’re fairly inexpensive. Even a nice leather passport holder can cost as little as $8, although they can get as expensive and elaborate as you like.
Why earmuffs? Because earmuffs are adorable, and everyone already has hats. Of course, this is more of a winter-season gift (and maybe not appropriate if you live in Southern California), but if you live in a climate that gets chilly sometimes this gift is a definite people-pleaser.
This gift is also super easy to get your hands on. Most stores will stock them during the winter months, or you can order a unique set from Etsy. Be careful not to get too wacky with the style, though. You want your acquaintance to actually wear these.
Okay, this is awesome. If you think a stackable LED Tetris lamp couldn’t improve your gift recipients’ home, you’re wrong. The Tetris pieces light up as you stack them together, and the bright LED bulbs stay cool to the touch no matter how long the lamp is plugged in. Your acquaintance will love stacking the lights in different combinations and they’ll appreciate the lamp’s retro coolness.
Matryoshka Measuring Cups
Most people cook in some capacity, so why not gift someone the cutest dry measuring cups ever? Stackable Matryoshka dolls, aka those traditional Russian dolls that stack inside each other, aka “nesting dolls,” make up this measuring cup set, fitting inside each other when they aren’t being used. Tell your acquaintance to thank you later for the freed-up drawer space. And the best news of all? The measuring cups are only around $11, so you won’t have to break the bank on someone else’s kitchenware.
A Chunky Hand-Knit Blanket
Let’s be honest — who doesn’t love a snuggly blanket? Sure, some people might prefer a light throw, but a big chunky blanket says, “I like you, and I want you to be comfortable.” Whoever gets your gift will be touched. Better yet, if you buy your blanket on Etsy you can get a real hand-knit version — and you erase the risk of your office friend discovering an exact replica of her new blanket at Target.
It’s a classic for a reason. If you don’t know what to buy someone, cookies are always a safe bet. Just be sure to make them yourself — it shows you put thought and time into an admittedly cheap gift.
If you want to play it extra safe, choose a good gluten-free recipe. You can never be too careful with allergies these days.
For BMod, I’m Alison Maney.
All Screenshots: BMod Staff