Gifts Your People Will Actually Want
A last minute gift guide for people who want to win at Christmas
There's something depressing about scrolling a gift guide full of the same candles, countertop appliances, and overpriced bath robes.
Really, why make a gift guide at all? I could walk down the main aisle of Target and see the exact same items while ALSO eating popcorn.
So it seems I must hold us all to a higher standard. 😌 It is a responsibility I bear with great reverence.
Something you may not know is that I’m pretty dang good at giving gifts. And so too, it seems, are the people around me because I’ve been received some awesome ones too. Here are the major winners I’ve given and received to help you win at Christmas (or any other gift-giving holiday you celebrate).
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Note: I was linking up all the gift ideas and remembered, wait, people earn money like this. So I'm now an Amazon Associate, and I earn from qualifying purchases when you buy through my links. Just a full disclosure.
Whew, starting out strong! A kalimba is an African instrument that anyone can learn to play in moments. And with a bit of memorization, you can play some truly beautiful songs—like this cover of Can't Help Falling In Love. I gave one to my dad, but then everyone played with it for the rest of the day and was secretly mad that I didn’t get one for them too.
Best for: The person who has a guitar in their closet that you haven’t seen in a while. They like instruments, maybe took lessons as a kid, but don’t have the time or inspiration to play much anymore. (The kalimba’s the perfect instrument for music dabbling.)
This tool allows you to vacuum-seal food. That’s all well and good, but honestly I never use it for that. The real value in my eyes is its ability to reseal plastic food bags. Think: chips, cereal, frozen veggies, etc. It reheats the plastic and packages it up like new. I swear, it can make a bag of chips last for months without going stale. I use mine every single day.
Best for: Someone who has the counter space for it. My parents got rid of theirs because it took up too much space. (But then they bought another one when they realized life wasn't worth living without it.)
These ear plugs reduce noise without blocking it all out. Sounds pointless at first, but it's actually ideal for attending concerts where you want to hear the music without losing your hearing. Or for screaming babies. No joke, my husband and I got a pair each when our baby was going through a massive colicky phase. It quite honestly saved our sanity during a rough time.
Best for: New parents (especially if their babies are part banshee) and concert-goers (especially those small local concerts where the band makes up for talent with volume).
This one's really cool. So mason bees are gentle, solitary bees. They don’t live in hives, they don’t swarm—they’re just all-around good dudes. They’re also fantastic pollinators. Fun fact: When you hear people say "save the bees," it's not about honey bees. They're talking about these guys!
Now, the way female mason bees reproduce is they find a long hole to lay eggs one at a time, and then they pack each one in with mud. The eggs sit through winter, and in spring, you get a bunch more mason bees.
A mason bee home provides a bunch of tubes that are perfect for their eggs, and if you hang around you can actually watch them packing in the mud until the tube is full. This gift takes a little bit of research—make sure mason bees live in your area, and maybe print out some tips (easy to Google) on where to place the home so your recipient knows what to do—but it is a seriously cool gift for the right person.
Best for: Biology nerds, gardeners, kids (think: cool science project) and/or people who like to sit in their yard and watch wildlife.
There are a million games you could give someone. And honestly, you're probably best off just finding a game you've played that you loved and know they would too. But I love Bananagrams. It's a word game where you try to use up your letter tiles to create a crossword. Here's an explainer video. What's great is it's all stored in a little banana pouch, so it's super portable—we always bring ours on camping trips. There's even an extra-large version if your recipient would have a hard time seeing the small tiles.
Best for: Word game lovers. If they like games like Boggle, Scrabble, or UpWords, they'll enjoy this one. (Just make sure they don't already have it!)
It's a super lightweight, waterproof, solar-powered lantern. And it's bright. Ideal for camping of course, but also for someone who has to drive long distances at night in case of a breakdown. As an alternative, consider the Luminoodle—a USB-charged LED light strip covered in magnets. I've given both, and they've both been well-used.
Best for: Camping enthusiasts, emergency preppers, and people who work on their own cars (the Luminoodle especially for those folks—it can magnetize to the car hood).
This is probably the most useful item on this list. This allows you to jump start a dead car battery without having to rely on the goodwill of a stranger with jump cables. It doubles as a giant battery with USB ports and a flashlight too, making it the perfect emergency tool. Consider pairing it with a portable tire inflator.
Best for: New drivers, or that one person who always has awful car luck.
This is—hands down—my favorite thing to put my... hands down on. My husband got this for me one year because my hands were always cold while typing. Why were they cold? Because he insisted on keeping the A/C way too low. Of course. But this was enough to stop my complaining.
Best for: That person with the cold hands. But probably only if they use a keyboard, not a laptop. A laptop would cover too much of the heat, making it kind of pointless. In that case, a mini space heater might be a better option.
Okay, this one's cheating because I actually put one of these on my wish list this year. I haven't gotten it yet. But I know in my heart that I will love this thing. I've wanted a waterproof picnic blanket for YEARS.
Best for: Soccer parents, camping enthusiasts, people who like sitting in parks, and self-proclaimed vintage lovers or cottage core adherents. Also, parents in general. I plan to use mine for living room picnics when my kid's old enough. This one is also sand-proof, making it perfect for the beach.
I've yet to find someone who doesn't think this book is hilarious, or at least an entertaining read. My husband and I sped through the whole thing together before we wrapped it, and we reference it on the regular.
Best for: Millennials. If they’re fans of Sarah’s Scribbles, they’ll like this creator too. (Sarah’s book would be a good gift too, actually.)
Bonus stocking stuffer: Bug Bite Thing
I got this for my mom because she's a mosquito magnet. Now I wish I'd gotten one for myself—or maybe five, so I'd always have one on hand.
The reason mosquito bites itch is that the mosquito will inject irritating saliva into your skin to keep your blood from clotting. Gross. So this thing is a tiny suction tool that you position over the bite to gently draw the saliva out. There are so many junky mosquito-repelling tools and itch-stopping tricks out there, but this one actually works.
Best for: The mosquito magnet. This person is easy to identify because any time someone mentions mosquitos, they're sure to interject, "I'm a total mosquito magnet."
What have been your best gifts?
So don’t tell anyone, but I still have a few people to buy for, too. What’s the most useful/fun/interesting gift you’ve received? Help me out? 👇