Gift Guide 2017: Presents for the Picky

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when Oprah and lifestyle sites release their gift guides. While they are great ways to window shop and waste time, I have yet to find a source that gives good ideas for a number of people on my list (not to mention my budget). Many lists out there are based on assumptions that aren’t always true. Does the man you’re buying for not have a beard or like alcohol or history? It may be tough to find presents on those “Gifts for Him” lists.

After years trying to find the perfect gifts for tricky recipients, I’ve picked up some decent tips that I go back to year after year. I hope they will help make your shopping this year a little less stressful.

For the picky person: practical gifts

Do you have a friend or family member who is so picky you can’t give them clothes or food because there is a 99% chance they will not like any of it? Buy them an upgraded version of something they already use! Although a lunchbox or calendar may not be the most glamorous gifts, they are more likely to be used and not re-gifted.


Monbento Lunch Box ($26.30)

Stylish yet practical. They’ll forget all about their daily McDonalds habit.


Page-A-Day Calendar ($18)

They’ll think of you every morning when they tear off the previous day.


For the person you give gift cards: gift experiences

If you’ve been stumped on what to give someone and feel bad giving them impersonal gift cards every year, try a card that gifts experiences instead of things. I love the idea of giving a MoviePass. They’ll probably enjoy going to unlimited movies much more than the shirt they’d get with a JCrew gift card. If you want to stick with something more conventional, for someone who likes to cook and eat and on a budget, Trader Joe’s card is a godsend.


MoviePass ($30 for 3 months)

Trader Joe’s (varied amount; no expiration date!)

Note: Must be purchased in store.


For the person who might give you a gift: self-care kit

Christmas is the time of year when you should never be caught empty-handed. An acquaintance may surprise you with an unexpected gift, and you should always have an extra gift stored away to give in return. I like the cute little kits you can find from places like Pinch Provisions. They’re so practical that you know they will be used and appreciated.


Binge-Watching Survival Kit ($20)

Binge-Watching Beauty Kit ($22)

Everyone has a day where all they want to do is sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Encourage them to take some time to relax with this little tin!

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