For the most part, we actually enjoy buying gifts. As professional shoppers, we delight in finding that one trinket that’s going to surprise our loved ones, but there are always outliers in this shopping scenario — the people that leave us hemming, hawing, and endlessly scrolling to find the just-right thing that will satisfy their highly-exacting tastes. The kind-of-difficult ones.
You know the type: if you’re going to get this person a sweater, you can’t get them just any sweater; it has to be ethically sourced, top-of-the-line cashmere. A simple glassware set just won’t do, either; it has to be design snob-approved. Well: look no further, harried shopper. Because when it comes to those hard-to-please folks in your life, we’ve got you (and them) covered. Ahead, find 30 gifts for difficult people that will actually pass muster with your pickiest pals.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter
International travel is (safely) coming back, so gift your globe-trotting person this nifty 4-in-1 adapter for their imminent far-flung journey.
Shop Flight 001 on Amazon
Flight 001 4-In-1 Travel Adapter, $, available at Amazon
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Loungewear
We’re pretty evangelical about Quince’s highly competitive prices and top-notch quality — and their cashmere separates are vetted reader faves. If you know someone who deserves a treat this holiday, they’ll love a pair of luxurious joggers or a super-soft-sweater.
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Sweatpants, $, available at Quince
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Crew, $, available at Quince—PAID—
Even the most hard-to-please giftee will love this shoe’s sleek, futuristic design — made even better with Responsive Boost cushioning that returns energy.
Adidas NMD_R1 V2 Sneaker, $, available at Adidas
OFFHOURS x West Elm Homecoat
It’s a robe-meets-blanket situation with this supremely luxurious contraption called the Homecoat.
Shop West Elm
OFFHOURS x West Elm Homecoat, $, available at West Elm
Airbnb Gift Card
Take care of your loved one’s lodging plans for whenever they plan their next getaway.
Airbnb Gift Card, starting at $50, available at Airbnb.
Airbnb Gift Card, $, available at Airbnb
July Carry-On Light
Touted as “The lightest double-wheel suitcase in the world,” this carry-on from Aussie travel brand July allows you to move easily without your luggage weighing you down.
July Carry On Light, $, available at July
Warby Parker Gift Card
Up the sophistication factor and let your giftee pick out a cool pair of specs to update their lewk. A Warby Parker e-gift card or IRL gift card, complete with a festive box that doubles as eyeglasses storage make a fool-proof gift.
Warby Parker Gift Card, starting at $50, available at Warby Parker.
Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer
An obvious but highly functional accessory: a mug-size warmer to keep that brew pipin’ hot all day long. (Because you know they’ll nurse cup after cup for hours.)
Shop Mr. Coffee on Amazon
Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer, $, available at Amazon
Baggu Set of 3 Wine Bags
Gift a pack of these cleverly designed reusable wine bags just in time for the winter dinner parties that require you to BYOB.
Baggu Wine Baggu Set of 3, $, available at Baggu
Bearaby Tree Napper
For the person who needs to stay calm (and carry on): A beautifully woven weighted blanket in a soothing shade of turmeric.
Bearaby Tree Napper, $, available at Bearaby
Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Pillowcase
Not only is sleeping on a silk pillowcase very luxe, but the benefits also abound! It protects the hair from wear and tear; plus it’s naturally cooling in the summertime and insulating in the wintertime.
Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, $, available at Brooklinen
The Sill Digital Gift Card
It’s true what The Sill says: Plants make people happy. But, because you can never be sure of how attentive someone is going to be, send a card so your giftee can personally pick the green friend that suits their lifestyle.
Shop The Sill
The Sill Digital Gift Card, $, available at The Sill
Stine Goya Multicolor Leile Padded Mittens
Because even difficult people need something to keep their hands warm.
Stine Goya Multicolor Leile Padded Mittens, $, available at SSENSE
iHome Portable Karaoke Machine
All the world’s a stage when you gift this portable karaoke machine. Guaranteed to be the life of the party!
iHome Portable Karaoke Machine, $, available at Walmart
Chillhouse Chill Tips Reusable Press-On Manicure Kit
A perfect stocking stuffer for the person who loves getting their nails done in a pinch.
Shop Free People
Chillhouse Chill Tips Reusable Press-On Manicure Kit, $, available at Free People
Fredericks and Mae Playing Cards
A deck of cards is an essential home item no one ever thinks to buy — until the urge to play cards hits. Plus, look at how beautiful this stack is!
Shop Coming Soon
Fredericks and Mae Playing Cards, $, available at Coming Soon
ILIKEPAR Cereal Bowl with Metal Spoon Scented Candle
Yes, this is an actual candle that legitimately smells like cereal! And, when you’re done burning it, you can even wipe the bowl and spoon clean and use them to eat … actual cereal.
Shop ILIKEPAR on Amazon
ILIKEPAR Cereal Bowl with Metal Spoon Scented Candle, $, available at Amazon
Chen Chen And Kai Williams Mirror Mask
Gifting mirrors is fun because it’s usually unexpected but always practical — but no ordinary mirror will do for your picky giftee. These emotionally available mirrors can be purchased as a set of three, or individually for $90 each.
Chen Chen And Kai Williams Mirror Mask, $, available at Areaware
One Stripe Chai At Home Blends Collection – Chai + Turmeric
Coffee lovers are easy to shop for — it’s the tea drinkers that really stymie us. And, this at-home DIY set is for chai babes.
Shop One Stripe Chai
One Stripe Chai At Home Blends Collection – Chai + Turmeric, $, available at One Stripe Chai
Anthropologie Raccoon Table Lamp
Raccoons get a bad rap — unless they’re handing you a lightbulb.
Anthropologie Raccoon Table Lamp, $, available at Anthropologie
Hasegawa Lucano Stepstool 2 Step
I don’t know about you, but I live for a chic step ladder. Trust me — if you gift this, it will get used all the time.
Hasegawa Lucano Stepstool 2 Step, $, available at Pattern
Dyson Outsize Absolute+ Vacuum
Ask anyone who has a Dyson if it’s the best thing on earth and they’ll absolutely say yes.
Dyson Dyson Outsize Absolute+ vacuum (Gold), $, available at Dyson
HOSIGCO “Take A Bite” Socks
The nice thing about difficult people is that they usually know they’re difficult — which means you can always lean into silliness and get them wearing something that’ll make them laugh.
Shop HOSIGCO on Amazon
HOSIGCO “Take A Bite” Socks, $, available at Amazon
Meer Portable Mini Projector
This portable gizmo makes it easy for any movie lover to bring the joy of cinema with them wherever they go.
Shop Meer on Amazon
Meer Portable Mini Projector, $, available at Amazon
LevysFriends 2022 Cat Calendar
Even if you’re not a cat person, you cannot deny the cuteness of the fluffy felines that fill the pages within.
LevysFriends 2022 Cat Calendar, $, available at Etsy
NEWGEM Japanese Linen Cross Back Apron
Quite possibly the chicest kitchen (or garden) apron on the market — and it’s less than $20!
Shop NEWGEM on Amazon
NEWGEM Japanese Linen Cross Back Apron, $, available at Amazon
Blundstone BL587 Classic 550 Chelsea Boot
It’s the boot that’s meant to last a lifetime. Which means that it’s also the gift of a lifetime.
Shop Blundstone on Zappos
Blundstone BL587 Classic 550 Chelsea Boot, $, available at Zappos
que 20oz Collapsible Water Bottle
Even the most difficult person will need to stay hydrated. This super light, super squishy water bottle is especially handy for travel.
Shop que on Amazon
que 20oz Collapsible Water Bottle, $, available at Amazon
Nutribullet Magic Bullet Blender
This compact single-serving smoothie/dip/baby puree maker will make food prep a breeze.
Nutribullet magic bullet® Blender, $, available at NutriBullet
Bormioli Rocco Stackable Wine Glasses
Help them imbibe in style (at home) with the gift of chic and easily stored wine glasses.
Bormioli Rocco Stackable Wine Glasses, $, available at Food52
Framebridge The Piccolo: 7×7 Stand-Up Frame
A gift that always hits the nail is a framed photo of a very special moment. My tip: Find your gift recipient’s best Instagram photo (no matter how off-the-cuff or casual it may be), upload it to Framebridge, and have it turned into a piece of tangible art.
Framebridge The Piccolo: 7×7 Stand-Up Frame, $, available at Framebridge
Baby Yoda Guitar Pick
The Val-pal: Your guitar-playing, science fiction-reading hookup
Why They’ll Love It: Is your boo … picky?! (Guffaw! Sorry, had to.) If you want to wow the “Star Wars”-loving troubadour in your life for the low, low price of $4.49, you can end your search now.
RockNRollNook Baby Yoda Guitar Pick, $, available at Etsy
The Philosopher’s Stoneground Sprouted Almond Butter
The Val-pal: Your crunchy (guffaw!) childhood bestie
Why They’ll Love It: If your Valentine is particular about what they’ll put on their bodies — organic cotton only, please! — they’re probably equally picky about what they put in their bodies. Therefore, we suggest a tried and true (and sustainably made) snack from Patagonia Provisions, the food-purveying arm of the renowned outdoor retailer. Everything in their inventory is just as low-impact as the brand’s clothing — but luckily, these goods are one-size-fits-all. Our pick: this nut butter made from sprouted almonds. (Ooo la la.)
Shop Patagona Provisions
The Philosopher’s Stoneground Sprouted Almond Butter (Crunchy), $, available at Patagonia Provisions
Mavogel Modal Sleep Mask
The Val-pal: Your best friend (and former roommate), who’s still living in that group house
Why They’ll Love It: Your thrifty bestie is saving her pennies by remaining in your (affordable) former multi-roommate pad — but she’s really ready to live alone. Help her get through these final months of dealing with rowdy flat-mates with this top-rated, super-soft weighted sleep mask.
Mavogel Modal Eye Mask, $, available at Amazon
Sugar Momma Cookie Co. Lucky Charm Hot Chocolate Bomb
The Val-pal: Your work wife (and former 3 PM pain au chocolat partner-in-crime)
Why they’ll love it: A heated debate sprung up during a recent team meeting regarding the merits of flavored hot chocolate bombs — some of were waving the banana cream pie flag; others were proponents of a dairy-free option; others still advocated for the ultimate childhood treat: a bomb laced with Lucky Charms “marshmallows.” (Me.) Luckily, no matter the sugar preferences of the Valentine in question, there is a hot chocolate bomb that will help your work wife reminisce about your shared late-afternoon bakery pick-me-ups at the office.
Shop hot chocolate bombs on Etsy
Sugar Momma Cookie Co. Lucky Charm Hot Chocolate Bomb, $, available at Etsy
Mad Libs Dear Valentine Letters
The Val-pal(s): Your former brunch squad-turned-far flung friend group
Why They’ll Love It: Harness your silliest inner child with a time-honored goofy game of wordsmithing. You can use this Zoom-compatible activity for any remote February 14th celebrations with your gang, and then have a tangible memento to drop in the mail.
Shop Mad Libs on Amazon
Mad Libs Dear Valentine Letters, $, available at Amazon
LiBa Massage Hook
The Val-pal: The over-worked, over-hunched friend who’s quarantining solo
Why They’ll Love It: Massages make great gifts, whether it’s a visit to a professional spa or a casual foot or back rub delivered by your boo. However, with the possibility that social distancing prevents both of these things from happening, we’re going to suggest the next best thing: this fanatically-reviewed massage cane, which enables anyone to give themselves a sublime pressure-point massage and target hard-to-reach places.
Shop massage tools on Amazon
LiBa Massage Hook, $, available at Amazon
Masha Apparel Tie Dye Bamboo Socks
The Val-pal: Your loungewear-connoisseur roommate
Why They’ll Love It: We’ve seen a lot of tie-dye in the past 12 months, and in our professional opinion, the gradient and color distribution on this pair of socks are of expert origin. Even better, they’re made from bamboo — a renewable fiber that’s naturally absorbent and sweat-wicking. Your eternally sweats-clad roomie will definitely approve.
Shop Amazon Handmade
Masha Apparel Tie Dye Bamboo Socks, $, available at Amazon
FantasyBear “Star Wars” Candy Molds
The Val-pal: Your sweet-toothed spouse
Why They’ll Love It: Sure, the Whitman’s or See’s sampler is a crowd-pleaser, but why not make your chocolate gift interactive this year? We love the idea of DIY-ing some sweet treats that align wsith your partner’s passions, whether they’re a Star Wars superfan or a connoisseur of all things herbal. Simply browse for a mold that aligns with your belief system, add some melting chocolate to cart, and voilà! Edible R2D2.
Shop candy molds on Amazon
FantasyBear “Star Wars” Candy Molds, $, available at Amazon
Wilton Candy Melts, $, available at Amazon
Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker
The Val-pal: Your sweet-toothed spouse, who really enjoyed their chocolate Darth Vader and now wants to DIY other desserts
Why They’ll Love It: Chocolate-making was such a hit that you’re looking for something else you can whip up at home. Enter this pint-sized, affordably-priced ice cream maker — it will allow your sweetheart to produce single servings of sorbet or gelato on a whim.
Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker, $, available at Bed Bath & Beyond
Alder New York Cleansing Facial Brush
The Val-pal: Your Irish Spring-devotee partner
Why They’ll Love It: Alder is a queer- and woman-owned indie skincare imprint that makes a range of beautifully designed, unisex products for all skin types. This small-but-mighty scrubber is equipped with over one million (!) nylon bristles to stimulate the dermis, making that AM face-wash feel, well, one million times more luxurious than it normally does. A sweet and thoughtful gift for anyone who could use a cleansing boost — even the most low-maintenance bar-soap user.
Shop Alder New York
Alder New York Cleansing Facial Brush, $, available at Alder New York
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
The Val-pal: Your insomniac new-mom friend
Why They’ll Love It: They’ve always been a troubled sleeper, and with a newborn at home, it hasn’t gotten any easier. Help them unwind with this ahhh-inducing pillow spray — it contains a blend of lavender, vetiver, and chamomile oils, all of which promote relaxation.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, $, available at Anthropologie
Boomie Custom Handmade Recipe Cards
The Val-pal: Your mom, whose hand-written bolognese recipe you reference almost weekly
Why They’ll Love It: Your mom still has the same recipe box that she’s had since you were a kid, and when a new dish enters her repertoire, she dutifully jots it down. Help her maintain this tradition with some fresh handmade paper from artisan-goods website GlobeIn.
Boomie Custom Handmade Recipe Cards, $, available at GlobeIn
Snow Peak Wabuki Collapsible Chopsticks
The Val-pal: Your great-outdoors-loving partner
Why They’ll Love It: For gear enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much better than Snow Peak — the Japanese brand is responsible for some of the best quality and most elevated design on the outdoor market. We love their top-rated folding chopsticks as a gift for anyone who loves the great outdoors (or just noodles) — crafted from bamboo and stainless steel, the utensils’ ingenious design enables them to collapse into a 4.5-inch pouch for seamless transport.
Shop Snow Peak
Snow Peak Wabuki Chopsticks, $, available at REI
Homesick Candles Date Night
The Val-pal: Your co-parent
Why They’ll Love It: Before you became parents, date night was a pretty regular thing for you and your boo, whether it was burgers at your local watering hole or a rarefied omakase meal where you’d waited months for a reservation. Now, most nights are reserved for collapsing into bed at 9 PM, but you can still channel those cherished romantic evenings of yore with Homesick Candle’s fig and cashmere-scented votive. (The cheeky-burner brand will even inscribe a custom message if you click the “Make It Personal” button when you add to cart.)
Shop Homesick Candles
Homesick Candles Date Night, $, available at Homesick Candles
Haus Citrus Flower Apertif
The Val-pal: Your hostess-with-the-mostess mixologist buddy
Why They’ll Love It: Your bestie who used to love throwing dinner parties is suffering from a serious lack of stimuli these days. Get their creative juices flowing again with an additive-free aperitif made with herbs, fruits, and botanicals for maximum slow-sipping enjoyment.
Haus Citrus Flower Apertif, $, available at Haus
Jewellry by AMMA Sterling Silver Initial Necklace
The Val-pal: Your highly sentimental, very minimal sister
Why They’ll Love It: When in doubt, call upon a forever crowd-pleaser — even the most stylishly restrained among us can’t resist the siren call of a dainty personalized necklace.
Shop personalized jewelry on Etsy
Jewellry by AMMA Sterling Silver Initial Necklace, $, available at Etsy
Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier
The Val-pal: your beauty gadget-curious sister
Why they’ll love it: Your formerly sunscreen-skipping older sister has a renewed interest in her beauty rountine of late, and is suddenly experimenting with skincare supplements and plant-based serums. Wow her with Hey Dewy’s pint-sized, portable, USB-chargeable humidifier; perfect for refreshing the complexion midday (or really anytime of day).
Hey Dewy Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier, $, available at Nordstrom
Golde Cacao Turmeric Superfood Latte Kit
The Giftee: Your gut health-conscious best friend
The Rationale: She’s beginning to dip her toes into the waters of clean eating, eschewing fast-food for the acai-forward rainbow bowls that she spotted on Instagram. She’ll appreciate the gift of this body-warming turmeric latte blend.
Golde Cacao Turmeric Superfood Latte, $, available at Golde
Felicia Liang New York City Chinatown Poster
The Val-pal: Your weekly dim sum partner
Why They’ll Love It: While your standing Sunday dim sum date is on hold at the moment, you can still cherish the memories of endless cups of oolong tea with this poster from New York artist Felicia Liang. (A portion of proceeds from the poster will go to Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund, for local-business relief.)
Shop curated art on Etsy
Felicia Liang New York City Chinatown Poster, $, available at Etsy
Leesa Seat Cushion
The Val-pal: Your live-in lover, who is slowly destroying their back in that hard wooden chair
Why They’ll Love It: There are a handful of products — face masks, hand sanitizer, office chairs — that will go down in 2020/2021 history as indispensable items. Another must-have on this list? The butt pillow — perfect for helping uncomfy home chairs achieve WFH-ready comfort levels. If your partner is still laptopping away in a chair that’s not intended for prime time, they’ll really feel pampered when they sink their cheeks into Leesa’s memory-foam cushion.
Shop West Elm
Leesa Seat Cushion, $, available at West Elm
Olympia Provisions Salami Bouquet
The Val-pal: Your extreme-foodie friend
Why They’ll Love It: Think this “bouquet” of salami is ridiculous? Silly as it may seem to deliver cured meat in the form of a fresh-flower bunch, this bundle is bound to send the food snob in your life into paroxysms of joy. Portland’s Olympia Provisions is renowned for its handmade, antibiotic-free charcuterie, which is produced locally in Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria.
Shop specialty foods on Food52
Olympia Provisions Salami Bouquet, $, available at Food52
Jeremy Ayers Pottery Friendship Mugs (Set of Two)
The Val-pal: Your mom, who was kind enough to let you move home last March
Why They’ll Love It: Being roommates with your parents wasn’t easy when you were a teenager, and surprise surprise, not much has changed. However, even though it hasn’t been a picnic, your mom has kinda been your rock in 2020. Show her some love this Valentine’s Day with a handmade mug set that you can both enjoy.
Jeremy Ayers Pottery Handmade Friendship Mugs (Set of 2), $, available at Food52
Urban Flowers Chicago Tied Bouquet of Mixed Roses
The Val-pal: Your by-the-book mother-in-law
Why They’ll Love It: Thanks to a rustic presentation, unexpected sprigs of greenery, and a beautiful mix of Valentine’s Day-approved roses, this simple bouquet satisfies both your alterna-teen tendencies and your mother-in-law’s traditional taste in gifts.
Urban Flowers Chicago Tied Bouquet of Mixed Roses, $, available at Floom
Ecoflax Linen Fitted Sheet
The Val-pal: Your sweaty bed-mate
Why They’ll Love It: OK, we know it’s a little spendy, but linen bedding is so luxurious, we can’t resist the opportunity to splurge on it. Aside from being a renewable and biodegradable material that’s super eco-friendly, linen is strong, antibacterial, and naturally cooling. On a holiday that’s all about getting into bed, why not make the boudoir extra soigné with this super-fiber?
Shop linen bedding on Etsy
Ecoflax Linen Linen Fitted Sheet, $, available at Etsy
Click and Grow Smart Garden
The Val-pal: Your wannabe-green thumb boyfriend
Why They’ll Love It: Poor dude. He tries so hard to be a plant lady, but it’s just not going to happen. (For, uh, several reasons.) However, this countertop herb garden won’t be deterred by his light-challenged basement cave — it self-waters and has built-in lights to ensure healthy and happy greenery.
Shop Click and Grow
Click and Grow Smart Garden, $, available at Click and Grow
Fujifilm Mini Link Smartphone Printer
The Val-pal: Your vintage-obsessed Netflix-and-chill companion
Why They’ll Love It: They tote their film camera everywhere they go, but they still can’t capture every waking moment with their point-and-shoot. Give them the ability to fudge a filmic moment with a printer that will turn their digital shots into sepia-toned masterpieces.
Shop Fujifilm at Urban Outfitters
Fujifilm Mini Link Smartphone Printer, $, available at Urban Outfitters
Jessica Sennett Cheese Grotto
The Val-pal: Your home-cook partner who, over the course of 2020, has acquired literally every kitchen gadget under the sun (except for a cheese grotto)
Why They’ll Love It: A tiny had-carved box just for storing cheese?! Now we’ve seen everything! In all seriousness, our jaws hit the floor when we laid our fromage-happy eyes on Jessica Sennett’s “cheese grotto” — a segmented wooden storage container that allows for air circulation around your precious block of cheddar — while still preserving it and protecting it from the elements. Does one need a special jewel box for cheese? Probably not. Is this the perfect gift for the turophile in your life? Absolutely.
Jessica Sennett Cheese Grotto, $, available at Terrain
Starlite Motel in Woodstock
The Val-pal(s): You and your cabin-fever suffering spouse
Why They’ll Love It: While this is certainly a tough year for travel, you and your honey need a change of scenery — preferably a romantic one. Airbnb is full of beautiful, intimate lodgings boasting enhanced cleaning procedures that you can search by proximity to narrow down car-accessible destinations. We love the vintage vibes at the restored Starlite Motel in upstate New York, but if that’s not your speed, check out these 10 romantic Airbnb destinations.
Airbnb Starlite Motel, $, available at Airbnb
GlowUp Mask With Apple & Hibiscus
The Giftee: The clean-beauty obsessed co-worker (and your remote Secret Santa this year)
The Rationale: Your clean-beauty, clean-diet co-worker will really appreciate this miniature luxury: face mask infused with apple and hibiscus to brighten up skin.
Pholk Glowup Mask With Apple and Hibiscus, $, available at Pholk
Areaware Little Puzzle Thing
The Giftee: Your TikTok-obsessed nephew with a pretty short attention span
The Rationale: Puzzles make a great gift this year, but we don’t all have the patience to complete an entire one. Luckily, we found a mini-masterpiece can be completed between scrolls.
Areaware Little Puzzle Thing (Papaya), $, available at Cara Cara
Spicewalla 18-Pack Kitchen Essentials Set
The Giftee: Your dedicated, “captain-of-the-Pismo-Beach-disaster-relief” bud
The Rationale: This North Caroline-based spice brand launched a capsule collection in conjunction with No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit organization that is working to end child hunger in America by ensuring that children get the healthy food they need every day to thrive. The 18-pack of spices including everything from rosemary to Kashmiri chili powder will add flavor to anyone’s kitchen set up.
Spicewalla 18 Pack Kitchen Essentials, $, available at Spicewalla
Mother Earth’s Plantasia Limited LP
The Giftee: The friend who is about to be completely outnumbered by their plants
The Rationale: If entering your plant-happy bud’s apartment is like walking into an actual greenhouse, then there’s no sense in getting them another potted item — seriously, where’s it going to go?! What this person might trip out over is this 1976 cult-favorite record from Mort Garson, Mother Earth’s Plantasia. This exclusive vinyl cut features a begonia splatter and offers plenty of warm earth music for plants and the people that love them.
Mort Garson Mother Earth’s Plantasia Limited LP, $, available at Urban Outfitters
Brightland Awake Olive Oil
The Giftee: Your Bon Appetit-subscribing, Great British Bake-Off-watching roommate
The Rationale: She’s on top of every food trend and is a student of instructional, feel-good cooking and baking shows. Wow her with a premium olive oil that’s both aesthetically pleasing and delicious. (Plus you get to use it, too!)
Brightland Awake Olive Oil, $, available at Brightland
Monsieur Lenny Neon Turtleneck Dog Sweater
The Giftee: Your mom, who really and truly doesn’t want any gifts this year — but loves that damn dog
The Rationale: When you’re getting completely stonewalled by a loved one insisting that they don’t need any presents this holiday season, you can either, a.) take their word for it, or b.) go for their Achilles Heel — Fido. This irresistibly cute neon color-blocked turtie will look too cute on their furry friend and will circumvent any naysaying. Or you can go the truly original and personalized route, and order her custom gift wrap with the family dog’s face on it so Spot can be the star of all the gifting this year!
Monsieur Lenny Neon Turtleneck Dog Sweater, $, available at Etsy
Verloop Albers Checkerboard Throw Blanket
The Giftee: Your color-happy, more-is-more aunt
The Rationale: Your closest aunt has always been a maximalist when it comes to color. While you were slightly distracted by her magenta ensembles and “funky” eyeglasses in middle school, you now appreciate her fearlessness when it comes to hue. She’ll adore this cozy, color-blocked checkerboard blanket, with an array of shades that clash just so.
Verloop Albers Checkerboard Throw Blanket, $, available at Nordstrom
Omsom East Asian Sampler
The Giftee: Your dad, who’s been experimenting in the kitchen of late (and also doesn’t want you to spend much money on him!)
The Rationale: The extreme flavor-chaser in your life is always on the hunt for far-flung spices and exotic seasonings to push the boundaries of their kitchen know-how. This sample box of six East Asian starter sauces — including Japanese yuzu misoyaki, Korean spicy bulgogi, and Chinese mala makes whipping up a complicated dish a snap and it’s a pleasing gift that won’t break the bank.
Omsom East Asian Sampler, $, available at Omsom
The Giftee: Your try-anything-once dog-walker
The Rationale: Whether it’s oil-pulling, facial yoga, or adaptogenic herbs, this person is always on the next woo-woo wellness-treatment tip. Satisfy their alterna-medicinal tendencies with this luxurious, CBD-infused lip balm.
Kosasport LipFuel, $, available at Kosas
Vahdam India Seasons Of Tea Duo
The Giftee: Your boss who you really like and want to send a little something to but don’t want to spend too much because it would seem sort of weird and ass-kissy plus you’ve got so many other people on your list.
The Rationale: This duo is from quality tea company Vahdam India (a favorite of Oprah’s — ever heard of her?) and comes in a box so pretty it looks like a gift on arrival.
Vahdam Seasons Of Tea – 2 Tin Caddy, $, available at Vahdam
Aquarian Thoughts Gold Bead Hammered Stacking Ring
The Giftee: Your stack-laden sister
The Rationale: While it’s tough to guess her style, you know that your magpie sister loves to pile on the jewels. This slim band is a petite and affordable option that will complement whatever else she has in the mix that day.
Aquarian Thoughts Hammered Bead Stacking Ring, $, available at Etsy
Ichendorf Milano Tute Champagne Flute
The Giftee: Your design-obsessed brother-in-law with the object-filled apartment
The Rationale: How does he do it? From a perfectly-preserved salmon-colored mid-century sofa to the glossy, spotless teak dining table; his studio is out of the pages of a fancy design book. Only the most speshy decor is allowed in his pristinely appointed, museum-like space, but we think these scalloped champagne glasses will satisfy his exacting taste.
Ichendorf Milano Tutu Champagne Flute, $, available at Coming Soon
DASH My Pint Ice Cream Maker
The Giftee: Your DIY-or-die brother
The Rationale: Why buy something when you can make it? Your dear frère lives by this adage and has a loft full of custom-built furniture and ad-hoc renovations to prove it. While you’re going to leave to lumber-related gifts to his equally handy partner, you know he will get a kick out of this easy-to-use ice cream-maker — perfect for preparing frozen desserts, one pint at a time.
Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker, $, available at Bed Bath & Beyond
Bake Me A Wish Brownie Sampler
The Giftee: Your tutor / your kid’s tutor
The Rationale: In addition to a generous tip, send your hard-working helper the gift of delectable baked goods. In addition to brownies, you can send cheesecakes, cupcakes, giant cakes, traditional cakes, baskets, towers, and pies. Plus, 5% off all purchases goes to Bake Me A Wish’s Small Business Empowerment Fund.
Bake Me A Wish Gourmet Brownie Sampler, $, available at Bake Me A Wish
Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery
The Giftee: Your suddenly kitchen-happy long-distance bestie
The Rationale: You both lived on packet ramen and jumbo slices in college, but when quarantine hit, she went Ina Garten on you, whipping up perfectly plated, Instagram-ready meals and spending days perfecting her sourdough. She’ll appreciate working her way through Matty Matheson’s comprehensive, easy-to-use, and delicious cookbook, which covers everything like basics (bone broth) to more complicated dishes.
Matty Matheson “Home Style Cookery”, $, available at Amazon
MoMA Two-in-One Chess & Checkers Set
The Giftee: Your sister-in-law who just gleefully powered through The Queens Gambit
The Rationale: This artful set from the Museum of Modern Art will fulfill your sister-in-law’s realized dream of learning to master chess, as well as her new appreciation for aesthetically pleasing pattern play and Queens Gambit-style retro flare.
MoMA Two-in-One Chess & Checkers Set, $, available at 2Modern
Bonne Maison Striped Socks
The Giftee: Me! (Emily Ruane, Refinery29’s shopping team fashion writer)
The Rationale: As a sock person from way back, I’m always on the hunt for a cool, well-made pair to complement my preferred footwear, which includes an assortment of sneakers, loafers, and of course, CLOGS. This luxe pair from French brand Bonne Maison has a beautiful mix of muted tones that will go with many a ’fit.
Bonne Maison Striped Socks, $, available at Roztayger
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