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November 05, 2021 7 min read
Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries—some occasions just demand the perfect gift in a neat little bow.
Check out these ten favorites from Andar for some ideas. Then, read our take on who you should give gifts to and what makes something the perfect gift.
There are very few occasions where we’d recommendnot getting a gift for someone. When it comes to birthdays, holidays, and the “just because” moments, gifts are a sure way to put a smile on anyone’s face.
That said, there are certain people in your life who would probably feel uncomfortable getting a gift from you. For instance, giving a present to that coworker who you barely talk to might be just a tad bit awkward. So, unless you can expect to get a present from someone, we’d avoid getting them something.
With that being said, there are individuals beyond your best friends, close relatives, and your awesome boss who you should totally get a present for.
For instance, your hairstylist (the person responsible for making you look awesome) totally deserves to be appreciated with a gift around the holidays. And those people you run into during all of your best and worst moments (such as your doorman and mailman) would be thrilled to get something from you.
For this reason, if it’s possible for you, it’s a good idea to expand the list of people on your gift shopping list. And, hey, maybe next year you’ll get many more presents yourself—as a thanks for your generosity.
We’re no strangers to getting yet another pair of socks or other unnecessary gifts from a well-meaning relative. While some people buy such gifts with the best of intentions, you can avoid making the same mistake by putting some thought into your gifts.
If you make sure that your gifts meet three criteria, you’ll be well on your way to getting the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Here are the three factors that will make any gift a hit:
Of course, this part makes the most sense. The last thing anyone wants is yet another item in their home collecting dust. However, this is exactly what tends to happen when we give knick-knacks as gifts... no matter how cute they may be.
For this reason, the first question you should ask before buying a gift is, “Will the person I’m giving this to actually use it?” If the answer is a hard “No,” then you can put back that celebrity bobblehead figurine and search for a more practical item.
Next up, we have the thoughtfulness factor. And while it’s not the most important thing in choosing a gift, it can go a long way towards elevating a not-so-spectacular gift.
For example, if your mom often complains about not having good coffee in the neighborhood, how nice would it be to get her a professional barista machine to make any coffee beverage her heart desires? Or, if your partner often complains about losing their AirPods, then a case with a lanyard will make for the perfect solution to their problem.
In summary, showing someone that you listen to them can be a gift all in itself. But, hey, we wouldn’t mind a material possession to go along with it!
Last but not least, you want the gift to be appropriate. While giving a bathroom scale to your mother-in-law is an obvious faux pas, there are other seemingly innocent gifts that may be perceived as anything but.
The first thing we would avoid when gift-giving is making some sort of (negative) statement about another person’s appearance or personality.
For instance, anything that’s meant to encourage weight loss—we’re talking exercise equipment, slimming body creams, even workout clothes—should be avoided. Likewise, even if you don’t mean anything by it, a self-help book can be super awkward if you’re not incredibly close to the person.
In the second place, we want a gift to be context-appropriate. Usually, this comes down to the extravagance of your gift. Buying a diamond bracelet is fine and well when it comes to your significant other, but someone you’re not as close to might resent you for it (since it means that they’ll have to give back in kind).
Now that we have a good idea of what makes something a good gift, let’s take a look at some good ideas that would be perfect for any occasion.
Here are our ten favorites:
If you’re close to someone who carries around a mega wallet, you might be genuinely concerned with how it can affect their health: physical and emotional. A fat wallet isn’t only terrible for posture, but it can make you feel disorganized and, thus, more stressed-out than you normally would be.
Gift your loved one a minimalist wallet that they will carry around for years to come. Not only will they appreciate having an excuse to pare down on their everyday carry, but they’ll be seriously impressed with the luxury of a full-grain leather wallet.
Seeing their faces when they open that small gift box will be something you remember for years to come. Remember to slip a one-dollar bill in the wallet for good luck!
Okay, maybe they already have a luxurious wallet. If you’re living by the minimalist mantra, then there’s absolutely no reason to have two of the same thing.
But a card holder—while serving some of the same functions—is definitely not a wallet. Instead, it’s what you use when you want to keep the credit cards you carry around with you to a minimum. Since a wallet can get too bulky in such cases, a leather card holder will be the next best option.
We’re no strangers to witnessing the wear and tear of frequently used passports. Although they’re technically issued for an entire decade, it might take some people a couple of years to use them beyond recognition.
If that sounds like one of your loved ones, then a passport holder will be an incredibly personal gift that shows them that, yes, you notice things! Plus, it can make a pretty luxurious stocking stuffer if you got some bigger gifts waiting for them under the Christmas tree.
With the work-from-home that virtually everyone is doing, a laptop has become one of our most prized possessions. Thanks to it, you can do your work in a trendy neighborhood cafe, an exotic beach destination, or in your comfy bed.
If there’s someone in your life who you know won’t stay behind a desk during their work hours, then a laptop case will be the perfect way to keep their laptop safe from dents and scratches. Plus, leather will be an incredibly luxurious material to unravel from a gift box.
If not everyone you’re buying gifts for uses a laptop for work, a phone is the one thing that’s guaranteed to be owned by everyone. This makes a phone case the type of gift that will literally be useful for anyone you can think of.
As for the best part about a leather phone case? Since we’re constantly touching them and bringing our phones with us everywhere we go, the case will be quick to develop a patina—something that will be cherished by any serious leather owner.
There’s no nicer surprise than getting an all-purpose bag from your loved one. Since so many of us have tons of bags for various purposes, getting one that’s high-quality and appropriate for all types of occasions can bring some serious relief. With a leather backpack, you can be sure that the bag you get will be cherished for years to come.
A watch band is one of those small accessories that you don’t have to feel awkward giving to your acquaintances. It’s a nice-enough present without being too over-the-top. So, if you notice that someone on your holiday shopping list has an Apple Watch, then a leather watch band can go a long way in enhancing their aesthetic.
It may seem like a key chain is sort of a random gift idea. But we beg to differ.
First of all, everyone has keys. For this reason, a keychain can be used by virtually anyone you give it to.
Second of all, a keychain can completely transform a boring ol’ set of keys into one that’s a pleasure to take out when opening doors of all kinds. So, with the right material and design, a key chain can make for an awesome present. Next time they think they’ve lost their keys, but BAM, those metal keys are still attached to the chain, they will have you to thank.
Sometimes, the person you’re shopping for happens to have everything they need. Since you don’t want to contribute to them having too many things, contributing to a cause in their name can be incredibly meaningful without adding any bulk to their life.
Bonus points if it’s something that’s a reflection of their values, such as a commitment to social justice.
Sometimes, you’re really at a loss at what to get someone. If that’s the case, then a store gift card is the perfect way to show them that you know their style while giving them the freedom to buy whatever they want. Plus, you can customize the amount you put on it, making it appropriate for anyone from your boxing instructor to your dad.
All in all, a good gift comes down to something that’s useful, thoughtful, and appropriate. And, of course, if it’s a really good gift, it’s probably something you’d also want to get for yourself. If that ever happens, no worries—now you and your friend can have a matching set (pretend this was your intention all along).
How Do I Tell My Relatives to Stop Buying Me Christmas Gifts? | The New York Times
The Perfect Gift? It’s the One They Asked For | The New York Times
Gifts You're Better Off Not Giving | The Wall Street Journal