Are your gifts often met with forced enthusiasm or lukewarm platitudes? Finding the right gift for someone can be a herculean task and most people’s batting average is far from perfect. But you’re in luck! As someone who looks at scores of cool stuff on a regular basis, I have my finger on the pulse of must-have items. These products run the gamut from delightful to just plain useful. You’re about to discover some serious crowd pleasers that you might even have a hard time handing over.
This Elegant Mister for the Plant Parent in Your Life
You know that friend with a ficus as tall as their ceiling and philodendron vines snaking around their bathroom? Chances are pretty high that they could use a mister upgrade. This stain-resistant brass mister won’t be relegated to a cupboard; it can sit out among the fauna in regal style. If you have a little plant you’re struggling to take care of, adding some flair to your watering routine could help you keep your plant hydrated.
This Sleek Water Bottle
I think it’s safe to say that the water bottle brands have figured out how to insulate your beverages, so now it just comes down to style. The Couture line of Contigo bottles comes in texture graphics instead of just colors so you can choose from white marble, time-worn wood, and a dozen other effortlessly cool styles. The stainless steel bottles are slim, not bulky like many competitors, but their suction top can pop out for cleaning or adding ice cubes. One would look pretty cool in your gym bag too. Just sayin’.
This Portable Whiteboard for On-the-Go Ideas
This nifty little notebook can be a great gift for a coworker or that friend who really likes making physical to-do lists. The two whiteboard pages have a translucent sheet that protects whatever’s written on them. You can also write on the vinyl sheets themselves if you need an overlay. This versatile notebook would be appreciated by pretty much anyone you’ve ever seen with a journal of some kind.
This Ice Cube Mold for Whiskey Lovers
Spheres are so three years ago. Get the whiskey aficionado in your life this tray that makes large ice cubes — literal cubes! The silicone mold makes eight ice cubes that gradually melt away. You can also gift this to your foodie friend so the can store fresh herbs or an iced coffee lover can make coffee cubes. It’s already a two-pack, so if you want to wrap it yourself, I won’t tell anyone that you kept a tray.
This Indoor Herb Garden
Speaking of foodies and herbs, your favorite culinary expert will love picking fresh mint or sage from this little rack. A hidden LED panel simulates sunlight so even the darkest kitchen can yield beautiful rosemary. The lights work on a timer so the plants won’t be overstimulated. The planter is compact enough for small spaces but can support flowers, succulents, and even a tiny vegetable garden.
This Hip Toothbrush
This might be on the personal side, but you probably know someone who was swept up in the activated charcoal craze of the past few years. We’ve reached a point in the zeitgeist where you can find a charcoal toothbrush at your local pharmacy, but they don’t look this good. Help someone you care about pull bacteria out of the nooks and crannies of their mouth with this modern toothbrush. The firm bristles are made out of Japanese binchotan charcoal and can be used without toothpaste.
These Oven Gloves for Slippery Dishes
From casseroles to all those sheet pan dinners to your cast iron skillet, sometimes cooking requires you to touch something very hot with a certain level of finesse. These silicone gloves can stand the heat and have textured grips to hold onto the oil-sprayed edges of your glass baking pans. They’re especially great for stovetop use and overturning pasta pots!
Whether you know someone who takes the gym very seriously or they just deal with chronic pain, this massager is a great present. The four nodes can be placed in targeted areas on the body to deliver three different massage settings. Thanks to two channel modes, it can also massage two different areas simultaneously on different settings. Sore muscles and achy joints are no match for this compact, electric massager.
These Solar Torches for the Friend Always Throwing Backyard Parties
Tiki torches have had some unfortunate PR of late, but they were always a bit of a hazard. These cool lights come with adjustable stakes to match the level of any patio furniture. The tops soak up the sun during the day to provide a flame-like glow at night. They’re also weather resistant, so the recipient won’t have to worry about setting them up whenever they throw a party. Plus, since there’s no flame, these are a handy addition to any camper’s kit.
This Funky Caddy for Shelf-less Showers
One of the downsides to even the most modern showers is that they’re often missing a spot for shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries to big for a soap bar alcove. Most of the caddy solutions are a rather imposing presence, but this octopus takes up very little space. It can hook onto the faucet handles while its many legs loop around your body wash and loofah, no matter how big.
These Gold Face Masks for Your Skincare Guru
Sheet masks have officially infiltrated Western skincare and have mostly been affordable. Splurge on your favorite, well-moisturized person with this two-pack of gold face masks. The 24K gold can reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve circulation for a younger, fresh face. Again, there are two, so…
These Tactical Hair Clips
Women, proud man bun wearers, and everyone else with obnoxious tresses can enjoy the utility of these stealthy multi-tools. Each of the three clips comes equipped with a ruler, wrench, screwdriver, and even a cutting edge. The cutting edge won’t ruin your hair, but it is sharp enough to be dangerous for small kids to play with.
This Bougie Cheese Slate
Charcuterie connoisseurs will fall for this Boska Holland cheese slate. Boska Holland is pretty much the go-to brand for classy cheesewares and they don’t disappoint with this dishwasher-safe slate. For a presentation upgrade, the names of the cheeses can be written in chalk or soapstone. The thick slate also has anti-slip feet underneath to keep the dairy goodness in place.
This Unassuming Diaper Bag for New Parents
If you have a baby shower coming up and the registry’s been cleared out, considered this cool backpack. At first glance, you wouldn’t know it’s designed to be a diaper bag, but it’s surprisingly spacious. The main compartment has several sections for diapers, wipes, and other necessities. The front pocket fits most baby bottles and is insulated so they stay warm. There are also two side pockets for larger bottles for the baby or a very necessary coffee thermos for the parent. With 15 colors to choose from, it’s easy to pick something either parent can effortlessly tote around.
You could also take it for a whirl as a weekender bag and the insulated section can hold onto some snacks!
These Compact Solar Laterns for Campers
If massive torches are a bit over the top, get the happy campers in your life these collapsible lanterns. They’re easy to pack and harness solar power efficiently. Once night falls, they can keep the campsite lit or go into the tents. Don’t worry, there are several brightness settings and off switch so everyone can get some rest. In a pinch, you can also charge the lanterns via USB and they’ll hold up to a day’s worth of power.
Some Cute Cat Socks
Not everyone’s a cat person, but once you are, you’re usually all in on kitten paraphernalia. For women with small to average feet, these socks are about to make their day. In addition to having cute cat faces, they also have pointed ears to peek out of sneakers and other flat shoes for a little fun.
These Marble Coasters
Know someone who just moved? These new coasters will make a beautiful housewarming present. The white Carrara marble coasters come with a bamboo holder for when they’re not in use. Each coaster also has non-slip pads underneath so the marble doesn’t slide or damage the furniture. Just make sure they wash these by hand!
This Record Player Also Converts LPs to MP3s
Affordable record players are usually met with suspicion, but this turntable holds its weight and then some. The built-in speakers can also connect to your devices via Bluetooth when you want to jam to something you don’t have in your collection. The three-speed player also comes with a cable and software that will help dedicated vinyl lovers get their older, deep cuts on their phone.
This Attractive Tray for That Friend Who Always Misplaces Their Keys
This cool tray will look great on just about any table or cabinet. Forgetful friends can toss their keys there when they get home as well as any change. It can also go by the sink as a safe place for any rings. The stoneware dish is less than five inches across, so it can be a stylish catch-all in small spaces.
This Desk Toy for Your Coworker
Is a desk even a desk without a fidget toy? How else are we expected to contemplate the next great idea without something, ideally magnetic, to play with? This colorful set of magnetic blocks can be arranged in a variety of ways and each set has three different tones of the same hue. There are four color options to choose from, including a grey set for the minimalist.
This Funny Coffee Table Book for Teachers
Teachers are underpaid. The sky is blue. Water is wet. Throw the educators in your life a funny bone with this collection of hilariously wrong answers. The internet loves to rally around a kid’s humorous, creative, and ultimately incorrect response to an exam question. Now, you can do it IRL. Plus, it’s a series, so if they get bored you can get them another one for their next birthday or high holiday.
This Tiny Arcade Game
The classic “Space Invaders” can be in a retro gamer’s pocket in just a few clicks. This mini arcade game captures the 8-bit glory of the original from the graphics to the music. The game includes the two necessary AA batteries, so it can be enjoyed right out of the gift box.
These Dice for the Truly Adventurous Foodie
Whether you know someone who will literally try anything or perhaps they just have a hard time deciding what to make for dinner, there’s a foodie who will love these dice. The set includes five primary dice and another four labeled with seasonal veggies. The main dice have a mix of proteins, carbs, herbs, cooking methods, and bonus ingredients like bacon or mushrooms. The protein die gives options for meat eaters and vegetarians, and as long as they ignore the egg or cheese sides, vegans can still get play.
This Portable Art Kit for the Casual Artist
If you know an actual starving artist, just buy them some groceries. For the hobbyist, this 23-piece art kit will fuel their passion. The kit includes four different pads of paper, graphite and charcoal pencils, and charcoal and sketch sticks. There’s even a bag to put it all in! Nourish their creativity or pick back up an old interest.
This Perfect Pop Album
There’s a running joke in the queer community that we’re the only ones who can hear Carly Rae Jepsen beyond the “Call Me Maybe” deluge. She’s put out some magnificent, purely pop music that has gone unnoticed, but this new album is too lovely to not go mainstream. You might have already heard one of the songs in a store or commercial and by the time whoever you bought this for plays it, you’ll need a copy.
Cyclists get a ton of flak for clogging up roads, but they’re pretty healthy and doing a world of good for the environment. Keep your cyclist’s bike safe with this sturdy bike lock. The disc style and material are built to withstand bolt cutters and any crowbar leverage. It comes in three colors and with three keys, in case they lose one.
Pokémon lovers, regardless of age, went wild for “Detective Pikachu,” so it’s only natural that there should be a plush likeness. This official stuffed animal comes complete with the Sherlock Holmes-styled hat for the full experience. Some say the stitching that keeps the arms in place is a bit flimsy, but there are worse things in life than one of the most beloved Pokémon’s arms reaching out for a hug.
This Essential Tote Bag
Tote bags have become fairly ubiquitous among the eco-conscious, but they don’t all have to be the same boring canvas bag (though this one does come in plain canvas). This bag comes in several colors and patterns to add some pizzazz to a popular accessory. The tote is also easy to carry by hand or crossbody instead of only on the shoulder. Plus, there’s an internal pocket for necessities like a phone or keys, so you don’t have to dig around for them anymore.
In the wake of his untimely passing, many have returned to the wisdom imparted on the pages of “Kitchen Confidential.” Many people were drawn to Anthony Bourdain thanks to his shows, either “Parts Unknown” or the earlier “No Reservations.” His first travel/food show, however “A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines” and the book of the same name are rarely mentioned. Learn about a different point in this culinary icon’s life, between the original bestseller and the big shows in the rich pages of “A Cook’s Tour.”
These Very Soft Slippers
You know how I know both you and someone you know will love these narwhal slippers? That’s how it happened to me. A friend let me try their pair on and, dear internet friend, your feet have never known this comfort. They can even be charged to add warmth beneath your frosty, winter feet. These one-size fits most will be a hit with just about anyone who enjoys adorable unicorns of the sea.
This Detangling Brush
We all know someone with a mane of hair that they’re always complaining about. Help them run their fingers through their hair with this squiggly brush. The flexible bristles tackle tangles without aggressively pulling on hair or the scalp. The ergonomic handle also makes detangling easier and users found that they shed less hair.
These New Age Bookends
If someone just made a big move or likes having books at work, their small collection of books can finally stand upright. These agate gem bookends fit right into any home that already has a Himalayan salt lamp. They come in a few different colors, weighing between 2 and 8 pounds, so you can pick one to match the decor that’s also strong enough to hold the books.
Cooking is basically an act of alchemy, at its best, and at the very least, basic chemistry. Help your local scientist keep a few spices within reach and look official in the process. The spice rack holds 10 glass tubes that each have an airtight cork stopper to maintain freshness.
This Bowl for Tiny Tykes
So, a loved one’s kid is starting to eat real food. This bowl and placemat combo helps the kiddo and the parent. The bowl is colorful and fun to eat out of and if anything falls outside the bowl, it should land on the attached, dishwasher-safe mat. Having a placemat base also makes overturned cereal and spaghetti bowls a thing of the past.
Honestly, when I saw the picture of one with tomato soup and then a grilled cheese on the placemat, I ordered one. Sometimes single-use items are worth it if you do that one thing all the time.
This Modern Candleholder