Gifting Guide: Perfect Gifts For People You Don’t Know Well

Christmas is fast approaching, which means many of us are turning our thoughts to the gifts we have to buy. In some ways, this is a nice process. We’re thinking about the people we love and the things we want to do to improve their lives or make them smile; that’s nice.


It’s also inherently stressful.




It’s fair to assume that we all want to buy gifts that the recipient is going to love. We want to enrich their lives, show them we care, and that means finding that perfect gift that they absolutely adore. For some people, this is easy enough. Buying a gift for your partner, your children, or your best friend is relatively simple– you know what they like, what they want, and what they already have.


Buying gifts for a variety of other people, however, is not quite so simple.


Below are a few examples of the awkward people we all have in our lives and need to find gifts for; the people who you might otherwise think your only option for is to buy them a gift card and hope they’re not offended by it. Hopefully, there’s a gift here that will be absolutely perfect for that difficult-to-buy-for friend or family member.



A Gift For… Your Eco-Obsessive Friend

We can all agree that wanting to protect the environment and live sustainably is a good thing; it’s probably a way of living that you practice in your own life. However, we all have that one friend who has taken the eco-life to a whole new level.


They won’t buy anything without scrutinizing the packaging first; they have solar panels; and they can reel off statistics about climate change at the drop of a hat. Everything in their home is reusable or recycled, and they take their green credentials seriously. Their children only ever eat “raw” food and wouldn’t know what an E number was if it crossed the street in front of them.


It’s tough to buy for this person and their family, as you can never be 100 percent sure you have found a gift that is suitable for their preferences. So what can you buy them?


  • Look for pay-monthly sponsorships of ecological programs, such as sustainability developments and animal conservation work. They will receive a certificate and gift bag, so you have something to gift directly to them, and they also get the year-long knowledge that their gift is out there doing something good in the world.
  • If you want to buy a gift for their children, then you’re in luck; it’s relatively easy to find eco friendly gifts for children, as so many parents are concerned about what goes into their children’s clothes or toys. It helps to keep the receipt or a link to the webpage you bought the item from, so you can answer any questions your worry-prone eco-friendly friend needs an answer to.



A Gift For… Your Colleagues

Many of us like our colleagues plenty, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re friends with them. We like them and we want to get them a gift, but how do you know what someone wants when you don’t really know them that well?


Many offices navigate this issue with a Secret Santa. If there isn’t already such a plan in place for your workplace, you could offer to set one up and run it. This means you’re only going to have to buy one gift for the entire office, limiting the number of people you have to puzzle over gifts for.


If you don’t know the person you have to buy for well, then you have a few options outside of the standard fallbacks of gift cards and flowers.


  • Buy them something related to the job they do. For example, if they’re the office manager, you could buy them a nice set of pens or a pretty notepad with a motivational slogan on the front. Most of us love stationery, and the fact it relates to their job makes it seem that little more personalized.
  • Something disposable is always a good gift for someone you don’t know well. If you buy them something they would have to display/use/wear, then there’s every chance they won’t like it, but will feel they have to use it as you gave it to them as a gift. You can prevent this by opting for treats like chocolate, festive cookies, or novelty plastic wine glasses. Then, if the recipient doesn’t like your gift, they won’t feel they have to been seen with it for months or years to come, as it’s only been designed for a few uses.



A Gift For… The Family Member You Don’t See Often

We all have members of our family that we know we are related to, but they don’t particularly figure in our daily lives. The cousin who lives in Canada or your Aunt with whom you share almost no interests; you might be related by blood, but other than that, you’re strangers to one another.


Nevertheless, they’re going to be at a family gathering over Christmas and you know a gift is going to be required. You know next to nothing about their lives and what they like, so what are your best options for someone you have a connection to, but don’t know enough about to be truly familiar?


  • Choose something that is related to your family; a history of your shared surname, or a framed picture of your family tree. These are nice gifts in and of themselves, and it’s also a way to show you thought of them specifically when buying– focusing on the one thing you know you have in common with one another.
  • As with your colleague, opt for something related to their job, making the most of the connection you know most about. Trinkets for their desk or stationery items are great options, which seem personal, but are actually quite general. Alternatively, if you know they have a sweet tooth, consider retro candy or huge, luxury bars of chocolate.


With these tips in mind, you should be able to gift to these tough-to-buy-for people better than you ever have before. Happy shopping!

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