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Although the holiday season is generally regarded as the gift-giving season, there are times all year round when you need to get your special someone a perfect gift. Whether it be Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, Valentine’s day gifts, or any other special occasion, it’s never the wrong time to consider gift ideas for the special someone’s on your list. Although this gift guide was written for Christmas, the ideas on this list can be used all year long to help you make your loved one’s day.
2021 Gift Guide: Find the Perfect Gift for Everyone on your List!
This gift guide is a little different. The perfect gift is a gift that is personalized and speaks to the person receiving it. It makes the person feel special because you knew them so well that you knew exactly what to get them.
Since we can’t know everyone individually, we’ve broken the guide down into personality types and generalized things people like. It should be easy to identify the things your loved ones like, and there are ideas on this list for all of them!
Gift Ideas For Women
Gift Ideas For Men
Men and women are both monolithic groups who all want the same things. All women want pampering, makeup from Sephora, scented candles, and bath bombs. Men, on the other hand, all love watches, gadgets, and power tools.
I reject the idea that everyone who is a member of a certain group will want the same thing. Separating gift guides out by gender or family position isn’t helpful, because these identifiers don’t say anything about what a person actually likes. I’m not going to tell you what to get your husband or mother or best friend when I have no idea what types of people they are. Not all moms like the same things, just like not all mothers-in-law, husbands, and best friends like the same things.
That’s why this gift-giving guide is based on what people like to do. It will help you find the perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life, from the outdoorsy adventure seeker to the stay-at-home comfort seeker!
Gift Ideas for Everyone
Gifts for the Adventurer
The best gifts for adventurers are experiences. If you have someone with a lust for adventure in your life, get them something they can do!
The ideal gift for an adventurer is a trip somewhere. Book tickets to their top bucket list destination, or arrange a weekend get-away. The adventurer on your list will be thrilled to go someplace new!
Vacations are expensive. If that is not in your budget, consider getting tickets to a special event, like a concert, sporting event, or theme park. Most cities offer CityPASS tickets that allow people to access the top attractions for a fraction of the cost. If you live near a large city, this might be a great option for the adventurer on your list!
Sometimes experiences are hard to come by, and you want to get your loved one something they can open up on Christmas. This is a great opportunity to get them something that will help them on their next adventure. If they enjoy hikes, consider gifting them a new ruck, new shoes, or a tactical coat. Search for hiking gear on Amazon for thousands of ideas. Your SCUBA diver friend will enjoy the best new snorkel or face mask. There are unique gifts for your beach-loving friends, your rock climbing friends, your road trip-loving friends, and every other type of adventurer on your list. Consider their favorite activity, and let that be your guide.
Another great option is something that will green up their living space without much effort. Adventurers love the outdoors, so bring the outdoors to them with a houseplant that doesn’t need a ton of maintenance. This way, they can keep their living space fresh, but the plant won’t die when they go off on an adventure.
Gift Ideas for Gamers
The best gift for the gamer in your life this season’s hottest new games! Consider Forza Horizon 5 for Xbox lovers, Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation gamers, or Mario Party Superstars for Nintendo Switch users. Any of these consoles would also be an amazing gift for the serious gamer in your life.
If your gamer has all the games and consoles, you can’t go wrong with new gaming accessories. Better headphones or a new controller/mouse make excellent gift ideas, as do capture cards and other streaming accessories.
For even more amazing gift ideas for the gamer in your life, check out our huge guide of gifts for gamers.
Gift Guide for Super Fans
Superfans are the easiest people to buy gifts for. All you have to do is identify their fandom and get them anything that’s related to it. I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’d appreciate any Buffy-themed gift – from t-shirts to mugs to action figures!
I’m sure you have some super fans on your list – whether they be fans shows, sports, games, or movies. They would love to get something related to their favorite thing. Get your super sports fan a new jersey, your tv show fan a book related to the show, and your movie fan a limited edition poster. The possibilities are endless when you have a loved one who is in love with a specific fandom.
Great Gift Ideas for Endless Learners
We all have a special someone in our lives with an insatiable love of knowledge. This person will love a new book. Find out what their favorite topics are and find books that are related. Do they love science? Look into books on astrophysics, anthropology, or new technologies. History lover? There are thousands of books on every time period you can imagine. Into current affairs/politics? Lots of options there too. The learner in your life will love getting books on their favorite topics.
Another epic gift idea for the learner in your life is access to an online platform for education. Coursera pro is $400 for a year, but your learner can take classes on a huge variety of topics from accredited universities like Northwestern and the University of Illinois. They can earn a certificate in a variety of different subjects with this platform.
Udemy offers a variety of great classes for hobbyists. With courses in everything from coding to photography, self-development to data science, there is sure to be a course that your learner will love.
If neither of these platforms offers the perfect course for your learner, check out our full list of online learning platforms. One of them will make the ideal gift for your learner.
Special Gifts for Hipsters
The Hipster in your life doesn’t want something trendy from Amazon. Show him/her you know them well and give them a different kind of gift. Try custom apparel from Teepublic that showcases their favorite things. Gifts from print-on-demand sites support small creators over large corporations, and the hipster in your life will appreciate the effort to think outside the box.
The hipster in your life might also appreciate something nostalgic, like a print or figure from one of their favorite childhood shows, or a band shirt from a 90s rock or grunge band.
Gift Ideas for Jocks
The best thing to get the jock in your life is Sports Gear! Get them new equipment that will help them play their favorite game, like rackets, bats, gloves, or even shoes specifically designed for field play.
Another great gift idea for the sports lover in your life is something that commemorates their favorite team. You can’t go wrong with jerseys, pint glasses, dish towels – seriously anything with their team’s emblem on it is going to be an awesome gift. One of the best gifts I ever got was a cat bed made with Chicago Bear’s fabric. It was handmade too, which made it extra special.
New Age Gift Ideas
The term “new age” can encompass so many different things, so it might be hard to identify exactly what the new agers on your list might like. Candles can be a big hit for most new agers – they are perishable and most people, especially those into anything esoteric, would probably appreciate it.
There are lots of other gift ideas for those into New Age ideas. Crystals, meditation aids, incense, and even yoga gear are wonderful gift ideas for new agers. If you know them well, you may even want to get them guide books, tarot cards, or anything else that might speak to them on a spiritual level.
Gifts for Homesteaders
Even the homesteader who has it all could use more jars! These get used up quickly when you can and juice all of your fruits and vegetables.
Foodie Gift Guide
Food lovers definitely don’t want that curated meat gift set from Pepperidge Farms. Instead, get them food gifts that they will actually like. This might include a trendy new cookbook or a reservation at the local gastropub.
You may also want to get the foodie gifts that will enhance their experiences with their favorites. Consider specialized gifts for tea lovers, beer lovers, or gourmet food lovers. There are specific gifts for most specialized tastes, so consider the favorites before making your purchase.
Food gifts can be personalized as well. If you are a great cook, you can make them something new that they will love from your very own kitchen. Just please, try to avoid the fruit cake.
Sentimental Gift Ideas
Sentimental folks love gifts that you put a lot of thought into. If you are crafty, use your craft to create something unique for them. If you aren’t crafty, you can also make them a photo album or get them a framed photo of the two of you together – that will definitely brighten their day!
Sentimental people will also appreciate nostalgic gifts just as much as the hipsters; so, if you can’t put something together, get them something that will remind them of you in a different way.
Gifts for Creatives
If you have a creative person in your life, get them something that they can use in their craft. The sewer/crocheter may love new fabrics or threads. Painters can always use more canvases and paints. You could also go an easier route and get an adult coloring book and some colored pencils. Many creative people would love to just zone out with some simple coloring.
Creative folks may also enjoy getting new notebooks, or stationary for all of their journaling needs. You can even personalize some of these items!
For more gift ideas for the artist in your life, check out these great gifts for artists.
For the Busy Parent
The best gift you can give a busy parent in your life is a night off! Offer to take the kids for an evening so they can do something for them. You can get the parents a certificate for a spa day so they can pamper themselves while knowing their kids are in good hands.
If you aren’t into watching kids, think about gifts that will make the parents’ lives easier. Maybe they could use a new Keurig to make their morning coffee ritual easier, or a crockpot to make dinner easier. There are tons of options!
You do need to be careful here though. Unless your busy parent is a neat freak; don’t get them cleaning supplies. My dad always used to buy my mom vacuums and mops and stuff like that for holidays. Maybe she enjoyed those things, but I’d be pissed if my boyfriend got me anything like that as a gift. It’s important to know what your loved ones will like. Get them something they will appreciate, not something that makes them do more work.
Gift Ideas for Kids
Kid’s gifts are so easy. Children like pretty much anything that they can open up, but I prefer to give them fun yet educational gifts. You can find tons of children’s microscopes, telescopes, and experiment kits on amazon! Get the future engineers’ Erector sets, Legos, or Lincoln logs; the future doctors’ medical playsets, the future botanist a chia pet. These types of gifts can lead to hours of enjoyment, and the kids don’t even have to realize that they are learning something.
When choosing gifts for kids, do not be intimidated if you have to buy for a disabled child. Most of the time, they like many of the same things that non-disabled children like. If you’re unsure, here is a list of the best sensory toys, and it was put together by a special education teacher.
Another great gift idea for kids is money. I know – kids don’t know the value of money and it isn’t fun to open. However, there are some amazing college savings plans that allow non-parents to contribute. If you’re a parent, check out College Backer. It’s a 529 savings plan that allows friends and family to contribute as gifts. You can ask your relatives to split their gifts between college savings and toys this holiday season – and trust me, the kids won’t know the difference.
If you have a lot of kids to get gifts for or are a parent trying to come up with lots of gift ideas for your little ones, consider using the 5 gift rule. This rule can work for anyone else on your list as well if you are still at a loss as to what to get them.
What is the 5 Gift Rule For Christmas Gifts?
The five-gift rule for Christmas gifts helps you narrow down gift ideas. If you are stuck and have no idea what to get someone, this rule can help.
The five-gift rule is really four ideas with a bonus. Get the person something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. The fifth idea is a bonus and can be something to do, something handmade, or even something to share.
What is a Good Gift to Give Someone Who Has Everything?
I guarantee that the person who has everything doesn’t have this:
Am I wrong? You can get it at Teepublic! But seriously, if you don’t know what to get someone because you don’t really know their style or they seem to have it all, you can’t go wrong with a gift card (unless you are super close to them!). You can either get them a gift card to their favorite store or get them a general visa or amazon gift card.
Another option is to get them something handmade or digital on Etsy. Etsy is filled with unique, handcrafted gift items and digital printables of nearly anything you can think of. I sell creative writing prompts and a massive guide to finding your passion in my shop, and I guarantee these would be unique gift ideas. However, you can find anything on Etsy, from woodworking designs to handmade scarves, toys to journal prompts.
What is a Good Gift For Anyone?
Let’s say you don’t know who exactly you’re buying a gift for, either because you are part of a secret Santa gift exchange or you’re going to play a fun white elephant game. What types of things can you get that everyone will enjoy?
This is definitely a situation where those fun food gift sets can come into play. Anything edible is always a good choice when you don’t know what people would want. Other great options are gift cards (Starbucks is always a big hit!) and scratch-off lottery tickets.
A final great option, if you know your audience doesn’t abstain, is a nice bottle of wine. Be careful though, you wouldn’t want to bring a gift with alcohol to a party where folks don’t enjoy indulging.
What Gifts Should You Never Give?
I hesitate to say that there’s something you should never give. I’m sure there are some folks out there who enjoy getting gag gifts and cleaning supplies for Christmas.
However, unless you know the person, and know they will appreciate it, there are some things you should avoid. The aforementioned cleaning supplies are definitely a big one. Nobody really wants a new mop for Christmas. Most people also don’t want underwear, socks, everyday food, or a perfume fragrance that they did not choose. Skincare products are also a poor choice unless you know what the person prefers to use.
As always though, there will be exceptions. Spouses, parents, and children can get away with giving these items as gifts. Unless that’s you though, I’d avoid it.
Gift Ideas For Everyone
Hopefully, this gift-giving guide gave you some epic gift ideas for everyone on your list. Make this holiday epic by giving your loved ones something they would truly enjoy!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.