Gifts for people you really like but hardly know

December 4 | meganfinley
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gifts for people you dont know that wellHoliday shoppers, stop stressing: Offbeat Home has gotchu covered this year. All this week we'll be bringing you helpful Homie shopping guides. We love shopping, we love you, we love when you buy things through the site because it helps fund the Empire so that we can keep bringing you more awesome gifts to purchase for yourself. It's the ciiiircle of interwebs!

Anyway, first up: gifts for people you like but don't know that well. This can be co-workers, perhaps a couple of in-laws, what about your trainer or tutor? These things will please EVERYONE, and make you look like you give a shit about what's-her-name.

Any of the Le Creuset gift sets are some of my favorite gifts to give. Whether they're into jam for their breakfast, honey for their tea, bbq sauce, or (my fav) salt for their EVERYTHING, they're going to love having these dedicated Le Cruset pots to use.

hot water bottle sweaterGet the the winning winter combination of a hot water bottle and this adorable Warm Tradition Turtleneck Cable Knit Hot Water Bottle Cover!

Generally, my go-to gift for someone I hardly know (and even those that I do) are succulents and herbs. I like Egglings, because they give a little extra quirkiness to your succulent or herb giving.

Flash drives are always a crowd pleaser. If you know where to find 'em, you can scrounge up some really fun USB drives like these:

Junk in the Trunk Desk Container
This Junk in your Trunk container is really cute, and awesome for dudes and chicks.

Here's another thing I've gotten as a gift myself and now I gift these to as many people as possible. I Am Not a Paper Cup cups are zee best and will keep you and your co-workers' coffee nice and warm AND save the planet. It comes in this chalkboard version, so you could write a super cute happy holidays message on it. Awwwww.

cat and dog giftsAnother trick to the perfect gift for anyone is to prey upon their love for their pets. Do they have dog? What kind? Anything breed-specific will let tell them "I know enough about you to pay attention to what kind of dog you have." And that will make them happy. Or are they more of a cat person? Oh boy, well then your job is easy — ANYTHING cat will do. Check out these options:

How cool is this microwave popcorn popper!? Get them the entire Sur La Table Popcorn Gift Set.

61V97+vSzrL._SL1500_Flowering teas look awesome and taste awesome! So hook them up with this darling Blossom Glass Teapot with Loose Tea Infuser and 12 Flowering Green Teas. Or perhaps find them an adorable tea infuser that fits their personalty.

The Unzipped-Bag-Shaped Hand-Blown Glass Bowl filled with candy.

amazon gift certificateStill nothing? Allow me to close this down with something everyone will love: gift certificates — DUH! Not sure of their favorite store, or restaurant? That's why Amazon gift certificates are the bestest ever. BOOM. Shopping done.

What are YOUR go-to gifts for co-workers, or people who you like but don't know that well?

  1. Oh man oh man! Literally the only people left on my midwinter holiday gift list are the in-laws, and BOTH fiance and I are totally stumped about what to get them. The Cruset gift sets and the Microwave popcorn popper look like great options! Thank you!

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    • Yay! You seriously can't go wrong with the Le Cruset gift sets (got the jam one for my mom and the salt one for a friend, they are ADORABLE). And I'd totally get the popcorn thing for my own father if he didn't already have a popcorn popper machine thingy. What I'm saying is, DO IT and you're welcome. ;)

      1 agrees
  2. This post is MAGICAL and I want it all. I will almost certainly end up posting this all around my social medias in hopes that someone takes the bait.

    May I rant? I swear to blog, if I get one more crappy bath set from someone who obviously had no idea what to buy me, I will scream. It should be no one's burden to own sixteen coordinated sets of shower poof and bath gel that smells vaguely of Play-doh and dead flowers.

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    • Dootsie you just made my day. I worked for a candle company for 10 years and have quite a little stockpile, but people STILL feel the need to get me scented candles at every occasion…

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    • Last year I decided that if I got any lotions or bath stuff, they were immediately getting taken to the nearest women's shelter (probably with some additional items from me). I haven't gotten any recently, but I imagine it's only a matter of time… might as well pass them on to someone who will use them!

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    • I will shamefacedly admit to re-gifting on of those bath gel sets to my mother in law last year, just to get it out of my house… :-/

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      • Yuuuuuuuuuuuup….. I think I finally re-gifted all my lotion/shower gel sets to everyone who gave ME one, that they stopped getting them for me. :)

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    • THIS THIS THIS. I hate gifts like that because they basically say "all I know about you is that you are in possession of a vagina" because it's the most generic girl gift ever. I hate getting candles for the same reason. (I mean, it's okay from people this post is meant for, like co-workers and in-laws, but I also get them from close family members so just, no.)

      10 agree
      • I gave people candles one year, but I was also a candle lady at the time so it was allowed and expected. But I did actually take the time to select scents and holders that reminded me of that person or that I knew they would like (or that matched decor in their home), so they were totally personalized. As opposed to making generic candle bags and just randomly handing them out to everyone, which some of my coworkers did.

        A few years ago I was BROKE as a joke and managed to give everyone in my entire extended family a gift on a total budget of $75, because I made hot cocoa gift baskets:
        * basket (red or green so it could be used year 'round),
        * confetti stuffing (paper in case of small children or pets),
        * a mug for each person (selected to personality, now I know I could have personalized even more with sharpie and sticking in the oven),
        * hot cocoa mix (or tea in a couple cases),
        * a baggie of marshmallows,
        * and some cookies (specific cookies for "adults" and other specific cookies for "kids" even though all the kids were/are over 20…).

        I wanted to do bags/jars of homemade mix and chocolate dipped spoons too but I ran out of time with a brand new job right before christmas and had to pick up packets and skip the spoons. Everyone loved them so much that I'm Seriously considering doing a reprisal this year, sans mug, with good homemade mix and the dipped spoons this time in a gift bag (because no one really needs another generic dollar store basket). I felt like I was kind of copping out, but it was either that or not giving anything at all. And they did end up loving it a LOT more than expected!

        1 agrees
    • I should have titled this "A lotion and candle-free gift guide for people you really like but hardly know!" ;)

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    • I totally agree!! From some people I can handle it, but family? Really, family!? Thanks(!)

      For the first couple of years being together, the in-laws got me those. I drilled the boyfriend/fiance/husband into their likes and dislikes, got a copy of their Christmas wish list and bought something off it that I liked and I knew they'd like. In return, I got lots of bath/cream products.

      Anyway, last year, I said "screw 'em" and bought THEM bath/cream sets from the gift section of an upscale store. I love giving awesome gifts, so this was pretty passive aggressive on my part. They loved them. Couldn't stop raving about them. *headdesk*

      This year we live a three day's drive away and I've been ordering things since October for friends and family back home, having it all delivered to the in-laws so we don't have to cart it all there. Back to thoughtful gift giving. I wonder if some of this stuff will be shipped in time (to Australia)

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      • I just want to say that that is hilarious. Maybe it's a generational thing. Ah well.

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    • Man, I get the scented bath set and scented candle thing, too. The worst part? Those things are migraine triggers, so the person (a) does not know that very public fact about me and (b) proceeded to purchase me a headache. THANK YOU KIND SIR OR MADAM.

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      • Ugh, THIS SO MUCH. The unholy trinity of asthma/eczema/migraine do not a relaxing bath time make!

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    • I got a bath set from my mother in law for giftmas one year. I wanted the basket itself (it was metal and I love it!) and the actual-loofah, but not the plastic-loofah and bath gel… so I took the stuff I didn't want, re-wrapped the rest (even more nicely I might add) in a different basket, and gave it to my step-daughter's bio-mom for christmas. I wasn't sure at the time why I was getting the weird look, I figured she was just surprised I'd given her anything at all, but apparently it was that combined with the fact that the mother in law had given her the same gift basket she'd given me… so bio-mom knew full well I was regifting and wasn't sure whether to be flattered (at getting a gift at all), annoyed or amused. Apparently her face decided to land on confused. lol

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    • Argh- now I'm feeling self-conscious. I have a tendency to buy my friends soap sets fom lush for christmas, but I do make and effort to buy ones that match them (a scent they would like, no bath stuff if they only have a shower, etc). But I kind of do it because I would want that myself :-) Lush stuff smells so good and it's so luxurious! I'd actually rather get that than a microwave popcorn popper or a ceramic log container, but that's just me. I hope no one thinks it smells like play doh! The one I agree with the most is the succulent or cactus thing- it's adorable! That and the flowering tea.

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  3. I got the popcorn popper for my mom. I gave it to her early this year and she loved it! Look for it at TJ Maxx and Home Goods, that's where I found mine. Great list!

    0 agree
  4. Anyone have ideas for what to get outdoorsy and fairly minimalist people? My brother's getting a degree in forestry, pretty much lives for the outdoors and his dogs, doesn't really like "stuff" and every time I ask him what he wants he goes "I dunno. A gift card?"

    A gift card to what?!?! AUGH.

    0 agree
  5. Oh geez… moar pug stuff. As a pug-owned woman (it's never the other way around), I have to report the pug swag gift train never stops rolling. Pug snow globes, pug ornaments, pug statues, and yes, pug bookends. I'm sure there's certain other breeds who attract this problem too, but good lord do pugs sell merch. Of course I am always appreciative when I get any gift, it's always the thought that means most to me. But 3 years after zombie pug came snogging into my world, I had to run a garbage bag full of gifted stuffed animal pugs to the donation pile. I don't buy pug stuff — don't need to. 3 pairs of pug socks, 5 pug xmas ornaments, countless pug coffee mugs… it never ends… never ends… ::rocks self back and forth into comfort::

    3 agree
    • I feel your pain. I am the strawberry/purple girl, and my partner is the Batman/Ozzy Osbourne dude.

      My dad is the elephant/Santa man. I try to give my dad African-Safari-but-not-elephant stuff to kind of round things out.

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    • Yeah, I agree to maybe stay away from preying on people's love for their pets… My husband and I <3 our animals more than anything, but getting cat-themed art, or a husky mug… it's just kinda weird and doesn't fit us at all. Funny animal-themed books can be fun though (enjoyable to read, and at least doesn't have to sit out and be "LOOK AT US WE LIKE OUR ANIMALS"). My two cents.

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  6. the unitasker hater in me wants to save everyone a little cupboard space and tell you all that you can make popcorn in the microwave using ordinary popcorn kernels in an ordinary paper bag with the top folded down. but the other gifts are awesome! Sadly the one tough person I need to shop for is anti-offbeat and might not appreciate anything that awesome.

    3 agree
  7. Now that I've done my griping, I have something to contribute: those herb hot/cold pack things they sell at mall kiosks. You can even make one too.

    Gave them as gifts to some friends and my grandmother years ago. Can't say they were well-received, each one gave me that icky "oh… one of these things… thanks" response. Swore I'd never gift another one even though I loved mine. Fast forward a few weeks later, both friends reported back honestly they weren't sure they were going to use them but they now loved them. Visited my Nan a few months later, found out she was using the thing nightly. It actually faded a little from all the microwaving she did, but fortunately they last a hell of a long time too.

    1 agrees
    • My best friend made me one with lots of little dogs on it & I love it SO MUCH! I use it for everything, even if I'm just cold.

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  8. One tradition my husband and I started for our Christmas with the in-laws (his family) is the Grab-bag of Useful Stuff. We load it up with things like packs of batteries, duct tape, scissors, winter gloves, flashlights, warm socks, first aid supplies, and other little things that everyone in our family seems to need and use but is always running out of. Then all the adults get to take turns blindly choosing items. It's a lot of fun, actually. It shows some degree of thought and care. We keep it grownups only, so we have a special thing after the kids have ripped off their wrapping paper. And no one is stuck with a "here's a useless gift because I couldn't think of what else to get you" gift.

    3 agree
    • Stealing this and turning it into a "great ideas" post! Brilliant. Thank you.

      1 agrees
  9. This is frackin awesome. Frackin. I am so reposting this on ma facebook. THANK YOU!

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  10. nice work! this almost makes me wish i hadn't insisted on DIY this year and finished early. next year . . .

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  11. VERY cool ideas, thanks! Just one thing though…. just because someone uses a computer, does NOT mean they need more USB storage. I majored in computer science. This means I have about 2.6 trillion usb drives from career fairs, class, people thinking I need one, etc. I DO NOT want someone to give me another freakin' usb drive. I buy my own, which has WAY more space on it than the one you'll give me. Grr.

    Anyway, rant over, these gift ideas are awesome!

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    • I like to use the free ones that I don't care about to mail off electronic copies of my portfolios, or to leave them with interviewers. I tape over the logos (sometimes) with a label with my name, phone number and email on it, and assure them that they are under no obligation to return the memory stick. They love seeing my pictures, and I love not having to print them! Win-Win!

      1 agrees
  12. And…. just realized that this is a really old post, and I have even responded to it last year. Whoops. Sorry for resurrecting it! It's still full of awesome ideas!

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    • We love resurrected posts! Never be afraid to comment on an old post.

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    • To be fair, I recently updated this post with new products and stuff. So that could be why it felt new.

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