holiday gift guide: 27 Gifts For The Practical One I


Annnnd we’re back with gift guide #3! Some of these may be a given, but I thought it would be nice to throw everything in one place. I think practical gifts also work for employee grab bags or gift exchanges where the price point is low. This are some suggestions based on the people in my life. Would love to hear your ideas below!

1. Moleskine notebooks. I’ve talked about these before and they are just so classic and useful. Plus, they have really fun colors! You know I’m into it. I find mine at Target.

2. Cocktail napkins. This is something that my grandma always gave packaged in a little gift, whether it was a birthday, Christmas or even a hostess gift. You can find really cute ones at on sale and clearance racks too.

3. Gift cards! Before you flame me, let me say… useful gift cards. Many times I get my dad a Panera gift card because he goes there for lunch. Last year I bought Eddie a Jimmy John’s gift card as a stocking stuffer because he was obsessed. I also think that you can’t go wrong with an iTunes, Starbucks or Target gift card. I mean… maybe someone would like an iTunes gift card for their candy crush addiction. Just sayin’.

4. A gift cart or certificate to a favorite restaurant. My aunt is awesome at this and we always remember that we have one on weekends when we aren’t sure what to do. I love getting these.

5. A gift card to their gym, or better yet… yoga. So I adore yoga and it is part of my routine almost every single day. It is definitely a workout but I don’t consider it my only workout, which means I have not only a membership to a gym, but also one to a yoga studio and they are so expensive. I think a gift pass for an activity that someone loves is fabulous, whether it’s yoga, crossfit or even skiing.

6. And on that note – a really good yoga mat. No, like a REALLY good one. I have practiced yoga for years on a mat from Target and the instructors have thought I was insane. I just didn’t want to shell out the money. But I did purchase a new one recently and holy cow – it changed my world. It was a hard purchase to make because I didn’t find it to be practical, but in reality, it’s something I use almost every single day. Other options in this category include things like foam rollers, workout clothes and what not – things that people will use often but don’t feel like shelling out the cash for.

7. Also in this category: golf balls! I don’t know one golfer who wouldn’t love some balls. Yeah yeah. I’m five years old.

8. A planner. Last year I bought one of these Erin Condren planners and raved about it for months. I love that they are customizable and the fact that they are lifestyle planners? Well I think anyone with kids would adore this too. They are definitely worth it.

9. Also… a calendar. My mom has used Mary Engelbreit calendars my entire life and my dad always buys her one for Christmas.

10. Stationary. This may be best for someone who loves to write or the frequent entertainer, but I love stationary so, so much.

11. A semi-fancy but useful platter or cheese tray. Even if the person doesn’t cook, these are fabulous for setting out appetizers, snack plates or even dinners with a special kick.

12. Small cocktail spoons and knives. Things that can be set out with cheese spreads or fruits. My mom often gifts the cocktail napkins with the small cheese spreader. People love it!

13. Burt’s Bees chapstick. Probably our favorite stuffing stocker of all time, both of us go through this like crazy. Always useful.

14. And because I gotta include it… a mixed CD. Okay, okay, stop laughing. If you’ve been reading with me for the last four years you might know that Eddie made me a CD every month until we got married. He occasionally still makes them for me and I love it. He always surprises me with them and I never know it’s coming. Obviously you could also put together something like a video clip for someone too.

15. Luggage. Especially if the person travels quite a bit. I bought Eddie a really nice suitcase this year for his birthday because in the last five years he (or, the airport) has completely destroyed two large suitcases. It was a splurge but definitely seems to be worth it so far. It doesn’t have to be an expensive piece, but I think people appreciate luggage so they don’t have to purchase it themselves.

16. An engraved luggage tag. His sister got his one from Louis Vuitton and it’s something I never would have thought of, but such a classic, thoughtful gift. Something he will have forever.

17. Movie theater gift cards! Can’t go wrong with these. I feel like I can say that because Eddie and I aren’t big movie people, going maybe once or twice a year. We do enjoy it though so it’s a nice treat.

18. An umbrella. No seriously. We all need one but who the heck wants to buy one? It certainly doesn’t have to be that one, but it sure it cute, right?

19. Along those lines, if you live in cold weather – an ice scraper. See above. I think those things are great for work grab bags.

20. A portable phone charger. I’m on my dang phone so much that it almost always dies halfway through the day. The portable chargers have saved my day when traveling. I think they are awesome.

21. A board game, especially a classic collection. The exact game depends on the person, but I love these sorts of gifts. Anything to get us away from the computer or TV screen, you know?

22. A vacuum. Not just any vacuum, but a mofo vacumm like a dyson or one of those cool little kitchen vacs. Hey, I’d appreciate it.

23. Knives! Unless your name is Dexter Morgan. But I think everyone can use a good set of knives. Even if the person doesn’t cook, they are most likely at some point cutting fruit or slicing steak and bread. If a whole set doesn’t float your boat, I suggest a few really great serrated knives. We always run out of them.

24. A Netflix package. It took me a looooooooong time to jump on the Netflix bandwagon (I didn’t start until earlier this year) but once I got on, I was hooked. Eddie thought I was insane until just last week when I attached apple TV to Netflix and he realized everything he could watch on the larger-than-a-laptop screen. Love this.

25. A jewelry box. Whether it’s small or large, one of those necklace trees or even an full chest, I think you can always find use for these. Even if you stuff with things other than jewelry.

26. It’s a repeat, but a food gift set from Harry and David or Delallo. Not just for foodies! Also… chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Another option is a set of steaks or seafood from Omaha steaks. My parents have received those before and really loved them.

27. Fancy socks. I know, so cliché. But! My grandma (the same one who did the cocktail napkins) gave people fun and fancy socks (like bright colors for guys, crazy fluffy ones for girls) every Christmas and it was awesome. I still find myself wearing them and it was her “thing” – sort of her signature gift. I love the idea of having a signature gift. I want to be her.

[I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of the companies or products mentioned above. There are a few amazon affiliate links included. Thank you so much for reading and supporting my site!]

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32 Responses to “Holiday Gift Guide: 27 Gifts For The Practical One.”

  1. #
    Brittney — November 21, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

    We got a year subscription to Netflix as a wedding present. It was probably the best gift we got. That the the Weber grill.


  2. #
    Katie — November 21, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    Oooh Mary Engelbreit calendars! I had forgotten about those! I think I’ll put one on my Christmas list this year.


  3. #
    Sabrina — November 21, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    I love Tumi. I bought Trig a Tumi laptop bag 4 years ago and it’s still in perfect condition. That’s another good gift idea because no one wants to spend the money on a laptop bag or case for themselves!

    I’m loving these gift guides.


  4. #
    Melissa — November 21, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

    Because you put the mix CD on here, it’s my duty to inform you that this exists.


    Also, the Boyz II Men station on Pandora is insanely inspirational and will make you want to awkwardly ask someone to slow dance with you.


    • Sam — December 2nd, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

      Hi Melissa! Co-Founder of Milktape here. Thanks so much for mentioning us!


  5. #
    Monica — November 21, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

    I use a cheap yoga mat.. I know, i know!! maybe i’ll get a good one this year!
    Netflix – best gift ever.


  6. #
    Billy — November 21, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

    All those tabs open agaaain. For those guy socks people should totally check out UNIQLO. They’re popping up all over the west coast, especially in the bay area, and we went to one in SF a few months ago. Any sock color you could want and I think they run for 4 for $13? GET SOME.


  7. #
    Dani — November 21, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    I still use a target yoga mat (with a mat towel). I’ve been debating upgrading for years but it never makes the “must” list. What’s the big difference between the cheap mat and the expensive one?


  8. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 21, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

    Ooh you are giving me some AWESOME ideas for co-worker gifts Jess, as well as ‘things I’d like to gift to myself’ gifts. The Erin Condren planners… oh my gawwwwwd. Gorgeous!


  9. #
    Bri — November 21, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    Love these ideas. I’d take any of them! Those planners….I need! I’m also a huge fan of moleskins. I love giving family and friends gift cards for restaurants so they can enjoy a night out!


  10. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — November 22, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    Great list! Bookmarking this for when I actually get around to my Christmas shopping… :)


  11. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 22, 2013 @ 1:11 am

    Tumi luggage, Henckles knives, and Manduka mats. Check to all!!!! I have had one of my Mandukas for 12 year!! I bought it in 2001 and took it to Costa Rica with me for a month in the Amazon rainforest doing a teacher training, and it has since been with me around the Caribbean, Mexico, all over the US and I have a daily practice on that thing for the past 13 years and for awhile was teaching on that mat (I have two – one in my house and one in my trunk) but basically yes, they are life-changing mats and last forever! I bet the one mat I have logged at least 10k hours of yoga on. I have no idea, but at least! Anyway good for you! It’ll literally last forever.

    And a vacuum. I stil need to pull the trigger on a Dyson. I should just do it. I vac daily b/c of my long haired cat and I just need a better one!


  12. #
    Tieghan — November 22, 2013 @ 1:45 am

    Those manduka yoga mats are the best! I got one for Christmas a couple years ago and it is still awesome! I really love it!

    And also, I love the idea of knifes. I could not agree more that everyone needs a set of really good knifes!


  13. #
    Tina — November 22, 2013 @ 2:59 am

    It’s so much fun to read your gift guides. This one appealed to me the most to far I think, because I’m organized and love journals, notebooks, planners etc. I’m going to check out some of these links!


  14. #
    Rosalie — November 22, 2013 @ 3:04 am

    Those life planners look amazing! Kills me that the shipping to Canada is essentially the same price as the book itself haha.
    Thans so much for putting these lists together, they’re absolutely wonderful :)


  15. #
    Purelytwins — November 22, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    great ideas!! love netflix!! been a member for years and cannot get enough ;)


  16. #
    Simone — November 22, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    I’m pretty sure I am the easiest person to shop for [or ridiculously selfish] because everything on all these lists I’m like “oooh Yea. I’d love to get that. Napkins are so fun! I love stationary and journals..”

    These are great ideas and very helpful!


  17. #
    Scal — November 22, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    For the knifes-be careful if your gift recipient is superstitious. There are some cultures/people that believe it is bad luck to receive knifes as a gift. We got around this at our wedding by giving everyone that gave us a knife a dime. So we ‘bought’ the knife from them :D


  18. #
    AJ — November 22, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Agree on the luggage! It’s something that’s hard to justify buying yourself, but quality luggage makes such a difference! I have a Hartman suitcase (I think I actually got it at Costco) that’s 12 years old; it’s been on every trip, near and far, and I JUST replaced the wheels last month. Others have never made it that long!


  19. #
    Alison — November 22, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

    I got the Lululemon mat as a gift and it really is (yoga)life-changing. I can do all kinds of stuff I couldn’t before because I don’t slip anymore! As a fellow sweaty person, a good mat is SO much better than a regular mat and towel combo.


  20. #
    tunaforlunch — November 22, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    26. How could you forget AMERICAN SPOON!


  21. #
    NancyC — November 22, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    Amen to foam rollers! I don’t know how I lived without one before! Saves me everyday after my workout :-)


  22. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — November 23, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

    Hehe socks and food gifts are my favorite. So practical and they make me happy!


  23. #
    Molly @ Bakelette — November 29, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

    For vacuums I would also recommend Shark! I just got one and LOVE it! They’re supposed to be comparable to Dyson, but without the hefty price tag!


  24. #
    Jenn — October 31, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

    This list is very antiquated. Planners? Notebooks? Calendars? Who doesn’t have a phone to serve these functions? Who on earth actually uses cocktail napkins/spoons/etc.? A truly practical person would just use normal ones.



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