One of the things that complicates the gift-giving season is the many obligatory occasions where one has to give a gift to someone they don’t know very well. It is difficult to opt out of all such occasions. It is part of the social lubricant that keeps things running smoothly. It is not just the holidays. There are also birthdays and office parties. Some people are expert gift-givers who relish challenging gifting situations. Others find it stressful and crazy-making.
Sometimes, you only have two pieces of information about the person: their age and gender. That gives you something to work with. If you are used to having a large family gathering and gift exchange, there will always be a few people present that are not directly related to you. There is your cousin’s boyfriend, your third cousin twice removed, and the kid down the street that no one can recall inviting. It is always a good practice to have a few extra gifts under the tree for the unexpected.
Those secret-Santa office parties can also be tough to navigate. Buying gifts for people you don’t know is hard enough. Now, add the pressure of getting something for about $10. If you are faced with buying gifts for people you don’t know well, here are a few suggestions:
Cocktail Gift Kit
One of the easiest gift-giving wins is a cocktail gift kit. The only thing you need to know about the person is that they are of legal drinking age and they participate in social drinking. These are pretty easy pieces of information to ascertain. Speaking of easy, the kit makes it a snap to produce your favorite drinks for which you would normally spend a fortune at a bar.
Other gifts in this category would be kits that make it easy to do things at home you would normally have to leave the house to enjoy. Meal kits are a good example. Just be careful about giving subscriptions. First, you don’t want to be on the hook for the rest of your life for someone else’s subscription. And you don’t want them to have a nasty surprise a month later. Give subscriptions by prepaying a certain length of time and letting the recipient know that they have the service for that time. After that, it is up to them to keep it going. If it is something they really enjoy such as a cocktail kit, they will happily maintain it.
A Restaurant Gift Card
You can always give a person cash instead of a gift card. But that is just opting out. At least a gift card requires you to choose a particular store or category of item. When you give a restaurant gift card, be sure to choose an interesting place that the recipient would not normally go. Give them an exotic taste and dining experience that will be truly memorable.
You can start by taking them to a local food-tasting event that features a number of local restaurants. You can see what they like and dislike, then make your gift selection accordingly. You don’t want to give them a gift card to a sushi restaurant if you know they absolutely hate sushi. But you might give them a gift card for a French restaurant where they are sure to find something on the menu they really love.
There are many kinds of puzzles. The best wooden and mechanical puzzles don’t take up much space and can keep a person busy for hours, or years. Try to avoid jigsaw puzzles with a million pieces that require a large platform to complete. Twist puzzles have been popular for a very long time because they are clever, small enough to travel well, and have instructional videos that make them feel a lot less hopeless. Another win for puzzles as gifts is that you can find them at all price ranges and for all age and skill levels. A good puzzle is a universally great gift the recipient will be happy to have.
Gift-giving is tough even when it is for someone you know well. If it is for someone you don’t know, try giving cocktail kits, restaurant gift cards, and puzzles.