Do it yourself
Few things are quite as cherished as the ones that have been self-made. Whereas a store-bought sweater or mittens might make for a boring present, a self-made pair of mittens will fill your presentee with glee. If you prefer working with harder materials, you can build them something like a wine holder or a bottle opener. Let your imagination fly!
Just remember to make it tasteful so they won’t be forced to keep something around that looks like a Lovecraftian aberration, unless they’re into that sort of thing.
Something they need
If you know them well and you spend time with them often, there is a good chance you have heard them talk about something they need. Depending on their needs, it could be a set of tools, a portable speaker, a vacuum cleaner, a comfy office chair, a huge pepper mill, a gaming mouse, an expansion to their favourite game, or even a laptop if we’re talking about your spouse. The joy they will get by receiving it from you will be immeasurable.
Granted, these gifts may not be very glamorous, but as I always say: “If I can use it, then I love you. If I can’t use it, then you might as well have gotten me a rabid ferret”. If you don’t want to risk them before you give them the present, you can nonchalantly drop the hint that they might want to wait until after Christmas to purchase it.
Dig dig dig
Find out if your friend or family member has a hobby. Then, casually ask them about it. They will be sure to tell you more than you ever wanted to know, after which you can go to the good old internet to find an appropriate gift to suit their hobby. If they collect Muumi mugs, hunt down that rare mug they have been looking for. Why not get them some accessories for their climbing hobby, or a new hockey stick, or a nice yoga mat, or some pole dancing accessories like grips.
This is the riskiest of the ideas, as they may not want exactly what you get them. However, by doing your due diligence and digging a bit, you can find something that they will appreciate greatly, even if they don’t really need it. Alternatively, you can give them a gift card to their favourite shop, but only if you are absolutely sure they love this shop; otherwise your gift will appear lazy. On that note, a gift card might be your best choice if their hobby is particularly expensive, such as is the case with audiophiles.
The gift of experience
Perhaps your friend or family member does not like gifts. Maybe they have everything they require, and just maybe they are couch potatoes like yours truly with very few hobbies. Do not fret my dear reader, for you can always gift a great experience. Maybe your friend is very stressed and they desperately need a sports massage; plan a spa day. Take them out for a bar-hopping experience with the best company possible (you); but remember to drink responsibly. Alternatively, take them away from the city to a cottage or another city they haven’t been yet. They say travel gifts are better than physical gifts. I beg to differ, but I’m just a potatoe with a knack for writing, so what do I know.
If you have gone through every possible list (including this one) and you have still not found something you want to gift to your loved one, you have a last resort: ask them. Their immediate reaction might be to say “nothing”, but just insist a bit more. You can ask them that if they were to write a letter to Santa, what would they write. If they bring something up like world peace or happiness for all, get new friends.
But in all due seriousness, if they really want nothing, you can always take them out to dinner. If physical presents are not their thing, a lovely meal will surely fill their hearts.
Whether you celebrate or don’t celebrate the holidays, may you have a pleasant end of the year surrounded by people you love. If you prefer the hermit way, then it’s the perfect time to binge watch all those series you hadn’t had time to watch. Happy holidays!