A Gift Primer: 7 Hard-to-buy-for People

….written while watching Mozart in the Jungle Season 3 and enjoying off-brand Baileys on the rocks…


You know those people…the people that you have on your list that you have no idea what to get. I’m not promising that I can actually tell you EXACT thing to give that person, but here’s some great sites and ideas you can use as primer while you brainstorm your last minute strategy. AND GO!

Brothers/Dads/Boyfriends/Uncles/Fathers-in-law type people:

Unless your male dude person has an extensive wishlist he has given to you, you probably have no idea what to get the dude. Do not be a lame-o and get him a tie, unless he requested that. Instead check out these sites/stores:

  • Uncommon Goods: Just look at all this dude stuff!!!! It’s a treasure trove of dude things! They even have gift guides for different dudes in your life.
  • The Art of Manliness: A great source for DIY ideas (like the bayrum aftershave I make my Dad every year).
  • REI : If the dude likes the great outdoors this is a great place to grab a gift card (those outdoorsy people are PICKY!) or select the thing he’s been talking about for forever.
  • Great Outdoor Provision: Similar to REI, but definitely a good place to compare and search for sales. They even have a travel section for dudes that are traveling a lot!
  • Marshalls: It sounds weird, but I find lots of great dude gifts here. Bourbon books, high balls and rocks glasses, cool leather goods, nice notebooks, etc. etc.
  • This really cool tool that my brother actually uses! 
  • If all else fails, get the man a nice bottle of scotch (for more mature gents) or bourbon (for younger dudes).

Your eclectic/artsy friend:

These friends area usually naturalists or perhaps arts and culture lovers or just exceptionally picky. They can be difficult to buy for because they have a very specific lifestyle and style.

  • MOMA store on Amazon: Personally this is awesome because now every cool quirky thing you found at the MOMA gift store is now on Amazon. SCORE! This is great for artsy-fartsy and hipster-type friends.
  • Uncommon Goods: Shop this artsy collection of gifts for your friend who likes the modern luxuries in life.

Your hippy/nature loving/boho friend:

This friend loves the environment, animals and has a really good collection of tea at home.

  • Ten Thousand Villages: Anything from this little store will make your friend feel swell. Many of the products are fair trade and handmade, and proceeds often go on to do good in the global community or to benefit an environmental fund. Plus the stuff has this really cool earthy feel that your free spirited friend will <3.
  • The Elephant Pants: Your animal loving friend will adore these cute pants….and many other items which benefit probably the best animal in the world (sorry, I’m biased).
  • Ravens Ct. Apothocary on Etsy: Lots of lovely vegan smelly things because they cannot live on Dr. Bronners alone!
  • Woodland Fever: Woodsy little things for your friends house.

Your bougie/fashion/foodie friend:

This person is either a super fashionista or just appreciates quality goods and can’t be bothered with the regular gifts (they’re picky).

  • Wanderlust + Co: Your LA minimalist friend will love these beautiful pieces. Also, a lot of this jewelry would make a great gift for someone a little more important in your life like a partner.
  • Nordstrom: I bet you anything that your bougie friend LOVES Nordstrom. Keep the costs down by shopping the sale or looking for some housewares/stationary to keep within your budget.
  • Marshalls: No better place to find elegant things for really cheap. Things like jeweled boxes, fancy kitchen wares, gourmet foods and luxury brands (like Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Calvin Klein, etc.).
  • Target: Love this taste maker gift list. So delightfully chic!

The friend you have to get a gift for (see also: random coworker/Secret Santa you don’t know/etc.):

These gifts are small, cheap, useful and fun!

  • Pinch Provisions: Get these little kits at several retailers for any type of person. They have little sachets of a million different daily needs. Things like floss, clear nail polish (for runs in your tights), Advil, lip balm, hair ties, earring backs, sewing kits. Each in a little bag that can fit in your smallest bag. They are honestly so useful, I take mine everywhere. They make these kits for men and women.
  • Uncommon Goods: There’s a corporate section…so you can get something for your office Secret Santa.
  • Five Below: There are literally a million random things here. You’re bound to find something. Selfie sticks and portable power banks have been VERY popular in prior exchanges.

Your mom or mother-in-law type human:

These ladies can be particularly hard to get gifts for, largely because you’re trying to make a good impression…or you owe them so much! The stakes are high!

  • MayDesigns: Get your MIL or your mom some great custom monogrammed stationary or one of their award winning planners.
  • Kindle Fire: Moms love Kindles! You can even show them how to upload their library books directly on the device. Plus, these are often around $40, which is a steal!
  • Target: Literally everything on this “cozy” list. Your mom/ MIL needs a break and all of these gifts get her there.

For your little sister/cousin/other younger type person:

These sites are great for the young people in your life (just don’t get too excited and buy all the things!!!!).

  • Look Human: Lots of random nerdy or pop culture-y stuff. Definitely a ton of mugs.
  • Urban Outfitters: Treasure trove of random stuff. Happy digging! Just don’t get lost in there and buy all the things for yourself. COME BACKKK!
  • Society6: basically a bunch of cool prints on things. Definitely unique and something not everyone else in their class will have.

What’s on your wishlist this year? Mine is all about making my home and bath cozy and travel stuff to get ready for my trip in May! Any other tips and tricks for last-minute Holiday gifts, TV shows to binge watch or drinks to drink? Tell me below!



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