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A Practical Gift Guide

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Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast who loves sharing her favorite lifestyle tips with the world.


It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas, especially if you have a long list of people for whom you want to buy gifts. Budgeting enough money is always a good idea and the sooner you start saving, the better. It may not sound like it, but that's the easy part. Trying to figure out what you'll buy is often the challenge. Sometimes you can ask what the person needs or would like. I think it's always a good idea to do that if possible, but most often you want it to be a surprise or to present a gift that's thoughtful and heartfelt.

Below I've listed several practical and thoughtful gift ideas that anyone would enjoy receiving. Hopefully this will help as you prepare your Christmas list, and you can cross off even the people for whom you have no idea what to get.

1. Listen for Clues

This first one isn't so much an idea as it is an important tip. When you visit someone's house or engage in conversations, pay attention. Oftentimes you'll encounter the perfect gift idea when you least expect it. Keep an ear out for things the person wants to get and pay attention to what you see around his or house. What is his or her décor style? What activities and hobbies does he or she enjoy? These clues are essential when Christmas time comes around. You might jot down a few ideas in a note on your phone to help you remember. Then, while you are shopping, refer to your note to help you make a decision.

Let me give you an example. Every month or two, we visit with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. They've recently been chatting about how they don't have a coffee maker. My ears instantly perked up. Being a coffee lover myself, I've asked a few questions about what kind of coffee they enjoy. When they visit our house, I offer them a variety of options to get a feel of what they like and what would work best for them. Now that I have a good idea of what they do and don't like, I have the perfect gift idea for them!

2. Gift Cards

This is a no-brainer. Gift cards are the perfect last-minute idea and a great choice for when you just don't know what to get someone. A plain Visa or MasterCard gift card is always a safe option. Here are some other ideas if you want a more personalized touch:

For the Gamers:

  • Online gamers - STEAM gift card
  • Mobile gamers - Google Play Store or App Store gift card
  • Console gamers - XBox Live, Nintendo Subscription, Playstation Subscription
  • GameStop gift card
  • Specific Game gift cards

For Beauty Gurus:

  • Sephora gift card
  • Ulta gift card
  • Specific brand of make-up gift card

For Outdoorsy Types:

  • Gander Mountain gift card
  • Bass Pro gift card
  • Cabela's gift card
  • Columbia gift card
  • Lands' End gift card
  • Backcountry gift card
  • Academy Sports and Outdoors gift card
  • Moosejaw gift card
  • Other specific store gift card

For the Fitness Guru:

  • Any fitness apparel store gift card
  • Amazon gift card
  • Specific workout gift card (If you know what program they're doing or interested in trying.)

For Tech and Book Lovers:

  • Best Buy gift card
  • Amazon gift card
  • Barnes and Noble gift card
  • Specific wireless phone carrier gift card
  • Specific tech brand gift card
  • A local book store gift card
  • Micro Center gift card


  • A gift card to the person's favorite store
  • Groupon gift card

3. Dollar Shave Club

This is the perfect gift for anyone who shaves. You could easily get a gift card, a trial kit, or a subscription.

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My husband and I have been members of Dollar Shave Club since 2015. We love their razors and the wide range of products they offer. As a woman, I've found that men's razors work better than any made specifically for women. That logic holds up for many other products as well. My husband loves their prep scrub, shave butter, and post-shave dew. He also likes the beard oil. Their hair products are awesome, too! My husband, son, and I all use the hair paste and the hair pomade.


4. Dr. Squatch Soap and Care

After watching the entertaining ads, my husband and I decided to try Dr. Squatch soap. We've been loyal members ever since! Their soaps smell amazing and leave you feeling squeaky clean. They have a variety of scents and grit levels, something for everyone! I love their candles, too. Dr. Squatch doesn't just have soap, though. They also offer a variety of hygiene and skin care items. This would be a great gift for any man in your life, but you might find that the ladies will love these items too!

5. Make-Up Eraser

This is the product that inspired this entire article. I've had the magical make-up erasers for two years now and it's my mission to get every woman in my life hooked on them. These cloths remove all traces of make up with just water and they're reusable. Just throw them in the wash with towels. The best part? They don't dry out your skin. No more greasy make-up remover oil or harsh make-up wipes. All you need is this cloth.

Make-Up Eraser has a variety of styles and colors available and they're inexpensive! This would make a great gift or stocking stuffer!


6. First Aid Kits

This is the most practical gift idea on the list and arguably the most important. Everyone needs at least two first aid kits, one for the house and one to stash in the car. It's the perfect choice for when you don't know what else to buy and will be much appreciated should the need arise to use it!


© 2021 Alyssa


Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 14, 2021:

Thank you Peggy!

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 14, 2021:

Yes, Liza, the earlier the better this year I think. Happy shopping!

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 14, 2021:

I agree. Thank you Dora!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 14, 2021:

Thanks for the gift ideas. A first aid kit would be such a practical gift for almost anyone.

Liza from USA on October 14, 2021:

I agree, it's not too early. I heard we have a shortage of supplies for Christmas gifts. Uhm. Therefore, I hope I can do my holiday shopping this month. Thank you for the gift guide and ideas, Alyssa. I think I have some clues about what to buy and get for people.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 13, 2021:

Thanks for these great gift ideas. Number 6 would be perfect for several people.

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 13, 2021:

Oh I agree, Maria! I think it's great for the adult children to just buy for the little kids. I've been trying to get my family on board with that idea for a while now. No sense in swapping gift cards. Time spent together is a much better gift.

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 13, 2021:

To each their own. Every family has their own traditions. Thanks for stopping by Bill!

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on October 13, 2021:

That's wonderful Pamela! I think it's great to start early!

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on October 13, 2021:

Lots of good ideas here. Considering the mailing situation this year, I've been thinking we should get started now, but, of course, we haven't. A few years ago we realized that all owe did with my daughter and my husband's 3 daughters was to swap gift cards back and forth. So, he told his 3 girls, who have a total of 7 children -- they started early. Two of those have a total of 5 little ones . He finally told them we would no longer buy for the daughters & their husbands or for the married granddaughters; and that, instead, we would buy for the great-grandbabies and the as yet unmarried grandchildren. There were so many of them, it became unmanageable at Christmas. My daughter and I still swap gifts, though. Hmmm, I wonder what she would like this year...

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2021:

You probably won't believe this, but we don't do gifts for Christmas. I know, it's unbelievable, and probably very strange, but true it is. Having said that, I'm sure your article is helpful for all of the normal people out there.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 13, 2021:

You have given us many good suggestions, Alyssa. I have already bought a couple of children's gifts as there is talk of shortages, plus I like to prepared early. I think listening is so important as you described in the beginning of the article.

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