Shopping for loved ones is an exercise in memory retrieval.
You try desperately to think back to all the times you sat around the TV as your friends claimed, “I need that,” during infomercials, or when your mother-in-law would complain that she didn’t have a good this or enough of that.
If you can’t quite conjure up their subtle and not-so-subtle hints, here are four practical gifts that anyone on your list will love:
1. Versatile Cookware
We all have to eat, but we don’t all have the means to do it well.
But whether your friends are top-notch chefs looking for added convenience or novices who need a starter kit to begin their culinary journey (the first step of which is, of course, mac and cheese), they’ll love these practical cookware items just the same:
- Our Place Always Pan – If you haven’t seen a sponsored Instagram ad for the Always Pan, 1) where have you been? 2) it’s never too late to learn. This eight-in-one best-selling pan combines a frying pan, skillet, spatula, saucier, and more.
- Instant Pot Pressure Cooker – This programmable pressure cooker seriously does it all: chili, mashed potatoes, pulled pork, spaghetti squash, even cakes (like, seriously!). For a slight upgrade, opt for a two-in-one pressure cooker and air fryer combo to expand the possibilities even further.
- Stackable measuring set – Pick up a functional yet colorful set of measuring cups and spoons for a practical gift that can still make cooking a little more fun. Their convenient stack-ability makes them easy to store (and even easier to wrap!).
Feel free to throw in a cookbook of cuisine you think they’ll love or quirky tea towels to add a bit of silly fun to an otherwise all-practical-all-the-time gift.
2. Luxurious Pillows
If you’re going to get a gift as practical and sensible as pillows, they have to be special.
But now that you’ve found the perfect memory foam pillow (well, alright, we’ve found it for you), you can rest assured that you’ve found something worth giving, even if it is a seemingly “normal” or “everyday” gift.
With this level of comfort, support, and durability, you’re bound to put anyone on your list to sleep—out of comfort, not boredom.
3. A Stylish Planner
Some of the best practical gifts still have a fun side to them—like a messenger bag in a beautiful color, much-needed slippers shaped like your favorite cartoon character, or a monthly planner that really puts the fun in functional.
Erin Condren planners tick all the boxes:
- Stunning cover designs to choose from
- Monthly two-page spreads with plenty of space for calendaring
- Three options for weekly layouts
- Tons of exciting add-ons like bookmarks, inserts, and stickers
- Customization options, like adding their name and the year to the front cover
For an added bonus, throw in a set of colored pens or fine liners from Muji or Staedtler to get them started.
A practical gift like this will really help your friend keep their life together, despite daily stressors and plentiful obligations.
4. Indoor Herb Garden
For city dwellers and apartment inhabitants, there isn’t usually space for a sprawling herb garden in the backyard.
But that doesn’t mean your friends and family don’t want the option of freshly picked herbs in the morning.
Help them create their own herb garden by assembling a basic indoor garden kit, complete with a Click & Grow smart garden with LED lights and a water reservoir, and an assortment of plant pods, from thyme and rosemary to strawberries and peppers.
Useful Doesn’t Have to Mean Uninspired
There seems to be a strange stigma around buying practical gifts, as though they’re boring or thoughtless.
In reality, though, there’s nothing more thoughtful than getting a loved one exactly what they need—whether that’s a pillow, a planner, or potted plants.