Eleven Classic Gifts That Aren’t Scented Candles

For some people, a scented candle is the gift that keeps on giving. When they open the package and see the ‘lavender blossom’ wonder sitting at the base of the box, their eyes shine like a kid on Christmas morning. To those people, you’ve just given them many relaxing evenings of knitting, reading, and binging their latest Netflix obsession in total Hygge bliss. But, for everyone else, this is the reason we rehearse our surprise faces. You may think of them as a safe choice, but there are many other classic gifts that don’t force the smell of Eucalyptus onto unsuspecting relatives and friends:


1) Mugs

Mugs are a great option because…well… we all drink something, right? And even for the non-coffee, tea, or hot chocolate drinkers of the world (if there are any of you out there) mugs are a great decorative feature for a desk at your office. And there are so many out there that it’s very easy to find one that’s more personalized. Your friend a cinephile or TV junkie? Get them a Game of Thrones mug. Are they a sports fan? Get them a Steelers mug or whomever else they incorrectly support. Does your friend spend more time between pages than they do speaking to humans? There’s a Harry Potter mug out there with their name on it (no really, you could probably find one with their name on it. People love Harry Potter).

2) A Watch

Another classic gift that anyone would enjoy is a watch. Yes, we know everyone can tell time on their phones now. And they have calculators, too so our high school math knowledge is now also utterly useless. However, watches are still a stylish accessory that any person can enjoy- from lovers of vintage style to those who want to feel like James Bond with the latest in watch tech. You can even find watches customized with various engravings, fandom images, and even people’s birthstones- you know, because people love knowing you remember their birthday.

3) Wine/Whiskey/Beer Glass

We’re going to make a bold statement and say that virtually any drinker can be split into one of these categories: wine drinker, whiskey drinker, or beer drinker. If you know your friend well enough (and we’re assuming that you do since you’re buying them a gift in the first place) you’ll know which of these three categories they’ll fall under. And, again, this is another category of gifting where you can find a lot of more personal pieces. Whether you want to get them a really sleek and classic whiskey set or a wine glass with a Shakespeare sonnet- it’s out there and ripe for the drinking.


4) A Plant

Ask yourself one simple question before proceeding: How responsible is your friend? If you just wrinkled your eyebrows and shrugged, this may not be the classic gift for your friend. Even if your friend is responsible, there’s still an 80% chance that the plant will die within the first month- yes, that is a totally real statistic. But, if given to the right person, it’s the perfect way to brighten up a room and fill a home with a sweet and relaxing aroma. Who needs essential oils or candles when you can have a real lavender plant? And, for the less responsible friends, there are plants like Aloe Vera that will match their low maintenance personalities.

5) Tea or Coffee

Again, we’re making a large generalization, but the world can typically be split into these two groups (if you disagree, fight us). If you have a friend who is especially enthused by either category, a great gift would be to get them an assortment of various higher quality flavorings or even from their favorite brand (if you can remember the name… it’s on the tip of your tongue). Arrange them into a cute little gift basket and you’ll have them smiling for oolong time.

6) Desserts

Another classic gift that people can’t get enough of- food. Here’s the first question you need to ask: can you get away with making this your whole gift? Depends on your relationship with the person. If they’re an acquaintance then you definitely can, but for close friends (unless you make a giant basket filled to the brim with sweet confections), probably not. And even then your friend will probably get mad at you for trying to kill them with cookies. But this is a great mini-addition if you’re having the anxiety that you didn’t get someone enough gifts is setting in.

7) A Throw Blanket

It’s soft, warm, cozy, and cuddly- who wouldn’t want a throw blanket? We honestly can’t imagine anyone ever feeling like they have enough of these lying around. And, presuming that you’ve been to this person’s house before, you’ll likely be able to find one the perfect color to complement their living room. If you’ve been there before, but your brain is refusing to recall what color their couch is- white, brown, or gray are typically safe options.

8) A Wallet

This is an amazing gift because no one wants to spend money on one of these themselves. A wallet is for putting money in, but no one wants to put money into purchasing one. If this is the route you think you want to go, though, you’ll need to start paying attention when this friend pulls out their wallet. The last thing you want to do is get the wrong size for their needs so check to see if they have cash spilling out over it or if they have a bunch of unused space. CAUTION: If you’re not stealthy enough, your friend may think you’re trying to steal money from them.

Board Games

9) A Board Game/Card Game

This is an especially fun option because it’s not simply a gift, it’s several nights worth of memories yet to come. And there are a lot of really quirky options you can find nowadays, from What Do You Meme to Exploding Kittens.

Just make sure you keep in mind the prospective person’s number of friends and friend group dynamic when you’re searching for the best option. If you purchase a game made for 6-12 players and your friend only has 4 good friends, this gift suddenly becomes an unwelcome reminder which will gather dust on their shelf.

10) Cash

People may call this gift impersonal, but we ask you this: name one person who has ever been upset when handed money. Go on, we’ll wait.

11) Socks

Before you groan or chuckle, hear us out. Socks have been stereotyped as the ‘bad gift’ for years now and, honestly, we think they just got a bad rep because of bratty kids in movies. What adult wouldn’t want a nice, cozy pair of socks to hug their feet all warm and snug? Also, there are so many great and personalized sock options out there nowadays, you can get anything from Taco socks to Breaking Bad socks. You may scoff, but never underestimate the power of good sock game.