General Question

PandoraBoxx's avatar

What type of items make good gifts from/for casual friends?

Asked by PandoraBoxx (17946 points ) August 15th, 2009

This question is prompted by this one.

Gift-giving situations often arise where you are motivated to give a gift to someone whom you don’t know too well, but need to give a token or remembrance of the occasion. You don’t want to spend a lot of money, say under $20. What types of gifts are successful?

This poses a challenge for me, and my choice tends to be a plant, stationery, cookbook, food item, or something practical, like a kitchen gadget.

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8 Answers

Judi's avatar

Candles or food. Both are perishable so even if they hate it they can say, “I loved it so much I used it all up!” Even if they hated it and put it in the back of a closet.

Nosferatuia's avatar

I have noticed that many people prefer gift cards now days. I used to avoid them because I always felt like I was handing them money and being impersonal, but that’s what people seem to like receiving the most when I ask them. For amts in the $15.00 range food GCs like Sonic or McDonalds are a favorite because you can get a few meals for $15.00, so it seems to go a bit further.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with @Nosferatuia. I was never a fan of gift cards because I find them impersonal, but people seem to like them.

So, a gift card to a casual restaurant. I like gift cards to bookstore chains. (Barnes & Noble, Borders) because they have books, music or videos.

The other great thing about them is that you can mail them,

You can also make them appropriate to the recipient. My sister loves Home Dept cards because she gardens and she is a putterer around her house.

For a shower, you can go with Baby Gap or Babies R Us.

chyna's avatar

When my aunt comes in from another state, I usually have some token of my state for her to take back. It has been a coffee mug, sweat shirt with state on it, t-shirt, key chain, something made of coal since my state is known for coal mining. I have also given books that I really enjoyed, hoping they will enjoy the book too.

JLeslie's avatar

Gift cards can be personal if you know the person well. My husband loves Starbucks coffee, but hates to pay for it. If you give him a $10 GC to Starbucks he is superhappy and uses it within a few days. The GC has to be something that won’t sit in a wallet for weeks and months and maybe get lost. He also loves everything Porsche, so you could buy him a hand towel with Porsche on it and he would like it. So if there is anyway to find out what the person is into…golf, cars, dance, etc. that can be a big help.

But the question was about someone you don’t know well. Generally, I like to receive practical gifts, here are some:

When a girlfriend had her baby a few weeks early, I showed up at the hospital with a pretty shopping bag from the gift wrap section full of desitin, baby shampoo, parenting magazine, didn’t add up to that much, and she’ll use all of that stuff even if she already has some of it at home.

One of my favorite gifts at the house warming of my first home was a 9X12 glass cooking dish probably purchased at the local supermarket. Much like you mentioned kitchen gadgets.

I also love my “cookbook” that is for me to enter recipes with removable pages. Then you don’t have to guess what type of cookbook to buy.

People seem to love candles, I don’t, so I regift them almost always.

markyy's avatar

If you are anything like me you will give them something you can enjoy yourself. Like gift cards for the movies or a restaurant. In general I use to get some cheap and funny stuff that relates to the person in question.

sakura's avatar

Go to firebox.com I’ve recommended it on a couple of post they have some really neat gifts that are in all different price ranges, unusual and will probably end up being passed on but fun to watch the present face :) (Read thread linked above)

Gift cards can be a useful gift,
@JLeslie ‘s idea is used a lot in our family at Christmas too, my sister wanted a Christmas hamper with loads of luxury items in that she wouldn’t normally treat herself too as she has limited income.

When someone gets married a traditional bottom drawer gift is quite fun… tea towels, wooden spoon, pastry cutters, cake tins etc…

I suppose if you don’t know them too well it does make it more difficult but you can make giving money more interesting my buying this…
http://www.firebox.com/product/1725/Gift-Mazes
of if giving a bottle of wine this…
http://www.firebox.com/product/1841/The-Daddy-Wine-Puzzle

kruger_d's avatar

Local or regional food products are fun and a conversation starter—honey, beer, preserves, maple syrup. They are also shelf stable so your hosts won’t feel the need to work it into the menu that evening/weekend/ whatever.

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