Man opening up a techie gift

Holiday Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

What do you get the spouse, sibling or friend who already has it all?

November 2016

Some people seem blessed with the ability to give the perfect gift every time. And there are the rest of us, who could use a bit of help. First, a bit of gifting psychology: A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that givers who focus solely on what they believe their recipient wants may miss an opportunity to foster closeness with a gift that says something about the giver, too. So while you’ll still want to shop within the general realm of your giftee’s interests, feel free to express yourself. After all, there are always gift receipts. Here are a few ideas.

Gifts for gourmands

The Martha devotees in your life probably know the reality series “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which follows the agrarian escapades of two entrepreneurial partners in an 1802 farmhouse (in fact, one half of the pair is a former Martha Stewart Living VP). Gift them both bucolic bounty and high-tech convenience at the Beekman Boys’ e-shop, which sells their incredible goat cheeses (the “Blaak” cheese has a waiting list) as well as artisanal subscription options. For a more do-it-yourself option, the recipe resource Food 52 stocks an Instagram-worthy array of cookware, display-worthy gadgets and gorgeous tableware your foodie friend didn’t even know he or she needed.

Gifts for travelers

Built on the idea that hundreds of seats go unused on private flights each year, the company JetSmarter bills itself as a service for those who hate to fly commercial but aren’t in the market for their own jet. Benefits of the $11,000 annual membership fee include great deals on entire jet charters on a variety of planes. But the real bargain is for those who travel some of the company’s most established “JetShuttle” routes—such as between LA and Las Vegas, and New York and Miami, among many others—since members can fly these routes any time, space available, at no extra cost. It’s an extravagant gift, but a bargain for those who fly enough to justify the price. Plus, showing up to your flight 15 minutes early and sidestepping the security circus is priceless by any traveler’s standards. If a 3-figure gift is more your speed, the German luggage company Rimowa’s new electronic tag suitcases start at about $600. The company is renowned for its durable hard-shell polycarbonate and aluminum luggage. With an electronic tag suitcase, owners can download the Rimowa app and check in their bags from home on a growing number of airlines.

Gifts for gardeners

Anyone who has visited the beautiful, functional gardens of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, will appreciate the attention the estate has paid to keeping and cataloguing heirloom plant varieties and staying true to its owner’s legacy. Monticello ships gardener gift baskets ($135) that include seed samplers, gardening journals, and Monticello-made lavender beeswax and rose-petal beeswax lotion bars. Have an activist friend who is concerned about the plight of the honeybee? The golden stuff doesn’t get more local than when raised in one’s own backyard. For the agrarian with a little bit of space, Williams Sonoma has a backyard beehive starter kit ($189.95), which comes with a helmet, gloves, hive tool, smoker and feeder—everything you need to manage your own hive (check the policies in your giftee’s city; urban beekeeping is legal most everywhere now).

Gifts for techies

If your wannabe pilot friend already owns a drone (who doesn’t these days?), move on to a cockpit flight simulator. At $7,000, it doesn’t exactly fall into the toy category. In fact, Hammacher Schlemmer’s simulator equips “pilots” with the same flight controls found in actual aircraft, and the included computer comes with Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D flight simulation software. The simulator includes 80 aircraft, including a Boeing 747-800, and more than 80 simulated missions, geographically and topographically correct. The reclining flight seat adjusts for angle and distance to the rudder player, and the sound system surrounds you with realistic audio. Daredevils will love practicing their takeoff from an aircraft carrier aboard an F/A-18 Hornet, watching the graphics in the 32” wide-screen LCD monitor.

Gifts for kids

Getting kids into reading might be as easy as giving them a set of books that’s personalized just for them. The children’s book company I See Me! was started by a former General Mills marketer and her husband, a graphic designer, and has become a celebrity favorite. Its classic, My Very Own Name ($34.99), is a hardcover book in which animals bring letters one by one to spell the child’s first and last name. If you’re really trying to make a statement about your giving style, a blinged-out tricycle should do the job. Modeled after a classic 1934 Van Doren tricycle, the Glitzy Bella trike ($1,800), with a padded seat and a working headlight,  and encrusted with 400 Swarovski crystals, should do the job.