With the holiday season upon us the stress of gift giving has slowly crept back up on all of us. The internet is an amazing resource for gift ideas for all your friends, family, and loved ones, but a lot of the resources can often list the same types of gifts and lack the capacity to tell readers what gifts they should attempt to steer away from. The fact is, gifts that are considered “generic” are just the easiest option, and during this time of year, easy is understandably the best option. However, if you’re like me, and live for giving the perfect gifts to fit your loved one’s personalities, than you need to know the generic items that have frankly been overdone. However, if you’re the type of person who just needs something to stuff in Grandma’s stocking, than this list will be just as beneficial. In fact, “generic” gifts can be quite perfect for anyone you don’t really know; like when you’re forced into an office secret Santa after only working for the company for one month and you barely know everyone’s name, let alone what to get them as a gift.
Mugs – Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve given a mug at least a dozen times as a present. As a gift, it’s really quite practical, as most people enjoy some type of hot beverage during the winter season, and the versatility that comes from mug designs can be customized to match anyone’s personalities. However, you reach a point where you realize that you’ve given your mom a mug for the past five Christmas’s and she doesn’t have any more room in the cabinet. Mugs are great, but have become one of the most predictable gifts. Instead, maybe consider something else in the hot beverage category that would be a little more surprising. For example, if the receiver is a big tea drinker, consider buying them a teapot instead of just another mug to drink out of. Better yet, there are plenty of monthly tea bag, coffee, beverage subscriptions for any drink lover. Monthly subscription services can be the gift that quite literally keeps on giving all year round, and many of these services offer discounted gift packages to utilize!
Ties – As stated by the title, we all know that getting a tie for your dad, grandpa, uncle, or any man in your life, is the most stereotypical and predictable “masculine” gift one could give. If the man in your life works in an industry that requires formal ware as the uniform, than it makes sense why this would be your go to gift. However, a gift that’s meant to be used for ones work, is really just reminding the receiver that they have to work the next day, and who wants to think about that on one of the rare days off they get throughout the year? Instead of a tie, think deeper into areas of the receivers wardrobe that’s due for a bit of an upgrade. Maybe a nice pair of casual sneakers, a cool new denim jacket, some accessories to upgrade any sort of outfit, etc. Clothing in general can be a great and unique gift to give to a person, but it’s even better when it’s an item of clothing the person would actually want to wear on any given day, not just for work exclusively.
Socks/Undergarments – Now, when i say socks and underwear, I don’t necessarily mean all kinds. When it comes to socks with cool patterns, fuzzy isolated interiors, fluffy lining, knitted patterning, etc. I’m all in, and in general, those are the types of generic gifts people go out of their way to ask for. Same thing with underwear, whether it be a multi-colored pack of Calvin Klein boxer briefs, a luxury in the underwear world, or a multi-pack of food themed patterned undergarments, by all means, give away. However, generic packs of plain white socks and Hanes underwear, just don’t cut it anymore. It would be more beneficial to just buy your loved one some new underwear and tell them they were in need of an upgrade. Comfy interiors, and unique designs are very trendy currently, so steer clear of the basic standards and go for something a little more fresh.
Gift Cards – This may be a controversial one, and is just as divided of an idea as socks and underwear. Gift cards are perfect for your niece/nephew, cousins, even some close friends. Instead of shopping at their favorite establishment for them, you just give them a credit at the store and let them go nuts, it’s a great idea to be honest. However, a gift card in general is thought of as the holiday gift for the last minute shopper. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Gift card’s are perfect for any co-worker, however, if you’re looking for a gift for your boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe steer clear of them. Instead, think about the place that you’re getting the card from, and don’t underestimate your ability to pick out something you know your loved one will actually enjoy from the establishment. Trust your gut, and when in doubt, call their sibling and ask if they’d like what you’ve picked out.
All of these gift items do still work as great gifts depending on the person and situation. However, anyone will agree that when it comes to “generic” and overdone gifts, these only scratch the surface. Don’t be afraid to use any of these as a back up and branch out in terms of where you shop for everyone you need to buy for this year. Worst case, a $30 Starbucks gift card should suffice.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.