I’ve been single for many Christmases. If we’re gonna get specific, I’ve been single for every Christmas in my lifetime. And in that time, I’ve received many Christmas gifts from family and friends. While all well-meaning, some have hit closer to the awesomeness mark than others.
I’ve received my share of candles, random wall plaques, aloe-infused socks and picture frames. I’ve re-gifted many of them (apologies if your gift fell victim to this — not that you’d know). But I’ve also received inspired, thoughtful and ridiculously useful gifts that have blown me away.
To be fair, buying gifts for me isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And as I wrack my brain each year to do the same for my single friends, I realize that most of us could use a little help in this area. What are practical and meaningful gifts for the single person in your life? Below are some suggestions coupled with my reasoning behind them. Feel free to add to the list, and don’t forget to share this with those (hello, Grandma) who could benefit from it.
A Groupon (or similar) for some sort of service (housecleaning, massage, oil changes) is a great way to help single adults deal with all the “life” stuff that overwhelms us.
2. Sheets or towels
These can be especially useful for guys, because most wait until they’re married to get decent ones. You have to be careful here, though, because some guys just don’t care. For the ones who would appreciate moving away from the frat house look, this is a good idea. I got fleece sheets a couple Christmases ago, and they’ve rocked my world. Also, an electric blanket is a great gift for those in chillier climates.
For girls, consider giving a reasonably-priced set of stainless steel flatware. My sister did this for me a few years ago, allowing me to ditch the set I’d inherited from my other sister’s 1970s wedding. Singles deserve matching spoons, too.
4. Digital frame
Load it with current and past photos of the family. We probably live far away from family, so this keeps us attached to our roots.
5. Homemade coupon or I.O.U.
From married couples/families: a coupon good for a home-cooked meal at your place at least once a month, no strings attached. Awesome to look forward to when the alternative is a bowl of cereal in front of the TV. Or, a coupon for a service you can provide: e.g., handyman services, sewing, help with a budget or taxes, yard work, etc.
6. Tickets to a movie, concert, play or conference
I love experiences, especially if a friend or relative volunteers to go with me. Registration for Pursuit 2015 opens in February, FYI. Oh, and don’t forget the DVD from Pursuit 2014; at $20 for over eight hours of content, it’s a steal.
7. Subscription to a favorite magazine
It’s like a new friend in your mailbox every month.
8. Made-from-scratch food
Homemade jam, bread, soup mix, canned stuff from your garden or anything else awesome. Because I for one will rarely make this myself.
9. Tech accessories
Make sure you know the recipient’s tech needs and preferred brands. Smartphone or tablet cases, headphones/earbuds, speakers, chargers and other assorted paraphernalia fall under this category.
10. Anything you can’t have too much of
This category includes grocery and big-box store gift cards, high-quality coffee beans or tea, favorite toiletries (salon products, perfume/cologne, shaving supplies), chocolate, and bacon. Or better yet, chocolate with bacon.
11. Quality time or a meaningful card
Ask your single friend to hang out with you for the day. Order pizza, watch sports or a movie marathon, and spend time catching up. Or, for those who love words, write a heartfelt card detailing all the things you appreciate about your friend or family member. Be specific. Include a photo or two that reflects the good times you’ve had. Let your friend know he or she matters to you.
So there you have it. What would you add? What are the best gifts you’ve received in recent years?