Gift ideas for people you don’t know well

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Buying a present for a parent or friend is relatively easy. They’ll drop hints on what they want for their birthday, or you might observe them from a distance to pick out a gift. But what about the people you just met or an acquaintance? If you’re stuck with your newer boss for secret Santa or invited to a friend of a friend’s wedding, here are some gift ideas for those occasions! These suggestions are generic enough that they’re not specific to any person, but niche enough that people likely don’t already have them.

Air fryer 

Everyone and no one has an air fryer these days. We even have an article on reasons why you should buy one. After being gifted this kitchen gadget a few years ago, my cooking has changed. You can literally throw anything into an air fryer and it’ll usually come out really well. This gift can make cookies, fries, cakes, ribs and anything else you can think of. It’s an amazing housewarming gift for the amateur cook or experienced chef! 

Weighted blanket

Weighted blankets seem like the ultimate gimmick and a trendy item that will maybe clutter landfills in the future. However, don’t knock it until you try it. As a former skeptic, I bought one for myself, and it is the best investment ever. The blanket is strangely comforting and makes me feel like a swaddled baby in a crib. If the giftee is perpetually single and craves the comfort of human touch, this is an amazing option for them. It’s like cuddling without potential awkwardness of having a person with you and has the washability of a regular blanket. Aim for better comfort and any person will love this gift.

Air purifier

Everyone complains about allergies during the spring months, and with wildfire season coming up, an air purifier is essential. The device can reduce the amount of allergens, pollutants and dust in the air, with some models helping eliminate odor or having extra filtration qualities. My advice is to buy from a name-brand company rather than the cheapest one you can find online. This will ensure that the recipient can buy filter replacements and that the air purifier won’t die on them after two weeks.

A nice bottle of wine

If you are old enough to purchase alcohol, this always works for any recipient. I’ve given countless bottles of prosecco to people in my life, and they always appreciate it! The key is to shop at BevMo!, wine merchants or liquor stores because they have a higher baseline in quality than a typical grocery store. If you’re not sure on what type of wine to get a person, here’s my tip: Younger people tend to prefer bubbly, sweet wines, while older giftees like the red and white variety. Always check reviews to see what others think, and I guarantee you that the recipient will sip the bottle away like someone who’s newly divorced from an HBO Max drama series.

These gifts are perfect for any occasion — from a white elephant gift exchange to an acquaintance’s birthday celebration. Be considerate and include a gift receipt for these items just in case the recipient owns or even hates their gift. Other than that, put a bow on it and it’s ready to be gifted!

Nicholas Clark is a deputy blog editor. Contact him at [email protected].