Gift giving for peripheral members of our social orbit can prove challenging. However, gift ideas for your son or daughter's significant other, a new and growing friendship or partnership, or anyone else you don't know too well can still be personalized without going over-the-top.
Below, we rounded up a number of go-to websites to consider that will help take the guesswork out of gift-giving. Here's where to find top-notch home and workspace goods, culinary finds, gifts for travel enthusiasts, and every interest in between.
Design-Driven Home and Office Goods
Art museum shops are an under-the-radar place to find tastefully curated gifts, no matter who you're shopping for. Online at the MoMA Design Store, find discerning gifts from sculptural barware to whimsical lighting, while San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art's (SFMMA) museum store stocks reproductions of SFMMA artworks, stationery, and journals. In the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA) online store, choose from Mondrian trays, Eames wall hangers, and handmade woven textiles from Mexico—part of LACMA's permanent collection.
Art museum shops are underrated places to seek unique gifts. For truly one-of-a-kind gifts, look out for exclusive brand and artist collaborations, which typically offer limited edition availability.
Gifts for the Kitchen
Upgrade your gift recipient's kitchen with kitchen supplies and cookware from popular cooking website Food52's eponymous label of stackable glassware, knife sets in metallic colored-handles, and stoneware mixing bowls. Our Place makes thoughtfully designed kitchen essentials, like the multi-functional and photogenic Always Pan (it comes with a spatula and steamer.) Similarly, Great Jones makes dutch ovens in fun colorways (including a dusty pink and mustard yellow), Brandless offers a range of cookware and bakeware, and seek out Material for eco-friendly chopping boards and more.
Framing photos seems to be one of those activities that gets pushed off to later, and the next thing we know, procrastinating turns into months, even years. Luckily, a number of startup companies make it easy to order affordable prints and frames. For example, Framebridge allows you to frame literally anything you want to memorialize—from digital photos to jerseys and textiles—while services like Artifact Uprising print beautiful photo books, calendars, and more from your mobile phone's camera roll or straight from your Instagram feed.
Just for Fun Gifts
At UncommonGoods, give a gift your recipient will get a kick out of, like dinosaur-shaped taco holders, an illustrated poster of literary insults, to an engraved pencil set of Anchorman movie quotes. Ban.do sells a host of fun, colorful desk items and other accessories, like an orange juice carton vase, cheeky pillow covers, and pet accessories.
Travel Experiences and Planning
Give the gift of travel planning made easy with a gift card to small group travel experts like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures, where you can book trips to destinations including Peru and Bali, by length of stay, by theme (more adventure-focused or focused on local culture and history, for example). Other ideas for travel lovers include the National Parks yearly pass, an Amtrak rail pass for U.S.-based travel, or a surprise-travel planning service which will plan a getaway based on your preferences and budget, destination unknown... until you arrive.
Gifts for Self-Care
As much as digital technology sometimes gets a bad rap in our always-on culture, there are just as many ways to unplug when used mindfully. For gift recipients who'd appreciate any opportunity to improve body, mind, and spirit, consider gift cards towards fitness and wellness app ClassPass and meditation apps like Headspace or Calm. Alternatively, a homemade coupon gifting time-saving activities, like a week's worth of home-cooked meals or babysitting services are thoughtful gestures for gift-givers on a budget.
Subscription Gift Ideas
There is a subscription service for almost anything, from coffees from around the world to wine clubs that make learning about wine more accessible, books (try Book of the Month), ties, razors (Dollar Shave Club to Billie) and snacks. Most subscription boxes come with the option to pause and skip a month, so be sure to read the fine print beforehand.