Shop our list of universally adored gift ideas.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated October 02, 2020
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gift ideas for the someone you don't know well, tin of tea

Whether you're shopping for a coworker, a distant cousin, or a neighbor, picking out a holiday gift for someone who you don't know very well is a tricky challenge. After all, you don't want to accidentally present a vegetarian with a salami bouquet (although all the meat eaters on your list would likely love it). The secret to getting a gift that's crowd-pleasing is picking out presents that are neutral and useful, yet still fun, like the options below. And since you're shopping for someone who you're not particularly close with, we've kept the price points reasonable, all under $25. Get ready to impress Greg from accounting with your incredible gift-giving skills.

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Set of stylish teal playing cards gift idea
Credit: Anthropologie

Stylish Set of Playing Cards


A deck of cards is a gift anyone can appreciate, and the modern design on this set makes it feel special. We see many games of gin rummy in your future. 

Best gift ideas for person don't know well, tea tin
Credit: World Market

A Crowd-Pleasing Tea


Anyone (even a devoted coffee drinker) would enjoy this blend of black and oolong tea from Harney & Sons. Plus, the elegant tin makes for a gift-worthy presentation—all you need to do is add a bow. 

Best Gifts for Person You Don't Know Very Well, phone charger
Credit: World Market

Pebble Portable Phone Charger


The next time their phone runs low on batteries, they'll be so glad you gifted them this portable charger. Not only does it fully charge most phones within one hour, but the adorable pebble shape makes it a fun conversation piece. 

Best Gifts for Person You Don't Know Very Well
Credit: Amazon

A Reliable Hot Drink Holder


You may not know whether they prefer to drink tea or coffee, but either way, this insulated travel mug will keep their preferred beverage at the ideal temperature. Thanks to vacuum insulation, beverages stay cold for 24 hours or hot for six hours. 

Herb Garden Mason Jars

Easy Herb Planter (No Green Thumb Required)


They won't need a garden or a green thumb to grow basil or mint—these hydroponic planters take the guesswork out of growing herbs indoors. Just steer clear of cilantro, as it can be a polarizing flavor. 

Best Gifts for Person You Don't Know Very Well, silicone straws
Credit: Food52

Eco-Friendly Reusable Straws


As more towns and cities ban plastic straws, these reusable silicone alternatives make a useful present. The best part: each straw can be folded and stored in its own portable carry case. 

Best Gifts for Person You Don't Know Very Well, mini speaker
Credit: Target

A Take-It-Anywhere Speaker


You don't have to know their favorite band to get them this portable Bluetooth speaker. Now they can listen to whatever they like, wherever they go. The speaker comes with a USB cable for charging and boosts up to 6 hours of playback time. 

Best Gifts for Person You Don't Know Very Well, buddha board with brush
Credit: Amazon

A Creative Buddha Board (for Kids and Adults)


Buddha boards are a modern, relaxing take on the classic Etch A Sketch. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy drawing their own creations, then watching them slowly disappear into the screen. It's surprisingly meditative. 

Hand warmer
Credit: Amazon

A Hand Warmer That Really Works


During the winter (especially if you live in a colder climate), anyone will appreciate a portable hand warmer they can take with them on a walk or long hike. This one weighs just 4.7 ounces and it comes in six different colors.

Cord organizer
Credit: Etsy

A Personalized Cord Organizer

From $6,

You don't have to know someone very well to get them a gift that feels custom—order these stylish cord organizers for all of your coworkers, with each person's initials stamped in gold.