It’s hard to know what the best useful gifts for your loved ones are, especially if they have unswervingly utilitarian tastes or tell you they just don’t want more stuff. That’s why giving them a gift they’ll actually use is wise. Ideally, this means finding a thoughtful, creative present that isn’t merely decorative, doesn’t add clutter, and is maybe something they never knew they needed.
There are many practical gift ideas that technically fall under the useful gift umbrella, such as socks, phone chargers, and gift cards. Oh, and let’s not forget basic coffee mugs, candles, notebooks, and hand-soap sets that are so meh they wind up gathering dust, regifted, or thrown in a donation box. They’re sensible, sure, but do they inspire genuine delight and appreciation? (Arguably not.)
We recommend focusing instead on truly unique gifts for your family, partners, friends, coworkers, or even yourself. From time-savers to space-savers, kitchen to lifestyle to tech gadgets, we’ve scoured retailers like Amazon, Uncommon Goods, Nordstrom, Etsy, REI, and Target to round up surprisingly useful gifts that still feel special (and many of which are under $25 or under $50).