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GIFT GUIDE: For People You Kinda Know

They come in all shapes and sizes -- the people on your gifting list you aren't necessarily your nearest and dearest, but who need a little-something this time of year. Could be your neighbor who waters your plants when you're away, your children's homeroom teacher, or maybe the hair-dresser who is the first person ever to understand the complex nature of your curls. You want to get them something nice, but not too personal -- and definitely not too pricey. Check out our ideas for holiday presents that hit just the right note. 

1. A Garden-In-A-Bag: Pretty much what is says on the tin -- seeds, soil and all the necessary nutrients to support a thriving tomato plant, sunflower, or even cat-grass. Your acquaintance doesn't even need a green-thumb, since all you do is add water. The bag even doubles as the pot! 

2. This New York Times Crossword Mug is both functional AND educational! Not only will the lucky recipient have something to hold a steaming cup of joe, but they'll also have an activity to do while it cools. 

3. Nothing could be easier than this no-bake, four ingredient peppermint bark from the Christmas Queen herself, Martha Stewart. Pop them in a cellophane bag, tie with some festive ribbon, and hey presto, you've got gifts. You might also consider the universally-beloved chocolate-covered pretzel (with holiday sprinkles!). 

4. And while we're feeling crafty -- why not put a fresh twist on the classic 'generic person' gift, the humble candle. If you've got a few jars, some old books and some cheap-and-cheerful votives, you can whip up this whimsical craft

5. If you're more into making your giftee do the work for themselves, how about this "coffee and donut" set? It's everything a person needs to snack like an off-duty cop -- and they can keep using the mini-donut pan for years to come. Eco-friendly and delicious. 

6. Now here's a win-win situation - this holiday stocking is a cool industrial-chic take on Christmas kitsch, and the proceeds from its sale will provide 5 children with school meals in the developing world. 

7. And since you probably don't know this person that well -- how about an awesome gift-card that lets them choose a charitable project to "spend" their donation on? Donors Choose allows gift recipients to pick an initiative in an under-funded school -- stuff like materials for art classes, or chemistry lab equipment. You fulfill a social obligation, they feel good, and a kid somewhere gets to learn.

Posted by Sarah Laing
2012-12-11, 15:10:20

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