Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Top 5 Unisex Gift Ideas (Practical Picks for Under 20 Bucks!)

One time, I heard my younger brother say to my mother, “Mom, you always give practical gifts, not the things we really want.” I remember we all sorta giggled at that thought, including her. Whether it was more socks, new pjs, or some sort of fix-it kit to keep by our nightstand or in the car, this is so very true.

And even though these things were never on our holiday or birthday lists, us kids have always been appreciative for getting things we really need. My family and I value our together time over giving gifts, but when we do, it’s still a special moment. This year, on the first night of Chanukah, I received my first pair of Betseyville pjs (Yesss!), some of those ultra-soft sock/slippers with Aloe Vera (personally chosen by my 6-year old niece), a Subway gift card (to keep my healthy lifestyle on track), and a candle with an inspirational quote (to enhance my spirituality and keep my room smelling lovely). Being my family, they knew me...knowing that I needed these things and probably wouldn't buy them for myself. Yup, they were so right on!

So when I woke up today, I thought about gift-giving, and how we all want to find (or create) the most unique gifts for one another. I definitely value this; being creative around the holiday season is so very important. But giving gifts that someone else needs and could really benefit from are also very special. That said, I decided to put together a brief, basic list of affordable unisex gift ideas: 

(Photo Credit:
(1)  Eyeglass Cleaner Kit – Whether you are blind without your specs (ME) or have adopted the “geek chic” hipster trend of wearing non-prescription glasses, it’s extremely annoying when lenses get smudgy or the sides get loose around your ears. So believe me, an eyeglass cleaner kit is a perfect gift for anyone who wears glasses. And considering it is perfect to keep in a handbag, glove compartment, desk drawer, kitchen junk drawer, you can never have too many! I bought one for myself recently at The Sunglass Hut. For $12.99, the Premium Care Kit came with a 2-sided screwdriver on a keychain, cleaning cloth, and a mini-liquid spray. It is officially the most valuable item in my handbag now.

(2) A $20 Gift card – I don’t care what anyone says, a gift card is awesome! Critics of gift cards believe it’s impersonal and a "cop out." Hmmm…I get that. But I know, from being on the receiving end of a gift card, it's a great feeling getting an iced Americano (w/ soy and vanilla, of course!) from Starbucks for FREE. Or, finding a cute pair of jeans on sale at Forever 21 and having a gift card to cover its entirety or to put toward the overall cost. If you know the person’s favorite store, coffee shop, restaurant…Believe me, it’s a treat for them! They were bound to spend money there anyway, if you think about it. And also speaking from personal experience, a gift card is also wonderful when you’re downright broke, and really want/need a cup of coffee, something to eat, or a new pair of jeans to replace yours that have ripped in the inner thighs (whoops).

(Photo Credit:
   (3) A sturdy umbrella – My friend Jessica actually gave me this idea, as she recently had to find a unisex gift for a holiday gift exchange at work. When she showed me that she bought a gray umbrella, I thought it was brilliant! The one she bought was from Coach and, yes, was more than 20 bucks, but the idea was amazing. Wherever you live, there are bound to be raindrops at some point, and there is bound to be a time when you can’t find one of your umbrellas (so annoying). I believe an umbrella is also an item that you can never have too many of. If you know the person you’re giving it to, you can find exciting patterns and colors to fit his or her personality. But if it’s a gift exchange, stick to basic colors like black, gray, or navy. Great deals on umbrellas can be found at such stores as Target, Ross, and JCPenney.

(4) A coffee/tea mug – As a loyal, die-hard coffee drinker, a mug is pretty much one of my cherished possessions in life. My favorite mug is one I received from sister about 10 years ago; it is a pic of a brown-skinned girl running with a cute outfit and headphones with the appropriate caption: “Exercise Girl.” I have a personal connection to this mug for several reasons, and I could never part with it. There are so many exciting mugs out there for coffee drinkers as well as tea drinkers. There are fun sayings, symbols, and characters now on uniquely shaped and sized mugs.

(5) A magazine subscription – This gift can be a little tricky if you don’t know the person you’re giving the gift to very well. So I would keep this gift for someone close to you, such as a friend or a loved one. I have not accepted, nor do I want to accept that “print is dead.” I know the online world is where it’s at, and will eventually be the number one place for information and news (if it’s not already)...blah, blah, blah. But reading from a publication, something you can hold in your hand and flip through, is like no other! Many people forget that there are magazines out there that are specifically geared toward their niche. 

(Photo Credit:

Sports car lovers, tattoo enthusiasts, health and fitness nuts, fashioniastas, scrapbookers, rock music fanatics…There are magazines for everyone. And the special thing about a mag subscription is that it is cheap, with some starting as low as $12. Your friend or loved one will receive a magazine every month, for a full year! (TIP: Just make sure he or she doesn’t already have a subscription to that mag! Ask a mutual friend or loved one for some insight.) 

Need some more suggestions? Feel free to contact me and I'll be sure to respond to you! Happy Shopping! 


Unknown said...

You can already have a lot of stuff with 20$ if you only know where to look. I also have my personal favorites when I was young. It is really exciting to look for stuff with just enough budget. :)

Promotional Bags said...

Tea mug is the usual gift in offices party.