The Best Outside-the-Box Gifts 2020
APOLOGIES FOR THE SHAMELESS PLUG HERE. But, the best gifts are the ones that last forever, and it’s hard to imagine something more valuable than an upgrade to their professional skill sets. Owning The Interview is a new online course led by yours truly (and my brilliant husband, Rich) that not only gives you the strategies and secrets that land people positions with their dream companies, but it also teaches you how to implement them for yourself, too. Giving the gift of stellar interview skills is a thoughtful, lasting gift—especially this year during so much professional change. Whether you know a college senior, a recent graduate, someone looking for work or someone unhappy in their job, this course makes for a great gift.
Gift Card To Their Favorite Restaurants
This is a fun gift every year, but it’s massively important this year, in particular. Restaurants all across the country are in crisis, with countless restaurants already closed during the pandemic. In addition, gift cards are a wonderful way to support your beloved restaurants now and always. Bonus points if you include suggested uses for these cards. So they remember to use them up, such as birthdays, anniversaries, major milestones, or meaningful holidays.
A Year’s Worth of Planned Dates
Sometimes gifts are so good, they make the guide two years in a row! Last year a Memorandum reader sent in a gift guide idea that I fell in love with instantly: A year’s worth of planned dates (one each month) where the giver outlines activities, outings, etc. for a significant other, parent, best friend, etc.! While this year’s version might need to include a socially distanced option or two, the sweetness of the gift still rings true. If you’re struggling with ideas, this will help. Bonus points if you gift them a Zoom Pro account too, so your time together is never limited!
Again, we love gifts that last! Subscriptions, when done right, are brilliant. You’re essentially giving them gifts to look forward to all year long! There are literally thousands of subscription options available. So you’ll want to be selective. My favorites include:
- Kindle Unlimited: For the avid reader, let them devour books and audiobooks to their heart’s content in 2021!
- Entertainment Streaming: Can you just imagine how sweet it would be to know your Netflix, HBO Max or Disney+ is handled, for a few months or full year??
- Yummly: Avid cooks, but more importantly busy cooks, will appreciate Yummly’s customized, quality recipe recommendations and search!
- Urban Stems: No one says no to regularly delivered, gorgeous fresh flowers. Absolutely no one. Honestly, this makes a great self gift too, during a time when we’re all pretty much just staying home, and definitely craving a little bit of nature.
- Curateur: Talk about a GIFT! Curateur is the Rachel Zoe-led style subscription box that delivers seasonal style essentials straight to your door. Yes. Please.
- Atlas Coffee: We all know someone who’s very into coffee. Even the most discerning coffee fans will appreciate the quality of Atlas and their monthly box that delivers expertly-curated coffees from around the world. (These gifts are AMAZING deals, by the way!)
- Candle Subscription: I really like gifting subscriptions that include items I know my giftee will regularly use. Candles are the perfect cozy example of this, and you’ve got plenty of options to choose from, including Nest, Wickly, and Scent!
- Winc: If you have a giftee who loves wine, Winc is a thoughtful and lasting gift. The subscription is curated to their tastes, and even gets more tailored over time with their wine ratings!
Sometimes there are people who just have everything and need nothing. But even those people have to eat! Why not send them something truly special, something perfect for enjoying at the holidays. Goldbelly lets you send gourmet, iconic food gifts from top restaurants and chefs all over the country, delighting everyone who never saw these treats coming! A word of warning, do not browse their gift guide while hungry, unless you are perfectly comfortable sending one of everything to yourself, too.
Perhaps 2020’s sweetest gift for family members, Legacy Box is an outstanding service for digitizing memories. Simply fill your legacy box with any format of home movies, photos, etc, and they will digitize them for you! This box is ideal for families where there are only one set of precious photos or memories. In fact, this lets the entire family hold onto them!
Cookbook of Family Recipes
If you’d prefer to go a little more low-tech, compiling treasured family recipes and getting creative about gathering them into a digital or even physical Family Cookbook is such a sweet way to wrap up a year when we’ve all been more distanced than usual. For bonus points, send this gift early and arrange for the entire family to make the same beloved dishes on Christmas, wherever they are in the world.
This is one of my personal favorite gifts, one that I’ve both received and given many times. A. Jaffe creates custom jewelry featuring a spot on any map that’s meaningful to you. For example, I have this necklace engraved with our wedding location. But you can also create rings, cufflinks, bracelets, money clips—in any style or type of material you choose! All you need is a meaningful location in mind…
Everyone listen up, WE WILL TRAVEL AGAIN ONE DAY, MARK MY WORDS. And when we do, wouldn’t it be sweet if your giftee was already set up to head straight out the door? Giving the gift of an Airbnb gift card encourages your giftee to think of adventures that lay ahead. It’s been a long, strange year. So I love giving gifts that spread a little optimism and forward-thinking.
While 2020 isn’t exactly a year we may all want to remember forever, there were a lot of moments that were meaningful to people in the last twelve months. People got married, had babies, achieved goals, all during truly trying times, and that’s worth commemorating. There are so many stunning commemorative ornaments to choose from at Neiman Marcus, you can select a gift that celebrates the whole year, or you can select a theme that celebrates the highlight of your 2020.
I love gifts that give us a chance to get creative, because there’s literally no chance of our giftees already having them! Minted is brilliant for custom stationery gifts of all kinds, but I love the idea of a framed quote that they can hang up at home and see often. You can choose any style you like for the frame, colors, etc., it’s really your chance to customize something with a person you love in mind. For the quote, you can make it anything you like that has meaning for you and your giftee—lyrics, wedding vows, book excerpts, quotes, inside jokes, you name it!
A little disclaimer, it is too late to get this custom watercolor print for Christmas delivery, however you can get creative with a gift card or gift message to let them know it’s coming! You can completely customize these prints to commemorate any space or location that’s meaningful to you. You send the artist a photo, and you’ll get to proof the artwork as well! Choose your childhood home, your first house with your partner, a vacation spot, the place you met, it’s entirely up to you!
This smart frame is your chance to delight loved ones who are far away literally any time you want—not just at the holidays! The frame allows you to email photos directly to the frame itself, and they will appear in the frame automatically! Change them as often as you like, and use this unique gift as a way to stay connected to those you love. (Who also really love seeing photos of you and your kids, dogs, etc.)