Stephanie Hallett
December 10, 2018 7:00 am
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Attending a holiday party hosted by a casual acquaintance (your partner’s coworker, say, or maybe your friendly neighbor from down the hall) can be exciting, but it can also inspire fear in the heart of a thoughtful gift-giver. Yes, you can bring a bottle of wine or a baked good. But what if your host doesn’t drink? Or they’re gluten-free? Or you just don’t want to give another freaking food item? The list below can help. It’ll also be useful if you’re going to a family holiday party and have to get a gift for your cousin who you only see once every two years, or your S.O.’s brother’s new girlfriend who no one has met yet.

At some point, we all end up having to get gifts for people we don’t know very well. So bookmark this list and refer back all season long.

1Sleepy lotion


Who among us has not had trouble sleeping? This gift might feel a tad intimate, but trust us when we say your host will be forever grateful.

2Good Vibes candle

Crystal Cactus

It smells great, its exterior is pretty neutral (so it’ll fit into any decor scheme), and it’s made with magic. Holiday magic, of course.

3Instant journal by Mia Nolting

We could all stand to connect more with our feelings, so give the gift of this journal to everyone on your list this year. It makes it easy for literally anyone to start tracking their emotions, moods, and achievements.

4Orange section magnets

$11.50 Marigold Home available at Etsy Opens a new window SHOP IT Opens a new window

These are just so cute, and everyone loves citrus.

5The best-selling women’s slippers on Amazon

$19.90-$22.99 ULTRAIDEAS available at Amazon Opens a new window SHOP IT Opens a new window

You’ll have to do a little sleuthing to find out, roughly, how big your host’s feet are, but it’ll be worth it when their eyes light up after unwrapping this thoughtful gift.

6Our Family Traditions book


This is a great gift for the couple on your list who just had a baby, or even your new boo’s parents who you’re meeting for the first time. It’s tender without being saccharine.

7World map mug


Give your acquaintance the gift of travel this holiday season—or at least a warm mug of hot chocolate.

8A Night at the Movies trivia game

Guaranteed to perk up any holiday party.

9Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix

World Market

If you’re not totally over the idea of giving food for the holidays but don’t have time to bake your own cookies, this gift is the perfect compromise.

10Mini light box

All we have to say is this: you will be shocked to discover who gets obsessed with writing messages on this light box.

11Whole wheat toast coasters

Most of us would love to have more coasters but can’t be bothered to buy them for ourselves. Solution? Give these as a gift (and get a second set for yourself anyway).

12Loose-leaf tea travel bottle


Perfect for that cold-weather walk in the woods. Or through the Target parking lot. Whatever works.

13Wood-texture tote bag


There’s probably no one in the United States who needs another tote bag, but this one is gorgeous. So…just go for it.

14Hand-printed kitchen towels


You get to choose two of these pretty, hand-printed kitchen towels for the price, a lovely option for any acquaintance on your list.

15Bluetooth earbuds


Headphone jacks are disappearing left and right, which means everyone can use a pair of bluetooth headphones. And who can resist anything in rose gold?

16The most calming tea ever

Traditional Medicinals
$5.29 Traditional Medicinals SHOP IT Opens a new window

The holidays are stressful for everyone—give your new acquaintance a box of this ultra-calming tea to take the edge off the season.

17A candle that smells like the great outdoors

Parks Project

Feel good about giving this gift (that also smells amazing): Parks Project, which lives by the mantra “leave it better than you found it,” uses part of its proceeds to support the preservation of our beautiful National Parks.