Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for the 9 Hardest People on Your List

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for the 9 Hardest People on Your List

Coming up with unique Christmas gift ideas that both surprise and delight is hard! Skip the stress this holiday season and use these gift-giving tips & tricks to select the perfect gift for the 9 hardest people on your Christmas list.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The pages of this month’s calendar are bursting with fun events – a Polar Express train ride, a visit to Santa, a cookie exchange, and the annual preschool Christmas program.

All of these activities only increase the anticipation of Christmas morning: the jubilation of unwrapping gifts, the warm glow of the Christmas tree, feasting on warm cinnamon rolls. Did I mention unwrapping gifts?!?!

Christmas gifts

With each passing day, the anticipation of Christmas morning and the gift exchanges leading up to it can ratchet-up some anxiety if you are struggling to find the perfect gift. It’s easy to break into a cold sweat at the thought of scrambling to purchase a meaningful and unique gift for the hard-to-shop-for people on your Christmas list.

But don’t sweat it! As a self-proclaimed gift guru, I’ve include my go-to list of the questions to ask myself if I get stumped. If you find yourself in a similar situation, use this list to get your creative juices flowing:

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas – Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What are the recipient’s hobbies? Do they like to cook? Consider kitchen gadgets or specialty ingredients. Do they like to mountain bike? Consider bike gear or outdoor clothing. Do they like to brew fancy coffees at home? Consider rare coffee beans or personalized mugs.
  • What do they grumble about doing most? Consider a gift that would reduce the time they spend doing that activity. For example, maybe this person complains a lot about cleaning their house. You could consider an iRobot or a gift certificate to a cleaning service.
  • What happened to them this year? Did they have a baby, buy a new house or take a trip? Find a gift that helps them remember this event. I love giving Christmas ornaments for milestones like “baby’s first Christmas” or a Paris-themed ornament to remember a special trip, like a honeymoon.

hands wrapping a Christmas gift


Gift-giving Pro Tip #1: Take notes all year long

I like to take notes in my iPhone throughout the year, especially for recipients I struggle with year after year. When I see an idea for a gift, I jot it down and when Christmas or birthdays roll around, I refer back to the notes in my iPhone. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me!

Gift-giving Pro Tip #2: Buy all year long

This really comes in handy during the hectic Christmas season. I keep baskets in the top of my closet for little gifts I find throughout the year. They keep me organized, but the items are stored out of the way until I really need them!

Gift-giving Pro Tip #3: Consult niche blogs

When I know someone has a hobby or area of interest that I don’t know much about, I turn to niche blogs for help. Here’s an example: I have a good friend who loves to redecorate her home for every season and holiday, but I’m not up to speed with the latest trends in interior design, so I wouldn’t take a shot in the dark and purchase a gift for her home without doing some research. I consult blogs I trust to give me some insight into these areas.

In this case, I would type something like “best interior design blogs” into a Google search and then browse until I found a niche blog I felt comfortable with. A lot of these niche blogs promote their favorite products – both in the blog posts themselves or as ads. These blogs will have plenty of gift suggestions!

For a complete guide for simplifying your Christmas shopping, check out these 3 Surprising Holiday Shopping Hacks!

wrapped Christmas gifts

But if you are saying:

Nat, I don’t have TIME to brainstorm for everyone on my list! Can’t you just do it for me?

Of course I can!

Let me give you some suggestions! Keep reading below…

If you are still drawing a blank, I’ve included a list of my absolute favorite unique Christmas gift ideas for the ones who are so, so hard to shop for.

Unique gift ideas for the hardest people on your list


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through them, I may receive a commission from a third party at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own, and I only share links to products I personally use, love and trust.

Number 9: Teachers

Why teachers are so hard:

I find teachers to be especially hard to shop for because no gift can adequately thank a teacher enough for the work they put in every single day. I am all for gift cards to treat a teacher: coffee, manicures, pedicures, massages, restaurants. But if you are looking for something a bit more sentimental…

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Teachers:

kid's quote book

I love to give teachers a way of preserving their favorite interactions with their kids. How do you do that you ask? I love giving quote books.

My son’s preschool teacher made a comment recently that she should write a book with all the funny stories and quotes she has collected over her 30+ years of teaching. What a thought!

So, I went home and ordered two of these kid’s quote books – one for the lead teacher and one for her assistant. I hope this spurs them to write down all of the funny and adorable things their kiddos say and do and refer back to it whenever they need a reminder of why they do the hardest job on earth!

Number 8: Kids

Why kids are so hard:

I’m always afraid of duplicating something they already have. This is especially true for kids with siblings. It’s so hard to find something unque that they don’t already have AND they’ll actually enjoy playing with.

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids:


My favorite gift this year for kids is Llamanoes. It’s a game most kids are familiar with (dominoes) but with a twist (matching llamas in crazy costumes). I not only love playing this game with my four-year-old son, but I also give it regularly as gifts.

Need a last minute birthday gift? Llamanoes. Need a little gift to make a child feel special after the birth of a little brother or sister? Llamanoes. Need a stocking stuffer at Christmas? Llamanoes. I could go on and on, but just trust me, they’re a hit with kids.

Number 7: Newlyweds

Why newlyweds are so hard:

Newlyweds have just been showered with tons and tons of gifts. Between wedding showers, bachelorette parties and the wedding itself, what is there left to give? What more do they really need?

Unique Christmas gift ideas for newlyweds:

personalized "First Christmas" at our new home ornament

As with almost any gift I give, I like to give something with sentiment. My favorite gift to give newlyweds, especially for their first Christmas, is a “First Christmas” ornament.

Along the same lines, first home ornaments are great options too!

I just purchased these “new home” ornaments for both of my brother-in-laws, who bought and moved into new homes this year (one of whom was married this year too and who is still unpacking gifts).

It’s highly unlikely this type of gift will be duplicated, and each year when they decorate for Christmas, they’ll see this ornament and smile remembering that first year in their new home.

Number 6: The Super-organized

Why the super-organized are so hard:

I am so envious of my friends and family who are super organized! I am not one of those people, but I like to pretend I am. When I know friends or family are coming over, I can declutter like a pro. But whatever you do, don’t open my cabinets and closets, or else you’ll discover where that clutter resides now!

So for my friends who have adopted the “Marie Kondo” philosophy, I know better than to buy one more “thing” for them.

Unique Christmas gift ideas for the super-organized:

unique gift idea for the super-organized: experiential gifts. For a full list of unique gift ideas, visit nataliemenke.com

Instead of giving them more stuff, I get them “experiential” gifts. Experiential gifts – doing something with someone as opposed to giving a physical gift – are great alternatives for the super-organized. They don’t take up space, they don’t add to clutter, and they are just so much fun!

Experiential gifts I’ve given in the past include concert tickets, baseball game tickets, and in one very special case, a 30th birthday trip to Ireland for my sister.

Number 5: The workaholic

Why workaholics are so hard:

This kind of goes without saying, but workaholics are so hard to shop for because they don’t do much besides work. So unless you are shopping for a new briefcase, work boots or a tie, workaholics are pretty hard.

Unique Christmas gift ideas for workaholics:

Unique gift ideas for workaholics: edible gifts!

If you are all out of ideas for the workaholic in your life, try an edible gift. Even if your workaholic has no hobbies, interests or free time outside of earning a paycheck, they have to eat, right?

In the past, the two most popular gifts I’ve given for workaholics include a “meat box” (yes, you read that right) and food subscription services.

If you are asking, “What the heck is a ‘meat box,'” let me explain…

We have some awesome butchers in town that assemble boxes of meat during the holiday season. Each festive box includes individually frozen premium cuts of meat. The box is impressive and always well received by the carnivore-inclined workaholics I know.

Even if you do not have a butcher in your area that make convenient meat boxes, you can make your own meat boxes pretty easily!

As far as food subscription boxes, I’ve recently gifted “Hello Fresh” and it went over really well. I love hearing which recipes are their favorites over time.

In both cases, the workaholic in your life will thank you for making meal time a breeze after a busy work day!

Number 4: The Snazzy Dresser

Why snazzy dressers are so hard:

I like nice clothes as much as the next girl, but I would not consider myself to be extremely trendy. So when a friend or family member who is more fashionably inclined has a birthday, I don’t even consider buying them clothes or accessories. But what I will consider is…

Unique Christmas gift ideas for snazzy dressers:

Ways to help them look their best. For example, I’ve given shoe shine kits, jewelry cleaning kits, and my favorite travel steamers – all items that are related to fashion and looking your best, but aren’t actually something someone would wear.

Number 3: The Aquantance

Why aquantances are so hard:

It’s really hard to shop for someone you don’t know well. Maybe you have been invited to a birthday party for someone you only just met or maybe you drew the name of a co-worker for a Secret Santa gift, but that person isn’t your work bestie. Don’t worry, you don’t have to resort to giving generic gifts to these people!

Unique Christmas gift ideas for the aquantance:

When I need to get a gift for someone I don’t know well, I chose to support the people I do know well in my community. I like to give gifts from local small businesses, especially if I know the owner. I find that almost everyone appreciates a gift with a tie to the community.

If I shop at local boutiques, I always try to include the business card of the owner or tuck in extra information (like a flyer for upcoming events) when wrapping the gift.

Number 2: The Regifter

Why regifters are so hard:

We all know one: A chronic regifter. It’s hard to put the time and effort into shopping for a gift for a regifter because you don’t want your thoughtfulness to go to waste. I know someone who regifts ALL. THE. TIME.

But it’s not what you might think. A lot of time this regifter passes off their latest gift to someone else not because they don’t like the gift, but because they like it so much they want to share it with someone else. Weird, right?

Unique Christmas gift ideas for the Re-gifter:

unique gift ideas for a regifter

Whatever their reasons are for doing it, one way to stop re-gifting in its tracks is to personalize the item with their name. Yep. You heard me. Literally put their name on it, and they can’t give it away! (Well, not as easily anyway.)

You can follow my step-by-step Cricut tutorial and create your own stunning personalized items.

But perhaps you don’t have a Cricut or the desire to DIY every gift you give. Don’t worry – I’ve got something for you too!

Consider personalizing a Yeti! Recently, I gave a personalized Yeti for a chronic regifter, and every time I see them using it I want to say “Gotcha!” I found something you like AND actually kept!

Number 1: Someone who has everything

Why someone who has everything is so hard:

I’m willing to bet you all know at least one person who is impossible to shop for because they literally seem to have everything. I not only know a few, but I’m also married to one.

My husband never seems to need or want anything because if he sees it and he likes it, he’ll usually just get it for himself. This is so hard come Christmastime because he has absolutely nothing on his list.

Unique Christmas gift ideas for someone who has everything:

children reading and the words: sentimental gift ideas for the person with everything

I have a little trick for the person who has everything – I get them something sentimental. Usually this includes photos of our kids or trips we have taken together that year. A desk-sized calendar or mouse pad from Shutterfly.com is among my favorite sentimental gift options for the person with everything.

But I also love to have my kids give sentimental gifts when it comes to their dad and grandparents. This often takes the form of books they might enjoy reading together.

For example, my husband is a huge Liverpool fan, so I found this Liverpool Legends Alphabet book for my kids to give him last Christmas. It’s a sweet moment when I see them reading it together! My husband gets a minute to share his love of the game and his favorite team, and the kids love snuggling up with him and having his undivided attention.

Sentimental books are also great gift ideas for grandparents!

My mother-in-law loves to garden with the kids, so we got her this book by Kathy Henderson named “And the Good Brown Earth.” And my father-in-law makes pancakes for the grand kids every weekend, so it was only fitting that my kids gifted him Eric Carl’s “Pancakes, Pancakes!” book for his birthday one year.

Another option for the person with everything: experiential gifts (See #6 unique gift suggestions for the “Super Organized” above). Before kids, my husband and I would book a snowboarding trip instead of buying physical gifts. After kids, those winter getaways are harder to come by, so instead, we might spend the day as a family at the zoo for Father’s Day or get tickets for the Polar Express train ride at Christmastime.

So, what do you think of my pro tips and gift suggestions for selecting a unique Christmas gift?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!


More later! The craft room is calling, and I must go…


Natalie Administrator
Natalie Menke, the self-proclaimed Gift Guru, is always thinking about the next gift she is going to give. Her hope is to provide boundless inspiration for completely customized and personalized gifts. Happy gifting!
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2 thoughts on “Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for the 9 Hardest People on Your List”

  • These ideas are so great!

    I also keep lists on my Notes app or in a Google doc. It is helpful, too, to keep a list of something that you have given to someone if it is part of a collection or series.

    I’ve also been saving Instagram posts into a “gift ideas” collection! And I use Pinterest to keep a wish list for myself all year long and then I edit it before the holidays. It makes it easy for people to shop for me, or to give ideas when people ask for them.

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