The Ultimate Gift Guide For The Hard-To-Buy-For Friend In Your Life

Throughout the average year, it can sometimes feel as though we are in a constant cycle of gift-buying. If you are from a large family or have a big circle of friends, there are countless birthdays pretty much every month, and some of these might be important milestones (such as a sweet sixteenth or someone’s 50th). Then there are the obvious events of Christmas and Thanksgiving, along with other religious holidays (that will depend on what religion, if any, you and your family follow). But it isn’t only traditional holidays and birthdays that we need to buy for – there are also events like Mother’s Day, graduations and anniversaries that all warrant gifts as well. All in all, this can mean that the average family ends up spending a lot of money annually on presents for loved ones. While for many of us this is not a problem – you may put money specifically aside for such occasions, to ensure you have enough – it also means that eventually, you’re bound to start running out of ideas.

You’re probably buying for the same people fairly frequently, and for that reason, you can’t help but recycle old gift ideas. Additionally, every family has those people who are just impossible to buy for; the people who already have everything or those people who don’t seem to have any clear interests. Not only can this result in your tearing your hair out trying to think of something to get them, but it can also mean that you worry you are wasting your money on something they won’t like. Sure, everyone feigns approval even if they don’t like a gift they receive. But wouldn’t it be nice to finally ace a present for someone who you’ve previously struggled to buy for? For many of us, giving gifts is just as good, if not better, than receiving them, so taking the time to think outside the box a little can often pay off. If you have a couple of people in mind who you know you’ll find it hard to buy for, here are some fail safe ideas that you can fall back on if you need to.


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An experience

They say that nothing is more valuable than time. If you feel as though the gifts you buy are wasted on your friend or loved one (how many hand soaps can someone have, let’s be honest), you might want to think about going down a slightly different route. Most of us struggle to spend enough time we the ones we love; work, children, and housekeeping can all get in the way of our social lives, and we might not even see our best friend for months on end. So, with this in mind, why not dedicate a day or an evening to your loved one and take them out for a treat, at your expense? This could be anything, depending on what your/their interests are.

You could take them out for a fancy meal, where you can both catch up over some good food and drinks. Or, you could whisk them away for a spa weekend together. If you’re still struggling for ideas, and you want something a little more entertainment focused, why not look into company-provided gift days? Many businesses now specialize in providing ‘gift experiences‘ for people, so you could even buy your friend a bungee jump or a rally drive! It’s not all high-octane though – cookery classes and art workshops are also popular options provided by these companies. Make a day of it and have some fun doing something a little different together. A great friendship is all about making good memories, and this definitely falls into that category.

A gift card

Got a rough idea of the kind of present your loved one might like, but don’t quite know where to begin? This is where gift cards can come in incredibly useful. The vast majority of stores now provide and accept them, so it doesn’t matter if your friend or family member loves jewelry or power tools: you’ll be able to get them a gift card for either! Depending on what works best for you, you can either pick up a card in store or get one online at The amount of money you choose to upload onto the card is up to you, but be aware that some stories only provide values in multiples of ten. It is also worth considering how expensive the store in question is when uploading your value. After all, if the cheapest thing in the shop you have chosen is $40, a $10 gift card can look a little on the stingy side. Try and make your amount about the item you think your loved one will want to buy. ¬†Although they aren’t the most aesthetically outstanding gifts, the cards normally come in various designs, and you can personalize them with a message of your choice too.


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There are millions of hobbies and interests that vary from person to person – but the one thing nearly all of us have in common is a love of food and drink. Not only do we need it on a daily basis, but dining is also very much a social thing, and the way in which a lot of people choose to indulge. For the hard to buy for friend, an edible or drinkable gift could very well be the way forward. The casual drinker may enjoy a nice bottle of wine, or a selection of craft beers from a local brewery (since the craft beer revolution exploded a few years ago, more and more small breweries are now stocking their products in gift packs). Or, if your loved one has a slightly more refined taste, why not get them an aged bottle of premium whiskey? Providing you know they’re not the type to simply gulp it down; you can be sure that it is a gift that will stand the test of time.

If the person you have in mind is more of a foodie than anything, there are also plenty of food-related gifts that are now on the market. Some food companies offer subscription services, where you can be delivered a selection of spices, ingredients and recipe cards to your door every month. For the keen cook, this is a present that really can come in quite useful. Additionally, visiting your local deli and picking up a selection of preserves and cheeses, then presenting in a pretty basket, is a perfect way to gift your loved one with a cheese board. Of course, just remember to be aware of use-by dates when purchasing any perishables. The whole idea of giving food or drink as a present is to make sure the items are slightly luxurious – things your friend wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves on a regular basis.

Personalized gifts

When you’re trying to decide what to buy people for birthdays or Christmases, you may find yourself looking back at previous gift lists to deviate this time around. Sometimes, however, this simply isn’t always possible. We are all on a budget, and with so many people to buy for, we obviously cannot always get our loved ones the gifts we think they deserve. However, even if you do end up having to get them what you would consider a pretty ‘average’ gift, there are a few ways you can jazz it up and make it unique. Instead of getting your friend a basic novelty key ring you found in your local store, why not get them a personalized one with their initials on or a printing of a date that is important to them? In fact, it’s relatively easy to personalize just about anything, thanks to the myriad of companies who now offer this service.

Cushions, art frames, chopping boards (yes, really!) – you name it, it can be personalized. There are even some particularly innovative ideas, such as printouts of a place that is treasured by your loved one, or a painting of the soundwaves of their favorite song. Personalized gifts are a great way of showing that you have put some thought into your friend’s present, and the sentimental touch will not go unappreciated. You might be able to find some companies local to you who offer this kind of service, but if not, it is relatively easy to find businesses online who will personalize your items and then ship them to you too.

Of course, gift buying is never easy when you have to do it all the time, and you will probably find that there are some occasions when you have to recycle old ideas just to get the gift together in time. But by rethinking your concept of what presents need to be, you can come up with some innovative gifts that you know your loved ones will treasure forever.

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