Grab bag gifts that (hopefully) don't suck

This year my family has decided to forgo the traditional gift exchange among the adults in favor of a grab bag. This means that I have to come up with a gift that would be equally appealing to both my 26 year old sister-in-law and my 50 something uncle.

Yeah. That's easy.

After hours of deliberation, here is what I came up with, with the main goal of not becoming next years re-gift. (Notice the absense of candles, bodywash, and holiday tchotchkes.) 

Hopefully these suggestions will be helpful for anyone else who is in a tricky gifting situation.

iPhone gloves $24 to $78 from Echo
Does everyone you know have an iPhone? Do you live in a place where it gets cold?
Done and done. Chances are your buddy does not have iPhone gloves, and let me tell you, answering you phone with you nose (while possible) is a little embarrassing, and taking off your gloves is annoying. I have these, I love these.
(read my review)

Bodum double wall glasses - $26
These come in every style, and have a sleek modern design. The cool factor? The double wall means they are insulated. They are more effective at keeping cold things cool, but I like them for hot beverages as well.

Cards Against Humanity - $25
Yes, a board game. Think Apples to Apples but meaner and funnier.
Bonus - you don't have to buy the fancy version, it's available under a creative commons license, which means you can print your own. If you are willing to put in a little effort you wont have to spend a cent (if you print it out at work, but don't say I told you to do that).

Canvas Print of an Instagram photo - $30
You're an extremely talented Instagramographer, why not share your work in a big (12"x12") way?
CanvasPop offers a service especially for Instagram photos, and I'm already feeling tempted to fill my own walls...

Christmas Cactus - $16
Plants are kind of the gift that keeps on giving. These flower twice a year (not necessarily at Christmas) are super low maintenance, and quite pretty. I received one as a Christmas gift five years ago and I still love it.

Map Coasters - $35
You can choose any state you want from the Etsy Seller The Blue Print, and perhaps you could encourage the recipient to bust them out right away and stop leaving rings on your coffee table...

Two Chickens via World Vision - $25 (or any other kind of donation, as long as it isn't to the Human Fund)
Donating on someones behalf is kind of a nice gesture, especially when your friends and family already have more than enough stuff of their own.
Of course you can choose something meaningful, but I thought the chickens were cute.


  1. Hi!
    Never commented before, but love the blog and your photos!

    I love the list! My family does something similar and I am trying to think what to bring!

    That game was actually invented by someone I knew at college! it's incredibly fun!

  2. great gift ideas, i was wondering where you were going with the cute little yellow chicks lol

  3. Yea one of my aunts wanted to do this but we were like NO! I'd rather not get gifts than do a grab bag, you always end up with more duds than good gifts. But all of these are great ideas! I'd like to get any of them (and yes, the chicks are so cute!)

  4. great ideas; my dad would LOVE those iphone gloves. Lol.


  5. So I'd never heard of this game before but I think that now I'm obsessed. We NEED it. And is all out :(

  6. These are AWESOME gift ideas! They're actually things I would consider giving to people in my family - and I can't say that about most gift lists I see on blogs :)

  7. Hahah the Human Fund. Good gracious, I love Seinfeld. Anyway, these are fantastic ideas and affordable. I might check into that game for my husband's aunt. She would love it! :)

  8. I'm loving those map coasters...been swamped but dropping something in the mail for you next week ;)

  9. I love those pretty gloves! So cute and practical too.
    xo Josie

  10. i think the idea of a game is so perfect!!!
    happy holidays!

  11. Cards Against Humanity is amazing. Dave bought it to Thanksgiving with his family and then to my family for our first Christmas celebration. Hilarious. And we had to explain what "emo" meant to both of our parents.

  12. Great list. Buying for a broad spectrum is definitely hard. The gloves are a cool idea.

  13. I really, really want to try that game. Really.

    xoxo ~ Courtney

  14. My faves are the game board and the plant.
    You could also throw in some of your baked goodies.
    I know that would make ME happY )

  15. I'm totally in love with the Cards Against Humanity :9♥. I think I'm getting myself a set : ). These are awesome ideas, thanks for sharing!

  16. Love the Instagram photo and I hope whoever gets your gift is pleased!

  17. HAHA i love the title :) these are good ideas! happy friday!

  18. Those are some good gift ideas. I like the Instagram print idea.

  19. I need those gloves. I'm so glad you chose them. Now I know what my next purchase should be.

  20. I'm loving the Christmas cactus! :D

  21. Why did I think those map coasters were cubes? Really, you did a fantastic job. I can't pick gifts that even my mother would like.

  22. Just found your blog and just had to comment how much I love this idea and your gift choices! I"ll likely be copying a few of your ideas here since many of them are great for that special someone who is SO hard to shop for! The instagram idea is a fabulous idea!

    XO - Marion

  23. I like all of your gift ideas! They are both useful and would appeal to family members or disparate ages.

  24. I need Cards Against Humanity. That sounds like the best game ever.

  25. I've heard that cards against humanity is fantastic... I didn't know you could make your own though. How fantastic!!

  26. I'm adding those gloves to my Christmas wishlist!! :)