Gift Guides

23 Sensible Gifts Practical People Will Appreciate (& Actually Use)

Practicality mixed with holiday gifts can conjure up images of very sad colored socks that are unwrapped with an even sadder frown. But, let it be known that the sad sock is a practical-holiday gift anomaly! And we're here to stick up for all the practical presents' actually-useful reputations. For all those friends or family members out there that would rather spend their hard-earned coin on something other than an over-priced set of loungewear, this one's for you.

There are countless aesthetically fulfilling AND functional gift options to be had, and we've hunted down the most wanted examples of them right here — from top-rated vacuums to bestselling vibrators and crowd-pleasing weekender bags that will ably support your pragmatic giftee in all of their sensible endeavors. Keep clicking for our full list of useful things, each informed by both Refinery29-reader suggestions and anonymous top-bought shopping data. Don't get it twisted: practical people need love, too, and useful gifts don't have to be sad socks.


At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Maude Vibe

Maude's Vibe continues to sell out — making its way to the top of pretty much every single one of our sex-toy stories. According to one reviewer, it's "soft to touch, easy to use, powerful and effective. Very effective. I’ve never used a personal messager before and now there is no going back to life without the vibe." There's also an unnamed member of the R29 shopping team that's admitted to using hers to gently massage her shoulders (properly cleaned of course). Assuming your socially-distant giftee will be indoors for the rest of 2020, a discreet-yet-effective vibrator is one of the most usable gifts we can think of.

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Instant Pot Multi-Use Pressure Cooker

As one reviewer said, "This isn't your mother's pressure cooker." The Instant Pot makes the same delicious dishes they probably recall from their childhood-by-Crockpot, only 70% faster and less clunky-on-the-countertop. No more 8-hour waiting periods between lunch and dinner, they can now make their stay-at-home-chef dreams come true in an...instant.

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Our Place Always Pan

For the practical cook who thinks Instant Pots are passe: it doesn't get more useful than this 8-in-one, very chic pan from a sustainable-cookware brand favorite. The magical do-it-all piece is non-toxic, incredibly nonstick, and comes washed in an array of unique kitchen hues your giftee likely won't find elsewhere. Oh, and it's currently on sale for under $100.

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Parachute Cloud Cotton Robe

If your giftee looks disappointed when unraveling one of the most top-rated robes on the market that's named after the softest thing we can imagine, then they are not a practical person. Among 26 bestselling cozy-cloak contenders, Parachute's Cloud Cotton Robe (made from two-ply gauze and premium 100% long-staple Turkish cotton) continues to take the top-bought cake for its lighter-than-air composition and variety of soothing hues to choose from. Long story short: they're not going to NOT wear it.

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Dyson V8 Absolute

Ok, this one is pricey — but, hear us out: this very expensive gift for your practical person is also potentially a gift for yourself (if you live with said giftee). Fast, lightweight, and a joy to slide on dirty surfaces, Dyson's V8 is a gadget so good it'll make any nonplussed person want to dance around with unbridled glee whilst cleaning on a Sunday. (I would know, I reviewed one and now we are in love.)

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Erin Condren Fruity Beauty Academic Planner

It's a safe assumption that your practical pals like to plan ahead — and if anyone knows how to plan, it's Erin Condren. The designer's functionally and aesthetically designed schedulers (like this here Fruity Beauty number) are bestselling organization essentials that make A+ gifting material in advance of the new year.

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Hatch Restore Smart Light Alarm Clock

You may have spotted the Hatch's Restore Smart Light & Alarm Clock spotlighted in everything from our first-ever MVP Awards to our sleep-centric roundups — and for practical reasons: this non-eyesore gadget won't just bring the sunlight into your giftee's bedroom on dark-winter mornings, it will also help them do everything from guided meditations to pre-bedtime wind-downs and snooze-through-the-night customizable sounds. In short, it's a personalized bedtime routine they can keep on their nightstands.

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Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Weekender

This sustainably-made, durable canvas bag from family-run company Lo & Sons is a consistent top-selling favorite from our roundup of best weekender bags. It also just so happens to make very useful gifting material (and is currently 60%-off) — whether it's for a short weekend away, traveling home for Thanksgiving, a socially-distant day at the park, or even just lugging a bunch of groceries home, they. will. use. it.

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Pipette Healthy Hands Bundle

A very 2020-minded bundle of healthy-hand essentials that also happens to contain an award-winning sanitizer from R29's very own MVPs Awards. Treat a sensible giftee (who definitely keeps their hands extremely clean) to this trio of soothing sulfate-free hand wash, lotion, and that cult-favorite sanitizer we were talking about.

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Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker

It's portable, it's aesthetically pleasing, it can survive getting a drink spilled on it, AND it will easily connect to their phone — what more could they want?! The oh-so-classic Marshall-amp silhouette gets a sleekly modern update with this compact design that meets rich audio quality and go-anywhere capabilities.

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Everlane The ReNew Slipper

The entire shopping team audibly gasped when The ReNew Slippers emerged onto the scene (and we're all practical people!). The pair has already made its rounds in more than a few holiday gift guides, circulated on social media, and been added to our very own virtual carts just in time for the chilly holiday season. We can express with confidence that any no-nonsense giftee in your life would be glad to pop a pair of these 100%-recycled "duvets for your feet" slippers onto their tootsies.

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Baby Foot Original Exfoliation Foot Peel

Baby Foot is a mainstay for R29 readers AND R29's Shopping team. The cult-status exfoliating foot peel circulates often in everything from first-person reviews to best-of-beauty roundups, and it also boasts over 20,000 popular reviews on Amazon — aka people love to USE it. We're going to confidently assume that will translate to a crowd-pleasing gift for any practical person you know (aka someone who could really use a pedicure but won't go to a salon).

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Uniqlo AIRism Face Mask

Face masks have become an everyday essential for running errands, jogging, or even begrudgingly taking the dog out to do its business late-night — hence why it's made our most practical-gifts-to-receive list. The AIRism mask boasts some of the highest praise on the internet (including our Beauty & Wellness writer's) and, per CDC guidelines, it checks all the proper safety boxes. It's breathable, multi-layered, and will correctly cover your giftee's nose and mouth without looking like an eyesore on their "I'm a practical person" face.

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Open Spaces Shelf Risers Set

Crafted from white-washed wood and cream-colored steel, this set of risers is one sharp and useful dual-purpose home surprise. Whether your giftee wants to use the duo for kitchen organization or as a WFH-laptop stand (or both!), this duo will get the job done and look damn good doing it.

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Click & Grow Indoor Herb Garden

The Click & Grow first made top-shopped waves in a roundup of indoor garden kits — and then it crushed the cart-numbers again during Amazon Prime Day. Why? We're guessing it's because this green-gadget is a very useful buy. With it, your giftee can open up a whole new world of over 50 pre-seeded plant pods (like cilantro, basil, wild strawberries, thyme, peppers, etc.) that will thrive before their eyes right on the countertop.

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Tushy Classic Bidet

Listen, everybody poops. Allow this aesthetically pleasing bidet, crafted by the new millennial-friendly bathroom brand Tushy, to send that supportive message in one decidedly useful gift form. Our very own Beauty & Wellness writer uses it — and swears by it for saving her money on TP along with keeping her underwear skidmark free. Now that's practical, people.

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Tushy Ottoman Toilet Stool

Or, if you want to ease into number-two territory, may we suggest Tushy's minimalist-chic version of the Squatty Potty? This "ottoman" (aka toilet stool) will blend seamlessly into your giftee's bathroom decor AND help them achieve the perfect leg positioning for taking their "most elegant dump" to date.

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Reusable Stainless Steel Pour-Over Coffee Filter

Reasonable people also tend to err on the side of eco-friendly — throw in a love of coffee and we've got the perfect present: this reusable, stainless-steel pour-over filter. It's sustainable by nature yet it still looks stylish enough in the kitchen aesthetic department to deem gift-worthy.

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Reusable Keurig Single K Cup

Perhaps they aren't the pour-over type of reasonably sustainable person — in which case, allow these reusable k-cups to take the useful-holiday-gifting cake.

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Lourdes Velvet Task Chair

Your practical giftee is probably clacking away from the discomfort of their couch while cursing that dull-aching lumbar pain like the rest of us! Enter: the stylish home office chair present — aka a useful replacement for whatever you would have bought them in a year that isn't 2020. The Lourdes chair has remained at the top of the list in our WFH roundups due to its customer-approved support, style, and affordable price point.

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Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips

Everyone appreciates a set of pearly whites. This consistently top-carted deal from Amazon Prime Day and beyond is sure to do the teeth-whitening trick for your holiday honey. What better time for your practical person to whiten their smiles than while they have the security of a mask concealing the lower half of their faces?

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by Humankind Dental Routine Set

Speaking of teeth, this colorful set of dental-routine essentials is about as useful a present as they come. Sustainably crafted with zero single-use plastic and a carbon-neutral footprint, each refillable kit contains 100% natural mouthwash tablets, toothpaste tablets, and biodegradable floss.

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Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle

There were plenty of bestselling products on sale last month, but Brooklinen's sheet bundle just keeps on ranking (and ranking). Even the most serious giftees need to sleep, so sheets are by definition a practical gift to bestow upon them! Especially with value-priced bundles boasting hard-to-argue-with reviews numbering 63,655.

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