29 Big Gift Ideas 29 Big Gift Ideas

In a time when presence, quite literally, is a present unto itself, gifts take on a whole new tenor. So, after asking our own to think about the best they've ever received, we collected 29 out-of-the-box ideas that fit the bill for a variety of giftees and budgets. From a private garden to a video worth a thousand replays, these gift ideas are for the people in our lives who deserve to be delighted in a big way.

A Weekend Away

Photographed by Jessica Xie.
When it comes to giving an experience over a thing, travel takes the unforgettable cake — it also happens to be a big gift idea that's taken on even bigger significance in the post-COVID world. It's likely been a moment since your loved one set foot outside their neighborhood, so we're willing to guess that giving the opportunity to venture out will be an invaluable one this year. If you won't be traveling alongside your chosen giftee, you can still foot the bill for their stay away with a gift card to a booking website or ensure they’re well-equipped on the packing front with a brand-spanking-new weekender bag that boasts best-selling status.

A Piece Of Home

On the flip side, the person on your list might find themselves far from where they call home and yearning for a tangible reminder of their happy place. A custom map that details some meaningful coordinates — a childhood home, a significant meeting place, or a life-changing locale — makes for a personalized gift that’s literally out of the box.

A Kitchen Thing Worth Leaving Out

Is your giftee’s kitchen getting a little ... crammed? Whether they’re a gadget-happy home chef or they use their oven to store footwear, the person on your list might be short on storage space in an already-not-huge cooking zone. Lucky for them (and for you, gift-giver), food-prep essentials have never been more stylish. Whether it’s a dreamy pistachio-green electric kettle, the unstoppable Our Place Perfect Pot, or a full set of canary-yellow cookware, these are the pieces your loved one may not have the space for — and they’ll thank you for it.

A Better Bathroom Experience

As unglamorous as it might be, we all have to use the bathroom — and while we may not give a lot of thought to our business, the act of going doesn’t have to be a drab one. There’s nothing like heavenly hand soap and look-at-me towels to elevate and enliven a functional, no-frills room. Another out-of-the-box (and incredibly crowd-pleasing) bathroom gift idea is Tushy's best-selling bidet that's editor-approved for leaving nether-regions squeaky-clean — and looking damn good while doing it.

A Video Worth A Thousand Replays

Photographed by Beth Sacca.
Serious question: What the heck did we do before Cameo came along? Every gift seems totally ho-hum compared to the completely customizable and endlessly enjoyable potential of a selfie shout-out filmed by your favorite “celebrity” (if you consider a Real Housewife to warrant star status). If a cultish reality-TV personality or all-star athlete isn’t your loved one’s speed, there are other ways to give the gift of moving pictures, like a thought-provoking lecture from MasterClass or a subscription to a streaming service like Disney+.

A Garden

If you know a green thumb who has lofty salad goals but lacks the necessary outdoor space to grow butterhead, you can blow their mind with a space-age, hydroponic farm stand from Lettuce Grow — it’s equipped with soil, fertilizer, and enough light to ensure flourishing rings of edible greens. If your yard-starved recipient is yearning for an actual outdoor plot, consult a website like SharedEarth or YardYum — both connect gardeners in search of grass with home or landowners that have an excess of acreage.

A Reason To Cook More

If you’ve got a cuisine-curious friend on your list, you’re in luck — the internet is replete with delicious and conveniently packaged ingredients for those who like to cook (or just eat). For the environmentally-minded, there’s Misfits Market, a direct-to-consumer supplier of slightly offbeat produce that didn’t make the cut at the big-box grocery store. If you love the idea of a food subscription but want to keep your gift hyper-local, you could treat your giftee to a CSA (community-supported agriculture) membership — the website Local Harvest can help you find a farm-share in your (or your loved one’s) city. Either way, your pal will be grateful that you served up some inspiration for their next meal.

A Spa Trip For The Very Lazy

Photographed by Tami Aftab.
Sure, a spa treatment is a rare indulgence — but what’s even more high-rolling is enjoying a self-care service from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to websites like Soothe, you can book an aesthetician or a massage therapist to deliver their care to your doorstep (and yes, intrepid shopper, they sell gift cards for easy wish fulfillment). If your recipient is more the DIY type, kit them out with one of Olive & June’s manicure and pedicure sets or a face-firming gua sha tool that comes with a deeply moisturizing, CBD-infused face oil.

A Deep Clean

We all devote more time than we’d like to household tasks, so why not infuse your loved one’s daily drudgery with a little luxury? They’d probably never treat themselves to upscale laundry detergent but, once they give DedCool’s sumptuous-scented soap a whiff, they’ll be glad that you decided to splurge. Or, try the gift of a stylish and sustainable under-sink with a design-forward, eco-friendly cleaning starter kit from Blueland — it's a deep clean system that’s cuter, cut with fewer chemicals, and more sustainable than most.

A Painless 9 To 5

Give the gift of an executive-level home office with a suite of goods that will ensure an ergonomic workflow in even the most cramped work-from-home zones. A velvet-covered swivel chair will definitely turn heads (without causing any back injuries) and a bespoke wood desk riser can keep you hunch-free without elevating stress levels. From a productivity standpoint, the gift of a new planner can be a big one when it comes to optimizing their workflows.

A Birth Chart

There’s nothing like the gift of astrological insight to help your giftee harness their individual destiny. Show your person that you really get them with a hardbound copy of their unique birth chart, detailing the position of the stars on the day they were born along with an in-depth analysis of how their celestial road map shapes their past, present, and future.

A Commissioned Portrait — For A Pet

The giftee in question might be number one on your list, but you’ve accepted the fact that you’ll forever play second fiddle to their devoted furry friend — and that’s OK. Lean into your silver-medal status with a gold-star gift for any pet parent: a portrait of their beloved fur-baby that's fit for a king or queen. Our favorite spots for commissioning such works of art include: Animalist for under-$100 minimalist Scandinavian prints that ship fast; Woof Blankets for classic works that will give the Royals a run for their money; Etsy for highly customizable options across a range of mediums and styles.

A Museum Membership

Photo: Mads Perch/Getty Images.
If your recipient likes to be surrounded with beauty but can’t fit another gewgaw into their objet-filled apartment, help transport them to a visual wonderland with a membership to a masterpiece-packed gallery. Institutions across the nation, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, offer gift memberships, so that you can foot the bill for your bestie to immerse themselves in shows like “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and “Barbara Kruger: Thinking Of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.

A Starter Altar

Photographed by Megan Madden.
“Shopping for spiritual people is all about intention and energy — you can’t overthink it,” advises writer Mercedes Viera in their recently published guide to spiritual gifting. We followed our shopping instincts and uncovered a best-selling tarot deck, a “guide to lunar living”, and an online course on how to use crystals — all presents that will satisfy the aspiring witch in your life.

A Private Screening

Photographed by Gabby Jones.
Film fans need not clutter their living spaces with enormous televisions to enjoy theater-quality screenings. The cinephile in your life will be delighted to receive a sleek projector that enables them to broadcast their favorite flicks in a larger-than-life format — all they need is a blank wall. Round out the experience with a countertop popcorn maker and some classic boxed candy.

An Excuse To Invite You Over For Dinner

Friends don’t let friends drink alone — whether they’re mixing up mocktails with sensual spritzers, blending a botanically-infused, low-alcohol beverage, or pouring a flight of wine boasting vintages from all over California. The gift of a sip (or two) of your loved one’s favorite festive drink will ensure that you’ll get on the guestlist every time.

A Nice Deed For Some Good Boys

Photographed by Camille Mariet.
Showering your human pals with gifts is great and all, but aren’t you forgetting about one friend in particular — a furry one? (Alexa, play “In The Arms Of An Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.) With a donation to the ASPCA, Humane Society, or Best Friends Animal Society, you can make the holidays a little more homey for a shelter-bound pet.

A Bit Of (Professional) Order

Photographed by Emli Bendixen.
While you may not be in a position to show up at your loved one’s doorstep with gloves and a contractor bag, there are professionals out there who can help your giftee get that cramped crawl space or helplessly higgledy-piggledy attic in order. The cultishly-beloved clean freaks at The Home Edit or longtime closet experts at the Container Store happily make house calls to those who are ready to admit that their lives have become unmanageable. Once the organizational overhaul is said and done, you can put the cherry on top with a few new stylish storage solutions to help them keep their new regime in place — whether that's as big as Marie Kondo's full Shoji Closet System or as small as INKA's oh-so-cool food containers.

A New Headshot

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
As remote communication increasingly becomes the norm post-COVID, it’s more important than ever to have a professional headshot — and, unsurprisingly, this is a service that doesn’t come cheap. Give your loved one the gift of a polished online presence with a photography service like Shoott, a platform that will pair you with a local photographer for a 30-minute portrait session.

A Really (Really, Really) Nice Candle

Candles come in all shapes, sizes, and prices — and it’s those fancy aspirational ones from brands with exotic names that we covet the most (but may not always have the extra coin for). A splashy candle is a true treat for that someone on your list. It’s both a precious objet and a scent experience that can transport your recipient to a new time and place, even if they’re just sitting in their living room.

A New Signature Recipe

Photographed by Naohmi Monroe.
Whether your loved one spends most of their time tinkering in the kitchen trying out new recipes or is the type that's well known to only order in, we've got the big gifts that will help both culinary camps step up their cooking games. Our ideas include immersive instruction from a reader-favorite celebrity chef (we love you, Gordon Ramsay), a cool pop-culture cookbook, and an actual game designed to inspire new meals with every roll.

A Green Friend

Photographed by Gabby Jones.
A plant is that rare gift that’s simultaneously crowd-pleasing and totally extraordinary. Think about it — a small sliver of the natural world that lives indoors and, with strategic care and neglect, changes a little bit more every day? It’s a sure-fire way to bring happiness to any home, and we’re always looking for new and creative ways to bring some greenery to our loved one’s homes. This year, instead of the standard potted pothos, try a subscription that will deliver new greenery to your recipient on a monthly basis, or a packet of baby seedling to grow from the ground up.

A Reason To Relax

Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Does your loved one need to slow down? If any number of modern-day stressors has the person on your list keyed up, you can help them get centered with one of the many online platforms that offer guidance in meditation and focus. The mobile-friendly Headspace app* offers breathing exercises, guided meditations, and sleepcasts to help you wind down; while websites like Glo allow users to stream yoga and meditation courses from a variety of vetted instructors. If you want to go the physical gift route, then we recommend opting for a meditation cushion to help encourage their practice OR an infrared sauna blanket for an at-home steam experience.

A Ticket To A Live Show

Photo: Jay Wennington/Unsplash.
Help your giftee soak up a live experience with the gift of performance. Online booking websites like Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Vivid Seats all offer gift cards in a value of your choosing, giving your recipient access to live music, comedy, dance, and Broadway.

A Favorite Song

Photographed by Stephanie Price.
While your giftee is definitely your musical muse, you may lack the chops to actually pen a tune in their honor — this doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t give them the gift of song this year. Skip the streaming-service subscription and opt for an analog listening experience in the form of a cherished album like Taylor Swift's Red on vinyl, or invest in an exhaustive collection of a favorite singer’s lyrics. If only an original recording will do, you can go as far as having a song custom-written for them. For the retro music fans, opt for a cassette player with a tailored mixtape to really take them back.

A Comic

When it comes to gifting, a token that’s tailor-made will be cherished for years to come — and we can’t think of anything more bespoke than a custom-drawn comic book with your loved one in the leading role (especially if that loved one happens to be a kid). Sites from Etsy to Uncommon Goods and Wonderbly offer character customization in a slew of narratives for your giftees who possess big main character energy.

A Nice Piece Of Jewelry

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Jewelry can be a tricky thing to gift, but we have a specific strategy when choosing the sentimental stuff. First, keep it small — a layerable necklace or skinny stacking band won’t interfere with whatever vibe your magpie giftee is currently chasing. Second, keep the jewelry personalized. Whether you’re gifting your loved one with a ring engraved with the custom coordinates of a special place, earring studs detailing a favorite nickname, or an elegant monogram necklace, there are tons of options in the bauble-o-sphere that feels bespoke.

A Skincare Splurge

Photographed by Naohmi Monroe.
There are certain skincare products whose seemingly supernatural restorative properties and triple-digit price tags have become the stuff of legend; miracle-workers like La Mer moisturizers to legendary Augustinus Bader The Rich Creams or LED-light therapy face masks from the reader-favorite likes of Dr. Dennis Gross. Unless you're planning on treating them to an expert's chemical peel or some Botox, the aforementioned treatments and tools are the next best gifting thing.

An Intro To Stocking A Community Fridge

Photographed by Naohmi Monroe.
Not everyone is enjoying a bounty of gifts this holiday season. According to the Food Bank for New York City, over 12% of New York City residents are “food insecure” — meaning that they don’t have consistent access to “enough food for an active, healthy life.” Supplying a local community fridge with healthy, high-quality excess food can be an impactful way to share resources with those in need. As Jackson Heights Community Fridge organizer Tahia Islam explained to Refinery29, “Community fridges are one way to tackle food insecurity as a mutual aid project, where it’s all about solidarity with one another and not charity.”

These outdoor refrigerators are not as hard to find as you might think: Websites like Freedge and ChangeX offer maps that you can refine by city or ZIP code to find the fridge that’s closest to you. (If you live in New York City, here’s a list of 153 locations scattered across all five boroughs.) Once you find one nearby, simply add your contribution — but don’t treat the fridge like a garbage disposal. Ideal contributions include “nonperishable goods, snacks, boxed meals, bottled water, juice, and bread,” according to Bon Appetit’s Healthyish blog. “This is not a place to dump your leftovers or expiring food.”
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. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.