wrapping paper plus boxes - 4 secrets to getting it right

When I asked about your thoughts on gift guides, there were several requests for miscellaneous categories — co-worker gifts, neighbor gifts, teacher or coach gifts, white elephant and silly gifts — stuff like that. So today’s list covers all that, plus includes a few ideas that are perfect for family gifts (items the whole family would enjoy). There are 34 options and more than half are $15 and under, with a whole bunch under $10 too.

I hope this guide is helpful! As usual, please share your own gift ideas in the comments. And you can find all the gift guides from this year here — the Teen Guide was by far the most popular!

Spark Series: 50 Ways to Ignite Bright Ideas — $12. They look like the prettiest little matchboxes, but inside, each match is designed to spark an idea instead of a fire.

Faceted Glass Bottle — $15. This is a special collaboration between Method and SFMOMA that would make such a great gift. The bottle is a contemporary interpretation of Method’s iconic teardrop bottle. It’s made with recycled glass, finished with a matte copper closure and filled with a clear, biodegradable hand soap with the scent of violets. It even comes in a handsome gift box. Just add a bow!

Watercolor Matchbox — $7. Yes, those are fake matches above, but these are real. : ) A pretty box of matches makes a sweet hostess gift or party favor. Homart makes dozens of pretty designs, and many are available in multiples at a discount.

Sticker Book — $9. Hey there 80’s kids. Remember collecting stickers? Well sticker books are BACK. And they’re better than ever. This is a great one, and if you want to see more, the whole collection from Pipsticks + Workman is perfect for gifting.

Roz Chast Ten Graphite Pencils — $13. This one is silly and fun. It’s a box of 10 graphite pencils, all the same color, but each with a different name.

Casa Tissue Box Cover —$12. We were gifted one of these many years ago and we’ve kept it on our living room coffee table all this time. It’s still the cutest tissue box ever.

Mini Cast Iron Skillet — $8. Talk about a bargain. This 6.5″ skillet is both adorable and totally functional. Related, you can get it even smaller at 3.5 inches for $4.50 — could be a fun stocking stuffer. I also noticed these mini cast iron skillet cookie sets that are designed for gifting.


Dress Me Notepad — $15. Intended for kids, but equally fun for grownups wanting to design children’s clothing. Each sheet has a face ready to be dressed up.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions — $14. Did someone say absurd hypothetical questions? I’ll bet you know just the person this book was written for.

Airplane Mobile — $45. I’m such a sucker for mobiles as decor. Sure they’re nice over a crib, but I love them in a family room or living room. It’s a neat way to bring 3-D art into a space.

Wooden Spoon Set — $10. Even the most well-stocked kitchen can always use new wooden spoons. Tied with a big bow, these make a handsome set and would work well as a hostess gift.


Octopus Kite — $10. This one is somewhere between silly and cool. It’s inexpensive, but interesting and would very likely get used. It comes in several different colors.

Mini BlueTooth Speaker — $12. This has amazing reviews, comes in 5 great colors, and would work for anyone who has a cell phone and likes music or podcasts (which is pretty much everyone).

Retro Uno Cards — $11. It’s just Uno, but it looks so cool with the retro packaging. And who doesn’t love Uno? Another easy stocking stuffer.

Marble Coasters — $19. This set of 4 is handsome and sturdy, and neutral enough to work in many different styles of homes.

Thumb Drive — $8. Silly! But functional. Stocking stuffer for a teen, or a fun white elephant option.

Hot Sauce Challenge Book — $24. This seems like a perfect co-worker gift, right? Or maybe for a brother-in-law? Or teenager? I can picture lots of laughs as someone tries out the challenges with their family or friends over the holiday break.

Mixed Pets Socks — $10. A five pack of cute socks. It’s a safe, happy gift.

Magnetic Bottle Opener — $20. This would make a good-looking addition to the fridge.

Bush Craft 101 Field Guide — $13. This is another book with wide-appeal for anyone that seems even mildly interested in the great outdoors.

Cat Lunchbag — $13. Weird, or awesome? My middle-schooler Oscar uses this as his lunchbag.

Galaxy Fanny Pack — $14. Could be perfect for a white elephant exchange. Or, could be perfect as a teen gift with no irony intended.

Honeypot with Dipper — $14. I think of this as a neutral kitchen accessory. It’s charming and useable, and most people don’t have their own little honey pot with a dipper.


I made a whole category of magazine subscriptions because they are one of my favorite things to gift. All you need is someone’s mailing address, and you can gift them something they’ll personally love and that will last all year.

Usually, I order the subscription online, and then pick up a current copy of the magazine at a newsstand. I roll up the magazine, tie a bow around it, and tada!: An easy, affordable, thoughtful gift. It’s also great for last-minute-picking-up-at-the-grocery-store-gift on the way to a party.

And there are so many different magazines!! It’s easy to find one that will fit anyone’s interests. Here are 5 I highly recommend:

Atlantic Magazine — $25 Thoughtful long form essays on current events.

Bon Appétit Magazine — $5. For foodies. And what a great price!

Sunset Magazine — $12. This one is ideal for anyone living in Western States (or for anyone who wishes they were).

The New Yorker Magazine — $5 for 3 months (that’s 12 issues). You always feel smarter when a issue of The New Yorker shows up in your mailbox.

Magnolia Journal — $20. Know a Fixer Upper lover? This subscription will make their day.


Here’s another mini-category within this miscellaneous gift guide. These options are great as family gifts (and some could work as individual gifts too).

Soft Enough for a King — $40. We’ve had this set for a few years and LOVE it. Throughout the month of December, when my  kids see their siblings doing something kind, they write it on a piece of paper “straw” and add it to the manger. The goal is to do so much service, that we make a soft place for Baby Jesus to rest in. The set comes with a wooden manger, a Baby Jesus doll, paper straw, and a beautiful picture book. It’s an excellent gift!

Your Family Band Course — $95. This is the sort of gift that I think Ben Blair would love. Nothing makes him happier than seeing his kids jamming together on a variety of instruments. Use the coupon DESIGN10 to get 10% off.

Retro Series Board Games — $15 to $20. There are a ton of options in this retro line. You can gift one box, or a few to make a set.

Rainbow Sport Kite — $16. I listed a silly kite above, and this one is more substantial and better quality. Kite-flying is a super fun family activity. 

1000 Piece Puzzle of Bestseller Covers — $18. We love doing a puzzle together on Christmas Day in the afternoon. This one seems awesome because there are so many conversations you could have about all those books!

Oversize Connect 4 — $99. What an impact this would make on Christmas morning. It’s four feet wide! An awesome addition to a family room or play room.


Okay. That’s it for this list. And that’s it for my official 2017 gift guides! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do these gifts spark any ideas for you? Feel free to share links in the comments.

P.S. — More gift ideas in The Shop.