20 Thoughtful Christmas Gifts for the Adults on Your List

Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy, but it’s often accompanied by stressors that make it feel like exactly the opposite. There are dinners to host, guest bedrooms to clean, decorations to put up, cards to send out, and, amid that frenzy, we’re expected to find the perfect gifts for everyone in our lives. If there are a lot of adult relatives, friends, and coworkers on your list, holiday shopping can quickly become a monumentally difficult task.

Image via Flickr

See, the problem with shopping for adults is that they tend to already own a lot of stuff, which makes it difficult to find them something that they will actually use and appreciate. We all want to buy meaningful Christmas gifts for our loved ones, but sometimes the rush to get everyone something can get the better of us.

We often end up frantically buying the first novelty item that grabs our attention, only to realize later that no one really needs a crocheted avocado or a phone charging cord that looks like a string of Christmas lights. 

If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care, it just means that, when it comes to making your Christmas list, you might need a little direction. It’s so easy to get distracted by the latest novelty gifts on the market: pizza-shaped pillows, cat-shaped mugs, unicorn-shaped… well, everything.

The problem with these gifts is that, while they might seem clever at first, they’re often based on whatever trend is popular at the moment. Once the initial amusement has worn off, they just take up space in someone’s home. 

Nowadays, more and more people are trying to eliminate clutter in their homes, and, odds are, some of the adults on your Christmas list are among them. Once the holidays are over, they’re going to sift through the gifts they’ve received and ask themselves one question (you knew it was coming): does it spark joy? If you don’t want your Christmas gifts to be returned this year, or, even worse, regifted, the trick is not get side-tracked by gimmicky gadgets and doodad diversions.

Focus on what you know about the person you’re buying for, and what would be helpful or special to them in the long run. Maybe they’re working toward a specific achievement, or are about to embark on a significant life change. Maybe they’re struggling to stay organized, or they’re undergoing a period of creative dryness. Whatever the situation, be sensitive to their needs rather than just trying to check them off your list. 

We know what you’re probably thinking. “Gee, thanks ArtPix 3D. Now I’m even more stressed about finding the perfect presents!” Don’t worry, we have some ideas to get you started. Here are 20 thoughtful Christmas gifts for the adults on your list.

A Subscription Box

At-Home Facial Kit from Birchbox

How is a subscription box full of random products different from a clutter-creating novelty gift, you ask? Well, for starters, subscription boxes are specially curated to give you the best products in any category. They take the guesswork out of shopping, delivering useful, high-quality items right to your door.

Many subscription boxes are geared toward items that run out or need to be replaced from time to time. For example, this At-Home Facial Kit from Birchbox filled with luxury self-care products and samples. Others are designed to suit niche interests, such as Spooky Box Club or Hot Sauce of the Month Club.

They’re often highly customizable, which gives you a chance to show your friends and family members how well you know them. It’s also a great way to introduce people to new products based on the things they already love.

Lotions and Cosmetics

Mini Lipstick Trio from Besame Cosmetics

The best way to ensure that your Christmas gift doesn’t create clutter in someone’s home is to give them something consumable. Personal care products make exceptional gifts because they are both luxurious and practical. This is one of the few cases where it’s a good idea to buy someone an item they already have; for example, if your friend regularly uses a certain lotion or perfume, they might appreciate having a replacement when it runs out.

You might also consider getting them a special version of a preferred product, like a limited edition holiday item, or a set of minis for travel. This Mini Lipstick Trio from Besame Cosmetics is a great option for lipstick lovers because it offers them the opportunity to try a few different shades without having to commit to a full-sized lipstick.


Cheese Board Meeting from Mouth Foods, Inc.

Another kind of consumable item that makes a great gift is food. While it’s true that the holidays are already jam-packed with delicious meals, a lot of people neglect their regular grocery shopping because they are too busy preparing to entertain. Once the guests are gone, many hosts find their previously full-to-bursting refrigerators stocked with nothing but leftovers. A gift of thoughtful food items could be just the thing to hold them over until the next shopping trip.

If you’re a talented baker or cook, you might consider a homemade food gift. You also have the option of creating a custom snack basket. Mouth Foods, Inc, allows you to hand-pick a selection of food items you know your friends and family members will love. They also have a variety of curated artisan baskets, such as this Cheese Board Meeting complete with a slate cheese board for serving.


Image via Flickr

A bottle of wine or spirits is a classic host gift, and, with a little imagination, it can also be a great gift for almost any adult on your Christmas list. The key is to keep in mind their personal taste. A die-hard whiskey aficionado might appreciate a bottle of high-quality bourbon, whereas someone with a sweet-tooth might prefer a flavored liqueur or a cocktail kit. You can also personalize this gift with thoughtful accessories, such as a custom crystal wine-stopper from ArtPix 3D engraved with a favorite photo.

A Special Edition Book or Box Set

The Bronte Sisters Boxed Set from Barnes and Noble 

If there’s an avid reader on your Christmas list this year, odds are, you’re thinking of getting them a book. The problem with that is that the rest of their friends and family members probably have the same idea.

If you want to get the book lover in your life a thoughtful gift that will stand out, consider a special edition of a book they already love, or a boxed set of works by their favorite author, such as this classic Bronte Sisters boxed set from Barnes and Noble.

A Museum Pass

Image via Flickr

Sometimes the best gift isn’t a physical item, but the opportunity to experience something meaningful. For adults with full-time jobs, it can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to branch out from daily and weekly routines. A lot of people would love to make more time for educational activities, but these plans often fall to the wayside.

A museum pass is an invaluable gift not only because it offers the recipient the opportunity to experience history and culture in innovative ways, but also because it gives them an excuse to go. It can make a wonderfully thoughtful gift for frequent museum goers, too; you might even consider getting them a pass to a special exhibit, such as the Andy Warhol exhibition currently at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Concert Tickets

Image via Flickr

The perfect present for music lovers, concert tickets are another great way to give someone the gift of a meaningful experience. This can be a pricey gift, especially if you’re looking at tickets for a popular artist at a large venue, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are a lot of creative ways to give the friends and family members on your list a unique musical experience. Someone who enjoys independent and alternative music might enjoy seeing an up-and-coming band playing at a smaller venue or a local bar. Classical music fans would appreciate tickets to see a visiting soloist perform with a local college orchestra.

A Class

Image via Flickr

You can’t put a price on learning, but it still makes a great Christmas gift. If you’re looking for a present that will make a lasting impact on the life of a family member, friend, or coworker, consider signing them up for a class on a subject that interests them. You can browse the course schedules at your local community college, or even check with local businesses to see if they’re offering any classes.

If there’s someone on your list who would appreciate this gift but doesn’t have the time, you can purchase an online course with a flexible schedule. For example, MasterClass offers short, convenient video classes taught by experts in almost any subject.

An Audible Subscription

Bleak House from Audible

If you have a friend or loved one with a long commute, an Audible subscription is the perfect gift to help them pass the time. This audiobook subscription service offers access to audiobooks of all genres, which means that anyone on your list is sure to find something they’ll love. The best part?

These books take up no space at all, except on the device you’re using to listen to them. Audible even allows you to purchase gifts for people who are already subscribed by giving them access to more great books without interrupting their subscription.

A Photo Gift

3D Crystal Rectangle from ArtPix 3D

It’s common to feel a little nostalgic during the holidays, especially when visiting with friends and family members you don’t see that often. A great way to celebrate the good times you’ve had together is to turn your old photos into a piece of creative art. Scrapbooks or photo albums filled with memories are thoughtful gifts that anyone on your list would appreciate.

At ArtPix 3D, we believe that special moments deserve to be remembered in a special way, and personalized photo gifts are kind of our specialty. Our online ordering process makes it easy to create a unique crystal keepsake for everyone on your Christmas list. Send us any picture of a favorite memory, and our designers will turn it into a beautiful crystal engraving that will last for generations. Shop our crystal products here.

Quality Time

Image via Flickr

During the bustle of the holiday season, sometimes the best present you can give someone is simply making time for them. This is an especially great gift for any friends or relatives who will be visiting from out of town. Make it memorable by planning fun holiday activities to do together, such as ice-skating or baking Christmas cookies.

You might also take them out to a wine-tasting or an extra special meal. Whatever you choose to do together, the important part is that you’ll be creating a wonderful memory for both of you to look back on with a smile.

Custom Coupons

50 Coupon Cards from Amazon

Everyone appreciates some extra help, especially during the holidays. A custom coupon is a creative way to offer your friends and relatives a specific service based on your talents and their needs. Maybe you know a couple with young kids that would be grateful for a few nights of free babysitting. Maybe you have a busy relative who’d love to enjoy a home-cooked meal once in a while.

However you choose to help out, you can be sure that this is one gift everyone on your list will be happy to receive. You can order this book of 50 customizable coupon cards on Amazon, or you can design your own.

Donate to a Charity

Image via Flickr

Some people prefer to give than to receive. If this describes someone on your Christmas list, give them the gift of giving to others by making a donation to their favorite charity in their name. This is a great way to show the do-gooders in your life that you see and appreciate their generous efforts.

A Gift Card

Image via Flickr

Some people might be hesitant to give a gift card during the holidays, especially to a friend or family member they’re close to. While this idea may seem like a cop out, it can actually be a very thoughtful gift. The thing to remember about shopping for the adults on your list is that most of them already have a set way of doing things, and a gift they’re not expecting could be more of an inconvenience than a pleasant surprise.

A gift card, on the other hand, allows them to buy something they already want from a business they already love, your treat. When choosing a gift card, keep in mind what you know about the person you’re buying for. For example, if they like to  grab a quick cup of coffee on their way to work, they might appreciate a Starbucks gift card or eGift card.

Basic Kitchen Tools

Image via Flickr

When it comes to buying gifts for the home, there are a lot of fun-looking, niche kitchen tools out there. However, unless you know for a fact that your friend or family member really wants a portable blender or a set of novelty ice-cream scoopers, it might be best to steer clear of these items lest they be relegated to “that” kitchen drawer (we’ve all got one).

A much better gift– especially for any college students or new homeowners on your list– would be a basic kitchen tool that everyone uses at some point, such as mixing bowls, skillets, whisks, and can-openers.If you need some ideas, check out this “Kitchen Essentials List” from Mealime.

Professional Photos

Image via Flickr

We all know how difficult it is to get a good holiday photo of the whole family. Everyone squeezes together around the camera in an attempt to fit into the shot, and typically the person taking the photo doesn’t even get to be in it. If this sounds like your family at Christmas, you might consider a gift that everyone will appreciate: a family portrait session with a professional photographer.

Having your family photos taken professionally ensures that everyone looks their best and leaves you with a beautiful memory that you can all look back on and enjoy for years to come. This makes a wonderful Christmas present for parents, grandparents, and in-laws.

It also gives you an opportunity to plan next year’s photo gifts: personalized crystal keepsakes from ArtPix 3D engraved with your family portrait. You can get some great ideas for family portraits and custom crystal gifts here.

A Home and Office Care Package

Image via Flickr

If you have any new homeowners, young parents, or college students on your shopping list, this would make an incredibly thoughtful and practical gift. Create a custom care package filled with essential household items and office supplies to help them settle into a new stage of adulthood.

Simply head to your local Target or other large retail store and fill up a cart with printer paper, lightbulbs, batteries, and anything else you think would be useful to have around their home or dorm room. You can also throw in some fun items, like hot chocolate mix, holiday cookies, or decorative stationary.

Not only will this gift be much appreciated, but it will also reflect the time, thought, and care you put into it.

A Gas Card

Image via Flickr

When you’re shopping for unique Christmas gifts for your friends, family, and coworkers, a gas card probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, it’s a very thoughtful gift that anyone who drives will appreciate.

Gas can be expensive, especially for someone with a long commute, and paying for the next few fillups can be a huge help. If you live in an area serviced by a gas delivery business like Booster or Yoshi, you might even be able to save them a trip to the gas station.

A Personalized Candle

Totally Customized Candle from The Little Market

Candles are a common home gift during the holiday season, especially for people we don’t know that well. With a little imagination, though, you can turn it into a wonderfully thoughtful Christmas gift for anyone on your list. This customizable candle from The Little Market lets you get creative by selecting a fragrance and writing a short, heartfelt message for the label. This is another consumable gift that won’t create clutter, and it will make your friends and family think of you every time they light it.

A Memorial Gift

The Christmas season can be difficult for people who have lost loved ones. If you know someone that has been recently bereaved or is missing a friend or family member this time of year, consider a gift to help them remember the good times they had together.

This customizable Loved Ones Handwriting Bracelet from Etsy has allows you to engrave a handwritten note from a loved one onto a piece of jewelry. At ArtPix 3D, we know how important it is to be able to preserve the memory of the people we love. Our 2D and 3D photo engravings bring cherished photos to life inside durable crystal keepsakes. You can take a look at some of our custom crystals here.

We hope these clutter-free Christmas list ideas for adults gave you some inspiration as you continue your holiday shopping. Just remember that, when it comes to holiday gifts, it really is the thought that counts! For more great ideas, check out the rest of our blog