Holiday Gift Guide With Unique Gift Ideas

June 29, 2021

Our holiday gift guide offers unique custom gift ideas for every company and budget.

Should gift giving be considered an art form? Our answer would be 'absolutely'. Giving a good gift requires creativity, imagination and thoughtfulness in order to make sure the products you choose will actually be appreciated and used by others. It's not as simple as many people think! We like to think of gifts as a way to delight or surprise someone and ultimately, to make them happy. Because of this, there's a lot of thinking, pre-planning and decision-making that goes into creating the perfect gift.

Another question we often get asked is, "Does the perfect gift exist?" The simplest way to answer this would be yes and no. We like to say that gifting is subjective, and that an ideal gift for you may not necessarily be the ideal gift for someone else. That's why people lean on companies like Gemnote to help with ideation and curation-- we use our expertise to figure out what is trending among consumers and which items are the best gifts for a broad audience. Even though you could argue that there isn't a perfect gift for everyone, there are items that are universally liked.

If you ever get overwhelmed shopping for gifts, we totally understand where you're coming from. Our hope is that the guide below gives you some inspiration, and makes shopping less daunting this holiday season.

Gifts for the Avid Reader

Have you ever made a New Year's Resolution to read more books, but failed to keep it? So have we! However, it seems like more people are putting down their laptops and digging up old books with more time at home. In an effort to promote work-life balance, we highly recommend gifting a book-themed set. To personalize it, you can choose to send a fiction page-turner or a book that resonates with your mission and values as a company.


1. Books, books, books!

The focal gift for avid readers is obviously the book. But if you’re not much of a bookworm yourself, you can easily search online to figure out which books are highly rated this year. The New York Times and Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club are two reputable resources you can start with.

The top picks this year are "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng and "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. Both of these books are great for the avid reader who is seeking a bit of thrill in their novels. Ng’s work explores the relationship between two families which are brought closer together by their children; Owens’ book is about a girl’s coming-of-age in the marshlands of North Carolina. Both books have sold over a million copies and the former is also a mini-series on Hulu.

If you want to be more creative, you can also gift a book of your choosing. If you're not sure which one is best, you can ask for recommendations at your local bookstore. Mystery novels are typically ones that have an obscure cover whereas romance novels are ones that are similar to Nicholas Sparks novels. If you know the recipient well enough, you should be able to pick out a book that would best suit their needs. You can’t get more thoughtful than that!

2. Unique bookends

While bookends are a creative way to decorate any home, they also speak a lot about the reader’s interests. There are bookends dedicated to pop culture and geeky themes, while others are mostly used for home décor. The themed ones could be a unique gift for gamers.

3. Hollow book

A hollow book can be an excellent way to hide something – a key, a secret note, or even some extra cash. You can place it in your library and people wouldn’t think to browse through your books for personal items. If these aren’t available in nearby stores, you can easily make your own. You can find do-it-yourself tutorials online and it will make your holiday gift set all the more meaningful. 

4. Scented candles

To create the perfect mood for reading, add in some scented candles to go along with your holiday gift set. Pick a scent that promotes a calm and relaxing atmosphere like lavender or citronella. If you don't have a go-to scent, you can purchase a set of candles and mix-and-match for different recipients based on their preference.

5. Colored pens

True bookworms make sure to underline, highlight, or even write down excerpts from their favorite books – this is where colored pens come in handy. The great thing about this holiday gift idea is that it doesn’t appeal to only book lovers, but also to journal enthusiasts, artists, writers and more.

6. Coffee mug/tumbler

A perfect day for many people would involve a book in one hand and a warm cup of coffee on the other. Make sure to include a mug or tumbler in your gift set. Even though drinkware is gifted often, you can always gift one that is more unique in shape, size and color way. You can even pick out one that reminds them of their favorite book or matches the branding of the book you choose.


Gifts for the Budding Chef

Another hobby many people have picked up while spending more time at home is cooking. That's why one of our recommendations for a holiday gift set is one that's centered around the kitchen. Some of the best holiday gift ideas are ones that are used often, and we can't think of anything more practical than items for the home, and especially found in the pantry. This unique gift set will be appreciated by new cooks or pro chefs alike.


1. Apron

Every chef needs an apron, so this is one gift item that will definitely be well-loved. Although aprons are sold in many places, you don't just want to pick the first one you see on Amazon. You should focus on what pattern, design and fabric will appeal to the receiver. You can get creative with this as well--whether you choose a fun, colorful, themed one or a matching set for his and hers, make sure you put some thought into the best type for your audience. You can also get add a matching oven mitt to complete your holiday gift set.

2. Personalized cutting board

All chefs probably have their own cutting boards, but they most likely don’t have a personalized one or one with a unique design. Personalized boards are usually made from maple and can feature the name of the recipient or even include a short message from you.

3. Cast iron + cast iron cleaner

A cast iron is needed in every kitchen, but it's never a fun chore to have to clean them. If you decide to give a cast iron, make sure to give a cleaner to go along with it. The perfect cast iron cleaner will make sure that you don't tire out the chef, especially after a long day of cooking. Sometimes, the best holiday gift for cooks are cleaning supplies for what happens after!


Gifts for the Total Tiktoker

Tiktok has quickly becoming everyone's favorite app, especially during the worldwide lockdown. It's become a way for many people to pass time, get creative, and has even launched some home dancers to fame! If you're looking to send a gift to someone who spends a majority of their time on Tiktok, then read on to find the perfect Tiktok holiday gift boxes.


1. Sweatshirt

A cozy, branded sweatshirt has become one of the best gifts for those spending all their time at home. Brands like Champion, Adidas, Nike and Marine Layer have always been some of the best apparel brands to gift. Not only are sweatshirts perfect for cold weather, but they can also be worn in all at-home TikTok dance videos. We recommend pairing it with fun, patterned socks to complete the look.

2. Bags/fanny packs

They say function and fashion are the best combo, and fanny packs definitely combine the best of both worlds. These high quality bags come in many different colors and are great for outdoor activities. Whether you're going for a quick jog around the neighborhood or embarking on an all-day hike, these fanny packs are a great complement to any outfit.

Gifts for the Maker

Your favorite artsy friend has probably given you years’ worth of perfectly wrapped gifts, so it’s now time to return the favor. It might seem challenging to give something to someone who's an excellent gift giver, but the below can inspire you to find the best holiday gifts for crafters.

1.Screen printing kit

Since crafters love trying new things, they will definitely love being able to DIY custom prints at home. For those who have never dabbled in screen printing and are trying it for the first time, you can get them a starter kit to help them out. A pro print-making set is also available for your crafter friend with more experience.

You can screen print all kinds of things – from t-shirts, pillowcases and bags to stationery.

2. Die-cut machine

This is unique gift for those who love making scrapbooks. A die-cutting machine will definitely help makers diversify their work. There are a lot of cutters available in the market, so it might be wise to ask for some advice from the pro's before you decide to purchase one as a gift. If you're stuck on which to get, we recommend relying on bestselling products and reading customer reviews.

3. Sewing machine

The perfect gift for your friends who have decided to make their own goods from fabric and apparel. No craft room is complete without a sewing machine. With a sewing machine at home, more possibilities for DIY home décor (and even a small business) are in their hands.

There are a lot of brands available, but of course the most popular are Singer and Brother. These are good choices if you want something more classic and provide that feeling of nostalgia.

4. Scrapbooking supplies

This is the perfect example of a gift that is not too expensive, but will definitely be enjoyed by anyone. They always say the more supplies, the better. You can pick out an all-inclusive kit with different kinds of scissors and paper punches, or you can choose themed supplies – by occasion or holiday.

5. Weaving loom

If your maker friend is into knitting, a weaving loom is a perfect gift. The great thing about weaving is that there is no limit to the designs you can come up with it – your only limit is your imagination. Rugs, bags, blankets, placemats, towels, and even clothing can all be woven.


Gifts for the Ultimate Couch Potato

Let's be honest- we have all become a little like couch potatoes and there is absolutely wrong with enjoying the comforts of your home. Items are centered around those who like to hit pause on the hustle and bustle of daily life. Couch potato holiday gifts don't have to be about being lazy rather than just simply enjoying 'you' time. These are a mix of affordable and pricier items, which creates the perfect holiday gift baskets.


1. Cozy blanket

If you don’t have a cozy blanket to keep you warm, you definitely need one! Choose blankets based on how soft, how warm and how comfortable it is. Remember, this is an investment piece! For high-quality blankets, we recommend ones that are made from material like wool, down, or cotton. Those are our top picks.

Lately, we've also found that blankets with sleeves have become more popular- some people are even calling it “bleeves”. This is another option you can explore since they're more unique and are arguably more comfortable than regular blankets since they wrap around your body.

2. Custom slippers

You may have noticed that this section contains nothing but cozy, comfortable finds for the ultimate couch potato. It wouldn't be a complete holiday gift set without a pair of the most comfortable slippers for your house. But buyer beware: not all cozy-looking slippers are the most comfortable. Make sure to choose ones that offer you great arch support as well since you'll be wearing them frequently. There are also many affordable options for branded slippers as well.

3. Popcorn

One of the best things about walking into a movie theater is the smell of buttery popcorn. Since going to movie theaters is currently not advised, you can bring the comfort of a movie back home. While many stores sell packaged or canned popcorn for consumption, you can also buy kernels so they don't perish as quickly.

The great thing about gifting a popcorn bowl is that you don’t have to finish your snacks all in one sitting. All you have to do is just pop the lid back on, and you can save some to munch on later during your next movie marathon.

4. Humidifier

While some people might think a humidifier would fall under a 'gift sets for her' category, we have found that they are useful for everyone, especially during allergy season. Some of the benefits of a humidifier include preventing influenza, making a cough more productive, reducing snoring and keeping hair/skin moist.

5. Housewarming items

For those who haven't settled into their new home yet, it might be good to gift practical housewarming gifts. You can see some ideas here. Gift sets include 'Snacks Around the Clock' which include a set of different foods to fill your pantry with, 'Drink Pairings' which are perfect for coffee lovers, 'Party Mood Makers', and a lot more selections. You’re surely bound to find the practical housewarming gifts here.        

Gifts for the Workout Warrior

Finding time to work out is difficult, but time back at home can help all the Workout Warriors maintain their schedule. This is especially important as you bring work home, and those lines of productivity become more blurred. To encourage fitness and adopting a more regular routine, check out some unique holiday gifts below that any Workout Warrior would enjoy.


1. Gym bag

A duffel bag with a lot of compartments for maximum storage would be the perfect gift. Bags that pay attention to detail are also a plus. Products that have separate compartments like zip-up mesh for sweaty clothes are definitely things to consider when looking for the best gym bag.

2. Water bottle

A dishwasher-safe, BPA-free water bottle is also a must-have for every workout warrior. If you’re willing to splurge on a unique custom water bottle, LARQ sells the world's first self-cleaning bottle with built-in water purification system. It uses UV-C LED light to eliminate over 99% of contaminates from your water and bottle.

3. Healthy snacks

Who says healthy living doesn’t include eating good food? Healthy snack options are great for productivity and a perfect guilt-free treat after exercising.

4. Exercise bands

Having a set of exercise bands at home allows you to get creative. They're easy to use and can be used in a variety of work-out classes including HIIT, strength-training and yoga. Whether you're a beginner or a pro-level athlete, bands will be your perfect gym companion.

How much should I spend on the perfect gift box?

This is a difficult question to answer, but we would have to say it depends. The best thing to do is carve out a budget and work backwards from there. We find that gifters will choose to spend more on people who are closer to them (i.e. family, close friends, partners). While you can’t put a price tag on relationships, you can almost always find a thoughtful gift within your budget. One of the most important things to note is that gifts don't have to be expensive, and sometimes the best gifts are ones that are the most thought-out. Even though Gemnote focuses on corporate gifting, we find that this can also be a useful holiday gift guide for friends as well.

At Gemnote, we do not believe in a 'one-gift-fits-all' mentality, but we hope this cool holiday gift guide has provided some inspiration for selecting items this season.

How do I avoid giving bad gifts?

The best way to avoid bad gifting is to start early and plan ahead. Waiting until the last minute to decide on annual holiday gifts or virtual event gifts will lead to low inventory and longer production times on branded gifts.

In a nutshell...

One of the main takeaways is that gifting doesn't have to be perfect. The best advice we can give is: the more personal you are, the better the gift will be. Make that your mantra when buying gifts for your loved ones.

For corporate projects, you want to take into account the theme of the event, your company's brand guidelines and items that have been gifted before. To get help on an upcoming event or on unique holiday gifts, you always reach out to us by submitting a project form here.    

It also important to plan and prepare in advance. This is key in making sure that the gifts turn out exactly as you imagine and you beat the holiday rush ahead of time. It's just one less thing to do as the year wraps up, and it will feel sooo good once you've finally checked it off your list.

Happy gifting!

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