Giving gifts can be a difficult task, but it's even harder when the person refuses to give any hints as to what they want.

It’s finally here: the time to start rounding up all the holiday gifts for those special people in our lives. Giving gifts is one of the best parts of the holiday season, but we can’t forget about those all too familiar lines: “I don’t want anything,” or “don’t get me anything this year.” These 10 gifts can wow even the toughest of giftees.

Homemade treats 

Who’d turn down some homemade cookies? Any homemade treat is bound to be a people pleaser during the holiday season. Cookies are a simple and traditional option, while brownies are a little more unexpected but still remain a classic. For a fun holiday twist, DIY hot chocolate or cider kits are equally enjoyable. Package the treat of choice with a festive bow, and it’s all set.


Candles are those gifts that almost nobody realizes they want until someone gives them one. Bath and Body Works is my personal candle shop of choice, but Yankee Candle is another option if one’s looking to go the extra mile. Etsy also has an abundance of customizable options with pictures or personalized scents. If one’s unsure of a scent, lavender is a great, neutral choice.


Every year, Burt’s Bees brings out its holiday gift sets, and every year I secretly long to be given one. This is the perfect gift for someone who says they don’t want anything because it’s small yet effective. The gift sets come with a great selection of different flavors of chapstick, lip balms and hand creams. They can be found at a local Walmart or Target and are already packaged for prime gift giving.

Macrame plant hanger

This one’s for the plant lovers. All one needs is some macrame cord and beads found at any craft store. This is a great gift that allows one to customize it with the cord color and bead styles. Creating a macrame plant hanger is a simple craft that’ll take no time to master. With a wide variety of knot styles, there’s an endless world of gift-giving opportunities. For an added bonus, add a pot and plant of choice to go along with it.

Subscription boxes

One can find almost anything in subscription box form, making it an excellent choice for those who “don’t want anything this year.” There’s book subscription boxes for the bookworms, Ipsy for the aspiring makeup artists and even a snack box from different countries for the foodies. Most subscription services have an option to pay for just a few boxes, so one can introduce someone to the box and give them the chance to continue it if they choose. 


Gifting someone socks is a blessing in disguise. It’s rarely something people think about wanting as a gift, but it can always be appreciated. Socks are a fun way for someone to get creative with their clothing without being too obvious about it, and there are endless choices to choose from. As an added tip, for those who find joy in giving back, Conscious Step socks give back with each pair purchased to a variety of causes, such as rainforest conservation, planting trees and the fight for equality. 

Symbolic animal adoption

This is perfect for those “I don’t want anything” people who have a favorite animal. World Wildlife is an organization that aims to protect wild animals and their habitats, and donations can be made through the purchase of a symbolic animal adoption. It offers 140 species for adoption with different extinction threat levels. Adoption kits range from $25 to $100.


Coasters are another great option because almost nobody thinks of coasters as something they may want or need, yet they’re simple and useful. An amazing selection of handmade coasters can be found on Etsy, and Shutterfly has options to personalize with a picture. Society6 is another site to find fun and interesting styles. Just because they go under a glass doesn’t mean they can’t be special. 

Sampler box

This one’s for those people who enjoy cooking or trying new foods. Hot sauces, teas, spices, rubs and coffee are just a few things that are easy to find in sampler-style gift boxes. This is a gift that’ll probably be unexpected, but the thought will surely be noticed. Some sample-style gift boxes can be found at Target or Amazon. For an added personal touch, DIY a sample gift box with one’s favorites of whatever is chosen.

Reusable water bottle

A nice reusable water bottle is a solid gift for someone who “doesn’t want anything.” It’s something that pretty much anybody will use, and they’re often a bit too expensive for someone to buy themselves, making it an excellent gift if one’s willing to splurge. Hydroflasks are obviously a great option, but Swell bottles, Yetis and an aesthetically pleasing glass option are all nice choices as well. For an extra gift bonus, add in some cute stickers for a fun personalization option. 

Gifting something to those who say they “don’t want anything” for the holiday season can be a challenge at times, but any gift, big or small, is sure to make a positive difference in that person’s life. 

Contact Avery Goodstine at For more on the culture, arts and  lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.