The trouble with wanting to give someone the perfect gift is that first you have to find the perfect gift. The search can be fun, at the beginning. You think of everything you know about the person, what they love and what they need, and where those two might intersect. You check out curated lists of the best gifts for dads, moms, kids, teens, tweens, co-workers, gamers, tool-lovers, hikers, and priests.
But sometimes, despite all that work, you still can’t find the perfect gift. That’s why we offered to help. Just before Thanksgiving, we asked our newsletter subscribers to tell us who they were having trouble finding a great gift for, what that person was like, and how much they wanted to spend. More than 1,600 readers responded, asking for help finding gifts for moms, dads, and grandmas. For conservative uncles and 2-year-olds that like throwing rocks. For a 16-year-old daughter who likes hoodies, soccer, discord, and music.
Below are our gift picks for 79 of the 1,607 challenging giftees you sent in. We’re sorry that we couldn’t help everyone, but for those of you who didn’t get specific answers, hopefully these will provide the inspiration that you need. (If they do not, we suggest visiting our 2019 gift-guide hub for many, many more ideas.)
‘My 30-something fiancé who’s into baking, hiking, cycling, beginner carpentry, and reading.’ Budget: $100-200
‘My longtime partner/girlfriend of 11 years, whom I want to propose to, and who’s into a modern engagement ring in gold, with an understated diamond or other jewel, and maybe kind of artsy.’ Budget: $3,000
‘My wife, who’s into the Procreate app.’ Budget: $250
‘My 18-year-old nephew, who’s into … I don’t know!’ Budget: $25
‘My 17-year-old son who likes spicy potato chips.’ Budget: $20
‘My daughter who’s into long-distance hiking.’ Budget: $200
‘My 27-year-old daughter who likes cats, cheese, concerts, and storage.’ Budget: $100
Order the cheese and put it in this basket, which she can later use for storage!
‘My husband who’s into tech, film, music, the outdoors and weed.’ Budget: Less $$$ than a transeuropean flight.
‘My 23-year-old girlfriend who is originally from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and likes designer clothing, eating food, her dog, all things Harry Potter, horror movies, and the color black.’ Budget: $200
‘My mom who’s into coffee, live-laugh-love paintings, and family.’ Budget: $150
‘My sister who likes clothes and cooking, and is allergic to everything’ Budget: $100
‘My 12 and 15-year-old granddaughters who enjoy cooking, swimming, music, photography, dogs, and cats.’ Budget: $100 (each)
‘My 34-year-old daughter with eclectic taste who likes rainbows, sparkles, and high-end clothing.’ Budget: $400
‘My childhood friend whom I haven’t seen since I was 13. She just had a double mastectomy and likes the color green, travel, and parties.’ Budget: $50
Breast cancer survivor Hil Moss told the Strategist that button-down shirts are an essential part of her post-operation wardrobe. She noted that Madewell’s shirts are “comfortable and stylish,” and we think this one (in green) could be worn on a plane, or to a party — plus, it’s on sale.