We all know that feeling of despair when we can’t quite decide what to buy for that person in our life who seems to have everything. What do I get for my dad, who is the simplest human, or for my sister, who has that quirky taste I can’t seem to grasp?

I have been down this road one too many times and know you probably have too. The worst is showing up empty-handed and feeling guilty for not planning ahead of time. Maybe I take this seriously because my love language is gifts (sigh), or maybe it’s because my mother never showed up to a party without something for the host.

We live in a generation that is the farthest thing from personal – e-mail, texting, online chats. We seldom find a time or place to be sentimental. Whether it’s a birthday for a significant other or a cousin who is graduating, this list is sure to get your creative juices flowing.


  • Creative Cash


This idea is great (who doesn’t like money?) and shows you put forth the effort for a gift. I made something similar to this for my friend when she graduated and she loved it! To make this idea festive, stop by your local craft store and grab a few personal items — whatever you think the recipient will like! Who says money can’t grow on trees?


  1. Personalized Gift Basket

If you are running out of time and can’t make it to the mall to pick up those sneakers … rest assured, they will probably like this much better. If you know the person well, go to the grocery store and grab their favorite snacks and drinks (maybe pick up a magazine while you’re at it) and call it day. Putting together a gift basket is thoughtful and shows the other person you care about what they like. Also, throw some ribbon around the basket if you really want to impress them.

  1. Massage/Spa Gift Card

Massages are a great gift because most people hate spending money on something that is more of a luxury than a necessity. This is the perfect gift because they can use it whenever they like and it gives them the time to relax without feeling guilty. Personally, I am so busy I barely find time to brush my hair … let alone take care of my body, especially when it can be expensive. Ask a few friends to  pitch in and make the birthday girl/boy feel extra loved.


  1. Local Events:

When the right gift isn’t coming to mind, google special events in your town and plan a day to go to a local concert or picnic in the park. According to  Bustle, if your partner or friend’s love language is quality time, this is more valuable to them than anything you buy. With people working more than ever, getting alone time is harder to find. Plan a special day in advance and make sure they are available. Adding a surprise element can make it more fun and entertaining for them. It’s thoughtful and shows the effort you made to carve out a specific time just for them.

  1. Customized Gifts

I recently ordered my boyfriend a custom mug from an Etsy shop. Who knew you could personalize almost anything there? If you plan far enough in advance, you can custom order anything from cutting boards to pillow cases. I love this because it turns simple  gifts into extraordinary presents. No one would ever give a single, plain glass cup to someone, but if it has their name or special date engraved, it now becomes sentimental and special to them. I received an embroidered towel from a friend in high school and every time I use it I think of her. It’s been six years and I still love it. Isn’t that what we want? Check out this Etsy shop to see what you can get customized.


There are many other ways to celebrate a loved one. But hopefully this list inspires you to get creative for the next birthday in your friend group. My advice to you is to start early. Have the present ordered or bought at least a week in advance. That way, you aren’t stressing at the last minute running through the CVS gift card aisle getting yet another gift card to Red Lobster.