By Emily Morrow

Unusual Gifts for Everyone on Your Holiday List


From new family members to pets, we’ve got gifts for everyone unexpected on your list.

Gift giving is hard. Gift giving to unexpected people? Even harder. 

The holiday season can be stressful enough without the added headache of trying to find gifts for people you don’t know well or have never met. 

Maybe your brother surprised your family by telling you he’s bringing home a new partner. Or maybe your great aunt Millie whom you haven’t seen in 15 years is suddenly joining you for the holidays. Maybe your new team at work (whom you’ve only met virtually) is doing a gift exchange.

Whatever unusual gift giving situation you’ve found yourself in this year, here are 20 ideas to help you find something thoughtful, not too personal, and at a reasonable budget. 

Your sibling’s new partner

So, your sibling is bringing someone new home for the holidays. Exciting! But what do you give them as a gift? Here are five ideas for thoughtful gifts that will make them feel right at home (and make you the favorite family member).

  • A beautiful notebook: Everyone can use a good notebook. And the Ink+Volt Executive Notebook is better than good — it’s a luxury notebook made with high quality materials that is designed for people who lead and inspire. 
  • A nice pen: The fan favorite Caran d’Ache 849 ballpoint pen makes the perfect holiday gift, especially when you go with the glamorous special sparkle edition. 
  • Wine chilling coasters: These unique coasters are made from freezable, reclaimed granite — the perfect thing to keep stemless wine glasses cold for a night of relaxation. 
  • Affirmation cards: Everybody could use the gift of positivity. Your recipient will be able to start their days on a positive note with these Affirmator Cards. 

New baby in the extended family

Your cousin had a baby, and now you’re expected to give them a gift these holidays? Here are a few perfect ideas for gifts for a baby whom you don’t know very well.

  • A personalized picture book: Read-aloud time is *so* important for a child’s development, so make it extra special with this personalized picture book that uses their name throughout the story.
  • An educational, customized play kit: This gift option takes the guesswork out of everything. A subscription to Lovevery will ensure that an age-appropriate, educational gift box will be delivered on the cadence of your choice. Easy peasy!
  • A snuggly stuffed animal: You can’t go wrong with a super cute, super soft stuffed animal for Baby to love on.
  • A holiday-appropriate outfit: Everyone will ooh and ahh over a baby dressed in holiday lights!

New neighbors

Neighborhood gift exchange? We’ve got you covered. Here are some great ideas for gifts that will help your neighbors warm their home, while not breaking the bank or getting *too* personal. 

  • A beautiful notepad set: The Foil Animal Notepad Set includes four of Ink+Volt’s beloved animal designs — an elephant, hummingbird, crab, and butterfly. Featuring beautiful gold foil, these notepads are charming *and* useful. 
  • A unique serving board: This lotus-shaped serving board features custom-carved carved slots for snacks and crackers, making this the perfect gift for the commensurate host or hostess.
  • Prompts to spark happiness: Happiness in a box! This clever set of "matchsticks" are each printed with a prompt, idea, or activity designed to bring a little joy into your day. Each one features a new, awesome idea for sharing and cultivating moments of delight, appreciation, and celebration every day.
  • Dried flower bouquet: Giving plants can be tricky if the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb, and a bouquet of fresh flowers is lovely, but will die in just a few days. These dried flower bouquets are beautiful and will last forever!

Coworkers you haven’t seen all year

You’ve spent the last nine months only interacting with your work team over video calls and Slack messages, and now you have to get a holiday gift? Don’t worry — these gift ideas are thoughtful, professional, and budget-friendly.

  • Cute sticky notes: Brighten up your coworker’s workspace with these adorable succulent sticky notes — the perfect thing to decorate a planner, add to notes, or just bring charm to your day.
  • A coloring book: We all need to unwind after a long day of work, and mindful coloring has been proven to be a source of stress relief and relaxation. Plus, the Ink+Volt Coloring Book is filled with inspirational phrases throughout to motivate and inspire.
  • Reusable straw set: Bendable, eco-friendly, and portable, this set of silicone straws from Food52 is ready to dive into your coworker’s iced latte, green juice, lemonade, smoothie and then stay right by their side in the adorable, functional carrying case.
  • Something to play with while on video calls: Fidget off-screen to your heart’s content with Speks magnetic balls. They are *so* fun to play with and can serve as a puzzle, a toy, and a stress reliever all in one. 

In-laws you’ve never met

Maybe you’re meeting your partner’s family for the first time. Or maybe it’s the first holiday you’re spending with their extended family. One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to show up empty handed. These gifts will make a great impression without looking like you’re trying *too* hard.

  • Gratitude journal: In this year of uncertainty and change, having a regular gratitude practice has been more important than ever. These beautiful journals come in six stunning colors and are sure to become treasured possessions.
  • Inspiring mugs: Each one of these beautiful, hand painted tea steep mugs has an inspiring phrase on the lid, bringing intention and motivation to a morning cup of tea.
  • The best to-do list they’ll ever find: The Task Pad is one of our best-sellers for a reason. Whether your recipient is a type A to-do list lover or highly disorganized, incorporating this souped up list into their routine will make a world of difference. 
  • Stunning wildflower candles: Beautiful and functional meet with these candles that have flowers pressed right into the wax. As the candles burn, the florals will naturally release their scent, filling the room with the smell of spring.