What gifts do I want? Some suggestions for your adult gift list

Monday 26th February, 2024

Deciding what to add to a gift list when you are a grown-up is hard. When I was younger, there were a lot of go-to suggestions that just are not used by most people anymore. Even as an adult you could ask for the latest CD or DVD or blue-ray (okay, okay, I admit that I am old enough that it would have actually been a tape or vinyl or video!), or for books, or all the other things that you used to go out and buy but now they are just there. Streaming and subscription services, Kindles and YouTube, Alexa and Siri and Amazon all have worked together to make coming up with gift ideas even harder than it used to be. Of course, you can ask for vouchers for a computer game, or towards streaming subscriptions, but it is just not the same. Anyway, opening a load of emails full of voucher codes really doesn't bring the same joy, does it?

So, to try to help you I have made a list of suggestions. None of these are affiliate links, I'm not shilling any brands and no one is going to pay me if you add these to your list. It is a genuine list of items that (in my opinion) make good gifts for adults. You may not agree with all of them and that is fine, you don't have to add them to your gift wish list! You may even see ideas for those hard-to-get-for people in your life.

Most of these items are not exciting, but that is because you know your own exciting gift desires. If you want something fun then just add it to your gift list too!

Luxury versions of boring items

When we buy ourselves essential stuff, we usually just got for the basic, no-frills version. Why buy socks that cost £40 for one pair when you can get a pack of 5 for a tenner? Well, the reason why is because the soft, hardwearing, absorbent but breathable qualities of the expensive socks will make you feel like you are walking on clouds, reduce the risks of yucky things like athlete's foot, and last for a long time without becoming misshapen and full of holes. So, while these gifts may seem boring, they add a bit of everyday luxury to your life.

It is a good idea to specify either a brand or material with this kind of gift-suggestion, because if you just put "expensive socks" then one person's expensive is £5 a pair, while another's is a £200 designer pair made of pure silk that have to be handwashed in unicorn's tears.

Some other examples of everyday luxury gifts are:

Pens: As in the ones that you use in meetings, to scribble love notes on, to write your diary, or whatever writing task that you haven't yet outsourced to your smart phone.

Gloves: You can get a variety of soft, warm, waterproof gloves that would be great to receive as a gift. You can even specify touch screen ones.

Fancy candles: A really good candle will fill your whole house with a glorious smell. Be sure to specify fragrances that you like or hate with this gift request!

Slippers: A decent pair of slippers with a firm sole but a soft insole makes a massive difference to working from home. If you want to go for extra comfort add some fluffy insoles!

Common kitchen utensils: I asked my old flatmate to pick up a new vegetable peeler and told her I would pay for it, expecting her to get one for a couple of quid in the supermarket. She came back with a Lakeland one that (at the time) cost about half my weekly disposable income. 15 years later we are no longer friends, but I still have that peeler and it is still as sharp and ergonomic as the day I got angry about how much it cost.

Tweezers: After decades of pinching my skin with cheap tweezers I got a really good pair for Christmas and it has made a real difference.

Pillows: whether you want goose down, memory foam, or hypoallergenic, a decent pillow will massively improve your sleep over that one that you bought in the supermarket ten years ago.

Pillowcases: Similarly, a silk pillowcase helps to reduce face wrinkles and hair-frizz.

Unnecessary but nice electricals

These are the sorts of thing that you might see and think, "Ooh that would be good to have but I can't possibly justify spending money on such an unnecessary gadget!"

Electric wine bottle opener: Whether you use it daily (I'm not judging you) or once a year, it makes life a bit easier.

Automatic soap dispenser: In this germ-aware day and age, a soap dispenser is actually quite a practical item. It will also impress guests.

Electric blanket: If you have a partner that likes a different heat in bed to you (I mean temperature, get your mind out of the gutter!), then you can ask for a dual electric blanket that can be set differently on either side of the bed.

Alexa enabled power strip: You can tell Alexa to turn on your electric blanket before you go to bed so that it is already warm when you get in. The future is here!

Coffee Machine: Having been bought a bean-to-cup espresso machine some years ago, I would argue that a good coffee machine is actually necessary.

Electric milk frother: It will go perfectly with your new espresso machine!

Rechargeable hand warmer: Depending on where you live, having portable heat can help to make the winter months more bearable.

Environmentally friendly gifts

It is easy to keep buying loads of disposable items, and it is initially cheaper than getting a sustainable product. Over its lifetime, however the reusable item will save money over time, and it doesn't create landfill. These are great gifts to ask for because they save you money over the years, and your friends and relatives will think that you care about the environment!

Hankies: An obvious one that has been used for centuries. You can also use them to wave goodbye if you want to be dramatic.

Cotton pads: A nice set of bamboo ones can last for years.

Water bottle: You probably already have a reusable water bottle, but do you have a triple insulated one that will keep your drink hot or cold for 2 days? Or that has UV-C LED technology to sanitise your drink?

Straws: Whether you favour stainless steel, glass, or silicone, anything is better than those paper ones that disintegrate hallway through your drink.

Cleaning cloths: This one may sound especially boring but there is a difference between using a luxury, microfibre cloth and a ripped up old towel. You can even buy reusable cloths in a roll to replace paper towels.

Smart Mug: These cups will keep your coffee / tea / other hot beverage hot for an hour or so on their own, or as long as you want if you put it on a special coaster. Some will even allow you to specify the exact temperature.


This is pretty self-explanatory and obvious, but always ask for some tasty treats that you don't feel right buying for yourself. That is not to say that you *can't* buy them for yourself of course! There are the obvious things like boxes of chocolate, but if you like to cook you can ask for luxury ingredients. If you don't like to cook you can ask for luxury cheating shortcuts! Most of these suggestions are expensive for what they are, but are also well within most people's budgets. A tenner isn't a big budget for most people, but it will get you a nice small luxury box of chocolates.

The best thing about these gift requests is that they don't add to the clutter in your home!

Your favourite chocolates or sweets: This can be seen as a low effort gift when you don't know what to get someone, but if you have specified your favourites then it becomes something special.

Fancy coffee, tea or hot chocolate: There are some amazing luxury hot chocolates out there these days in all different flavours.

Gourmet spices: It is up to you whether you want to specify which cuisine(s) you like best so that you don't end up with Chinese spices when you only cook Mexican food. Of course, it is also an opportunity to try something new if that's your thing!

Artisan oils and vinegars: Whether you fancy refined avocado oil, a tangy raspberry vinegar, or a chili-infused extra virgin olive oil, you can make a boring salad into a posh one with minimal effort if you have some expensive bottles. They are also good for dipping bread into.

Easy cook packs: You get an endless array of kits to make it easy to cook things like curries, stir fries, burritos…anything you want really…just by mixing a paste or powder with your choice of meat and / or veg. If you don't like cooking, these are great to quickly prepare a gourmet meal.

Toiletries: Perfume is a classic request, but you can also ask for certain shower gels, moisturisers, cleansers, and anything else that you use. You can add your normal ones to your gift list just to build up a stash and save you spending money throughout the year, or ask for the overpriced designer ones that you really want but never buy for yourself.

I hope that these suggestions give you some inspiration as to what you can add to your grown-up wish list. They may not be the most exciting gifts at first glance, but when you are cosied up with your fancy slippers drinking extravagant hot chocolate from a temperature-controlled mug and eating a freshly cooked curry, maybe you will start to appreciate the benefits. Level up your adulting!

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