Shopping·14 min read

Practical Gifts That People Will Actually Use

Practical Gifts That People Will Actually Use
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Our Place, Amazon
October 21, 2022

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Despite best efforts to find items that are thoughtful and unique, every holiday season there are inevitably those gifts that wind up stuffed in a junk drawer or in the recesses of someone’s closet. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen this year. Because there’s no better feeling than knowing your giftee will actually use something you bought them, day in and day out. And with any of the items on this list, that’s what you can expect.

We’ve got recs for presents that’ll help your loved ones commute safely, sleep better, keep their schedule straight(ish), cook yummy meals, and/or continue working from their couch for the third year straight.Want more holiday gifting ideas? Check out The Shoppes at Skimm Ave. for our recs for everyone on your list.


A foolproof electric wine opener and accessories…

This kit comes with a cordless, rechargeable wine bottle opener that makes things really, really easy. It handles everything from cutting the foil to removing the cork, and can open up to 30 bottles on a single charge. The bundle also includes an aerating wine pourer and two vacuum stoppers. Nothing to wine about here. ($34.99, Target)

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A storage-essentials collection they’ll use day after day…

And that’ll help ’em avoid single-use plastics (so really, it’s a gift for the planet too). This eight-piece Porter set from HQ’r-fave brand W&P comes with three silicone bags in different sizes so they can store snacks and produce and pack sandwiches. The two tightly sealed bowls are perfect for soups and leftovers, and the glass bottle and tumbler for coffees and smoothies. And if they’re heading to the office, the ceramic bowl makes lunch easy to tote. It doesn’t hurt that the bundle is easy on the eyes too. Psst...use code SKIMM15 at checkout for 15% off sitewide. ($135, W&P)

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spoton gps pet fence

A GPS fence that’ll let their dog run free, without running into trouble…

This is the gift the dog parent on your list (and their pup) didn’t know they needed. Think: reliable, custom, wireless fences that are easy to set up at home or on the go. From ½ acre to 1,000+ acres. And even through water. PS: Skimm’rs get 25% off. ($1,495.00, SpotOn)*

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A cordless vacuum they’ll treasure…

Anyone you know would be very, very lucky to get this gift. Described by the brand as their most powerful and intelligent cordless vac to date, this ultra-portable Dyson — which even has a laser to show the tiniest dirt specks — will completely transform the way they feel about cleaning the house. In fact, you’ll probably end up wanting one, too. ($749.99, Dyson)

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Cushion Lab

A cozy place to lay their head…

New pillows are a little luxury in themselves. But this isn’t just any old pillow. Its cushioning and ergonomic design make it incredibly comfortable, and the included pillowcase is designed to help keep skin fresh and hair less frizzy. Sweet dreams to them. (Psst…check out more of our fave pillow recs here.) ($99, Cushion Lab)

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gift box snowflake socks

Festive ankle socks that’ll last season after season…

That’s how durable these cushiony styles by Bombas are. They feature an advanced arch support system and strategically placed blister tabs. And come in four colorful, sweater-weather inspired prints. So your giftee can run those holiday errands (or just plain run) in total comfort. Aaaand total style. Psst…Skimm’rs get 20% off when they shop. ($66, Bombas)*

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A planner they can use next year — or the year after…

This one is perfect if your giftee is not exactly the conventional “planner” type but might still enjoy a place to jot things down and keep track of upcoming events. The “undated” calendar book (it does technically have dates, just not a year or the corresponding days of the week) can be used for any year. Its cloth-bound design has some vintage flair, and quirky prompts and trivia sections throughout add a lil’ fun too. And for more great holiday gifts from Amazon, check out our storefront. ($20, Amazon)

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A classic manual French press coffee maker…

This one’s ideal for those who live alone…or cohabitate with people who don’t drink coffee. It makes 12 ounces of coffee (or tea) and, even if they’re just blearily pressing the filter down at 5am, it’ll still make them feel like they’re being served at a fancy coffee shop. It’s available in several color, size, and bundle options too. ($27.99+, Amazon)

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Our Place

A pot that’ll become the centerpiece of their kitchen…

Dutch oven who? You’ve probably heard all the hype about the Always Pan, but this super-useful pot from cult-fave brand Our Place deserves a spot in their kitchen too. It’s got everything from a roasting rack/steamer to a pour spout and a spot to rest the included beechwood spoon. And with 10 color options, it’s so cute that they’ll want to leave it out on the stove even when they’re not using it. ($165, Our Place)

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A super-cozy sweatshirt…

Give the gift of a blanket they can wear all day and night. This cozy microfiber fleece sweatshirt with a sherpa lining has pockets and is machine washable — if they ever decide to take it off. It comes in over 20 colorways and patterns and is available in two lengths. ($23.99+, Amazon)

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An AirTag (or four) for your most forgetful friend…

Get them a personalized AirTag (engraving is free) to help ’em keep track of all their most treasured possessions. As an added bonus, you’ll never have to follow them around town looking for their keys again. ($29+, Apple)

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A diaper bag that’s actually a fanny pack…

Help your favorite new parent ditch the heavy diaper bag (at least sometimes) with this fanny pack version that comes with a matching changing mat. Your giftee can even run it through the washing machine in case of any, er, pooptastrophes. It’s not like a regular fanny pack, it’s a cool fanny pack. ($68, Storq)

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The Instant Pot you know they won’t buy themselves…

They’re always asking you what you use your Instant Pot for, but you know they’re not going to make a move anytime soon. So treat them to this cooking device (in 3-, 6-, or 8-quart options) that has a cult following for a reason. They can use it to make everything from stews to rice to yogurt…and when they’re done, the stainless steel cooking pot can go right in the dishwasher. ($79.99+, Amazon)

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A bike basket that actually looks cute…

Shopping for someone who prefers to travel via two wheels? Upgrade their ride (and help them carry everything from groceries to library books) with this handwoven, fair-trade Ghanaian basket in one of five pretty patterns. ($100, Goodee)

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Uncommon Goods

And a biker-friendly gift that’ll help keep ’em safe…

Help them stay visible after dark with these reflective socks, which work for running, too. Another plus? They can go in the washer and dryer. And for more great holiday gifts from Uncommon Goods, shop here. ($15, Uncommon Goods)

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Dagne Dover

A little bag they can take anywhere…

Make quick trips out of the house even quicker with this “essentials pouch” available in either a neoprene or organic cotton design. Only 7½ inches tall, it zips shut and can hold keys, credit cards, cash, etc. For an even sweeter gift, tuck a gift card to their favorite coffee shop inside. ($40, Dagne Dover)

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A set of nifty reusable cups…

Give your giftee a hand with their pending New Year’s resolution to start making coffee at home. These collapsible silicone cups are leakproof, easy to clean, and big enough to hold a 16-ounce drink. They also come with straws and matching sleeves to protect hands from hot beverages. ($68/4 pack, Stojo)

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A high-quality speaker perfect for the at-home entertainer…

The great thing about this gift is that if they already have one, it doesn’t matter — their Sonos One speakers can be connected to play the same music all over their apartment or house. They can use voice control or just stream from their phone or computer the old-fashioned way. ($219, Sonos)

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An all-in-one charger for the person whose phone is always out of juice…

You know that sinking feeling when you wake up and your device is at 5% battery? Thanks to this clever charging station, your giftee will never know that dread. The sleek dock charges up to four devices — like their AirPods, Apple Watch, and smartphone — all at once. Note: It won’t work for Android devices. ($150, Case-Mate)

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A work setup that’s couch-friendly…

After almost three years of WFH, perhaps they still haven’t graduated from the couch to a desk. If so, it’s time for you to embrace the new them too. This portable desk made from bamboo has a little drawer and a tilting stand perfect for computers or books. And when it’s time to take a break, they can also use it to eat lunch. ($39.99+, Amazon)

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An ultra-popular toilet attachment…

Hello, hygiene. This small, discreet bidet takes under 10 minutes to install and is adjustable to fit most toilets. It comes in nine color combinations, and is bound to change their bathroom routine for the better. It’ll also help them use less toilet paper, which we love for the environment. Win-win. ($99, Tushy)

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A super-practical bag made from waxed canvas and vegan leather…

This bag has it all: shoulder straps, backpack straps, a laptop pocket, a luggage sleeve, even a removable clutch. Not to mention it zips closed to keep everything safe inside. While it’s made by a company called Momkindness, your giftee doesn’t have to be a mom to appreciate its utility. Psst…buy any Everyday Bag and get a FREE Pack-it-Up Pouch (a $29 value). Place both items in your cart and use code SKIMMGIFT at checkout. ($110, Momkindness)

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EvtodiCom via Etsy

A passport holder that’s also a safe spot for their vaccination cards…

This real leather vaccine card holder also works as a passport case or mini wallet. Or all three. It comes in a bunch of colors and can be personalized (e.g., with your giftee’s name) for a few extra bucks — so you can find one that fits your fave globetrotter. And for more great holiday gifts from Etsy, shop here. ($16.80+, EvtodiCom via Etsy)

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*This denotes a sponsored section.

†PPS: This is a paid advertisement from Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC. Terms apply.

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