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The Best Holiday Gifts for Tough-to-Shop-For People

Sometimes you’re just fresh out of ideas. These gifts work for (almost) anyone and everyone.

15 min read
11/30/2023
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Welcome to Block Party’s Gift Guides! You can find the below items on DoorDash. 

Shopping for holiday gifts every year is something that should elicit joy but often feels more like a cursed obligation — especially when it comes to those tough-to-shop-for people on my list. (Uncle Tim, do you need more socks?) 

So what do you do when December has arrived and you haven’t even started? Pull up the DoorDash app, where you’ll find countless giftable items that can be shopped and dropped straight to your stoop, no leaving of the house required. Here are the catch-all gifts I rely on that will work for just about anyone, at all kinds of price points.

Fancy Tequila 

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I love gifting La Gritona Tequila, not only because it tastes smooth and delicious, but because I’m convinced that high-quality agave-based spirits don’t give hangovers. Also, it’s distilled by a small staff of women in Jalisco, Mexico, and the label-less bottle — made from hand-blown, recycled glass — looks beautiful on any bar cart.

A Decadent Garnish 

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All cocktails are made better with the addition of a fancy garnish, and it doesn’t get much fancier than Luxardo cherries. Technically they are maraschinos, but instead of getting bleached with brine, doused in artificial almond flavoring, and re-colored with red dye, they’re soaked in all-natural marasca cherry syrup, which gives them a deep real cherry flavor that’s miles away from those familiar garish red ones. Pop them into an Old Fashioned, spoon onto ice cream, or eat them straight out of the jar — I won’t judge (because I also do this).

Ready-Made Refreshments

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As an avowed hater of most canned cocktails (don’t even get me started on the one that rhymes with smite flaw) but also a Certified Lazy Person, I was thrilled when I discovered Tip Top canned cocktails. So was my notoriously hard-to-shop-for dad when I gave him a case of premixed Manhattans for Christmas a couple years ago. Now I gift him their newest iterations as a Christmas tradition. The Boulevardier is my latest fave: a boozy blend of whiskey, vermouth, and red bitters.

Dessert-Meets-Liquor

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Sometimes the holidays require a bit of ridiculousness, and that’s when I reach for a bottle of alcoholic whipped cream, a.k.a. Whip Shots, brainchild of none other than Cardi B (all hail). Gift this to your silliest party friend or BYO it to your next holiday party for instant vibe elevations as you dispense poofs of 10% ABV vodka-laced flavored cream into everyone’s mouths. I’ve personally tasted all the flavors and can attest that the classic vanilla and seasonal holiday peppermint are the best.

Food Gifts

Local Specialties 

When it comes to catch-all gifts, specialty items from local restaurants are always a win — especially when you’re gifting to friends and families in other cities — and you can find a ton of them on DoorDash. I live in Brooklyn, so I might opt for Calabrian Chile Oil from Frankie’s 457, one of my favorite neighborhood Italian spots.

International Sweets 

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Candy is the ideal stocking stuffer, especially when it’s not your typical trick-or-treat fare. These soft and juicy Kasugai Gummy Candies are made in Japan, which gives them an instant cool factor, and the lychee flavor tastes like actual lychees rather than something concocted in a lab.

Nice Cheese

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High quality cheese is always a win, especially when you’re in need of a last minute hostess gift and everybody else is already bringing wine. I love Mt. Tam Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery for its lush, creamy texture and buttery flavor, which pairs exceptionally well with classic holiday things like sparkling wine, cider, and chocolate.

Luxurious Tinned Fish 

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Can’t deal with refrigeration but still want a crowd-pleasing edible gift? Fancy tinned fish is my go-to. It lasts forever, packs a heart-healthy punch, and can be served on its own, mixed into pasta, scooped on top of salads, or turned into dip. My favorite brand is the sustainably sourced, adorably packaged, and seriously delicious Fishwife. I’m particularly obsessed with their smoked rainbow trout, which tastes a bit like jerky.

The Ultimate Hangover Cure 

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There is no better holiday hangover cure than coconut water, and there is no better coconut water than Vitacoco Pressed. Instead of the thin texture and slightly sour flavor of most bottled coconut waters, this one contains coconut pulp, giving it a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a beautiful milky-white color. Buy a 4-pack and you’ve got the perfect budget-friendly gift for anyone with a tendency to overindulge.

Really Fast Pizza, Best Buy

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Need to go big or go home? Splurge on the novice chef in your life with an Ooni Koda 16 Pizza Oven, the hands-down best home pizza oven on the market today. It’s gas-fueled, compact, and will cook a pizza in 60 seconds, which is why it’s consistently recommended by professional chefs. This bad boy isn’t cheap, so I’d recommend buying it for someone you cohabitate with, or at least see very often, so that you too can rejoice in the fruits of its labor.

Self-Care Gifts

Body Butter 

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Everyone needs lotion, and most people (ahem, men) do not use enough of it, which is why I like to give this luxurious Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Whipped Body Butter to just about everyone. Enriched with honey and soy milk and whipped to a frothy-airy texture, it feels like butter on your skin, keeps you moisturized for 24 hours, and smells like heaven.

A Scent Journey 

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Scent, as they say, is the sense most strongly tied to memory, and that’s the idea behind this Maison Margiela Replica Memory Perfume Gift Set Box. Packed with ten different travel-sized, unisex fragrances based on specific time/place scent memories like Lazy Sunday Morning, Jazz Club, Beach Walk, and Bubble Bath, it’s perfect for the person in your life who likes to smell nice but can’t commit to just one signature scent.

Soft Lips 

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The Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask is a cult favorite for a reason. Thanks to its magical time release moisture wrap technology (I couldn’t tell you exactly what that is, but it has something to do with berries and Vitamin C), it turns dry, flaky, winter lips into soft, supple pillows overnight. Gift this to someone you like to kiss.

Multi-Use Candle 

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A candle is a nice gift. A candle that melts into skin-softening massage oil is a great gift. Thanks to its low melting temperature, this Maude Jojoba Oil Massage Candle can be poured directly onto the skin as it burns, making it an excellent addition to sexytime with your person. It’s also deliciously scented with essential oils like amber, cedar leaf, and clove, and contains vitamin-rich jojoba oil that makes skin feel amazing. 

Home Gifts

Fresh Flowers 

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In the dead of winter, nothing brightens moods like a fresh bouquet of sunflowers, which you can find at just about any local florist via DoorDash. Deliver them straight to the one you love or have them come to you so you can present them by hand, with a flourish.

Some Greenery 

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The only problem with bouquets is that they die… quickly. If you want a gift that lasts into the new year, try a live plant — ideally a snake plant, which, as a notorious plant murderer, I can attest is almost impossible to kill. Low light, barely any water, lurking pets, no matter; the snake plant will survive and thrive. They’re also easy to propagate and pretty to look at, and they naturally purify the air.

Dyson V11 Vacuum, Best Buy

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Want to be the winner of the holiday season? A cordless Dyson vacuum is the way to almost anyone’s heart. Yes, it’s a pricey gift, but it’s also a surefire way to knock the socks off even the pickiest person. This model in particular is extra-special in its ability to vacuum and mop simultaneously — plus, it’s such a sleek, thoughtfully engineered piece of tech that the recipient might even start vacuuming up dust bunnies for pleasure (and smile thinking of you each time). 

A Smart Bulb Starter Kit, Best Buy

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Switching all the lights in your home over to smart LEDs is nothing short of life-changing, and it’s also a pretty big investment. This Philips Hue kit has everything one might need to start making the switch, and all it really requires is screwing in the bulbs and pairing them with the connected app. Plus, compared to other smart LED bulbs, the Philips Hue range has a warmer, gentler glow, and is the closest thing you can get to the inviting warmth of outmoded incandescent bulbs. If you really want to be nice this holiday season, you can offer to set these bulbs up for the giftee, as well.  Bright idea!

Sporty Gifts

Sole Comforts, Dick’s Sporting Goods

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The comfiest sneakers on the market are Hoka Bondi 8s, full stop. These things feel like walking on clouds and make my achy knees and arches sigh with relief. I bought a pair for my mom one Christmas and she’s still thanking me, but they’re perfect for just about anyone in your life who prizes comfort. The chunky profile is also very Gen Z, and looks dorky-cool with whatever outfit you pair it with.

Cold Carrier, Dick’s Sporting Goods

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I received a Yeti Hopper Cooler Backpack as a gift once, and at first I was like, “Do I really need another cooler?” But then I had to go pick up a bushel of peaches from the farmers’ market and was like, “Hallelujah, yes I do!” This thing is ideal for beach days and park hangs and camping — it keeps things cold forever and is super easy to cart around hands-free, even packed with beer and snacks.

Bucket Hat, Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Not gonna lie, I bought my first oversized bucket hat because a rapper made it look cool. But then I realized that it’s bar none the most useful style of hat: It shields your entire face and neck and even chest from the sun, it’s lightweight and not too sweaty, and it packs easily for any type of vacation. So now I’m an evangelist, and the Battle Bucket Hat has become the low-price, high-reward, works-on-anybody gift I keep coming back to.

Fanny Pack, Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Ravers, runners, world travelers: There is no one on this earth who would not benefit from a fanny pack, and this one from Adidas (technically they call it a Waist Pack but whatever) works for any gender, age, or style. It’s black and sleek with an adjustable waistband and plenty of pockets — crucial for holding cash and credit cards without the additional bulk of a wallet — and even has a special compartment for storing your earbuds and charger.

Shelter, Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Buying someone a tent kind of feels like buying them a house, except you’ll only spend a little over $100. This Quest Switchback 8 Person Cross Vent Dome Tent is easy to assemble and will fit up to eight people — or two with space for a makeshift kitchen, teeth-brushing station, and an entire queen-sized air mattress (bringing a tent that sleeps far more than the number of people in your party is an easy luxury I only recently discovered). Up to you if you want to present this gift by saying loudly, “I bought you a house!” I mean, I thought it was funny.

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