1. Fun Socks
2. A Good Coffee Table Book
If print is dead, or on life support, coffee table books are like the people from that island in Greece who live basically forever. Times change, but people always love to have coffee table books — and no one ever buys them for themselves, which makes them an A+ gift.
3. A 3D Printing Pen
“3D printing is the future 3D printing is the future 3D printing is the future 3D printing is the future 3D printing is the fuuuu….” Anyway! Real 3D printers cost $2,200 but you can still indulge your gift recipient’s ahead-of-the-curve aspirations with this pen, called the 3Doodler, which costs only $99.
4. Homemade Cookies, Presented Nicely
Cookies? Bear with me. Even the most difficult person on this entire earth cannot be mad that you baked them cookies. No one’s too cool for cookies. Just don’t wrap them in tinfoil and throw them in a shoebox. Here’s a good tutorial.
5. A Smartphone Camera Lens
The magnetic lenses clip onto an iPhone or Android. Photojojo has a combo pack that comes with fisheye, telephoto, and wide angle/macro lenses.
6. This Aggressive Stationery
Terrapin makes notecards that say stuff like LOLZ and FUCK OFF or have pictures of motorcycles. Most people don’t write that many letters (Maybe very cool people do? Who knows.), so a set of 12 is probably plenty.
7. A Piece of Art
Here are some places you can buy great art online at any price range. When in doubt, go for something minimalist.
8. A Potted Cactus or Succulent
It’s a plant that YOU DON’T NEED TO WATER (at least not often) and it DOESN’T DIE (for a long time) and it LOOKS CUTE. It’s also an entry level DIY (basically: Get a little pot, put some soil in it, put the plant in, scatter some rocks on top).
9. A Subscription to an Indie Magazine
For the person who’s always telling you about some new restaurant and urging you to try sea urchin ramen or something, try a subscription to Lucky Peach ($28 a year). For the type whose Instagrams look like Terry Richardson campaigns, here are a whole bunch of alt fashion magazines. And for the sexually liberated, there’s the brand new highbrow erotica publication Adult.
10. Espresso Cups
No one buys espresso cups for themselves, but they’re neat to have – and double as shot glasses. This Pantone set is design snob approved.
11. A Fancy Wine Decanter
This one makes it RAIN wine, which is impossible to turn your nose up at.
12. Heath Ceramics
Heath Ceramics are made by artisans in California, and they are very beautiful! (And very understated, so as not to offend a cool person’s vibe.)
13. A Handheld Sous Vide
Give the gift of immersion circulation cooking. The Nomiku’s a nice-looking version and Kickstarter hit thought up by a physics Ph.D. and some chefs.
14. A Gift Certificate to a Local Indie Movie Theater
You know, the one that shows French films.
15. A Backgammon Set
Backgammon! It’s a fun game (so I hear) that doubles as an attractive houseware.
16. Artisanal Booze
17. Or, a step better: DIY Infused Booze
Buy some cheap liquor, put it in a mason jar, put some fruit or herbs in it, let sit for a few days, strain, give to your discerning friend/relative, wow them with your dedication and originality. Cucumber gin is nice, and jalapeno tequila is always good.