Unique Gifts for People Who Are Hard to Shop For

unique gifts

Scene: it’s the start of the holiday season and you’re drafting a shopping list for your friends, family, your apartment building’s custodian, and that cute barista who you bonded with over an esoteric French film that you both love. You’ve got everyone matched to the perfect present. Everyone, that is, except for that one friend who you never know what to give for the holidays. So fear not, dear reader. We all know someone who’s hard-to-shop-for, so we’ve put together a unique gifts guide especially for them, and divided it by personality from sweets fiend to fashion follower:

For the zen soul

otherland candles chandelier unique gifts
This candle has a bright, luminous scent. | Otherland

Otherland ‘Chandelier’ Candle

As its name connotes, this candle has a bright, luminous scent (think champagne, saffron, and leather) that feels appropriately celebratory for holiday—or just a regular Tuesday. It’s made in the US with premium glassware and a vegan soy/coconut wax blend.  

geo porcelain candlestick unique gifts
These candle holders from Lauren HB Studio are made of porcelain. | Lauren HB Studio

Geo Candle Holder Set 

Handcrafted in Ohio, these candle holders from Lauren HB Studio are made of porcelain but inspired by the freeform beauty of geodes. They add an instantly calming, contemporary vibe to any space you decide to grace them with.

For the vegan foodie

sweet potato soul cookbook unique gifts
For a unique gift, snag this debut cookbook from noted vegan food blogger Jenne Claiborne. | Penguin Random House

The Sweet Potato Soul Cookbook

From sweet potato cinnamon rolls to jalapeño hush puppies to low country grits, this debut cookbook from noted vegan food blogger Jenne Claiborne brilliantly reinterprets classic Southern soul food without a plant-based twist. 

brightland oil
This bundle features three flavored olive oils: lemon, chili, and basil. | Brightland

Brightland Flavor-Infused Olive Oil Collection

EVOO is a staple in the kitchen of every foodie worth their pink Himalayan salt. And this bundle of three flavored olive oils—lemon, chili, and basil—takes the genre to the next level. All are vegan, organic, and produced on California’s Central Coast. 

For the sweet tooth

that ice cream scoop
This warming scoop softens ice cream without melting it. | THAT!

Warming Ice Cream Scoop

Who has time to wait for ice cream to soften? This ingenious warming scoop has some major science behind it; biodegradable liquid inside transfers heat from the handle to the scooping ring, which softens ice cream without melting it. No batteries, electricity, or Herculean muscle strength is needed. 

hu chocolate
Hu’s chocolate bars are all vegan. | Hu Kitchen

Hu Chocolate Bar 12-Pack

Hu’s chocolate bars are all vegan, but they’re loved by vegan and non-vegan chocolate connoisseurs alike for their incredible quality and taste. Made of certified organic, fair-trade, house-ground cacao, each bar—whether in simple or salty dark chocolate or a more complex flavor like hazelnut coffee and vanilla crunch—will make a welcome break from holiday stress.

For the celeb-obsessed

fenty beauty
This whipped oil body cream is light and hydrating. | Fenty Skin

Fenty Beauty Butta Drop Whipped Oil Body Cream

This light-yet-hydrating cream is enriched with Barbados cherry extract—packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, it’s the closest we mere mortals get to capturing even a fraction of the megastar’s signature glow.

lemlem scarf
Shop Lemlem products are all made by artisans in Ethiopia. | Lemlem

Lemlem Eshal Sarong/Scarf

Internationally renowned supermodel Liya Kebede created Lemlem—a brand of clothing, accessories, and more, all made by expert weavers in Ethiopia—with a mission of inspiring economic growth and preserving the art of weaving in the region. This vibrant, versatile scarf is the perfect example of the superb craftsmanship evident in each of the line’s pieces. 

For the devoted grower

chefn sprouter
Give the gift of sprouts. | Chef’n

Chef ‘N Countertop Sprouter

This compact sprout-grower features a ventilation system designed to increase airflow, reduce mold, and create the ideal environment for growing sprouts. You’ll definitely be posting daily progress updates on Insta. 

terrain terrarium unique gifts
This glass terrarium tops the list of unique gifts. | Terrain

Terrain Glass Terrarium

Love greenery and gardening? Here is an eye-catching way for you to bring your artistic vision to life. This handmade glass terrarium’s sleek, low silhouette makes the perfect canvas for whatever layers of fabulous fauna you layer within.

For the skincare lover

superfacial oil
This incredibly light, serum-like moisturizer has a mix of soothing and hydrating oils. | Plant Apothecary

Plant Apothecary Superfacial Organic Superlight Oil Moisturizer

If you’re a beauty lover, you’ll know: oil moisturizers are good for your skin—especially if it’s oily. This incredibly light, serum-like moisturizer has a mix of soothing and hydrating oils, from white tea to pomegranate.

clean slate
This extra-special cleanser will elevate any skin routine. | Caldera + Lab

Caldera Lab The Clean Slate Balancing Cleanser

Elevate your morning and evening routines with this extra-special cleanser (a cult favorite in the beauty world). It’s powered by plant extracts, glacial ocean silt extracts, and gentle-yet-invigorating amino acids, instead of the harsh surfactants the vast majority of other cleansers are packed with. And it has a featherweight feel that’s downright luxe. 

For the style-seeker

Veja vegan shoes
These vegan kicks are made with sustainably-sourced, plant-based materials. | Veja

Veja V-10 CWL 

Made in Brazil of organic, ecologically friendly materials like Veja’s proprietary CWL (“cotton worked as leather”) and a sole made of wild Amazonian rubber that helps with the area’s conservation efforts, the V-10 is incredibly conscious. It also happens to be very chic: with its timeless silhouette and minimalist white-and-natural palette, it’s a daily style staple that you’ll enjoy dressing up or down.

stella mccartney bag
Shop the Adidas–Stella McCartney collab. | Adidas by Stella McCartney

Adidas by Stella McCartney Tote Bag

Vegan or not, nearly any fashion follower would be thrilled to get virtually anything from the Adidas–Stella McCartney collab. This roomy tote—made with Primegreen, a combination of high-performance recycled materials—is incredibly practical in addition to being effortlessly stylish. 

The Chic Homebody

viva terra hooks
These glass and wood hooks are made with earth-friendly materials by artisans in Indonesia. | Viva Terra

Recycled Glass & Reclaimed Wood Hooks

Here’s an inspired way to elevate your space this holiday: Made out of earth-friendly materials by artisans in Indonesia, these are a unique, bespoke take on an item that’s normally strictly functional. No two of the orb-shaped organic glass hooks are exactly the same. They’re available in sizes from 1 to 4 hooks. 

citizenry bolt wall hanging unique gifts
Gift a unique alternative to conventional wall art. | The Citizenry

The Citizenry San Cristobal Wall Hanging 

This eye-catching assemblage of cascading geometric shapes—cast in gleaming bronze by artisans in Chile, then assembled in Austin, TX, by designer Corie Humble—is an inventive alternative to conventional wall art. It’ll add instant warmth and texture to any room.

LIVEKINDLY is here to help you navigate the growing marketplace of sustainable products that promote a kinder planet. All of our selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, LIVEKINDLY may earn a commission.