Knowledge of your friends’ interests and favorite things to do is valuable intel come the end of the year, but buyer beware: when you give holiday gifts based exclusively on what you know about a hobby or lifestyle, you risk buying your loved ones something they already have—or worse, something they can’t use at all.
Want to skip the strained smiles and forced thank yous at this year’s gift-giving events? This gift guide will help ensure you buy presents with serious oomph for all the people in your life, no matter who they are or what they like:
The Avid Outdoorsperson
Even the biggest nature enthusiasts have to admit that cooking outdoors usually produces meals that can be described as “good . . . for camp food” at best. Since hauling an entire kitchen to the campsite is sort of impossible, they often just go with whatever charcoal-burned food they can make.
This fact, combined with the camper’s natural love of gadgets, is what makes the MiniMo Personal Cooking System by Jetboil so awesome. Your friend gets a highly portable, collapsible cooking set that’s chock-full of features and tools they’d usually have to buy separately.
Instead of just one setting (namely “boil water”), this high-end camp stove provides a simmer setting out of the box. If you talk to a frequent camper, you know what a big deal that is. Don’t let your friend suffer scalding coffee and subpar campsite meals any longer—surprise them with one of the best portable stoves money can buy.
As any good gift guide will make clear, the way to give a gift someone will actually want is by tricking them into thinking you understand exactly what they’re into.
Buying music for a serious music fan—or music quality fan—is an intimidating prospect, especially when you want to buy them a gift they’ll actually use. Why not get them something that’ll improve every set they slide over their ears? The Portable Headphone Amplifier by Nuforce does just that, pushing vastly improved performance out of your favorite audiophile’s preferred headphones, whether they’re listening at the computer or on the go. Effectively a portable upgraded soundcard, the device even has an exterior volume knob, which is hugely helpful when you want to turn your music up or down without pulling your phone out of your pocket.
The New Parent
When buying for someone with a new baby under the roof, your first goal should be making the baby’s life easier. Why? Because it makes the parents’ lives easier in the long run.
Take these Hearing & Noise Protection Baby Earmuffs by Em’s 4 Bubs. Cover the baby’s ears and presto—the new parent can enjoy a raucous holiday party without having to worry about the decibel level waking the crying, distracting, little angel in the next room. This is a must-own for parents, even if they don’t know it yet!
Gaming is, without a doubt, one of the easiest hobbies to get wrong when you’re buying holiday gifts blind . . . so it’s a good thing you’re consulting this gift guide.
Controllers are great gifts to this end, since gamers can almost always use another one. Among these, the Xbox One Elite Controller is the crème de la crème. It’s built for endless modifying and accessorizing, with enough swappable pieces and fine-grain detail to keep even the most decisive gamers busy fine-tuning their settings. The surprise here is in the level of quality. As a non-gamer, getting someone one of these shows that you put some serious research into their gift.