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Surprisingly Useful Gift Ideas

With Christmas less than two weeks away, I’m starting to realize I still have a handful of people left on my list that I haven’t gotten gifts for. Not because I’ve been procrastinating, but because I’ve thought so long and hard about the perfect gift for each of these people, to the point that I’ve started overthinking it!

In all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that some of the best gifts you can give a loved one aren’t necessarily the most exciting or most expensive. Often, the best gift you can give someone is a useful gift – one that will make their lives easier or fulfill a legitimate need.

So if you’re like me and you still have a few people left to cross off your Christmas list, here’s a list of surprisingly useful gift ideas I’ve gathered from around the web!

Merino Wool Socks

A nice pair of wool socks is truly one of life’s greatest luxuries. They keep your feet warm and cozy in any weather, and they’ll last for a long time! They make a great gift because they’re a bit more expensive than regular socks, so many people don’t think to buy them for themselves.

Safety Razor and Razor Blades

Safety razors are definitely the gift that keeps on giving. Rather than standard razors, with those refill cartridges that cost an arm and a leg, safety razors use standard razor blades that cost pennies. Plus, a nice safety razor will last for years, and could even become an heirloom!

Cast-Iron Skillet

A quality, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is very reasonably priced and is one of the most versatile and indispensable items you can have in your kitchen. Get a loved one a nice cast-iron skillet, and print out a few cast-iron recipes to help get them started. Once they start cooking with it, they’ll never want to go back!


A good multi-tool would be a great gift for virtually anyone on your list. They’re great to have in a pinch, because pliers, scissors, a knife, and a file can fix just about any issue you might encounter during your day.

Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

This definitely isn’t the most glamorous gift idea, but it certainly is practical! So many homes don’t have a fire extinguisher in their kitchens. I can tell you from personal experience, you’ll be incredibly grateful you have one if you need it!

Mini Food Processor

Standard-sized food processors are certainly a useful tool to have in the kitchen, but I’m also a devotee of my mini food processor! I use my 4-cup food processor multiple times a week, to chop onions or nuts, make salsa or pesto, or even just to scramble eggs. A mini food processor takes up minimal space, but can quickly become the most frequently used item in a kitchen!

Label Maker

I don’t think it’s something I would have ever bought for myself, but someone gave me a label maker a few years back and I LOVE it! It’s so practical and complements my OCD tendencies perfectly. 🙂

Mini Shop Vac

A mini shop vac has all of the great wet/dry capabilities of a standard shop vac, in a much more convenient/portable size. Having one in a hall closet will have you ready to tackle any spills or messes that crop up around the house. They’re also great for vacuuming out the car!

Nice Soap

We all need soap, so a few bars of really luxurious, nice-smelling soap is definitely a gift that your recipient will get a lot of use out of!

Garment Steamer

A garment steamer can seem like an unnecessary luxury item, but it can actually be a huge time-saver for the busy professional. Using a garment steamer to quickly steam a shirt and slacks, instead of having to haul out the iron and ironing board, will have your recipient wondering how they ever lived without it!

Flannel Sheets

A nice set of flannel sheets is a gift that anyone can appreciate. The gift of a warm and cozy night’s sleep is universally appreciated!

Heated Mattress Pad

Never crawl into a chilly bed on a winter night again. This gift keeps on giving year after year and the recipient will always think of you kindly as they crawl into their warm and toasty bed.


Not for collecting, but for laundry! What a great gift for a young, broke college kid (or couple!)

A Really Good Trashcan

A really nice stainless steel trash can isn’t something most of us would justify buying for ourselves, but it’s something we would definitely appreciate every day!

Headlamp Light

Headlamps aren’t just for miners! Keep one in your purse and when the power goes out you may not know where the flashlight is, but you’ll most likely know where your purse is! Also allows you to see hands-free whether you are hiking, biking, reading or walking your dog.

Movie Theater Gift Card

I love the idea of giving movie theater gift cards, because you’re essentially giving someone the gift of a night out! Just make sure you include the cost of the popcorn! 😉

What is one of the most surprisingly useful gift you’ve received?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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