Have You Considered Buying the Same Present for Everyone You Know?

It's down to the wire on holiday shopping, but I swear all you need is one great gift. Here are some that'll work for every person on your list.

You're Giving Gifts All Wrong


The conventional wisdom when it comes to holiday gift-giving goes something like this: budget appropriately, work ahead, and, above all, make it personal. And it seems like everyone from Martha Stewart and Oprah to your Midwestern grandma agrees. Come December (actually, if we’re being honest, the day after Halloween), department store displays and email subject lines alike turn our full attention to the holiday crunch. Much like the twinkly lights and tinsel that appear overnight, prompts such as “for the fashion lover” and “gifts to buy your cool Gen Z sister” let us know that the holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to start stress-shopping.

Personally, I start every holiday season with delusions of grandeur. This year, I tell myself, my gifts will shock and awe with their tastefully wrapped bows and unique personal touches. Everyone on my list is getting the perfect present they never knew they needed. That friend with exquisite taste in jewelry? I’ll finally find a gorgeous bracelet that’s equal parts affordable and unique. That cool high school-aged cousin who kind of intimidates me? She’s getting the sold-out lip gloss that will make all her friends jealous. At least, until I inevitably discover that no such product exists — not within my budget and time constraints, anyway. 

Don’t get me wrong: Thinking about what each person in your life needs is a worthwhile exercise. But if, like me, you end up losing the plot and buying something not-so-great in a last-minute panic, gift-giving perfectionism is definitely more pressure than it’s worth. Thankfully, I have found the answer: Buy everyone in your life the same thing. No, seriously.

It may sound counterintuitive (or just a bit lazy), but in a world of endless choices (and equally endless supply chain issues), we’re all craving ways to cut through the noise and find the good stuff hidden among the duds. But, you probably have one item you love so much you’ve already evangelized about it to all your nearest and dearest. All that’s left to do is buy it for them. Think about it: what better way to find things that are quality, beautiful, or life-simplifying than from someone you trust?

Personalized gifts are like skincare: Most people know what works for them better than anyone else. If a friend or loved one is really into something (whether it’s a hobby, interest, or method of self-care), they probably already have their favorites. Similar to finding good retinol (difficult to source and requiring lots of trial-and-error), it’s unlikely you’d find the ideal gift from a few hours of desperate googling. Plus, if you’re not an expert, you might be disappointed to find the vibey serum you scoured the internet for is already on your skincare-loving sibling’s top shelf (and has been there for years). Or worse, they already tried and hated it.

Instead, might I suggest buying the things you already own and love in large quantities for everyone on your list? After all, wouldn’t you prefer a delightful surprise to an overwrought, overthought gift you probably already own? If you answered yes, it follows that your friends and loved ones would, too. Of course, this approach isn’t foolproof: not everyone is in need of, say, a cute new water bottle (see our recommendation below) to decorate their sad return-to-office desk space. But, more often than not, if you can vouch for it, your giftees will love your present as much as you do. Or, at the very least, they’ll relish an out-of-left-field item they’d never have bought for themselves.

If you’re stumped, read on for a few one-and-done suggestions. Hopefully, they’ll spark your own “I’ve become obsessed with this thing, and so will you” gift idea for everyone you love.

You're Giving Gifts All Wrong


Valentino pink (which arguably set the Barbiecore movement in motion) was on runways and red carpets everywhere this year, and this water bottle from the brand is an affordable way to get in on the trend. And it’s not just for your fashion friends; anyone with even a passing awareness of design will appreciate the Pantone chip design. Plus, a hot-and-cold thermos is a practical gift for literally anyone who has ever enjoyed Earl Grey on the go or tried to level up their daily water intake.

Valentino, $70

You're Giving Gifts All Wrong


My husband bought this sweater a few years ago, and I immediately commandeered it. Since then, it’s been a classic push and pull over who gets to wear it when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. The knit is super high quality, and Babaar (a beloved French child’s book) is a jaunty design you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

Rowing Blazers, $325

You're Giving Gifts All Wrong


Maison Margiela's greatest strength is also the reason it has a love-it-or-hate-it reputation: Everything the brand makes is beautiful, but a little weird. This fragrance is no exception. It has a cult following for a reason, and it really smells unlike anything else on the market. Plus, it's not something most people will buy for themselves (and if they’re already a fan, they’ll thank you for the refill). With warm and spicy notes, it’s truly the perfect fall/winter scent for everyone on your list. Trust me, this unisex fragrance took a minute to grow on me, but now it’s an unexpected favorite.

Sephora, $144

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