Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

10 great gift ideas for people who have everything (10 items)

Len Penzo

Dec. 9, 2013

When it comes to great gift ideas, I always struggle — especially for people who have everything.

My family draws names every year as part of our annual Christmas gift exchange. It’s typically done a year in advance, on Christmas Day, long after all the presents have been opened, and everybody has stuffed themselves on our traditional cavatelli dinner.

I remember one year when I had the misfortune of pulling Uncle Paul’s name out of Santa’s hat. That put me in a tough spot because he’s an octogenarian who has all the money he’ll ever need — so when the guy wants something, he buys it.

Anyway, as soon as I drew his name, I pulled my Aunt Mary Jane aside to get some gift advice, but she was no help. “Paul’s had everything he’s ever wanted since 1979,” she said. Great.

For a moment, I considered trying to make a homemade Christmas gift; but truth be told, I quit working with bird seed, paste and toilet paper rolls after I graduated from kindergarten.

Eventually, I came to realize that there are plenty of great gift ideas for people who have everything — you just have to be willing to think outside the box.

Here are ten of them:

1 of 10. Car washes or detailing

Why It’s A Great Gift Idea: Who doesn’t love a nice shiny clean vehicle? Buy some gift certificates to a local car wash. If you’re looking to spend a little more, then consider a mobile auto detailer who will work at the recipient’s home or place of employment.

What’s It Gonna Cost? That depends. The cheapest hand-dry car washes are typically $15 a pop. Detailing can run from $100 to $250, depending on the size of the vehicle, interior style, and other service options.

2 of 10. Car repairs

Why It’s A Great Gift Idea: Most people don’t have the luxury of their own car mechanic. Auto dealerships and many other repair houses typically offer gift cards that can be used for anything from routine oil changes to major car repairs.

What’s It Gonna Cost? That depends. A gift certificate for $100 will certainly cover the cost of a couple of routine oil changes — or help defray the cost of large repair expenses.

3 of 10. Hot air balloon rides

Why It’s A Great Gift Idea: If you’re looking for a gift that offers a truly unforgettable experience, then this is it! I’ve taken two hot air balloon rides: a sunrise trip over Southern California wine country, and a sunset journey along the San Diego coastline. Both trips were absolutely magnificent and included post-flight champagne and hors d’oeuvres. You can find local balloon ride companies with FAA-licensed pilots on the Internet.

What’s It Gonna Cost? In Southern California, one-hour balloon rides usually run in the neighborhood of $150 per person; weekend ride prices are about 15 percent higher. Private two-person rides typically start at $400 per person.

4 of 10. Art, cooking, or dance lessons

Why It’s A Great Gift Idea: If dear old Dad can’t make a piece of toast without burning it, try buying him a few cooking lessons. If he has two left feet, then dancing lessons would be a good bet too. Art lessons are another idea.

What’s It Gonna Cost? A four-hour in-house private cooking lesson for two from Chef Professor begins at $400. The tuition cost includes all food products needed for the class. Private dance lessons usually start around $50 per hour; group lessons are considerably cheaper. Private art lessons typically start at $30 per hour.

5 of 10. The gift of charity

Why It’s A Great Gift Idea: Perhaps Aunt Edna is passionate about a particular cause. If so, consider giving them a TisBest Charity Gift Card; they currently have more than 300 charity partners!

What’s It Gonna Cost? Of course, that’s up to you.

1. MikeTB
Bloomington, IN,
Dec. 10, 2013

This is the most lame list of gifts I have ever read! The premise of the list is for those who "have everything." Car repair? Groceries? Charity donations in somebody's name? I imagine that giving groceries to somebody who "has everything" would be very weird. I assume that people who "have everything" don't want my grocery present, an offer to have their car fixed, or a charitable donation. If there is anybody who thinks that paying for car repair is a good idea for a gift then I would be happy to give you my number...

2. Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT,
Dec. 10, 2013

@MikeTB - you must not have everything because I think it's a pretty solid list. I'm very hard to shop for because I just don't think about getting things until it's too late. An example, I just got several gift packages from Creminelli, a very thoughtful gift from my brother yet very easy for him to give.

3. Pete1215
Lafayette, IN,
Dec. 10, 2013

Star Registry? I wonder how one starts a business where people send me 25 dollars and I e-mail them back instructions on how to find their star (and a freshly created certificate of authenticity).

4. Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

On the charity front, microfinance loan organizations like Kiva give the recipient the opportunity to be actively engaged in how the gift is used rather than just passively receiving a card announcing the donation. The gift recipient can choose who to lend the money to and can relend it many times over as the loans are repaid (or he or she can cash it out). It's a way to help entrepreneurs in the developing world get started in business.