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10 Useful Gifts for Coworkers, Casual Friends, and Acquaintances

A water bottle next to keys and headphones, a blue candle, someone holds a lighter near a stove
Bindle/Capri Blue/Leejie

‘Tis the season of giving, and while it might not be hard to find something for your mom or best friend, choosing a gift for someone you aren’t as close to can be tricky. Whether it’s for the office Christmas party or a Secret Santa gift exchange, we’ve found 10 practical items anyone will appreciate.

Useful, everyday items make neutral, but still very thoughtful, gifts. It’s usually a good idea to avoid specific items, like alcohol or store gift cards, as those can be pretty hit-or-miss. If you’re at a loss, here are some great gift ideas for neighbors, coworkers, or anyone else you don’t know very well.


Someone holds a black container near a coffee maker and the container sits near a cup of iced coffee

Cold drinks are pretty universally enjoyed, and the HyperChiller is a neat device that chills drinks in under a minute without diluting them. The patented technology uses clever chambers that allow a drink to be cooled from the top and bottom, with a quick turnaround time.

The HyperChiller is ideal for people who enjoy iced coffee, but don’t want to water it down with ice cubes. This handy device also works for tea, juice, and water. Anyone who enjoys a cold drink will be grateful to receive this as a gift.

HyperChiller Long Lasting Beverage Chiller

Cools drinks in under a minute.

Tile Slim

Someone slips a black tile object into a wallet

Everyone has misplaced something important at some point. Nothing feels worse than realizing you’ve lost your wallet, and nothing feels better than finding it.

Give someone the gift of peace of mind with a Tile Slim. This Bluetooth tracker is ultra-thin and can be slipped into wallets, luggage tags, passports, and more. It has a 250-foot range and will show its most recent location if you wander beyond that. It works seamlessly with a smartphone app and will be a hit with any recipient.

Tile Slim

Tracks valuables, like walllets, passports, and more.

An Electric Lighter

Someone uses an electric lighter to light a candle and the stove

A lighter might not sound like an awesome gift, but this electric version isn’t the type you find at a gas station. It’s actually flameless and is powered by a lithium-ion cell that can be used hundreds of times. It also kinda makes you feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie.

This lighter is rechargeable, so it will never run out of fuel. It’s also wind- and moisture-proof, making it easy to use indoors or out.

Electric Arc Lighter

Rechargable, and wind- and moisture-proof.

A Wireless Phone Charger

A wireless phone charger and someone charges their phone on it

Everyone can use another phone charger in their home. If you don’t know which brand of smartphone your coworker or neighbor has, this wireless charger makes the perfect gift.

It’s compatible with most smartphones and also works for wireless earbuds. It’ll even charge through phone cases that are up to 5mm thick. The sleek design will also blend seamlessly with any décor, and it takes up very little space.

Anker Wireless Charger

Compatible with most smartphones.

Capri Blue Volcano Candle

A blue candle and a turquoise candle
Capri Blue

Candles are the stereotypical “I don’t know what to get you” gift, but this one is really worth it. Found in stores like Sephora and Anthropologie, the Capri Blue Volcano candle has been a cult-favorite scent for years.

It’s pretty difficult not to fall in love with the exotic citrus and sweet sugary notes. They also come in chic containers and have an 85-hour burn time, to boot. Believe us, no one will feel ripped off when they get this as a gift.

Bindle Bottle

A water bottle with a container on the bottom that is filled with keys and headphones

Listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2018, the Bindle Bottle is ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to carry too much stuff when they go out. With a traditional insulated water bottle on the top and a leak-proof container on the bottom, this is perfect for hikes, going to the gym, or running errands.

The stainless-steel, double-wall, vacuum-insulated technology keeps drinks hot or cold for up to 12 hours. Plus, the storage compartment can hold keys, credit cards, and more. In addition to being handy, this water bottle is a fantastic way to protect valuables from thieves.

Bindle Bottle

Keeps beverages hot or cold for 12 hours, while also keeping valuables safe.

A Fandango Gift Card

A Fandango gift card

Not everyone has the same taste in restaurants and stores, so getting someone a gift card they’ll actually use can be a challenge. You want one that appeals to most people and can also be used at multiple locations.

That’s why a Fandango gift card is a great option for anyone you don’t know very well. It can be used to buy movie tickets at a variety of theaters all over the country. Throw in a note and recommend some upcoming releases to make it a bit more personal.

A Picnic Blanket

A picnic blanket and a woman and child play on the blanket

Anyone who likes to be outdoors will appreciate this chic picnic blanket. Available in multiple sizes and colors, it’s perfect for anyone who enjoys eating or relaxing at the park, beach, or in their own backyard.

Made of strong material and a waterproof PEVA backing for durability, it also rolls up into an attached carrier for easy transportation and storage. It’s not just for picnics, either—your recipient can take this along whenever he or she heads out for a hike or on a camping trip, as well.

Extra Large Picnic & Outdoor Blanket

Perfect for anyone who enjoys relaxing outside.

A Mug Warmer

An electric mug warmer

Who hasn’t prepared a steaming cup of coffee or tea in the morning, only to forget all about it and find it ice cold an hour later? This mug warmer can be kept on a desk or table and will keep any beverage warm all day.

It has three temperature options and an automatic shutoff after four hours. It works on all heat-safe drinkware materials, including ceramic and glass. Slow drinkers and busy bees are sure to love this thoughtful, useful gift.

Coffee Mug Warmer

Will keep their coffee, tea, or cocoa warm until they remember it.

A Portable Phone Charger

A portable phone charger

No one wants to be caught with a dead phone battery, and this portable charger can ensure that never happens. Whether they’re on vacation or out all day without access to an outlet, your recipient will be glad to have this portable power bank available.

It works with iPhones, Android phones, and more, and provides up to two phone charges when it’s fully charged itself. Get one for your neighbor, coworker, or yourself—you won’t regret it.

Anker Portable Charger

Never get caught with a dead phone battery again.

Choosing a gift for a coworker or neighbor can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t know them very well. Hopefully, though, this list of neutral, yet practical, items has you well on your way to becoming someone’s all-time favorite Secret Santa.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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