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7 Perfect Gift Ideas for the Acquaintances in Your Life

A gift bag with a tie and tag for the recipient.

‘Tis the holiday season, a time for hanging mistletoe, baking sugar cookies, and figuring out what the $#% to get Sue from accounting for the office Secret Santa. Whether it’s a random coworker or your best friend’s cousin’s wife, buying gifts for acquaintances you don’t know well can be downright difficult. But thankfully, not impossible.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up a few gift ideas for the acquaintances in your life. They range from the artsy to the practical and are sure to help you navigate this tricky gift-giving task with ease.

Animal-Themed Gift

Four plates displayed on a white background with animal prints on the plates.

If you know your acquaintance is really into a certain animal, get them something cute that features their favorite critter. It doesn’t matter if it’s a coaster, towel, blanket, print, fridge magnet, or mug — just make sure it offers up a subtle nod to their furry friend of choice.

Monogrammed Good

A monogrammed set showing two envelopes, a stamp, and scissors.
Monique Carrati

Need to get something for someone with slightly more sophisticated tastes? Consider going with a monogrammed gift!

You could do stationery, thank you cards, jewelry, or even a couple of rocks glasses — just keep the lines crisp and clean. It might seem like an overly simple idea, but the simplicity is actually what makes it such an elegant option. Plus, it’s personalized without you having to know too much about the person.


Brooklyn Candle Studio candles shown in and out of their boxes on display.

If you need something for a gift exchange or Secret Santa, we recommend buying a fancy candle. We love Brooklyn Candle Studio, which packages all its delectable scents in super chic, minimalistic jars. Pro tip: Pick a neutral scent as you may not know the personal preferences of the recipient.

Desk Tchotchke

A home desk setup with a laptop, keyboard, mouse, plants, and lamp on top.
Nathan Riley

The best gifts are ones that are as gorgeous as they are useful, so brighten up your acquaintance’s workspace with a playful little desk tchotchke. Present & Correct sells a ton of utilitarian goodies that are sleek, cute, and totally gender-neutral.

Fun Tote

TacoCat tote bag displayed near a person's feet.

Another useful gift that’s fun and quirky is a book bag or tote. This could be a fantastic option for an individual with whom you have a warm connection but no real intimate relationship (think a friend’s mother or maybe the fiance of your partner’s sister). Take a peek around a site like Cafe Press and see if anything jumps out.

Framed Print

Framed prints leaning up against a wall.
Christopher Burns

If you really want to impress your acquaintance, get them a small framed art print. It might seem like too much for someone you don’t know that well, but it could be appropriate if you see the two of you getting closer in the future (say, your partner’s dad or a new roommate).

Society 6 is a favorite place to scope out new prints because you can choose your size and even have the print framed.

Grubhub Gift Card

Four GrubHub giftcards.

Everyone’s gotta eat, so give the gift of good food with a Grubhub gift card this season. If you’re unfamiliar with the company, it’s basically a food delivery service that partners with local restaurants to bring food right to the customer’s door. We can 4,000% guarantee that this gift will be appreciated and put to good use.

Well, folks, that does it for this guide to the best gifts to give an acquaintance! For more gift-giving inspiration, check out our guide to the best travel gifts for men.

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