The 66 Gifts Domino Editors Are Giving the Most Difficult People on Their Lists

Photography by Belle Morizio; Styling by Kate Berry.

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It’s that time of year. You know, that time when we have to look into a crystal ball and ask ourselves, “What does Uncle Jeff, who I see only once a year, want for Christmas?” And if you don’t have an Uncle Jeff, you certainly have a sassy best friend with expensive taste, a grandma who keeps (and collects) everything under the sun, or a dad who always says he just wants a card. 

Among the Domino staffers, we’ve encountered every difficult-to-shop-for type out there. So consider this your editor-approved guide on how to keep even the most picky loved ones feel seen, with 66 specific yet crowd-pleasing gift ideas. 

Samantha Weiss-Hills, deputy commerce editor

This of-the-moment art book is perfect for my best friend, who never misses the newest gallery show. This is the one tome I know she doesn’t already have.

I’m married to a marathoner who has all the running accessories already—that is, except this.

My family is big into euchre, so I’m getting an elevated card set for all my uncles.

There’s a couple who I have a hosting crush on, so I’d bring this tinned fish variety pack to their inevitably epic holiday party.

We regularly make pasta feasts for our closest friends, so this stocking stuffer means they’ll get to join in the fun next time.

My mom entertains all the time but doesn’t have many serving accessories. I’ll wrap this tray in a big floppy bow and bring it to her with a wedge of cheese.

Raven McMillan, assistant editor

This souped-up boom box will let my vinyl-obsessed (and notoriously picky) friend take his retro tech obsession on the road.  

My BFF with expensive taste and ever-changing moods can choose her own luxurious self-care adventure with this selection of minis.

People who really know how to love themselves get themselves a gift, too. It’s me; I’m people. 

My dad spends hours in the backyard on his dilapidated lawn chair that my family loves to hate, and this upgrade will make sure he’s no longer the butt of our jokes. 

My mom is always “fixing” something, and this funky little toolbox will keep her home projects more organized, all without dampening her creative flow. 

This book will leave no styling question unanswered as my best friend (slowly) discovers her aesthetic as a new homeowner.

Julia Stevens, style editor

My mentor is very particular about decor but has never turned down any form of Splatterware. 

My sister is obsessed with all things fuzzy, and living in Los Angeles means these are actually winter-appropriate.

Nobody loves a holiday fete more than my honorary aunt, an extroverted life-of-the-party who’s equally happy to stay home and do a puzzle. 

My gourmand dad has a rule about toast—always make two slices—so this is a perfect nod to our family “tradition.”

My mom likes all her books to be on her Kindle, but one about her favorite brand is worthy of coffee-table real estate.

Kate Berry, chief content officer

My friends have very distinct styles, but these striped napkins will look good on all of their tables. Even just two feels like a special gift.  

This functional dish is perfect for my minimalist friend who doesn’t appreciate extra tchotchkes; it can hold her jewelry without taking up too much space. 

Inspiring is an understatement to describe Noma’s new book, which I’ll be buying for the truly creative and wildly impractical people in my life.

As a former tabletop editor, I’ve seen every salad bowl out there, and I know what I like. And it’s this, under our tree, with my name on it.

Any kid, including my daughter, would get a kick out of this animated tumbler. 

I’m giving these to my friend who can design, sew, and literally create anything—she knows good craft when she sees it. 

Brit Ashcraft, design director 

A set of salad servers for the office or family gift exchange, where it’s best to play it safe.

My sister-in-law and I have different tastes when it comes to decor, but everyone loves pearls.

My dog loves to be outside in the winter, but she also has a sharp eye for fashion. So this yin and yang sweater strikes the perfect balance for her.

My fellow discerning designer friend and I always exchange gag gifts that are aesthetically pleasing enough to keep out.

My husband loves movies but hates corny stuff. Cut to: adding everything from A24’s shop to my cart. 

What do you get a friend who loves art but doesn’t have any shelf space left? A tiny instant camera. 

Lindsey Mather, digital director

My best friend’s cat, who is basically her first-born child, deserves a gift, too, and this woolly watermelon is a textural delight.

My mother-in-law has an epic vegetable garden, so I know she’ll appreciate the farm-to-bottle olive oil pulp in this detoxifying face mask.

What do you get for the friends’ babies you haven’t met yet? A mini trapper hat declaring your long-distance love (plus a request for a photo stat).

The one tool my superhandy dad doesn’t already own is this ultra-fancy drill with a digital display and USB charging port.

An impossible-to-lose key hook feels like a fitting thank-you for my doormen, who somehow know everyone in my 46-story building by name.

If you also have a parent who insists all they want is a card, a framed photo of the two of you is an equally meaningful companion.

Lydia Geisel, home editor

One of my closest friends in New York City just moved in with boyfriend. Their schedules rarely align, but moody lighting promises that when dinners together do happen, they feel special.

I like to think I’m my mom’s best friend, but really it’s the two hummingbirds that visit our home every summer.

While I’m not sure if my cousin is a “robe person,” I do know she’s the type who loves sticking to a routine and cherishes her self-care schedule. 

A mini saw you can fit in your pocket just seems like a handy thing for my outdoorsy brother to have on hand when the next adventure strikes.

Reminiscent of freshly uncanned tennis balls and sunscreen, this candle will hold my dad over until the next time he can hit the outdoor court.

My stepbrother is about to get his driver’s permit. Rotating out some fresh scents in between wrestling and crew practice will make everyone’s ride more enjoyable. 

Kim Gray, art director

My super-practical mother-in-law makes a huge spread for every family gathering, so she’s always in the market for cookware that’s functional but pretty enough to leave on the table.

For our family’s new puppy, Honey, to keep her busy when I’m working from home.

My husband is the musical one in the family, therefore this is an excuse to add a chic record player to our living room. I call it a win-win.

My single-and-in-the-city brother-in-law makes a mean martini and needs fresh glassware to match.

I’m getting each of my kids their own beanbag chair to keep the peace during movie night.

My punk-loving little brother won’t think twice about buying music equipment, but I know he will never buy something like special socks for himself. 

Morgan Bulman, associate commerce editor

My youngest brother has been on a tea kick ever since he visited the Paris Market in Savannah, Georgia, last year. Hoping this will at least get him to stop talking about it. 

This is perfect for my family’s annual white elephant party—our favorite winter pastimes are either skiing or snowmobiling—so it’s an accessory anyone will use. 

For my dad, who refuses to send in the knives he bought years ago to be sharpened.

This is perfect for my friend who visits the city and prefers to stay in my one-bedroom apartment but always complains about the lack of blackout curtains in the living room.

I’ll get this for my mom, who loves nothing more than setting a table for special occasions but can never find a taper candle that won’t lean in its holder.

My boyfriend hates to read pretty much anything—opposites attract I guess? My hope is that our mutual love for the Premier League may convince him to open up this book. 

Julie Vadnal, deputy editor

My sister-in-law has such a good eye for eco-friendly housewares, so these cork placemats are sure to get daily use at their table.

I thought my boyfriend already had every art book ever, but I haven’t spotted this one on our shelves yet. I love that it will appeal to his passion for graphic novels.

After interviewing Seth Rogen for our Design Time: The Rebellious Ones podcast, I’m obsessed with owning one of his Gloopy (a technical term, okay?) ashtrays. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m the difficult one to buy for, and this is what I really want? 

It’s an unspoken rule that you have to get your brownstone neighbors something around the holidays, even if they play Moana on repeat. Thankfully, this EVOO comes in a two-pack, so I can cover everyone in one purchase. 

My Michigan-based nieces aren’t necessarily tough giftees, but I’m hoping they abandon their adoration for flip-sequined sweatshirts when they see these cool-kid Peruvian alpaca wool sweaters.

A perfume alone, even a chic bergamot and patchouli cocktail, isn’t enough to impress my sister. It also has to come in a display-worthy bottle. Check and check! 

Liz Buxton, commerce content director

I’ll admit this is a slightly self-motivated gift for my fiancé, who is constantly trailing wood splinters all over our house.

I’m surprising our family mixologist (my mom) with a festive new holiday libation that I haven’t spotted on her bar cart yet.

My friend is incredibly picky but has a taste for fine jewelry (and sweets).

Some good old-fashioned beach entertainment (brought to you by a hip Brooklyn quilt company) for my in-laws who winter in Florida.

My friend partakes but would never invest in such a display-worthy piece. Stoners deserve good style, too!

My dad insists on wearing the same Hawaiian shirt from 1990-something; this year I’m upgrading him to this abstract daisy print by artist Thomas Heinz.

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